James Berardinelli

James Berardinelli
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

Rating T-Meter Title | Year Review
2.5/4 74% Adult Life Skills (2019) Whittaker is easily the best thing about the movie. When the script fails in its attempts to flesh out Anna's character, Whittaker comes to the rescue. She can be funny, profane, dour, and heartbreaking. Oh, and quirky.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2019
2.5/4 36% Glass (2019) A mix of half-formed ideas baked into an uneven casserole. Overlong, talky, filled with meta references, and with a strangely low-energy tone, the movie never fully gels.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Jan 16, 2019
2.5/4 91% All These Small Moments (2019) For her feature debut, Miller has opted to do something personal and, although the results are uneven, the intimacy of the approach is evident.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Jan 16, 2019
3/4 40% The Upside (2019) The Upside works for many of the same reasons that The Intouchables worked but, like any echo, it's neither as loud nor as powerful.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Jan 12, 2019
3/4 85% Rust Creek (2019) Although there are times when the story meanders, two aspects remain strong throughout: the committed performance by lead actress Hermione Corfield and the vivid images captured by the lens of cinematographer Michelle Lawler.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
2/4 53% Escape Room (2019) During the final half hour, everything that's compelling about this low-budget thriller collapses in a miasma of idiocy.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Jan 5, 2019
2.5/4 79% Ben is Back (2018) Unfortunately, by adding cumbersome elements to the narrative, it ultimately detracts from the core human story and causes the viewer to leave the film dissatisfied...‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Dec 30, 2018
3/4 No Score Yet Once Upon a Time, Cinema (1992) The product of Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Once Upon a Time, Cinema, is an indulgence and a Valentine to movies.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Dec 28, 2018
3/4 88% A Midnight Clear (1992) A Midnight Clear is powerful without being overbearing.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Dec 28, 2018
4/4 97% Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no haka) (1988) Some movies are such singular achievements that they deserve to be seen at least once by everyone who considers himself or herself to be a lover of film. Grave of the Fireflies falls into that exclusive category.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Dec 28, 2018
3/4 71% Destroyer (2018) Nihilistic in every aspect of production, Destroyer illustrates how obsession that germinates from a soil poisoned by guilt can result in a bloom devoid of an audience-satisfying catharsis. To the last, the film is true to its nature.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Dec 28, 2018
3/4 92% Bumblebee (2018) The movie works in large part because of the depth of Steinfeld's performance. We haven't seen such a well-realized character in any of the other Transformers movies.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Dec 24, 2018
2.5/4 64% Aquaman (2018) Had this movie arrived as recently as two years ago, it might have been heralded as a higher-end superhero movie. Things have changed, however, in both the DCEU and the MCU.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2018
2.5/4 64% Vice (2018) There's nothing surprising or especially interesting about Vice.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2018
1/4 30% Star Wars: Holiday Special (1978) Although Pandora's Box is best left unopened, it's impossible to deny the curiosity impulse. Just be warned that it's worse than you can imagine.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2018
3/4 80% The Skin I Live In (2011) The Skin I Live In is well worth seeing. Mad scientists overwhelmed by hubris are nothing new but no iteration of the story has been told in quite this way.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2018
3/4 71% On the Basis of Sex (2019) On the Basis of Sex mostly avoids hero-worship in recreating the shameful truth of where the country was a half-century earlier and the importance of Ginsburg in the legal aspect of the shift that continues to this day.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Dec 19, 2018
3/4 94% Cold War (Zimna wojna) (2018) It's fair to argue that there's more truth in Cold War than in many love stories - that, although a romantic attachment isn't the best basis for a long-term relationship, its power cannot be denied or set aside.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2018
3/4 78% Mary Poppins Returns (2018) Mary Poppins Returns is an imperfect sequel but as a throw-away holiday film designed to provide a family viewing experience, it satisfies a need.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Dec 17, 2018
3.5/4 95% If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) Some might view this as a political movie (perhaps even Jenkins) but it's also very much a tale of love, survival, and humanity.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Dec 16, 2018
2.5/4 85% The Sound of Music (1965) By any reasonable critical analysis, The Sound of Music is a terrible movie.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Dec 16, 2018
3/4 26% Mortal Engines (2018) One of the most impressive examples of "world building" in recent years, surpassing such contenders as Valerian, Cloud Atlas, and even the recent Star Wars episodes.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2018
2.5/4 62% Mary Queen of Scots (2018) Although the film is competently made, there's nothing here worth more than a cursory art-house release in advance of home video purgatory.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Dec 13, 2018
2.5/4 52% Once Upon a Deadpool (2018) The reconstructed storyline drags and its progression isn't helped by the frequent interruptions.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2018
3.5/4 97% Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) The move is a blast and, by using a plot device that causes a rift between different dimensions/universes, Into the Spider-Verse has been given an incredible amount of latitude in terms of characters and style.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2018
3.5/4 96% Roma (2018) Narratively, not a lot happens during the opening 60-70 minutes, but Cuaron is marinating us so that later events have an uncommonly strong impact.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2018
3.5/4 99% Shoplifters (Manbiki kazoku) (2018) The movie uses a domestic drama to illustrate larger and more compelling concerns about society in general.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Dec 7, 2018
3/4 59% Vox Lux (2018) [A] dead-on portrait of a lost soul who may never quite find herself but who makes an uneasy peace with what the world has made of her.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Dec 7, 2018
2.5/4 50% Willow (1988) Willow feels like the kind of movie that might have worked considerably better on the printed page.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2018
3/4 94% The Favourite (2018) For those with a taste for historical fiction, The Favourite is a delicious morsel with a spicy aftertaste.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2018
3/4 92% The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) Those wacky Coens are at it again. And those serious Coens. And those loquacious Coens.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Nov 25, 2018
3/4 82% Green Book (2018) Green Book is effective and affecting while being careful to avoid overdosing its audience on material that some might deem too shocking or upsetting.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Nov 22, 2018
2/4 83% Creed II (2018) By playing things too safe, it loses the power and spontaneity that gave Creed its energy and drive.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2018
3/4 88% Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018) It's breezy and fun and, like its predecessor, relies more for its appeal on nostalgia and familiarity than a strong narrative thrust.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2018
2.5/4 59% The Front Runner (2018) Reitman is good at posing questions for which he doesn't have answers and, although that makes for compelling drama, the results feel incomplete and frustrating.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2018
2.5/4 38% Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) Despite being light in the story department, The Crimes of Grindelwald offers plenty of small pleasures and tightens up the linkage between this series and Harry Potter.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2018
3.5/4 91% Widows (2018) McQueen achieves his aim of using a genre framework to advance serious themes. That ambition, rather than the ordinariness of the central criminal enterprise, is what makes Widows an uncommonly good thriller.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Nov 14, 2018
3/4 63% Outlaw King (2018) With the exception of a few slow spots, Outlaw King flows briskly. It's one of the better "Netflix originals" the service has provided and worth the expense of two hours.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Nov 9, 2018
2.5/4 70% Dead Man (1995) Even if it accomplishes little else, Dead Man will almost certainly inspire thought and discussion. ‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2018
3/4 80% Boy Erased (2018) Although Boy Erased depicts a series of injustices, its ultimate message is one of the hope and optimism that can accompany acceptance.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2018
1/4 58% The Grinch (2018) There's no aspect in which the 2018 version seems like anything but a hapless, bloated imitation.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2018
2.5/4 40% The Girl in the Spider's Web (2018) As compelling an individual as Lisbeth is (especially in the "metoo" era), she deserves better than what she's given by this story.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2018
3/4 98% Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) McCarthy plays it straight, allowing her talent as an actress - often hidden under the dreck for which she draws big paychecks - to shine through.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Nov 3, 2018
2.5/4 57% Time Trap (2018) In the moment... it's entertaining and chock-full of enough deliciously weird interludes that it's impossible to be too harsh.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Nov 3, 2018
2.5/4 86% Unlovable (2018) I just wish Unlovable had developed its own unique voice and approach rather than seeming too much like dozens of other forgettable addiction-themed motion pictures.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Nov 2, 2018
2/4 34% The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018) The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is a miscalculation of Magic Kingdom-sized proportions.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2018
2.5/4 62% Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) The problem with all this meticulous recreation is that, in the end, it rings hollow.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2018
3.5/4 98% Free Solo (2018) This plays out with as much (or more) suspense than any conventional thriller as the cameras capture every step of Alex's ascent.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2018
1.5/4 64% Suspiria (2018) If I wanted to be kind, I'd call Luca Guadagnino's Suspiria remake "visually striking" and "stylish." If I wanted to be brutally honest, I'd call it "tedious", "pretentious", and even "painful" (although not in a good way).‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2018
3/4 37% Hunter Killer (2018) Hunter Killer... won't win any awards for acting or writing but generates suspense when it needs to and tells an engrossing Tall Tale.‐ ReelViews
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2018