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
1.5/4 23% Men in Black International (2019) Whoever spearheaded this halfhearted resurrection should be fitted with a golden parachute. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 14, 2019
3/4 33% Shaft (2019) What the film fails to deliver in adrenaline, it makes up for with testosterone-flavored laughter. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 13, 2019
3/4 88% Plus One (2019) For romance junkies, the film checks all the boxes. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 12, 2019
3/4 53% The Dead Don't Die (2019) This isn't Jarmusch at his best but it's more accessible than some of his films and doesn't demand more from an audience than to sit back and be amused. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 11, 2019
2.5/4 57% The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019) Although not "bad" in a conventional sense, it's a disappointingly mediocre effort that doesn't have a lot to offer potential viewers over age 10. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 7, 2019
2.5/4 23% Dark Phoenix (2019) This movie falls short of its grand aspirations to be an emotionally fraught tale of power and its consequences, violence, and redemption but there's something worthwhile about how it tries. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2019
2/4 32% Domino (2019) Domino is a lackluster, hard-to-swallow police procedural with soap opera-ish subplots and flat characters. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 1, 2019
3/4 56% Ma (2019) It's creepy and suspenseful and, although the last act goes on auto-pilot, the film offers a better-than-average experience for those who like their psychopaths unhinged. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 31, 2019
3/4 89% Rocketman (2019) Although the movie will be rightfully and enthusiastically embraced by the singer's fans, it has something to offer those with no more than a casual recognition and appreciation of the man's music. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 30, 2019
2.5/4 40% Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) Emerging from the loud, overlong spectacle that is Godzilla: King of the Monsters, I was struck by the disheartening realization that what I had just seen owed more to Transformers than kaiju. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 29, 2019
3/4 100% L'Atalante (1934) Although the film left me emotionally unmoved, I recognize its importance to a generation of future filmmakers. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 29, 2019
1/4 57% Brightburn (2019) Brightburn can at least boast an interesting premise - not that it does anything with it. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 25, 2019
2/4 57% Aladdin (2019) Perhaps the most appropriate word to describe Disney's 2019 re-make of their 1992 classic, Aladdin, is "unnecessary." "Pointless" might also apply. - ReelViews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2019
3/4 97% 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 47% 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 11% 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 51% 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 31% 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 81% 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 57% 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 55% 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 30% 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 46% 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 17% 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 64% 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 27% 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 57% 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 72% 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 46% 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 55% 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 34% 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