James Berardinelli

James Berardinelli
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
I was born in September 1967 in the town of New Brunswick, New Jersey (USA). I started writing when I was about 9 years old, and suffered through the traumatic experience of reading chapters from my stories in front of my entire fourth grade class. However, although my "first love" was writing, too many tales of starving authors scared me off that path, so I decided to become an engineer instead. I attended the University of Pennsylvania from 1985 through 1990, obtaining both a BS and an MS in Electrical Engineering. Putting my education to use, I went to work for a company called Bellcore, which pays well enough for me to keep up the mortgage, maintain a home theater, finance film festival trips, and buy the 25-30 gallons of gasoline I need each week to attend screenings. As for my "film history"... As a child, I did not attend many movies. In fact, the first one I remember going to was JAWS, at a drive-in. During my junior high and high school years, I rarely ventured into a theater, but my interest in movies escalated while I was at college. In 1991, the year before I started reviewing, I saw about 30 films. The number jumped up to 180 in 1992, when I wrote capsule reviews for my own use. Starting in 1993, the year I "went public" on the Usenet newsgroups, I began seeing between 220 and 250 theatrical releases per year.
Publications: ReelViews
Location: New Jersey, US
Official Websites: reelviews.net

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
3/4 97% Marriage Story (2019) At its best, this movie is searing. It pinpoints many of the little talked-about aspects of divorce that seem the least significant but hurt the most. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 4, 2019
3/4 72% The Aeronauts (2019) Overall, this is a well-acted peek back in history to an era when scientific and engineering techniques currently taken for granted were in their pioneering stages, impelled forward by humanity's insatiable desire to explore and conquer new vistas. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 3, 2019
3/4 78% Frozen II (2019) Frozen II is a worthy follow-up with enough heart, action, and music to entertain younger and older viewers alike. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 27, 2019
3.5/4 97% Knives Out (2019) It's exceptional escapist entertainment for those who don't mind a little spice sprinkled into their cozy mystery. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 25, 2019
3/4 95% A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) A celebration of Mr. Rogers and the healing capabilities of his words and doctrine, the movie may not be a splashy as many of the year-end multiplex stocking stuffers but the experience it offers tugs effectively at the heart strings. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 22, 2019
3.5/4 96% The Irishman (2019) Whether seen on the big screen or a small one, The Irishman is among 2019's best motion pictures and should receive its share of Oscar attention in 2020. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 18, 2019
3/4 91% Ford v Ferrari (2019) Mangold takes Ford v. Ferrari out of the simple realm of the genre without entirely losing the vibe. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2019
3/4 47% Last Christmas (2019) This is one of the most enjoyable non-prestige offerings out there and, if it doesn't find its niche in theaters, it will certainly surface again in the home video market and become a favorite for Christmases to come. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2019
3/4 77% Doctor Sleep (2019) Although Doctor Sleep is flawed, it's arguably the best of a surprisingly strong group of movies that prove King's enduring popularity as he enters his sixth decade as a professional writer. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2019
2.5/4 79% Jojo Rabbit (2019) The ingredients are appetizing but the final mixture curdles. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 3, 2019
3.5/4 99% Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) Just as many of the director's previous efforts have defied pigeonholing, Parasite delights in ping-ponging from one genre to another, defying expectations along the way. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 3, 2019
3/4 71% Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) The story introduces interesting new wrinkles and the ending, when considered in the context of a trilogy, makes this movie feel less like an extraneous add-on than a part of a larger tale. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 31, 2019
3/4 73% Harriet (2019) Erivo is a standout in this modest, well-intentioned story of courage and inspiration, and is worthy of consideration when Oscar nominations are handed out. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 30, 2019
3/4 97% Dolemite Is My Name (2019) Moore was always bigger-than-life and that's how Murphy plays him. It's a strong performance of a character worthy of biopic treatment. Dolemite lives! - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 27, 2019
3.5/4 92% The Lighthouse (2019) The Lighthouse works because of the strength of the actors' performances, the power of their interaction, and the aura of incipient dread that saturates everything. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2019
2/4 60% The Current War: Director's Cut (2019) It's a bit of a bore. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 23, 2019
3.5/4 100% Only Yesterday (1991) I have little in common with Takeo, yet I related to her experiences as if they were my own. This represents the genius of Takahata. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 20, 2019
2.5/4 68% Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) If you liked Zombieland, you'll probably like Zombieland: Double Tap, just not as much. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2019
2/4 40% Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) Mistress of Evil makes a conscious decision to address a subject that not many family films would touch with a ten-foot pole...then bungles the implications and the message. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2019
2/4 43% The Addams Family (2019) With sledgehammer subtlety, it transforms the antics of the titular clan into a tract for political correctness. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 14, 2019
2/4 4% Mary (2019) Mary is more mediocre than bad but there's nothing here to catch the attention of anyone serious about their horror. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2019
2.5/4 26% Gemini Man (2019) The film promises more than the by-the-numbers climax it delivers. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2019
3/4 41% The Laundromat (2019) Other filmmakers might have approached the material with more heat and passion. Soderbergh opts for an arm's-length style, using this as an opportunity to educate as much as entertain. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
3.5/4 69% Joker (2019) Although it may be difficult to "like" this film in a conventional sense, it offers a powerful and unforgettable experience that few will find easy to shake. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 2, 2019
3/4 65% The Day Shall Come (2019) The Day Shall Come is an angry film - funny at times but with an acidic underpinning. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 30, 2019
3/4 83% Judy (2019) Although Judy doesn't adhere rigorously to the chronology of the main character's last months, it provides a compelling portrait of the tragic decline of one of America's 20th century icons. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 29, 2019
1/4 27% Rambo: Last Blood (2019) An unwatchable piece of excrement. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 20, 2019
3.5/4 84% Ad Astra (2019) The film's geography takes us on a cross-solar system journey but the real trajectory is deep into the human experience - finding meaning in life and coming to grips with being left behind. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 20, 2019
3/4 84% Downton Abbey (2019) The bottom line is simple: If you're a fan, you'll see the movie and most likely enjoy it. If you're unfamiliar with the Crawleys and their immense demesne, you'll give the screen spin-off a pass and not be the poorer for it. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2019
3/4 88% Hustlers (2019) There's something delicious about the way Hustlers delivers on its promise of glitz, sex, and raunchiness while delving far enough beneath the surface to subvert the genre. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2019
2/4 24% The Goldfinch (2019) Although Peter Straughan's stripped-down regurgitation of the story is faithful to Tartt's narrative in the broadest sense of the word, it lacks elegance and depth. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2019
2.5/4 62% It Chapter Two (2019) Considering the challenges associated with adapting the second half of the novel, the filmmakers have done an adequate job, which is probably all that's needed to make Chapter Two a major box office success. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2019
2/4 39% Don't Let Go (Relive) (2019) Writer/director Jacob Estes has come to the project with a clever concept but his execution is weak, contradictory, and confusing. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2019
2.5/4 78% Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) The genre tropes are all alive and well and Scary Stories delivers them with élan but the dispiriting ending hangs over everything like a pall. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2019
3/4 83% Official Secrets (2019) Although Official Secrets may take liberties with the historical record, it's effective as both a drama and a cautionary tale and the lessons it teaches are possibly more relevant in today's world than they were 15 years ago. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 28, 2019
3/4 No Score Yet Nayagan (1987) Once one overcomes any cinematic cultural differences, what Nayagan has to offer is universally compelling. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2019
3.5/4 97% Annie Hall (1977) Romantic, honest, and touching - all the kinds of things one wants from a smart rom-com that refuses to be guided by the genre's tropes. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2019
2/4 39% Angel Has Fallen (2019) Angel Has Fallen feels like it was cobbled together with cliched action scenes and circumstances overused by the once-popular TV series 24. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 22, 2019
3/4 89% Ready or Not (2019) It's the kind of thing we might have gotten if Monty Python had made a gothic-tinged horror movie. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 20, 2019
2.5/4 43% After the Wedding (2019) After the Wedding is competently made and appealing in an exaggerated soap opera-tinged fashion but, as is often the case with remakes, the original is the stronger version and the next generation version fails to make a strong case for its raison d'être. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 18, 2019
3/4 80% Good Boys (2019) The movie's charm comes from its ability to conjure up the innocence of the twilight of childhood; its humor arises from the adult perspective of certain not-so-innocent things. Good Boys may not be for everyone but my funny bone was tickled. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 17, 2019
2.5/4 49% Where'd You Go, Bernadette (2019) Although Where'd You Go, Bernadette suffers from an ungainly structure and uneven pacing, the production as a whole is engaging and uplifting. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 15, 2019
3/4 89% Blinded by the Light (2019) Blinded by the Light is a one-third Bruce Springsteen hagiography, one-third kitschy '80s recreation, and one-third feel-good father/son coming together. Surprisingly, however, it works. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 14, 2019
2/4 73% The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019) At best, The Angry Birds Movie 2 could be viewed as a 90-minute diversion for kids who have already exhausted Disney's significant 2019 output. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 12, 2019
2/4 46% Ode to Joy (2019) Instead of being a song to lift the heart, Ode to Joy is a discordant, off-key tune that lasts too long. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 11, 2019
2/4 22% The Kitchen (2019) With so many characters and subplots crammed into a 100-minute running time, it's no surprise that none are given the space to gain heft. The end result is something that feels like it should have been much better than it is. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 8, 2019
2.5/4 67% Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) There's a problem with the kinds of bloated action sequences that form the skeleton, muscle, and flesh of something like Hobbs & Shaw - a lack of excitement. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 2, 2019
2.5/4 59% Astronaut (2019) It's meant to be consumed quickly and easily and the resulting taste is bland. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 27, 2019
3.5/4 85% Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019) Chock-full of brilliant moments, great performances, and a sense of '60s Hollywood infused with a mix of fairy tale nostalgia and clear-eyed realism. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
2/4 44% Supervized (2019) To an extent and for a while, the film gets by primarily on the strength of its tepid and uneven humor. However, when it's forced to draw on comic book tropes, it loses steam. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 22, 2019