James Berardinelli Quotes

Blade Runner is a rare science fiction movie so full of material that pages can be written about it without scratching the surface. A review like this can provide little more than an overview. A detailed exploration of the movie, its style, and its mysteries requires dedication that only someone immersed in Blade Runner lore can provide.

James Berardinelli

[Director Christopher] Nolan has not only crafted the best Batman movie, but arguably the second-best motion picture superhero narrative (topped only by the linked duo of Superman and Superman II). For those who thought Spider-Man and X-Men had a lot to offer, wait till you see where this film goes. ... Batman Begins is a strong re-start to a franchise that deserves better than it has often been accorded.

James Berardinelli

The biggest alien invasion picture of the summer of 1996 is Independence Day. But it's not the first. The Arrival, with a significantly lower budget than Fox's July 3 release, has that distinction, and, while this particular film doesn't boast any radical or surprising ideas, it combines numerous familiar plot elements into a suspenseful, entertaining whole. Best of all, perhaps, is the realization that some thought went into writer/director David Twohy's script. This is not a dumb movie; in fact, with its heavy reliance upon real science, it's startlingly credible.

James Berardinelli

Parodies are hard to do well, as is shown by the mediocrity of so many recent attempts. No matter how ripe a genre is for satirizing, unless you know how to do it, there are no guarantees.

James Berardinelli

The first star vehicle of the summer of 1996 is also the first major disappointment of the season. Mission: Impossible, the big-screen resurrection of the popular late-'60s/early-'70s series, fails to generate much in the way of excitement or intrigue. This globetrotting adventure looks like an opportunity for Tom Cruise to play James Bond a role he is totally unsuited for. The writing for last year's 007 return, GoldenEye, isn't a lot better than that for Mission: Impossible, but, as an action hero, Pierce Brosnan is considerably more debonair and charismatic than Cruise.

James Berardinelli

Live Free or Die Hard may work better for an audience that doesn't know much about the series is than it will for Die Hard die hards, who will be wondering who that impersonator is and what he did with the real John McClane. The original Die Hard came out of nowhere to blitz the 1988 summer box office. The fourth installment arrives with a weight of expectations that Atlas would have trouble shouldering and, when the dust settles in September, it's unlikely that Live Free or Die Hard will be one of this year's big success stories.

James Berardinelli

Looking back at Batman from a distance after all the hype has dried up and the franchise has at least temporarily been abandoned it's easy to see the movie for what it is: a moderately diverting motion picture that should have been shorter and better paced. There are a lot of things wrong with Batman, but it still makes for decent entertainment in the fine tradition of the typical low-intelligence summer movie. The best thing that can be said about Batman is that it led to Batman Returns, which was a far superior effort.

James Berardinelli

It's really two movies crammed into one, the first of which is a lot better than the second. Spider-Man 3 starts out strong but before it finishes, many viewers will desperately wish it had called it quits an hour earlier.

James Berardinelli

Imagine, if you will, the dispiriting experience of listening to an awful cover of one of your favorite songs. That's how I felt sitting through Die Another Day, the 20th official outing for [James Bond]. This is a train wreck of an action film ... What's missing from this movie? Any real sense that we're watching 007 rather than a generic spy in a tuxedo.

James Berardinelli

If you're in the mood for something that's completely visceral and mindless (really mindless the plot is a joke, filled with contrivances and coincidences), this movie will fit the bill. Parts of it are excruciatingly bad, but there are numerous examples of well-directed action that, on balance, compensate for the worst gaffes. This is a poor man's Die Hard. It has the explosions, gunplay, and spectacular stunts, but little of the wit and intelligence. In other words, it's a typical summer action flick.

James Berardinelli

With Batman & Robin, the fourth entry in the recent Batman movie series, the profitable franchise appears poised to take a nosedive. This film, which places yet another actor in the batsuit, has all the necessary hallmarks of a sorry sequel pointless, plodding plotting; asinine action; clueless, comatose characterization; and dumb dialogue. ... Batman & Robin moves at a dizzying pace, yet goes absolutely nowhere.

James Berardinelli

The dialogue is laughably cheesy throughout, but perhaps that's part of Basic Instinct's appeal. In fact, there are times when the film comes close to achieving a status where it's so bad it becomes entertaining. ... If you're looking for an intelligent thriller with real characters, Basic Instinct will seem like a fraud. If, on the other hand, you don't care whether the story makes sense and all you're in search of are cheap thrills and naked bodies, the movie delivers. Then again, so does a lot of Cinemax's late night programming.

James Berardinelli

In answer to the question posed by the title, I can't in all honesty say, "This movie." But that's only because there are far too many Freddy Got Fingereds and Say It Isn't Sos out there. The fact that What's the Worst That Could Happen? is better than these movies should in no way be misconstrued as even a backhanded compliment. It's like comparing stale, moldy, rancid bread with soggy, stale, moldy, rancid bread. Both are equally probable to turn one's stomach, and, if ingested, likely to require some time spent kneeling in front of a toilet bowl.

James Berardinelli

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen will make a ton of money, Michael Bay will be lauded as the greatest director of our generation, and the accountants at Paramount will have their second collective orgasm in as many months. As for me, I will try desperately not to weep not so much for what the success of a movie like this means to motion pictures, but for the simple fact that I'm going to have to do this all over again in two or three years for Transformers 3.

James Berardinelli

Transformers is so belabored that it makes Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End seem like a masterpiece of pacing. It makes that "classic" midsummer alien invasion movie, Independence Day, seem like a template for inventive plotting and solid character development. Even by Michael Bay standards, this movie is vapid. Yes, there are plenty of explosions, but those are a dime-a-dozen these days; even Discovery Channel's Mythbusters has them. Transformers isn't clean, big-budget fun; it's clean, big-budget tedium. For Transformers fans, I suppose this is a dream motion picture. For everyone else, it's a nightmare.

James Berardinelli

If there was ever an action movie that didn't warrant a sequel, it's Speed. However, the film grossed enough money to be numbered among the big summer hits of 1994, and the unfortunate result is this film, which reunites director Jan de Bont with leading lady Sandra Bullock, while leaving Keanu Reeves somewhere safe and dry, "working on his music" with his band, Dogstar. Considering the dubious quality of the final product, this may be the wisest decision of the young actor's career. Speed 2 can be numbered among the worst second chapters ever made.

James Berardinelli

Quote of the Day

Social Media
Our Partners
Quote of the Day App
Android app on Google Play