Joe Morgenstern
Select another critic »
For 1,871 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 41% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 57% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 0.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Joe Morgenstern's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 The Class
Lowest review score: 0 Funny Games (2008)
Score distribution:
1,871 movie reviews
    • 49 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    If glum were good and bleak were best, Hart's War would be a standout.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 33 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Five months after Sept. 11, the movie inevitably echoes those events, but in a loud and extremely cheesy way.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 35 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    I've been a Vanessa Redgrave fan for such a long time that I would have been happy to watch her beautifully weathered face without much happening around her.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 66 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The worst part of Ms. Zellweger's plight is that she, along with others in the cast, has fallen victim to a first-time feature director whose vocabulary doesn't seem to include the word "simplicity."
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 49 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    There's no transcending a prosaic plot and several flat performances.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 37 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    A rube's-eye view of Hollywood, but the rube is weary, and those around him seem to be suffering from terminal torpor.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 42 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Joyless and largely witless sci-fi fantasy.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 58 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Li is a master not only of martial arts, but of composure; no one does nothing better. The film itself is no great shakes.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 63 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    A good subject has been ill-served by Ms. Greenwald's cliched script and clumsy direction.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 33 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Goes down fighting, but it goes down just the same.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 20 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    As the hilariously foul-mouthed, sweet-souled Dr. S, he (Wayans) slaps Marci X to life every time he's on screen.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 60 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Comes briefly to life, after many longeurs -- many large longeurs in IMAX -- with the discombobulated entrance of B.E.N., a dysfunctional, hyperverbal robot voiced by Martin Short.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 35 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    A turgid recycling of Mr. Carpenter's remake of "The Thing."
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 73 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Ordinary moviegoers, on the other hand, may wonder what they're supposed to feel, apart from bored.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 60 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The blithely dishonest script would have us believe that the real Napoleon can't prove his identity when the fake Napoleon refuses to come clean. Not only is that patent nonsense, it's cockeyed dramaturgy.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 53 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Not a pretty sight, any of it.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 35 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    This horror-free horror flick sent me wandering through my own memory warehouse, where, at every turn, I bumped into images from similar -- and mostly superior -- entertainments.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 31 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Has many more downs than ups, but this ragged action comedy, with Martin Lawrence and Steve Zahn as mismatched buddies, rings some outrageously funny changes on a deadly serious genre of amateur video that began with Rodney King.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 46 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    All that's missing is wit and humanity.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 47 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    There's nothing wrong with the structure of Heartbreakers, but David Mirkin's direction is woefully clumsy -- and the movie's tone is nasty.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 56 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    What's new here is a severe deficit of style, or even craftsmanship, both in the action sequences and what passes for human interludes.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 57 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Won't kill you, but it could bore you half to death.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 48 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    What's missing is an emotional center. This Sinbad, with its flying ship and becalmed script, seems destined to be DreamWorks's version of Disney's "Treasure Planet."
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 35 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Stinker doesn't begin to describe this movie's character -- both frenzied and dispiriting.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 63 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The script is dead in the water, and most of the misanthropic repartee rings resoundingly false.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 32 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Another dim adaptation of a bright comic novel.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 30 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Knows that it's junk and tries feebly to rejoice in its junkiness.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 53 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    For all its video-game bedazzlements, Attack of the Clones suffers from severe digital glut, periodically relieved, if you can call it that, by amateur theatrics.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 65 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    A grim disappointment for grown-ups, and far too violent for young kids. I found it to be clumsy, misanthropic and intractably lifeless.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 57 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    If only Brotherhood of the Wolf had the wit and grace to match its exceptional physical beauty.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 25 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Costner has never been further from the lively, engaging actor he can be, or at least once was.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 39 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    If you go to see this sloppy sitcom, in which Mr. Martin plays a divorced, repressed lawyer named Peter Sanderson, do expect to be surprised, seduced and entertained by Queen Latifah.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 45 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Its tone is unquenchably pretentious, and its scale is overblown.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 52 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Unforeseeably bad things can happen to good performers.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill inflicts intolerable cruelty on its characters, and on its audience -- though I'd like to believe that there is no mainstream audience for what has already been described, quite correctly, as the most violent movie ever released by an American studio.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 38 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Gooding is out there in almost every scene, and the destruction of his once-promising career proceeds apace.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 45 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The performances, under Mike Newell's direction, range from conventional (Ms. Roberts) to dreadful, and the script is as shallow as an old Cosmo cover story.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 42 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Go in with lowered expectations, and expect to have them dashed.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 33 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    No one comes out of Mooseport unscathed -- not Rip Torn, as the president's campaign manager, not Christine Baranski as his avaricious ex-wife. It's a democracy of mediocrity, or worse.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 49 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The crucial evidence has to do with rigor mortis. The movie's a stiff too.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 47 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie's leisurely, elegant setup makes its action payoff seem, by contrast, particularly mechanical, cynical and grotesque.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 56 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    In Troy, and in overreaching, underachieving productions like it, digital imagery is fast becoming both a Trojan horse and Achilles' heel.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 38 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Ms. Hudson makes the most of her role, even though that's not saying so very much -- the writing is terribly thin -- while John Corbett gives an unaccountably clumsy performance as a romantic pastor. Joan Cusack gets the funniest lines as Helen's sister, a model of boring mommyhood, but she also stops the movie dead in its tracks every time she plays a scene.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 45 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Samuell's stylistic revelries are meant as comments on the conventions and excesses of movie romance, but his approach is glib and self-congratulatory. No feelings dwell beneath the layers upon layers of faux-naïve artifice. I dare you to sit through this movie and not wish you were somewhere else.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 55 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The Terminal is a terminally fraudulent and all-but-interminable comedy.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 46 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Bleak, remarkably turgid, tediously violent, devoid of drama, deprived of magic, stripped of romance and, except for one of the oddest boy-meets-girl scenes in movie history, a befuddled and befuddling excuse for entertainment.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 47 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    A remarkably ill-advised remake.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 49 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    This new Alfie is earnest -- irony is so last century -- and not angry at all, since working-class anger would mean nothing here, because class means nothing here. Nothing means anything here.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 61 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    A train wreck of mind-numbing proportions.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 39 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    There's no zest to the general depravity, no coherence to the script or the spectacle -- clarity is missing in some of the camera work -- and, most important, no character to give a Greek fig about.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 65 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Bring Zoloft and a tank of oxygen to Closer, an airless, ultimately joyless drama of sexual politics.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 40 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    An experience best likened to being battered by hurricane-force winds generated by an organ with all stops pulled permanently out.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 35 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Ms. Wynter's performance is only one of many failings in a heavily accented costume drama that Bruce Beresford has directed turgidly from Marilyn Levy's amateurish script.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 49 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Ever so slightly defective in the area of coherence; it plays as if it should have been written by a committee but they didn't bother to convene one.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 21 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    A few clumps of very funny stuff (including a quick tonsorial reference to "Mary") can't hide all the spots that are bald instead of bold.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 34 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Long on cutlery and décor (including, of course, the marvelously decorative Ms. Garner, of the TV series "Alias") and woefully short on narrative.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 50 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Constantine is yet another studio extravaganza that's all aswirl with atmospherics, though empty at its center. The invasion of the soul snatchers proceeds apace.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 44 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    If claustrophobia's your style, The Jacket is a perfect fit.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 44 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie as a whole is nonsensical. And long. And slow. And head-poundingly loud as it culminates in slavering horror.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 64 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The video-game sequences are impressive, but you know that a 'toon is in big trouble when its most powerful theme is planned obsolescence.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 53 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Palindromes finds him (Solondz) stuck with his single theme inside a sealed dollhouse of his own construction. He has gifts to give a larger audience, if ever he breaks out.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 45 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    This is little more than a big-budget sitcom, with a guest appearance by Mike Ditka, who plays an unfunny version of himself as Phil's assistant coach.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 40 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The result is a movie groping for a comic tone while its FX machinery spews vast clouds of visual gibberish.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 50 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Comes on like an overproduced coma, and leaves you comatose by the end. In between are 127 minutes of intermittent chaos that feel like a lifetime.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 35 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Brought down by repeated bursts of high absurdity.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 33 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    YEEEEE HAAAAW! They've gone and done it. The feature version of The Dukes Of Hazzard turns a sow's ear into a bigger sow's ear.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 45 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    A saga of static set pieces and strenuously clever notions, this is a fiasco of a film if ever there was one.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 61 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    A guaranteed downer that's devoid of any upside, and free of dangerously entertaining side effects.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 53 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Heart-breakingly awful -- slow, lugubrious, and misconceived to the point of baffling amateurism.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 68 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Jarecki undercuts his own case -- not just undercuts but carpet-bombs it -- by using the same propaganda techniques he professes to abhor.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 45 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Before Firewall crumbles into foolishness, Harrison Ford and Paul Bettany make an oft-recycled plot look like a stylish model that just rolled out of a showroom.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 43 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The Shaggy Dog is paint, or more appropriately here, pant by the numbers. It also manages a one-two punch -- it will upset small children and bore their parents. There's just no other way to say this: Disney, that movie of yours is a dog.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 26 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Basic Instinct 2 is pretty awful. Rarely has a meaningless thriller had so many meaningful glances, or such arch acting by good actors who know better.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 45 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie stands as a genuine offense against the venerable and indispensable institution of satire.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 49 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    I can't find much slack to cut the film, except to say that it's a potboiler cooked in an upscale Teflon pot.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 52 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Nothing stands up to scrutiny -- least of all the lethargic acting and the clumsy script. I was hot to trot for the exit halfway through, but a dogged sense of duty kept me stuck in an endless present.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 51 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Depressed and depressing drama.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 62 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    A snapshot, to be sure, but scattershot as well.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 51 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    I feel for the marketing person charged with devising a tagline for Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain, a fantasy whose turgid pretensions defy the very notion of marketing.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 42 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Starts well with the stirring spectacle of young men and women, members of a National Guard unit stationed south of Baghdad, struggling to do their duty in an alien land of unfathomable danger. Once they return, however, wounded physically or shattered spiritually, the film turns didactic, contrived and occasionally ludicrous.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 28 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    N'ever was an apostrophe so misplaced, n'ever was the prospect of good cheer so perversely defeated.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 44 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Stepping is everything in Stomp the Yard, and, dare I say it, a stepping stone to DJ's redemption. The movie itself is redeemed -- slightly -- by its almost touching devotion to the hoary Hollywood traditions of college movies with battling frats, as well as its earnest endorsement of education.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 51 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    300
    300 presents a dual clash of civilizations. An action adventure that pits thousands of Persians against 300 brave Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae, it also pits millions of fans of brainless violence against a gallant band, or so I choose to think of us, who still expect movies to contain detectable traces of humanity.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 52 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    For all the preposterous clichés of the plot, which clanks as loudly as Laz's chain, and for all the inertness of Justin Timberlake's performance as Rae's brooding squeeze, Black Snake Moan finds unchained energy in its foolishness, and gives Mr. Jackson a chance to pluck a guitar and sing. He's really good at it, too. The music almost redeems the movie.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 35 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    But clever casting, and inspirational dieting, can't make up for this poor little rich girl's shortcomings as a comedienne. Under Mr. Benjamin's vulgar tutelage, she portrays Connie's coarseness coarsely, with an accent that seems to have come from Ida Lupino by way of Madonna. [19 Apr 1996, p.A11]
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 44 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Since Mary rarely gets to see any of the good stuff, neither do we; Dr. Jekyll hides most of his switcheroos behind closed doors. [23 Feb 1996]
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 53 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The failures of White Squall are dismaying as well as perplexing. Director Ridley Scott serves up some ravishing images along the way: the stark geometry of the ship's riggings against an azure sky, crew kids scampering along a verdant ridge toward a volcano's silvery crater lake. But the script is a shambles. [06 Feb 1996]
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 56 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The drama is repetitive rather than resonant, an over-calculated, under-ventilated studio production -- even paranoid thrillers need to breathe -- whose plot machinery grinds grim and coarse.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Katherine Heigl carries 27 Dresses when all else fails, which it does with great regularity.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    There's no maybe about its standing as romantic comedy -- definitely bad.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Penelope was in a trough of trouble before the oink on the script was dry.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    A bizarre, overcooked broth that combines a broad sitcom style (the banter goes rat-tat-tat like a steam drill) with a preposterous succession of plot complications, plus solemn questions of identity, adoption and the nature of happiness.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Rather than the laugh a minute promised by old comedies, Get Smart generates approximately one laugh per hour, and I can't remember either one.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Less than the sum of its parts, which were problematic to begin with.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    J. Michael Straczynski's disjointed script manages to ring false at almost every significant turn (Collins' psychiatric-hospital stay has grown into a latter-day version of "The Snake Pit") and Clint Eastwood's ponderous direction -- a disheartening departure from his sure touch in "Letters From Iwo Jima" and "The Bridges of Madison County" -- magnifies the flaws.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    It's really dumb, even though it starts promisingly and continues, in a self-infatuated way, to consider itself quite bright.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    You'd have to be made of granite to resist all the charms of a free-spirited, 100-pound Lab. Yet the production manages, against heavy odds, to make its canine star an incorrigible bore.
    • 24 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    No cues are needed to understand the plot, which feels computer-generated and barely serves to sustain an hour and a half running time.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The production renders totally irrelevant all hopes for a well-made movie. It's one of those ragged, pandemonious studio comedies that hammers at plot points in every contrived scene.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Operates in a dead zone roughly equidistant between parody and idiocy. You do get the connection between tongue and cheek, but much of the humor still goes thud.

Top Trailers