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 99% Booksmart (2019) If you're in high school (or have ever gone through the experience), you'll laugh quite a bit, wince more than once, and relate from start to finish. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2019
2.5/4 52% The Sun Is Also a Star (2019) Although devoid of sophistication and overly dependent on contrivance, the frothy, fizzy giddiness of the love story may win over viewers who are predisposed to enjoy this sort of entertainment. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2019
2/4 No Score Yet The Professor (2019) The movie frequently makes no sense from a purely human perspective... and it becomes increasingly annoying as the story rolls on. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2019
2.5/4 89% John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019) I'd love to say that fans of the first two movies will love this one, but I fall into that group and I was a little disappointed by this outing. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
2.5/4 50% Tolkien (2019) Tolkien may have been the most important modern fantasy author but the movie bearing his name won't stand the test of time. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 11, 2019
2/4 66% Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019) Pokemon: Detective Pikachu isn't a movie. It's a cog in a multibillion-dollar media empire, a soulless feature-length example of product placement at its most blatant. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2019
2.5/4 95% Black Girl (La noire de...) (1966) Whatever its faults, Black Girl takes us into the heart of a world that may be strange and unfamiliar to those who watch it today. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 5, 2019
2/4 52% Tell It to the Bees (2019) It would be easy to argue that the movie's heart is in the right place, because it is. However, to apply another cliché, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 3, 2019
3/4 94% Ask Dr. Ruth (2019) Ask Dr. Ruth has some surprises for all but the most devoted of Westheimer's followers. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 3, 2019
1.5/4 30% The Intruder (2019) This new take on an old idea won't challenge The Stepfather for primacy in the thriller subgenre. In fact, it's a lot closer to the bottom of the barrel than the rim at the top. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 2, 2019
3/4 80% Long Shot (2019) Long Shot reminds viewers how pleasant and giddy this sort of fairy tale can be, especially when brought to the screen by talented performers who can seduce viewers as effectively as their characters attract each other. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 1, 2019
3/4 100% Stalker (1979) It is masterfully done, contains some haunting images, and has a difficult-to-pinpoint mesmerism in the way it progresses. Once it gets you (which, for some, may never happen), it will hold you like a fly trapped in amber. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 28, 2019
2.5/4 56% J.T. LeRoy (2019) There's a sense that a story as remarkable as that of J.T. LeRoy deserves a more compelling rendition than the one presented in Kelly's interpretation. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 25, 2019
3/4 94% Avengers: Endgame (2019) Avengers: Endgame isn't as brash, surprising, or relentless as its predecessor but it's a worthy conclusion to the Infinity War duology and provides a satisfying end to the First Avengers Era. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 25, 2019
2.5/4 No Score Yet The Last Hour (2017) Despite starting out as a seemingly straightforward procedural, The Last Hour goes in directions one wouldn't normally expect from something falling under the umbrella of a "crime thriller." - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 23, 2019
2/4 30% The Curse of La Llorona (2019) When the movie goes "boo!" and the viewer tries hard to stifle a yawn, something has gone wrong. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 19, 2019
2.5/4 56% Under the Silver Lake (2019) Despite all the devilishly clever moments, freaky episodes, and general weirdness, Under the Silver Lake is ultimately unsatisfying. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 19, 2019
2.5/4 29% Red Joan (2019) We're left with a mediocre mash-up of an old-fashioned spy movie and the story of a son coping with the sins of his mother. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 18, 2019
2/4 45% Little (2019) The writing and directing are at best '90s direct-to-video and the film's unwillingness to do anything remotely interesting with the tired premise makes for a very long 105 minutes. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2019
1.5/4 16% Hellboy (2019) Comparing it to Del Toro's 2004 original and 2008 sequel is like making an analogy between a Broadway production and a high school stage show. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2019
2/4 45% Mary Magdalene (2019) One reason why the movie seems so emotionally hollow is because the relationship between Mary and Jesus, which is supposed to be at the heart of the story, isn't developed in a meaningful fashion. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2019
3/4 65% Peterloo (2019) I learned things while sitting in the audience and that's a claim I rarely make about any motion picture circa 2019. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 10, 2019
3/4 53% The Best of Enemies (2019) While The Best of Enemies may be met by stinging criticism from the far left and far right (for different reasons), those with centrist leanings will appreciate it for what it is (as opposed to for what it isn't). - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2019
3/4 57% Pet Sematary (2019) From start to finish, there's little joy to be had from Pet Sematary. Those who accept this and perhaps even welcome it will find that Kolsch and Widmyer have crafted an effective and unnerving interpretation of King's novel. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2019
3/4 90% Shazam! (2019) In Shazam!, the positives outweigh the negatives. The film's fresh aspects are strong enough to keep the stale ones at bay. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 3, 2019
2/4 44% The Chaperone (2019) Masterpiece Theater's first foray into theaters argues that the venerable program should continue to showcase long-form television rather than expanding into a format for which it is ill-suited. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 2, 2019
2.5/4 28% The Aftermath (2019) The film aspires to be an epic romance but the qualities necessary to make it soar aren't in place. Instead, it's a curiosity for history buffs and those who enjoy middling period piece melodramas. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 31, 2019
3/4 57% The Highwaymen (2019) No film is ever going unseat Bonnie and Clyde as the "definitive" telling of the crime duo's exploits but The Highwaymen's different outlook makes it a worthy, if lesser, companion piece. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 31, 2019
3.5/4 94% The Mustang (2019) It's worth seeking out... as both a portrait of a prison program few are aware of and a powerful character study. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2019
3/4 47% Dumbo (2019) Dumbo is a perfectly adequate family film. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2019
3/4 92% Giant Little Ones (2019) There's something enormously refreshing about the openness and honesty found in Keith Behrman's coming-of-age film, Giant Little Ones. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 23, 2019
2.5/4 94% Us (2019) There are many individual scenes that, taken in isolation, pack a punch. The problem is that, once assembled into the larger whole, it doesn't all work. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
2.5/4 52% The Hummingbird Project (2019) Somewhere, buried within the innards of writer/director Kim Nguyen's The Hummingbird Project, is the skeleton of a compelling techno-thriller. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
3/4 71% Triple Frontier (2019) Triple Frontier features impeccable photography, strong acting, and well-staged action scenes that ooze tension. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 17, 2019
2/4 45% Captive State (2019) Unfortunately, character development is perfunctory and unsatisfactory. We're watching a bunch of pawns on a filmmaker's chessboard. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2019
2.5/4 54% Five Feet Apart (2019) Even amidst the sniffles and tears, there's a sense that the experience could have been more wrenching and emotionally honest had the filmmakers showed a greater trust in their material and audience. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2019
3/4 32% Wonder Park (2019) Sufficiently diverting to engage kids for about 85 minutes, it can function as an appetizer to an upcoming slate of high-profile Disney titles. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
2.5/4 54% Yardie (2019) The chances taken by Yardie compensate for the weakness resulting from a derivative story. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
2.5/4 42% The Wedding Guest (2019) There's too much of a sense of "missed opportunity" here. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 8, 2019
2.5/4 78% Captain Marvel (2019) This plays like the kind of generic comic book movie that was in vogue 15 years ago. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2019
3/4 91% Gloria Bell (2019) Gloria Bell has no deeper themes or motives beyond documenting a slice of the main character's life. Fortunately, she's the kind of person who's worth spending 100-odd minutes with. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 5, 2019
2/4 61% The Running Man (1987) The years have been as unkind to it as they have been to its star's career. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 4, 2019
2.5/4 59% Greta (2019) In the end, Greta proves to be little more than a B-movie with strong production values and an eclectic cast. Anyone who attends with lowered expectations probably won't be disappointed, but this is far from Jordan at his best. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2019
3/4 58% Saint Judy (2019) Despite the faint whiff of sanctimoniousness that occasionally emanates from this well-meaning motion picture, Saint Judy generally holds its own as a solid courtroom drama. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2019
2.5/4 92% Fighting with My Family (2019) Fighting with My Family is as likable as it is generic. Pugh's performance is the best thing about the movie but the story, despite Merchant's comedic flourishes, feels stale at times. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 22, 2019
2.5/4 91% How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) Despite the strong animation, there's a sense that the story has run out of steam. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 20, 2019
2/4 69% Happy Death Day 2U (2019) Put Happy Death Day 2U together with its predecessor, Happy Death Day, and you could easily call the pair Dumb and Dumber. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2019
2.5/4 60% Alita: Battle Angel (2019) Without a follow-up, the character's story will be left incomplete - another example of filmmakers whose hubris about the inevitability of sequels will likely leave fans high and dry. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2019
2.5/4 85% The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) By this point... I think I've had enough of The Lego Movies. These things can only go so far and I think they may have exceeded their natural life span. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 9, 2019
3/4 69% Cold Pursuit (2019) Cold Pursuit works as intended. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2019