James Berardinelli

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For 3,960 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 64% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 34% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 1.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

James Berardinelli's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Life Itself
Lowest review score: 0 Feast
Score distribution:
3960 movie reviews
    • 46 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    There are times when the Russos almost get us there but they can’t quite make it. As a result, Cherry comes across as ambitious but not entirely successful. The directors deserve credit for weaving together so many contemporary issues into a single, digestible story but there’s too much material here to do consistently well in a 2 ½-hour movie.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The Father is an excellent movie but it’s not a lot of fun to watch, especially for those with first-hand experience in this area.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Land is both a tribute to the triumph of the human spirit and an examination of the difficulties of setting aside modern conveniences for primitive survival. It also represents an announcement by Wright that her first feature foray behind the camera is unlikely to be her last.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Romantic comedies can be like road trip movies in that the journey is often more enjoyable than the inevitable destination. It helps the fantasy when the actors relate to each other in a pleasant, believable fashion. In this case, Kyle Allen and Kathryn Newton interact with sufficient amity to hold our interest, although Newton shines more brightly than Allen.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Although King’s film may not accomplish everything it sets out to do, it represents an important perspective of a time period whose essential injustices have gained renewed attention some 50 years later.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The writer/director tries hard to make Minari what it is – a collage of remembrances seen through the eyes of a child then filtered through the perceptions of the fortysomething man he became. It’s a rewarding but not overpowering experience.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 50 James Berardinelli
    With its blend of existential science fiction and character-based romance, it would seem to be as close to a can’t-miss premise as one can imagine yet, despite that, it somehow does miss – and by a wide margin.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Produced during the pandemic and available on Netflix, the movie is well worth a look both as an exploration of love’s bitter aftermath and as an example of how art can bloom even in the most challenging circumstances.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The Dissident is a solid recap of Jamal Khashoggi’s demise, but it left me wanting more than Fogel is able to provide, even though he hints at an issue of vastly greater importance than the death of one dissident.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    As a character study, The Little Things works. As a thriller, it’s a mixed bag and individual preferences will determine whether to classify the resolution as exhilarating or annoying.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    The Dig feels like a condensed version of a story that, given more time to breathe, might have been fascinating and emotionally effective.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Although not a word of what Powers wrote is based on reality (at least insofar as the dialogue is concerned – and this movie is all about the dialogue), it’s nevertheless a fascinating exploration of the kinds of things these four individuals might have discussed.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The movie isn’t for those who crave light, uplifting entertainment. Instead, it’s for those who want a precise, visceral experience from a motion picture.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    While Let Them All Talk doesn’t seem substantial enough to capture the attention of those who dole out awards at this time of the year, it’s not without interesting characters, smart dialogue, and some intriguing ideas about love, life, and art. And, as with almost everything directed by Soderbergh, there’s a compulsive watchability to the proceedings.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    The material itself is unremarkable and the execution is mediocre. It stands out as often for missteps as for elements that are memorable.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is a small film with big ideas, bigger speeches, and two towering performances.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 James Berardinelli
    As disaster movies go, Greenland is neither exceptionally good nor exceptionally bad.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The hiccups resulting from the back-and-forth switches between two disconnected stories are no more than a minor irritant when one considers the wider scope. In making this film, Clooney has accomplished something rare and unusual in today’s cinema – an epic science fiction motion picture that focuses on characters and ideas.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Seen exclusively through a narrative lens, there’s nothing special about News of the World. However, this is one of those movies in which the simple story is enriched by the elements that coalesce before, during, and after the production.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Is it a dark comedy with thriller overtones? Is it a serious message movie presented tongue-in-cheek? Is it an exploitative revenge film that uses a flippant style to undercut the darkness? In actuality, it’s a little of all of these and, although there are times when the movie’s approach seems scattershot and some of the tonal shifts can be jarring, the production as a whole feels rambunctious – a perfect concoction for the #meToo era.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Without becoming doctrinaire or espousing a particular religious ideology, Soul offers insight into the concept of death and the potential of an afterlife. It does this while maintaining a light tone and avoiding many of the obvious pitfalls that could accompany addressing such subject matter.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    As much a tale of the patriarchal suffocation of those who break from outdated conventions as it is a love story, the film gains much of its traction as a result of the performance of Kate Winslet, whose nonverbal acting represents one of the finest portrayals of her career.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The way Levine has structured Black Bear turns the possible interconnections between the stories into a puzzle for which there is no ironclad solution. That’s part of the fun – speculating what it all means. For those who prefer a more passive experience, Black Bear offers a dollop of frustration but, for those willing to brush aside the web-like strands entwining the first story with the second, it’s an engaging double-feature.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Mank may be Fincher’s most technically challenging production to-date but it suffers from what some might consider to be the director’s Achilles heel: his laser-focus on perfection results in a tepid emotional temperature. It’s hard to feel much of anything for (or about) any of the characters, even the title one.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Moody, introspective, and meditative, Nomadland makes up for its meandering, sometimes maddeningly slow pace with its insights about human nature and its incisive portrait of indomitability.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Sound of Metal tells a story about coping and overcoming while avoiding the narrative pitfall of artifice.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 James Berardinelli
    In trying to blend a Twilight Zone-ish mystery with a more conventional approach to sorrow and death, Miele crafts a story that is too artificial to work.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    Wonder Woman 1984 is overlong, tonally inconsistent, and poorly paced. Although it raises the bar during its final hour, the viewer has to navigate about 90 minutes of action-deficient, sometimes nonsensical narrative to get to the point where the title character (again played to perfection by Gal Gadot) does something other than moon over her lost love, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine).
    • 56 Metascore
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    Kids will enjoy it and parents will be sufficiently diverted that they won’t be tempted to take a nap. It’s disposable entertainment but the receptacle in question doesn’t have to be a garbage disposal.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Here’s a rare example of a Netflix prestige film that neither runs too long nor overstays its welcome. While some of the A-list directors working for the streaming distributor have taken the opportunity to meander and add bloat to otherwise worthwhile projects, Ron Howard has developed this project exactly as he would have made it if it had been intended for a traditional release.

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