Joe Morgenstern
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For 1,924 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 0.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Joe Morgenstern's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys
Lowest review score: 0 Henry Fool
Score distribution:
1,924 movie reviews
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    An improbably bountiful subject -- kids on skateboards turning themselves into virtuoso artist-athletes -- has been brought to life in a wonderful, unpretentious documentary.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    It is plainly, though not simply, a masterpiece from an acknowledged master of contemporary animation, and a wonderfully welcoming work of art that's as funny and entertaining as it is brilliant, beautiful and deep.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    Rapturously beautiful, startlingly audacious and often very funny, the film employs many of the techniques that were used so pleasingly in "Amélie."
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    Magnificent.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    It's one of the best surprises of the holiday season.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    National Gallery isn’t just about a museum full of famous pictures. It’s about the nature of art, and art’s acolytes; about the mystery of what may lie beneath a particular painting’s visible surface; about the business of art at a time when money can be scarce and attention spans can be short.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    Astonishingly vivid. The illusion of reality is so nearly complete in this magnificent French-language film by the Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne that the screen becomes a perfectly transparent window on lives hanging in the balance.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    Pirandello didn't have a patch on its complexities. Here's a popular entertainment with an eclectic soundtrack raising penetrating questions of identity in astonishing sequences that interweave live action with comic-book art.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    This is a time when urgent issues are often explored in polemic documentaries, as well as a fateful moment when the future of public education is being debated with unprecedented intensity. Waiting for 'Superman' makes an invaluable addition to the debate.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    The view taken by Clint Eastwood, directing from Iris Yamashita's exemplary screenplay, is elegiac, but -- and this is remarkable, given the nature of the production and the sweep of his ambition -- not at all didactic. He lets the film speak for itself, and so it does -- of humanity as well as primitive rage and horror on both sides of the battle.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    Daniel Day-Lewis's portrayal is not just the performance of the year -- there will be injustice if he doesn't win an Oscar -- but a creation of awesome proportions.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    There's no trace of calculation, only artistic ambitions and hopes that have come to fruition in the year's finest film thus far.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    The writer-director Adrienne Shelly, who died in New York City late last year at the age of 40, took such perishable ingredients as wit, daring, poignancy, whimsy and romance, added passionate feelings plus the constant possibility of joy, decorated her one-of-a-kind production with pastel colors and created something close to perfection.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    If Timbuktu — a nominee for this year’s foreign-film Oscar — were politically astute and nothing more, it would still serve a valuable purpose. But the film throbs with humanity, and abounds in extraordinary images.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    An astonishing combination of spectacle, suspense, martial-arts flash, sublime silliness, anti-gravity action and passionate intensity -- before and after everything else, it's a grand love story.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    Please see this movie, and take any kids old enough to read subtitles. It's one of a kind.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    Casts a spell and then some -- a ringing testament to the power of motion pictures.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    A thrillingly funny and casually profound film.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    Elegantly crafted and filled with flawless performances, this mysteriously charged drama comes alive in its very first frames.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    Tom Hardy, the actor who plays him, is by turns spellbinding, seductive, heartbreaking, explosive and flat-out thrilling. At a time when the studios are spending vast sums of money on a bigger-is-better aesthetic, here's a chamber piece with the impact of high drama.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    The result of the intricate interplay is a fairy tale for adults that is violent, sometimes shocking, yet utterly engrossing. And eerily instructive; it deepens our emotional understanding of fascism, and of rigid ideology's dire consequences.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    Computer travel may not be the real thing, but IMAX makes this an astonishing trip all the same.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    Her
    Mr. Jonze approaches perfection in the department of deadpan humor. In other hands, his premise could have been a clever gimmick and little more. But he draws us into Theodore's world, then develops it brilliantly, by playing everything scrupulously straight.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    This film is cunningly crafted in every detail--direction, script, performances, comic timing, special effects--from thunderous start to delicious finish.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    The whole production speaks well for the power of film; it’s a serious stunner.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    Once in a great while a film seems right in every detail. Andre Techine's Strayed ("Les Egares") is such a film.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    Working on a scale that's minuscule by studio standards, the Dardenne brothers have made yet another movie that does what Hollywood used to do - keep us rapt, and leave us grateful.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    It keeps you fascinated, even enthralled; elicits astonishment, even wonderment, and makes you grateful for the chance to meet someone remarkable.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    The characters are irresistible -- why would anyone want to resist a hero who so gallantly transcends his rattiness? -- the animation is astonishing and the film, a fantasy version of a foodie rhapsody, sustains a level of joyous invention that hasn't been seen in family entertainment since "The Incredibles."
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    How long has it been since a movie left you literally speechless?
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    It's nothing less than a miracle that the director, Craig Gillespie, and the writer, Nancy Oliver, have been able to make such an endearing, intelligent and tender comedy from a premise that, in other hands, might sustain a five-minute sketch on TV.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    Benjamin Button is all of a visionary piece, and it's a soul-filling vision.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    Who knew that Unstoppable would be sensational? Talk about well-kept- and welcome-surprises. Tony Scott's latest thriller turns out to be pure cinema in the classic sense of the term. It's a motion picture about motion, an action symphony that gives new meaning to the notion of a one-track mind.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    Everywhere in Nowhere in Africa, skill and art translate into vivid life.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    In one form or another, motion pictures have been with us since the middle of the 19th century, but there's never been one like Gravity. What's new in Alfonso Cuarón's 3-D space adventure is the nature of the motion. It's as if the movie medium had been set free to dance in a bedazzling zero-gravity dream sequence.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    A singular achievement -- romantic, sensuous, intelligent and finally shattering in its sweep and thematic complexity.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    Just as Aubrey's authority springs from skill and knowledge, so does the film's power. They don't make movies like this any more because few people know how to make them.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    An absolutely thrilling recreation, in documentary style, of a now-legendary story.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    When we peruse this movie, we see a superb evocation of Turner’s latter years, during the first half of the 19th century, and a performance that’s symphonic in the sweep of its eccentricities, vivid in the spectrum of its passions.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    Brokeback Mountain aspires to an epic sweep and achieves it, though with singular intimacy and grace.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    Everything comes together brilliantly in Silver Linings Playbook - for the film's crazed but uncrazy lovers; for the filmmaker, David O. Russell, and best of all for lucky us.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    The first half hour of WALL-E is essentially wordless, and left me speechless. This magnificent animated feature from Pixar starts on such a high plane of aspiration, and achievement, that you wonder whether the wonder can be sustained. But yes, it can.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    More than anything, Of Gods and Men is a drama of character, and warm humanity.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    Elegantly crafted, brilliantly acted film.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Better than a feelgood movie, it's a feelgreat movie -- genuinely clever, affecting when you least expect it to be and funny from start to finish.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Akin's film is so full of life that it leaves you breathless.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Operates in an orbit somewhere between Oliver Sacks and Lewis Carroll. I can't remember when a movie has seemed so clever, strangely affecting and slyly funny at the very same time.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    A huge delight.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Luchini gives one of the best performances of the year, in one of the best movies of the year.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    As a piece of filmmaking, it's stunningly effective.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Not since the halcyon days of Archie Bunker and "All in the Family" has so sharp a wit punctured so many balloons.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    The result is an enchanting story of love from an idealized past that endures in the mundane present.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    A lot of talent to lavish on a single movie, but the result is uncommonly smart for the genre, and not just smart but tremendously enjoyable.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    A deeply serious and seriously hilarious fable of the lunacy of war.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Unstrung Heroes is a revelation. [15 Sep 1995]
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    In the entertainment culture that surrounds us, words like "harrowing," "anguishing," "unfathomable" or "horrifying" don't sell movie tickets. Capturing the Friedmans is all of these things and more.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 58 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Pulls you in with smooth assurance, then holds you hostage to extremely creepy developments in the most awesome haunted house since "The Shining."
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Rarely has so scary a thriller been so well made, and never has digital video -- by the English cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle -- been put to grittier use.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    The new film, shot in vivid hi-def video, is part documentary and part fiction based on interviews; it uses on-camera interviews with workers, some played by themselves and some played by actors, to evoke a past of unimaginable toil, and suffering, in the service of the Communist state.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    This stop-action animated feature is downright sweet and tender, as well as all the other things we've come to expect from him -- funny, bizarre, graphically stunning and blithely necrophilic.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Like his (David Gordon Green's) debut feature of three years ago, the exquisite "George Washington," this new one has my heart, and I think it will have yours.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    There's no better fun for movie lovers than a small, unheralded film that turns out to be terrific -- unless it's a small, unheralded sequel that trumps the original.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Ray
    At the center of it all is an incomparable singer brought to life by a sensational actor. With a huge soul to fill, Jamie Foxx has filled it to overflowing.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Much of the time, though, you're transfixed by the beauty of a spectacle that seems all of a piece. Special effects have been abolished, in effect, since the whole thing is so special.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    The actress gets immeasurable help from the writing: Lisbeth's anger is matched by her intelligence and her physical prowess, which enables her to administer as well as absorb pain in megadoses. But none of it would register without Ms. Rapace's singular combination of eerie beauty and feral intensity. She's a movie star unlike any other.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    There's an old-Hollywood feel to the movie's solid showmanship and unabashed sophistication. These days it's feature-length 'toons, sporting the newest-fangled technology, that take kids and adults alike back to the movies' good old days.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    The silliness of Jump Tomorrow takes your breath away, and I mean that as high praise.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    With this genuinely big entertainment, powered by a beating heart, Steven Spielberg has put the summer back in summer movies.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    It is, simply and stirringly, a kind of beau ideal of education, a vision of how the process can work at its best.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    A remarkable -- and harrowing -- debut feature that makes you think there's hope after all for the future of independent films.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Crumb pulls us in with rich detail, and with what it says, or suggests, about art, drugs, psychology and the subconscious.... Like last year's "Hoop Dreams," this documentary does justice to a great subject. [08 Jun 1995]
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Now the movie can be seen for what it was all along, remarkable by any standards.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Directed with such a confident, delicate touch. Nothing is insisted on, yet whole lives are discovered and revealed in vignettes that seem as spontaneous as a laugh or a gasp.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    This beautiful -- and beautifully controlled -- film is also an object lesson in how to hypnotize an audience.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    A thriller with a quietly sensational performance by Tilda Swinton.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Density of detail and intensity of experience are the twin distinctions of A Christmas Tale, a long, improbably funny and very beautiful film.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    The team's (Merchant-Ivory) best adaptation yet of a Henry James novel.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Through exquisite details, evocative music and bold dramatic strokes -- including a tragedy that transcends the melodrama it might have been -- Rain renders this family's life in its full dimensions.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 64 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Blissfully silly, triumphantly tasteless and improbably hilarious.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    This beguiling fable, with its darkly distinctive look, does DreamWorks proud.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    I don't know the Mongolian word for panache, but Mongol's got plenty of it. The battle scenes are as notable for their clarity as their intensity; we can follow the strategies, get a sense of who's losing and who's winning. The physical production is sumptuous.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    This screwball comedy about a scrappy Hawaiian kid and the rabidly destructive little alien she mistakes for a dog is powered by ferocious joy. And, remarkably, it manages to incorporate traditional Disney values, such as the sanctity of the family, in a visually bold, subversively witty package that's as far from corporate as mainstream movies get.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Every sport, and every sports film, must have its superman. The role is filled here by Laird Hamilton, who, we are told -- and, more astonishingly, shown -- took "the single most significant ride in surfing history." Seeing is believing.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Ever since the movie made a brief appearance late last year to qualify for Oscar consideration, Mr. Caine's performance has been hailed as the best of his career, and surely that's true.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    A documentary of stunning immediacy and marvelous images.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    The studio, like plucky Harry, passes with flying colors. The new one, directed by Mike Newell from another astute script by Mr. Kloves, is even richer and fuller, as well as dramatically darker. It's downright scary how good this movie is.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    In one sense, Neil Young: Heart of Gold is just a simple concert film -- no cutaways during the music for interviews, no cameras swooping and soaring on giant booms. But simplicity in this case also means no barrier between us and the people on stage, as they sing some of the most soul-stirring pop songs I've seen performed in a very long time.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Magic suffuses this film -- performances that approach perfection, or achieve it, moments of exceptional grace as a troubled family plays out a contemporary version of a classic immigration saga, healing itself in the process.
    • Wall Street Journal

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