Joe Morgenstern
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For 1,916 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 There Will Be Blood
Lowest review score: 0 Henry Fool
Score distribution:
1,916 movie reviews
    • 47 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    A remarkably ill-advised remake.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 68 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The only reason to see it is Riz Ahmed's performance as Omar, the supposed brains of the operation. Mr. Ahmed reminded me a bit of Robert Carlyle. He's dynamic, quick-tongued and intense. And much too classy for this tatty room.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Depressed and depressing drama.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 38 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Men, Women & Children touches many nerves, but then pinches and twists them with its ham-handed approach to social commentary. I worry about Mr. Reitman, a filmmaker of consequence who is still too young to be so cosmic. Time to lighten up and come back down to Earth.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The denizens of Judd Apatow’s Funny People have been pulled every which way to fit a misshapen concept, yet they remain painfully unfunny, and consistently off-putting.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The basic problem is the script, which is credited to three writers plus the director - seldom a good sign. Never mind that it's a retread of "Planes, Trains & Automobiles" minus the trains, and minus John Candy.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Not a pretty sight, any of it.
    • 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
    • 79 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    What do the Coen brothers want of us? More specifically, what do they want us to think of the repellent people in this pitilessly bleak movie?
    • 49 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Statham, the specialist in English tough guys who was so affecting in "The Bank Job," has more to offer than The Mechanic has the grace to receive.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 50 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    You're tempted to keep watching, even though the running time is a bloated 154 minutes, to see if anyone, or the movie itself, turns remotely likable. The answer to that, alas, is no.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie on the whole is joyless. Whatever Works doesn’t.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    In a movie that rings false at every turn, Ms. Redgrave's Elizabeth is truly and infallibly regal.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Joyless and largely witless sci-fi fantasy.
    • 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
    • 64 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    A slow and lugubrious film about the impact of adoption on the lives of three women.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Country Strong comes to spontaneous life from time to time, despite maudlin devices and manipulative set pieces.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The script is dead in the water, and most of the misanthropic repartee rings resoundingly false.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 31 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Goldsman, a first-time director though a veteran screenwriter, has been done in by the source material. Either he climbed aboard a horse that was too much for him, or the universe gave him a bum steer.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    It's long on Viagra jokes and whorehouse scenes, and comes up short on plausibility.
    • 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
    • 40 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Beall, a former LAPD cop, has written a script so devoid of feeling that the cartoons blur into thin line drawings, while what's been done with the marvelous Ms. Stone - i.e. next to nothing - is downright criminal.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    All of the nonsense piled on nonsense does provide some measure of pleasure. Unknown gets better by getting worse.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    In The Hunger Games it's both a feast of cheesy spectacle and a famine of genuine feeling, except for the powerful - and touchingly vulnerable - presence of Jennifer Lawrence.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 51 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    It's impossible to say who's more unhinged: Darwin, caught between faith and reason, or the filmmakers.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Ms. Macdonald works modest wonders within these constraints -- she's a lovely actress, and a skilled one -- but too much is asked of her; Kate's innocence finally wilts beneath the camera's fixed gaze.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 50 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Cowboys versus aliens is a concept that may make you smile in anticipation, but wipe that smile off your face before buying your ticket.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    This production is a mess for many reasons, most of them having to do with its frantic efforts to be funny.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    All that's missing is wit and humanity.
    • 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
    • 50 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    This dreary drama telegraphs every punch, emotion and plot point with a dedication that would have done the old Western Union proud.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Labor Day, adapted from a novel by Joyce Maynard, is the kind of movie that turns clarity into stultification; everything is perfectly clear and almost everything — pie-making excepted — is perfectly lifeless.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    A turgid recycling of Mr. Carpenter's remake of "The Thing."
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 65 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    What's worse, some mysterious movie curse has turned the three once-lively adventurers into wood.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Still, Eat Pray Love preaches a sermon it doesn't practice-the need to open one's self to the world. In a pictorial sense this is exactly what Liz does; she vacuums up the transformative essence of three continents. Yet the world gets weirdly short shrift because this transcendently narcissistic movie is, in a narrative sense, almost entirely about Liz and the movie star who plays her.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The essence of this grindingly violent movie can be summed up by what Parker says of his handgun to a terrified clerk at a check-cashing service: "It's small, but it hurts."
    • 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
    • 43 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The failure lies not with the film's director, Marc Forster, nor with its impressive star, Gerard Butler, but with Jason Keller's dreadfully earnest script, which charts the hero's spiritual journey, and his Rambo-esque exploits, without offering a scintilla of mature perspective on his state of mind.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    A good subject has been ill-served by Ms. Greenwald's cliched script and clumsy direction.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 35 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    This Transformers is a pile of glittering junk.
    • 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
    • 57 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Horrible Bosses has preposterousness to burn, but no finesse and no interest in having any.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Still, the action is ponderous too. Mr. Morel is no Kubrick, or Tarantino, just as Mr. Travolta's caricature of John Travolta is no Travolta.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Won't kill you, but it could bore you half to death.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 57 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    For precursors of Guy's perversity, one would have to go back to W.C. Fields, who made antic art out of his characters' abhorrence of children.
    • 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
    • 54 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    You may wonder if this screen version of the book of the same name is as unfunny and strangely mushy as it seems, but trust your instincts.
    • 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
    • 53 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Heart-breakingly awful -- slow, lugubrious, and misconceived to the point of baffling amateurism.
    • 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
    • 48 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Penelope was in a trough of trouble before the oink on the script was dry.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The IMAX print I saw was so murky as to make you give thanks for the few scenes shot in simple sunlight, the 3-D wasn't worth the bother, and never before have I wanted to chloroform an entire orchestra.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Less than the sum of its parts, which were problematic to begin with.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 52 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    This children's entertainment-grownups beware!-is preoccupied by squishy stuff that includes mud and poop, as well as by syrup that oozes from cabinet drawers.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    When bad movies happen to good people, the first place to look for an explanation is the basic idea. That certainly applies to My Week With Marilyn, a dubious idea done in by Adrian Hodges's shallow script and Simon Curtis's clumsy direction.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Johnny Depp's Tonto wears a dead crow on his head in The Lone Ranger. The star himself carries a dead movie on his shoulders.
    • 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
    • 55 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Edge of Darkness was one of the most enthralling, intricate and genuinely thrilling productions in the history of the small screen. The big-screen version--directed by Martin Campbell, who did the original--offers an example of why the studios' numbers often add up, and why, at the same time, so many of today's Hollywood movies leave us cool if not downright cold.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Another dim adaptation of a bright comic novel.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 43 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Adam Green's Frozen explores a tiny idea exhaustively, and I mean exhaustively.
    • 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.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The story is rooted in a political past that never comes to life, and its structure is so cockeyed that we don't even get to see Nick's reaction to a climactic surprise that takes place off-screen. The film was shot by an excellent cinematographer, Adriano Goldman, though you'd never know it from the lighting, which is as flat as the writing.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Katherine Heigl carries 27 Dresses when all else fails, which it does with great regularity.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    A train wreck of mind-numbing proportions.
    • 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
    • 43 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The remake has no grace notes, or grace, no nuance, no humanity, no character quirks, no surprises in the dialogue and no humor.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Go in with lowered expectations, and expect to have them dashed.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 54 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie's failures are all the more unfortunate because they detract from its central and conspicuous success, the performance of Riz Ahmed in the title role. Mr. Ahmed turns the quicksilver quality of the book's internal monologue into a tour de force of his own creation. He's a bright star in a dim constellation.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie stands as a genuine offense against the venerable and indispensable institution of satire.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 61 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Secretariat stumbles along beneath the weight of leaden life lessons. They're dispensed at frequent intervals by Diane Lane, who does better than anyone had a right to expect, since she is saddled with dialogue of exceptional dreadfulness.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Some of it sputters, settling for smiles instead of laughs, and much of it flounders while the slapdash script searches, at exhausting length, for ever more common denominators in toilet humor.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Either you buy their Vaseline-lensed visions of the hereafter, or you watch in stony silence, as I did, wondering why there's no one to care about.
    • 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
    • 49 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    If glum were good and bleak were best, Hart's War would be a standout.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 38 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Long after lice from her children's school infested Kate's scalp, I was scratching my head about why a 91-minute movie seemed so long. The answer came from reframing the question. Why was a string of sitcom problems stretched to 91 minutes?
    • 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.
    • 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
    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.

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