The Day that Changed Little (2011 Sep 11)

NOTE: As I was writing this, it occurred to me that so much is being written about 9/11 on its tenth anniversary that there's little (if anything) I can add to the discussion. But, having penned an essay on each anniversary of the day since then (...

Junk Food (2011 Sep 06)

The American appetite for junk food has escalated over the past two decades. When I was a kid in the dark ages of the 1970s, the concept of "fast food" was more a novelty than a necessity. Most of the time when I went out with my mother and ...

Barenaked Actresses (2011 Aug 15)

In olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking. But now, heaven knows, anything goes. (Cole Porter)For boys of a certain age (my age, that is), many experienced their first glimpse of the mature, naked female form via Hugh ...

The Halftime Top 10, 2011 Edition (2011 Jul 12)

I started compiling mid-year Top 10 lists a number of years ago, in large part to argue that there are oases in the vast desert of the early-year movie release schedule. Since that first list was posted in July 2004, the landscape hasn't changed much...

Of Thrones and Rings and Seeing the Vision (2011 Jun 22)

Midnight on December 19, 2001. Having missed the press screening due to a clerical error on the part of New Line Cinema, I was waiting impatiently for the movie to start while lounging in a seat near the back of my then-local theater. The seats weren...

They Just Don't Get It (2011 May 31)

I thought it was about time to write a new blog entry, given that it has been more than a month since my last one. The joys of fatherhood and keeping up with an increasingly less-inspired batch of new theatrical releases... At some point, I may even ...

Welcome Back, Doctor (2011 Apr 22)

Once upon a time, the TV show Doctor Who was a cult phenomenon in the United States. Shown at strange hours mostly on PBS stations, the British sci-fi/fantasy show infamous for its (occasional) over-the-top acting and (frequent) bad special effects, ...

The 2011 Nudity Column (2011 Apr 14)

It's not that there isn't nudity in films any more. Quite the contrary; approximately 50% of R-rated movies on average have toplessness, bottomlessness, or something in between. What's different in the '10s is that it's rare for one of the leads to ...

Movies, By Any Other Name (2011 Apr 01)

"James, you take movies too seriously." Those words (or ones nearly like them) were spoken to me 24 years ago by my college girlfriend, Tracie. They were true then and, if anything, they are truer today. Ironically, her theatrical experience (among ...

Abbreviated Day-After Thoughts (2011 Feb 28)

As Meatloaf crooned, "Two out of three ain't bad." Or, to be precise, 13 out of 21 for 62%. My gambit of thinking a pro-The King's Speech surge would carry the film to wins in a number of the lesser categories didn't pay off, but it still won the ...

Superbowl for Women (2011 Feb 26)

The first time I watched an Oscar telecast was during the mid-1970s. I don't remember much about it since it started around my bedtime and finished long after I had drifted off. 35 years ago, the Academy Awards were a different sort of program. To ...

The Time Waster (2011 Feb 05)

You could consider this a product review of Apple's iPad. Kind of.I received an iPad as a Christmas gift, so I have had more than a month to put it through its paces and, while I won't claim to have truly plumbed its depths, I have used it for a ...

Real Thoughts (2011 Jan 31)

"Dear Mr. Berardinelli, I have been reading your site for many years now and enjoy your reviews and reelthoughts. Actually, I like the reelthoughts better so that's what I'm writing about. I noticed you aren't writing them as often as you used to. I ...

The 2010 Round-Up: The Top 10 (2010 Dec 30)

Let me be clear about this: this is my personal Top 10. It does not represent an attempt to provide a "greatest" list nor is there any pretense of objectivity. This is as subjective as it gets. I'll leave it to someone else to determine the relative ...

The 2010 Round-Up: Twelve Performances (2010 Dec 28)

Time to look at the dozen performances (six men, six women) that have impacted me the most forcefully while watching 2010 movies. The difference between good acting and great acting is often subtle but unmistakable. Good acting allows the viewer to ...

The 2010 Autopsy (2010 Dec 26)

The word "autopsy" conjures up unpleasant images, but its usage seems appropriate when gazing back through the mists at the cinematic year of 2010. No matter how one chooses to spin things, the results aren't pretty. I'm fortunate that Michael was ...

The Great 2010 Turkey Hunt (2010 Nov 24)

I'm not calling this my "Worst Movies of 2010" list. There are two reasons for that. First, the term "worst" implies a level of objectivity of which I'm not capable. I equally avoid the term "greatest" unless discussing Mohammed Ali. Also, ...