James Berardinelli
James Berardinelli is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

ONLINE is a magazine for information systems first published in 1977. The publisher Online, Inc. was founded the year before. In May 2002, Information Today, Inc. acquired the assets of Online Inc....

 film critic.

Personal life

Berardinelli was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey
New Brunswick, New Jersey
New Brunswick is a city in Middlesex County, New Jersey, USA. It is the county seat and the home of Rutgers University. The city is located on the Northeast Corridor rail line, southwest of Manhattan, on the southern bank of the Raritan River. At the 2010 United States Census, the population of...

 and spent his early childhood in Morristown, New Jersey
Morristown, New Jersey
Morristown is a town in Morris County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the town population was 18,411. It is the county seat of Morris County. Morristown became characterized as "the military capital of the American Revolution" because of its strategic role in the...

. At the age of nine years, he relocated to the township of Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He attended the University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Penn is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States,Penn is the fourth-oldest using the founding dates claimed by each institution...

 from 1985 until 1990, obtaining both a Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Science
A Bachelor of Science is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for completed courses that generally last three to five years .-Australia:In Australia, the BSc is a 3 year degree, offered from 1st year on...

 and Master's degree
Master's degree
A master's is an academic degree granted to individuals who have undergone study demonstrating a mastery or high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice...

 in Electrical Engineering
Electrical engineering
Electrical engineering is a field of engineering that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. The field first became an identifiable occupation in the late nineteenth century after commercialization of the electric telegraph and electrical...

. After graduating he worked for Bellcore company, now Telcordia Technologies
Telcordia Technologies
Telcordia Technologies, formerly Bell Communications Research, Inc. or Bellcore, is a telecommunications research and development company based in the United States created as part of the 1982 Modification of Final Judgment that broke up American Telephone & Telegraph...

, and spent the next 15 years working "in a variety of fields, including fiber optics, video testing, and software systems." In 2004, he married one of his longtime readers. In 2010 he announced publicly that he and his wife were expecting their first child.


As a child, Berardinell did not spend much time in theaters, and as a teenager saw only five or six movies a year. He did not become interested in cinema until he was in college. In 1991, the year before he started reviewing, he saw about 30 films. The number increased to 180 in 1992, when he wrote reviews for his own use. Starting in 1993, when he started publishing his reviews in Usenet
Usenet is a worldwide distributed Internet discussion system. It developed from the general purpose UUCP architecture of the same name.Duke University graduate students Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis conceived the idea in 1979 and it was established in 1980...

, he began seeing between 220 and 250 theatrical releases per year. In 1997 he became an accredited film critic and now estimates that he has seen more than 7000 films in total.

Berardinelli has more than 3,300 full-length movie reviews posted on his own ReelViews website, as well as being a frequent contributor to Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes is a website devoted to reviews, information, and news of films—widely known as a film review aggregator. Its name derives from the cliché of audiences throwing tomatoes and other vegetables at a poor stage performance...

. He has established an average of about 300 reviews a year since the site was inaugurated in January 1996. According to Berardinelli, his website receives 70,000–80,000 accesses per day.

Fellow film critic Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Roger Joseph Ebert is an American film critic and screenwriter. He is the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.Ebert is known for his film review column and for the television programs Sneak Previews, At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and Siskel and Ebert and The...

 has written positive comments about Berardinelli, even writing forewords for the ReelViews books. In Ebert's review of Saving Silverman
Saving Silverman
Saving Silverman is a 2001 American comedy film directed by Dennis Dugan. It stars Jason Biggs, Steve Zahn, Jack Black and Amanda Peet. Neil Diamond has a cameo role playing himself...

, he termed Berardinelli "the best of the Web-based critics." Although he has also been called the best-known of web movie critics a 2004 news story stated that "he and other online film critics continue to struggle for respect."

Berardinelli also writes ReelThoughts, a weblog
A blog is a type of website or part of a website supposed to be updated with new content from time to time. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in...

. While there is no publication schedule per se, he usually writes a few entries a week. Frequent topics of his columns include DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

 technology, the film industry
Film industry
The film industry consists of the technological and commercial institutions of filmmaking: i.e. film production companies, film studios, cinematography, film production, screenwriting, pre-production, post production, film festivals, distribution; and actors, film directors and other film crew...

, film piracy, and censorship
thumb|[[Book burning]] following the [[1973 Chilean coup d'état|1973 coup]] that installed the [[Military government of Chile |Pinochet regime]] in Chile...

, but he doesn't avoid such issues as politics and society. He frequently criticizes the Motion Picture Association of America
Motion Picture Association of America
The Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. , originally the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America , was founded in 1922 and is designed to advance the business interests of its members...

's ratings board and the inconsistency of the ratings system, deriding them for, among other things, affixing "R" ratings to films for arguably mild artistic nudity, while simultaneously deeming intense and graphic (but bloodless) violence to be PG or PG-13 material.

Berardinelli rates films for his website on a star basis, between zero and four stars. In addition, the use of the half-star rating is also applied. There are several films that, to date, have received no stars.

Berardinelli's favorite directors include Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

, Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese
Martin Charles Scorsese is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, and film historian. In 1990 he founded The Film Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to film preservation, and in 2007 he founded the World Cinema Foundation...

, Akira Kurosawa
Akira Kurosawa
was a Japanese film director, producer, screenwriter and editor. Regarded as one of the most important and influential filmmakers in the history of cinema, Kurosawa directed 30 filmsIn 1946, Kurosawa co-directed, with Hideo Sekigawa and Kajiro Yamamoto, the feature Those Who Make Tomorrow ;...

 and Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE was a British film director and producer. He pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in British cinema in both silent films and early talkies, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood...

. His all-time favorite film is Patton
Patton (film)
Patton is a 1970 American biographical war film about U.S. General George S. Patton during World War II. It stars George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Michael Bates, and Karl Michael Vogler. It was directed by Franklin J. Schaffner from a script by Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H...

. Recent films which he named among his 100 best films include The Departed, currently #82, The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight (film)
The Dark Knight is a 2008 superhero film directed, produced and co-written by Christopher Nolan. Based on the DC Comics character Batman, the film is part of Nolan's Batman film series and a sequel to 2005's Batman Begins...

#85, and Munich
Munich (film)
Munich is a 2005 historical fiction film about the Israeli government's secret retaliation attacks after the massacre of Israeli athletes by the Black September terrorist group during the 1972 Summer Olympics. The film stars Eric Bana and was produced and directed by Steven Spielberg...


External links

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