Amy Biancolli

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For 214 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 50% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 49% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 4.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Amy Biancolli's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Chronicle
Lowest review score: 0 The Sitter
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 97 out of 214
  2. Negative: 39 out of 214
214 movie reviews
    • 53 Metascore
    • 25 Amy Biancolli
    It looks spiffy. It has an attractive cast. Marcel Zyskind's cinematography seethes and shines. And it's a crock.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    To be fair, War of the Buttons is a film with a modest agenda. It does not attempt to provide a complete or even vaguely realistic depiction of the rural French resistance in the endgame to World War II. Instead, it provides a fable.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Biancolli
    The main source of astonishment is the precision exhibited everywhere, from the slyly vintage look of Rodrigo Prieto's cinematography to the gradual, cinching tension in Chris Terrio's careful screenplay.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Biancolli
    It is pure, retro-cinematic joy.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    Any movie that features a character calling herself Fat Amy has a pretty firm grip on irony. It helps that Fat Amy is played by Rebel Wilson ("Bachelorette," "Bridesmaids"), my favorite eccentric Aussie practitioner of lip-curled comic timing.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Biancolli
    The Perks of Being a Wallflower hurts. It hurts because it depicts the loneliness, anxiety and all-out quivering mess of adolescence in a manner not often seen since John Hughes' heyday.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    The cutest darn thing in Hotel Transylvania is the way Count Dracula spazzes into a brilliant red devil-face when provoked. The second-cutest thing is his annoyed response to being misquoted by idiot humans.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    When the screenplay sticks to the tricky business of living - trying, then screwing up, then stumbling forward anyway - it hits its mark with confidence, and the big ensemble cast responds with tight little performances of affecting vulnerability.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Biancolli
    When it's over, this documentary lingers as a testament to extraordinary human bravery. It stands as one of the most heartbreaking and suspenseful sagas of the year.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Biancolli
    The best scenes are filmed inside the cruiser, dashboard shots that face inward instead of out, catching Gyllenhaal and Peña in moments so playful and true they make all other buddy cops look bogus by comparison.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 25 Amy Biancolli
    Features an exceedingly dapper Richard Gere in a series of nice suits and handsome close-ups that serve no purpose other than to remind us how exceedingly dapper Richard Gere looks in nice suits and handsome close-ups. The rest of the movie registers as a loss of: time, money, talent and logic.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    In the end - and every story needs one - The Words is a decent, ambitious, unoriginal film about a decent, ambitious, unoriginal writer. Both aim for greatness. Both fall short.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    Headland works hard to reconcile the wild and the tame; if she never quite gets the balance right, ya gotta admire her bold juxtaposition of overdose-resuscitation gags with lessons on self-loathing and bulimia.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    In its way, the film is more concerned with the love between friends than the sex between strangers.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 25 Amy Biancolli
    The whole thing runs about an hour too long: It should have been a TV show. The adventure's too big for the kids who would love it the most.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    It all adds up to a fine, funny exercise in disheveled self-deprecation: a self-portrait of a guy who can't control a major portion of his life. Which, when you get right down to it, could describe almost any of us.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    Some films are harder to watch than others - not because they're bad, which makes for a different sort of painful viewing, but because they touch on areas of such profound moral discomfort that the mere act of watching makes us feel complicit. We feel like gutless witnesses to a crime. And that's what makes Compliance such a hard thing to stomach.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    What makes this whole thing work is, first of all, Wilee's ride, an elegant machine that lacks any gears or brakes.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    As for Butler's screenplay, it's less beguiling than preachy.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    The kid is a charmer, the message is heartfelt - love your kids while you can - and, OK, the ending might jerk a few tears, even from a crank like me. OK, it did.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    The resultant spoofery is nonpartisan, or at least vague - we never learn which of these flesh-pressing idiots is the Republican and which is the Democrat - and raucous in its send-ups of the moral, financial and sexual peccadilloes of the common political animal.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    360
    Much like its own characters, it dithers too much - and it dares too little.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    When its biggest trick is finally revealed, it is not entirely satisfying.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    For all of its dazzlingly rendered cityscapes and nonstop action, this revamped Total Recall is a bland thing - bloodless, airless, humorless, featureless. With or without the triple-bosomed prostitute.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    The combative, off-putting Dark Horse features many of writer-director Todd Solondz's usual preoccupations: misery, complexity, stunted emotions, misplaced dreams.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    The less-good stuff: the pirates, who are so blandly and predictably drawn that they sap all the personality out of Peter Dinklage (as an ugly ape skipper), which isn't easy. And the plot, which just barrels forward with very few surprises.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Biancolli
    The film is its own beast, and it's a rare one.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 0 Amy Biancolli
    So. What part of this is boring? All of it.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 25 Amy Biancolli
    No matter how well made, well acted and well intentioned, Lying Dingbat Procrastinator movies are excruciating to watch. Case in point: People Like Us, a film hell-bent on dragging its protagonist (and, sadly, us) through the LDP narrative playbook.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    Ted
    For all of its transgressive plush-toy sex and screw-'em humor, the plot is pretty standard stuff.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    Make no mistake, this is advocacy cinema; interviews with Defense Department and military officials notwithstanding, there's not much effort, on Dick's part or anyone else's, to consider any point of view besides the victims' and those who love or speak for them. That's what makes it difficult to watch. And that's what makes it necessary.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    Sweet and serious as it is, the second chunk of Seeking a Friend is the lesser of the two - and hard to reconcile with the more acidic comic outlook in the film's first half. The obvious movie referent is Lars von Trier's "Melancholia," a much nastier film in a much lovelier wrapping: This one lacks an eight-minute Wagner montage.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 25 Amy Biancolli
    The script is as bland as they come.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    The film's editing and pacing are appealingly straightforward, not to say blunt, and the humor runs from dry to bone-dry to parched.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    Doesn't require anyone to love metal, or even like it. It only requires us to laugh at it - and other exemplars of bloated '80s pop, from Starship to Journey - and it does so with a campy and attitudinous spirit that's hard to resist.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 25 Amy Biancolli
    The fact that Grandma is played by Jane Fonda, flouncing around in natural fabrics, should tell you something. It should tell you there is no casting decision or character nuance or plot turn too obvious to indulge.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    Even within the rules of its own peculiar world - a world well stocked with talking savanna denizens and monkey-powered superplanes - the film is completely irrational.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 25 Amy Biancolli
    The screenplay is so cognitively impaired that the filmmakers might have been better off hacking up "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," "Dazed and Confused" and "Dude, Where's My Car?" and then sticking together random bits with masking tape. At least that would have made some sense.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Biancolli
    The formality of Moonrise Kingdom - the orderly structure and dreamlike perfection of it all - is as poetic as any film I've seen this year.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    If you're looking for cinema verite, look elsewhere. If you're looking for a fun, fizzy sequel in a franchise left for dead 10 years ago, have at it.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 25 Amy Biancolli
    It's loud, it's large, it's stupid, and its best gag involves a chicken burrito.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    The Dictator's over-the-top rant against the rank lunacy of authoritarianism deploys comedy like an act of violence; it's outrageous, quick and leaves us breathless, whether from laughter or shock.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    One can argue the movie's finer points, but in the end, there's no escaping its creeping pile-up of evidence that Mother Earth is critically dehydrated - and we need to do something, fast.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    At no point during the movie does it strike him that mass extermination might be classified as "rude." No, Frank has the courage of his convictions, which include the belief that most of America has already flushed itself down the toilet.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    Given the number of real-world cults that have ended in major bloodshed, there's some irony - and no small narrative coquetry - in any drama on the subject that ducks out so pointedly at the finish.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Biancolli
    There are moments of genuine pathos, genuine humor, genuine surprise. As much as the film adheres to the strictures of the standard comic-book movie, it also pops with a knowing, loving, Whedon-world jokiness that keeps everything barreling along.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    The results are often comical, but Pickering who made the film in tribute to his mother, the real Linda White - imbues them with faith in something, maybe dignity, maybe love, maybe just the simple human urge to keep on moving.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    That the film happens to be in 3-D, with digitized settings and backgrounds, doesn't detract from the timeworn charm of watching blob-like characters lurch erratically through harebrained comic pratfalls.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    None of this bears much or any resemblance to the real world, but the violence crunches, the editing snaps and the humorous one-liners pop at well-timed junctures.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 25 Amy Biancolli
    Supposedly he's suffered, supposedly there are demons lurking within, but guess what: This is a movie. If we can't see it, it's not there.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    Coiro, who directed and co-wrote the film with Ritter, has a firm hold on snappish humor and bookish references, but the whole thing sags under a creaky narrative structure.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 25 Amy Biancolli
    American Reunion isn't a total wash. Its one saving grace is Eugene Levy as Jim's dad.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 25 Amy Biancolli
    If you don't guess the big twist in the first 30 minutes, Intruders is half of a good movie. If you do, it's about a third of a good movie. Either way, there's a whole lot of bad movie to contend with.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Biancolli
    Israeli writer-director Joseph Cedar imbues his tale of academic maneuvering, misunderstanding and mystery with the zest of passion and the zing of intrigue, It's a vivacious film, having its little fun with suspense-flick conventions (including Amit Poznansky's bouncing score) that build to a climactic finish.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    This is better than any of the "Twilights." It features a functioning creative imagination and lots of honest-to-goodness acting by its star, Jennifer Lawrence.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    Apart is an attractive-looking piece of work, and I'll always admire any genre film that errs on the side of understatement.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    It's really strange, and it's really subtitled.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    The film's emotional complexities don't allow for much of the canned sentiment that normally gets dished out in romantic dramas; what emerges instead, over several reels, is endearingly tender and complicated.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    You know what? The whole thing is harmless.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    With most movies, the question for viewers is: Who should see it? With Project X, the most pressing issue is: Who shouldn't see it?
    • 40 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    For what it is, it's well done, well filmed, well outfitted with ordnance and, well, exciting. However, in script, characters and plot, Act of Valor offers only the barest minimum.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    What's missing is any real menace - the signature Miyazaki freak factor that turns spirits into monsters and parents into pigs.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Biancolli
    If the characters weren't so well drawn, if the effects weren't so convincing, and if the upshot weren't so ghastly, the moral component wouldn't carry any weight. But Trank tells his tale with an emotional and visual crispness that gives the superhero genre its best crack at naturalism so far.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 25 Amy Biancolli
    For a time, Journey 2 becomes a lost episode of "Lost," then it becomes "King Kong," minus the ape. Then it becomes a ukulele music video featuring the Rock's take on Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's "What a Wonderful World."
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    If, in the end, the movie fails to generate much beyond several crackling jump scares and a nicely gothic mise-en-scene, it has enough mood, and enough Radcliffe, to carry us through the mist.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    What a treat to find a movie so bright-eyed and true - without a trace of bathos - in its depiction of such a harrowing subject.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 25 Amy Biancolli
    A handsome but gabby take on the standard survivalist thriller that's more concerned with lofty metaphysics than which poor blockhead is about to bite it next.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Biancolli
    Moaadi is the standout here, subtly evoking filial worry and fatherly pride in one scene, popping off with rage in another: He's believably decent, believably flawed. A Separation touches on religious strictures and the role of women in Iran, but it does so with a light hand and not a twitch of condemnation.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 25 Amy Biancolli
    What's missing is any hint of realism. There's no grit to it anywhere.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    The film isn't half as deep as intended, but parts of it are very funny - someone actually barfs onto a stack of art books - and the parts that aren't may as well be.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    Like most ruckuses, it is frequently loud and not always intelligible.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    The film is a vehement drama and a fitfully amusing snark fest set to Nicola Piovani's jaunty circus music. It winds up only half-succeeding at both.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Biancolli
    The film benefits most of all from Rees' careful screenplay, which dances that shifting line between fear and emergent hope. One of Alike's poems says it best: "Even breaking is opening. And I am broken. I am open."
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    The film is sweet. Its observations of life in the aftermath of death ring true, especially for anyone who's traveled the contours of mourning. And although it doesn't rank among Crowe's greatest films, it's a better, tighter, more disarming piece of grief work than his baggy and zigzaggy "Elizabethtown."
    • 68 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Biancolli
    Such are the timeless joys of the books (and now the movie), this sparkling absurdity and knack for buckling swash under the worst of circumstances.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    If you widen your eyes and turn off your brain, it all adds up to cracking good fun.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Biancolli
    Screenwriters Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan have clarified a few things that needed clarifying, camouflaged a few things that needed camouflaging - and gently tugged some passive flashbacks into the active present. It's a cagey adaptation.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    Many scenes in Outrage are crisply filmed and stylish enough, as serial assassinations go. But the film doesn't add up to much.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 0 Amy Biancolli
    The Sitter is not (Funny). At all. By any definition, although an argument might be made for the alternate meanings "perplexing," "deceptive" and "slightly unwell."
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    Even his wife barely knew him, recalling for her son the peculiarities of raising a family amid Daddy's cloak and dagger - and if she's baffled by his behavior, what hope is there for anyone else?
    • 29 Metascore
    • 25 Amy Biancolli
    The result is a diligent brand of gloom. When it isn't being diligently gloomy, it's being obvious. When it isn't being obvious, it's being sneaky, and when it isn't being sneaky, it's marching toward a climax of B-movie violence, stupidity and nuttiness that summarily bumps off the movie's least annoying character.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Biancolli
    Shame has a lolling pace and stunning visual clarity. Structurally, it's close to perfect - its precision echoed in the Glenn Gould piano recordings of Bach keyboard works that Brandon listens to obsessively.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    There's nothing dark about Arthur: It's as bright and twinkling as a Christmas tree, decked with warmth and humor.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    A triumph of simplicity, innocence and goofy jokes.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    Lindberg, who wrote a book on the subject called "Punk Rock Dad," is at the center of this sweet, revealing and proudly foulmouthed ethnography on rock and the modern dad.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    About as loony and soapy as a movie can get. In other words, it's about as loony and soapy as the novel, and I say this as one who obsessively consumed all four installments in Stephenie Meyer's mega-selling series.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Amy Biancolli
    Herzog, as ever, is obsessed most of all with human nature: Into the Abyss explores our deepest urges to love, and live, and kill.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 25 Amy Biancolli
    Let us recall that the first film was, in its blithely vulgar way, hilarious. And let us demand a moratorium on coked-out-baby jokes, which seriously kill the buzz.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    So if you don't mind, I'll just go back to believing that someone named Shakespeare (whoever he was) wrote Shakespeare's works. And I'll just go back to regarding them with awe.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    All in all, the 3-D animations wow without gimmickry, Banderas purrs without peer - and it's a cheerful movie.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    Chandor's writing goes to some darkly interesting places, and there's fun to be found in individual performances.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    Those who should go near The Big Year, if not flock to it, are fans of avians, mild PG comedy and gorgeously shot travel footage dotted with humans.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    If the movie ends too abruptly, it still gives plenty of screen time to its nicely screwed-up central character. And it's still a solid, assured feature debut from the latest brothers to watch.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 25 Amy Biancolli
    Director-co-writer Gary McKendry seems to know a thing or two about hard-fisted fight scenes, but he muddies up the visuals with obligatory spasms of shaky-cam.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    Because Benavides is a south Texas town, the screenplay touches inevitably on the flow of immigrants at the border - and resentment at their presence. But All She Can puts a new face on this resentment, highlighting the frustration of legal Mexican Americans.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 25 Amy Biancolli
    Rod Lurie's heated but empty-headed remake re-creates the original's trudge toward savagery but can't re-create its social context - and doesn't bring anything new to the table.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 25 Amy Biancolli
    Spiffy-looking, well-intentioned but ultimately witless film.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Amy Biancolli
    This is brutish, visceral stuff - a type of raw-meat violence that's undeniably cinematic but seems, to this worried parent, ill-fitted for PG-13.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 25 Amy Biancolli
    Until its final seconds, Seven Days in Utopia is just a piece of gee-whiz, G-rated, nicely shot evangelism outfitted as a golf movie. Then it cuts away at the pivotal moment that's normally the life's blood of inspirational sports dramas - and becomes something vastly more obnoxious.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Amy Biancolli
    Richard Attenborough nailed that purity 64 years ago, and Sam Riley nails it now. His Pinkie is a slim, mesmerizing package of immaculate and undiluted evil, clear as a stick of Brighton Rock candy.

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