Joe Morgenstern
Select another critic »
For 1,921 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 0.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Joe Morgenstern's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Ratatouille
Lowest review score: 0 Killer Joe
Score distribution:
1,921 movie reviews
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    One would have to be totally tone-deaf not to notice that the director, Andrew Davis, has inflicted a broad cartoon style on adult performers who are distinctly uncomfortable with it.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    Nothing is simple in this film, which ramifies into parallel meditations on race, the transformation of racial politics and lessons to be learned from the lives of dogs.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    How, then, does "In Good Company" turn out for the better in spite of itself? No mystery at all. Whatever the fate of old media, or new media, for that matter, winning performances are here to stay.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    The process is called acting, and the man (Tatum) in the title role of Steven Soderbergh's flashy, not-so-trashy entertainment does it so well that the debate should be officially ended.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    The Bank Job engages us fully with a tale that's well-fashioned more than anything else, a fascinating study of morality at several levels of English society, and of honor, or the lack of it, among implausibly likable thieves.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    Too bad it isn't more engaging — and dramatic — than it is, but this new film, in French with English subtitles, is still worth seeing for what it says of the turbulent state of France in the early 1970s, when Mr. Assayas was a high-school student in Paris, and of the zigzag pursuit—of painting, beautiful girls and independence from a demanding father—that finally culminated in his becoming the filmmaker he was meant to be.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    She's (Jennifer Hudson) the best part of the show by far, but the writer-director Bill Condon, who wrote the screenplay for "Chicago" four years ago, has done the original "Dreamgirls" proud without solving its dramatic problems.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    A strange anomaly. It's both cutting-edge entertainment and primitive precursor of unimagined wonders to come.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    Here's a case of clichés transmuted, for the most part, into stirring entertainment.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    The film as a whole operates in Mr. Anderson's patented, semi-precious zone of antic and droll. It's not as if the filmmaker has gone off the rails. He's just not solidly on them.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    As a whole, though, Paris pulses with a contemporary version of the energy that animated Balzac's novels, or Colette's accounts of the life she observed from the window of her apartment in the Palais Royal.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    Watching these two intensely likable comedians work together is a special pleasure.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    With its retro pacing, its pretentious lapses and its narrow emotional range, this elegantly crafted existential thriller risks alienating its audience; at times it feels like a test for attention deficit disorder.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    No, it’s therefore a movie to be seen, if you can endure it — as a shrewd commercial venture, as an online opus that undoes your self-composure and, last and foremost, as a window on a mode of thinking that equates to a state of being.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    Loosely organized but still fascinating.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    Like so much in Chef, the plot resolution seems contrived and a bit silly. By then, though, we've had plenty of laughs, and generous helpings of warm feelings—the meat and potatoes of real life.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    A case of good works done well.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 32 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    It's a shrewd little comedy that uses good British actors to challenge its star, who rises to the occasion.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    The price of the production's integrity is a leisurely pace -- but it's a worthwhile one. Though Sugar demands patience, it deserves attention.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    Not everything is illuminated in his (Liev Schreiber) version, but the book's humanity and humor shine through.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    The Matador has its dull patches, one of which is relieved by Hope Davis's endearing presence as Danny's wife. But what fun it is to watch Julian losing it, and Pierce Brosnan nailing it. He's worth the price of admission and then some.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    Has much to recommend it - high-end craftsmanship, a singular heroine, a labyrinthine mystery, an intriguing milieu - yet lacks a vital spark.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    Prime is neither deep nor as shallow as it first threatens to be, but surprisingly good fun.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    Ms. Shortland has announced her presence as a new filmmaker to be taken seriously, while her star, Abbie Cornish, gives a performance that starts impressively, and gets even better as it goes along.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    To give the film its due, the direction is expert, the writing is shrewd, the cinematography is stylish, and the performances are extraordinary... Hard Candy is also sadistic in its own right, relentlessly ugly, entirely heartless and eventually unendurable. It's torture.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    Say what you will about Eliot Spitzer, he's a marvelous subject for a documentary, and Alex Gibney has made a film worthy of him.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    Even if snorkeling wasn't a major sport in 16th-century Sicily, where the action was originally set, the joyous spirit of the play has been preserved in this modest, homegrown production.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    They might also have called it "Groundhog Day 2," but that wouldn't have conveyed the film's martial frenzy, its fascinating intricacies or the special delights of its borderline-comic tone.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    A Knight's Tale wasn't made for people like me. It was made for the kids of summer.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    Lynn Shelton's lovely tale of swirling feelings was shot in a mere 12 days, on a budget that must have been minuscule. A couple of minutes after it's started, though, you know you're in the presence of people who will surprise and delight you.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    The summer's first action epic does exactly what it's supposed to do, more clearly than "M:i:I," and more likeably than "M:i:II."
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 49 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    A Hollywood production that appeals to our patriotism while respecting our intelligence.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    Sumptuously produced and beautifully visualized, this is a filmmaker's meditation on the culture that nurtured him. As a piece of entertainment, however, it's hoist by its own paradox -- an almost thrill-free thriller that seems seductive, yet stays resolutely remote.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    Though there's less to the film than seduces the eye, the allure of those surfaces can be hypnotic.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    Offers plenty of modest pleasures.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    In addition to the dismaying facts and figures is a fuller sense of what hunger can look like, and feel like, among the millions of Americans classified as "food-insecure" — those who may not know, for themselves or their children, where the next meal will come from.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    The initial brilliance of the premise is eventually dulled by illogic, the whole thing proves unmanageable and the filmmakers unmanage their climactic revelation with far more zest than finesse. Still, zest counts for a lot, and resonance carries the day.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    This isn't great filmmaking, but, under Rick Famuyiwa's direction, it's more than good enough.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    Edward Norton makes an art of self-containment. No contemporary actor gives less away to more effect, and he's at his closely held best in 25th Hour, a drama of redemption, directed by Spike Lee, that seldom rises to the level of his performance.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    It's not only fresh and unassuming, but a film that serves, very nicely, the severely underserved audience of young girls.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    Jacob Kornbluth's lively documentary is both a polemic and a teaching tool.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    I just can't hide my disappointment, though, that the movie doesn't sustain anything like the brilliance of its best scenes, or even the promise of its preface.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    The fascination here is not so much the surface drama, though that is suspenseful and sometimes shocking, but Michele's inability to grasp the nature and extent of the evil that surrounds him.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    Here's a debut feature from Norway, a coming of age comedy so fresh and droll that the actors seem not to have been directed at all, but simply observed as they went about their odd lives.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    The Song of Sparrows becomes a parable of corruption, catastrophe and eventual redemption. Mr. Majidi's tale wasn't meant to be timely, of course, but the shoe fits, and the film wears it well.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    This debut feature, occasionally arch but consistently affecting, shares the deadpan esthetic of "Napoleon Dynamite" and "Ghost World."
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    What The Art of the Steal documents most dramatically is the irresistible pull of irreplaceable art.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    It's hard to imagine spending $120 million on a film starring a computer-generated mouse -- an actor who barely demands a byte to eat -- but if that's how much it takes to provide innocent enchantment for the global hordes, so be it. This sequel beats the original paws down.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    A good deal of the freshness comes from a grand, clownish slob played by Thomas Haden Church -- he's actually the smartest person of the piece -- while Dennis Quaid occupies the center with a mastery that's all the more notable for its humanity.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Ms. Judd commands the screen with consistent authority, and Mr. Freeman brings expansive humor to the role of a self-styled wildcard who's still dangerous in court.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    As a piece of summer entertainment, this strenuously upbeat prequel to Pixar's "Monsters, Inc." passes with vibrant colors and will, of course, excel at the box office...But as an offering from Pixar, the studio that set the platinum standard for contemporary animated features, it's an awful disappointment — and one more reason to worry about Pixar's future under Disney ownership.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Dopamine could do with a bit more of whatever hormone governs pacing, but Mr. Decena is a director with a future. He knows how to connect with his actors.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Reese Witherspoon is funny and touching as the scrappy Kansan who befriends the bewildered arrivals, and the movie's three Lost Boys, no longer lost or boys, are intensely appealing.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    The most disturbious part of Disturbia is how engaging this teenage thriller manages to be, even though it's a shameless rip-off of "Rear Window."
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 48 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    That's what is missing from The Longest Yard most egregiously. Charm has been kept on the bench.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 46 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Something of a shambles -- a shambles about a shambles -- but bound for big success and deservedly so.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Attal's real-life problem is his simplistic script, which makes the husband a childish fool and a bit of a bore.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Taken on its own terms, Bolt the movie certainly makes the cut.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie reminded me of a relatively new product, the little translucent wafer that you put on your tongue to freshen your breath. One hit of intense flavor and the thing dissolves without a trace.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 85 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Astonishing visually and problematic dramatically.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Christopher Nolan's latest exploration of the Batman mythology steeps its muddled plot in so much murk that the Joker's maniacal nihilism comes to seem like a recurrent grace note.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Your reaction to the film will depend on your tolerance for scatology -- some of this stuff is very funny, although most of it is grindingly, numbingly awful -- and your interest in standup comics.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Compelling as the subject may be, its abstract nature would challenge the most skillful of dramatists, and Mr. Niccol’s script seldom rises above slogans, argumentation and standard-brand domestic tension.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    This slapdash farce, arriving three decades after Sellers last inhabited the role, sustains a baseline of good will that often spikes into delight at Mr. Martin's beguiling nonsense.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Ms. Levy's film gets to say affecting things about the mysteries of identity, and the ironies of ancient enmity. If we can assume, from the nature of the premise, that Joseph and Yacine will soon accept their situation and become friends, we can also assume, from the course of history, that the Israelis and Palestinians will continue to resist doing the same.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Puss made his debut in "Shrek 2," then did time in the two decreasingly funny sequels. Now he's got a movie of his own, and not a moment too soon.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    I Love You Phillip Morris is tragedy, or something close to it, decked out in comedy's clothes.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    I can't recommend it without reservation, but it's a must-see for those who have followed Mr. Troell's career, and a should-see for those who can look past its oddities to its cumulative power.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Against all odds this panoply of punishment is almost thrilling, even though it's raging bull of a different kind.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Little by little, though, he (Ledger)and those around him achieve a critical mass -- an extremely light critical mass -- and the plot pops with entertaining complications.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Cleverly conceived, skillfully made and performed with unflagging verve, it's a change of pace (slower) and scale (smaller) for Mr. Scott, the director of such pounding epics as "Gladiator" and "Black Hawk Down." Yet this intimate, intricate con about a couple of petty con men selling water filtration systems is also remote and forgettable in the end, a lapidary icicle.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    It's interesting to see how a potent premise -- those among us who behave like aliens probably are -- can sustain, more or less, an erratic, disjointed sequel.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Most of the film, a debut feature directed by Christophe Barratier, is quite shamelessly formulaic. The Chorus redeems itself, though, with Mr. Jugnot's astute, understated performance.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie snaps sharply to life every now and then, and its unfashionable decency really gets to you.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Absurdist, but also condescending and self-infatuated; The Royal Tenenbaums is at least three times too clever for its own good.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 44 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    To give the film its full due, the people who made it — the writer, John Swetnam, and the director, Steven Quale — got wind of a genuine trend and ran with it. Everyone on screen is busy filming everyone else. It's a shakier-camera version of "The Blair Witch Project" in the era of YouTube.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    It looks so stylish that thinking about its plot is strictly optional.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    For all of the care and imagination that have been lavished on the production, which was designed by Arthur Max and photographed by Dariusz Wolski, the film’s impact is best expressed by frequent aerial shots that are visually impressive and emotionally remote.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    To make silk purses from turgid passages, Mr. Scott does what he always does, gooses them up with every trick in the big-budget book.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    A very short and cheerfully scruffy comedy-thriller.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    While the movie is dreadfully clumsy or sentimental around the edges, there's no denying the strength of Mr. Gibson's performance or the power of the savage combat, a 90-minute sequence that's even more graphic than the horrific firefight in Somalia in "Black Hawk Down."
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Does the film add up to something more than a stunt? Maybe not. I was captivated by the several hours I recently saw of Christian Marclay's 24-hour-long "The Clock," a video mashup in which thousands of clips from hundred of movies contain watches and clocks telling the same time that spectators can read on their wrists. Life in a Day doesn't aspire to such intricacy, but it's fascinating all the same, an electronic update of Alexander Pope's maxim that the proper study of mankind is man.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Murray gives a fascinating performance, even though his FDR was conceived and written as a fairly small guy at the center of a small film that, for all its considerable charm, miniaturizes its hero in the process of humanizing him.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Adam succeeds at getting inside its hero's mind and, more impressively still, gives us entrée to his singular soul.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    One's confidence in factuality is weakened by a cliché-ridden narrative that reads Ma di Tau's mind during her buffalo hunt, and by incessant manipulation of the imagery-not only the use and abuse of slo-mo, but digital enhancement of colors in concert with an almost obsessive concentration on stalking and killing.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Has density enough for several films. What's missing is spontaneity, and variety. And, throughout most of the narrative, velocity.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 31 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    I do wish Mr. Robbins's one-note co-stars had been worthy of his performance, and that some of the melodramatics hadn't been quite so slapdash.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 44 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Somewhat sluggish but reasonably scary.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie is much too long, but mostly, and sometimes very, entertaining.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    You may see The Orphanage for what it is, an enjoyable contraption, without believing a bit of it.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    What's wrong with this picture? Nothing, as long as you don't expect more than a tossed-off goof.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    It's not a great film, but there's something to be said for a cool-button treatment of a hot-button issue.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 90 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    It's "My Dinner With Andre" for the relationship generation.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 42 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    It isn't a great film, or even a greatly original one. Still, it has many grace notes, and interesting oddities.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    The idea goes only so far--roughly halfway through the 98-minute running time--in staining narrative clarity. Daybreakers finally comes up with some comments on the predatory practices of Big Pharma, but that's an awful comedown from the blood-rushing brilliance of the early scenes.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Yossi spends much of its 84 minutes with a passive hero. This older Yossi is a vestige of the man he once was, an overweight and hollow-eyed vestige who drags himself through his daily rounds and solitary nights. Mr. Knoller's performance is admirable, and Yossi does find new reasons to embrace life. But his rebirth comes only after a very long requiem.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    In this second installment of the trilogy, lithe bodies endowed with superior brains do all sorts of spectacular things, but the movie has the dead soul of a video game.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    The cast is entertaining, though with an asterisk, and the special effects are often spectacular, though sometimes not.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    A powerful drama, albeit a flawed one with a clumsy, didactic script.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    A tatty but good-natured time-passer.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 50 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    The last thing I want to do is represent The Stoning of Soraya M. as entertainment, summer or otherwise. This is classic tragedy in semimodern dress that means to horrify, and does so more successfully than any film in recent memory.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    The director and co-writer, Niels Mueller, has also done his work well, but the film feels insubstantial at 95 minutes, even though -- or maybe because -- it bristles with borrowed ideas and unavoidable associations.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Uncritical, but not unaffecting.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Chan proves yet again that he has the virtuosic grace -- and goofiness -- of any of the great clowns of the silent era, and a complete refusal to abide by the laws of gravity. Do let us be clear, however, that the movie's plot, minus a few roundhouse kicks, is straight out of the Scooby-Doo playbook.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Though his movie wraps challenging ideas and ingenious visual conceits in a futurist film-noir style, it's pretentious, didactic and intentionally but mercilessly bleak in ways that classic noir never was.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Simultaneously beguiling and frustrating -- the product of an imagist and dramatist uncomfortably conjoined.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Ms. Moore, for her part, doesn’t need fine writing to create marvelous moments; some of her most powerful scenes are wordless ones in which Alice is looking anxious, confused or utterly haunted. When the script provides exceptional material, however, this extraordinary actress takes it to a memorably high level.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Ms. Ferrera is an engaging performer; you find yourself rooting for Ana from the start, even though you know, from the predictable script by George LaVoo and Josefina Lopez, that rooting isn't required for a happy outcome.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    The script is somewhat predictable and the pace is leisurely, but Ms. Judd makes Lucy's choices seem momentous, and Ms. Adams gives us several beautiful scenes.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    A high school comedy that is sharply observed and often terrifically funny, yet oddly misconceived.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Joy has been replaced by a sense of laboriousness, even though the action sequences move along energetically enough and the movie does have moments of comic-book charm. [9 Feb 1996, p.A12]
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Watching this mélange of journalism and dramatic license can be enthralling and maddening at the same time, because the ring of truth, which the film has, is not the same as the truth, which remains unknown.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Walks a fine line between bold indie film, with the attendant in-your-face roughness, and sodden Lifetime Original Movie.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Some of the movie's most stirring scenes take place during Betty Anne's prison visits, when the laughter has stopped and her innocent brother contemplates his shattered life.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Ms. Campion has shown a gift for pictorialism -- static pictorialism; she's not a fluid filmmaker - and an abiding fascination with sexual repression. She brings both to this long, slow, distanced version of the Henry James novel. [27 Dec 1996]
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    It Follows finally loses track of itself in a silly climax. All the same, it’s one more stylish reminder of how readily we the people can be creeped out.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    For all its various failures, Fever Pitch taps expertly into our nostalgia for an era when baseball really was the American pastime, unsullied by money, drugs or celebrity.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    This is a film that adds to our understanding of human nature. Yet its impact is lessened by a lack of factual context, and by an inspirational climax that may leave one feeling good and uneasy in equal measure.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    The finished film afflicted my own mind with an unwilling suspension of belief. I couldn't connect with it on any level, despite Sam Rockwell's terrific performance as an emotional desperado who wants only to be loved.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    In her casually daring - and mostly endearing - debut feature, the Norwegian director Anne Sewitsky mixes and purposely mismatches light and dark moods to tell the story of a rural wife and mother looking for happiness in the wrong places, and finally in the right one.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    The best parts are the in-between ones, neither laugh-out-loud funny nor overtly heart-wrenching.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    There's no shortage of felicitous lines or interesting performances, yet the movie, like the amusement park of its title, feels constructed from familiar parts.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    For those who’ve lived with the series for more than a decade, this fateful pause may heighten the suspense. For a Muggle like me, the storm does gather slowly.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    With all its misfires, though, and with a Strangelovian twist that's a dud, Big Trouble remains a reasonably pleasant way to spend an hour and a half and still get change.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    In a film that's carefully crafted but also airless and overcalculated, Mos Def walks away with every scene he's in because we're never sure what his character is up to, and we're never told.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. McKay is in his mid-30s, and doesn't conceal it, so what's the point? By taking the KIND out of WUNERKIND, the movie also removes the WUNDER.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    The Lego Film has a specialness all its own. There's never been a hodgepodge quite like it.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Has the inherent limits of all movies that feed on movies, rather than life -- it's original, yet it's not.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 84 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Needlessly long, visually drab and not just a foreign-language film, with English subtitles, but a film that's ostensibly foreign to our experience. That said, there are compelling reasons to see it.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Thanks to the redundancy, though, Blood Diamond is dramatically diffuse, and at least 30 minutes too long. Thanks to Mr. DiCaprio's raffishly dashing soldier of fortune, the movie is worth watching all the same.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    I wanted to believe in Bad Santa. At least half of the time I did.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Eye caviar that doesn't pretend to be much else.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Merits admiration as an ambitious debut feature, though the impact of its splendid cast is blunted by the awkward structure of its screenplay.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    It's a movie devoted to showing it, shaking it and selling it with huge zest and self-delight, a movie that raises MTV-style dada to the status of superheated mama, even though, toward the end, it wears awfully thin rather than svelte.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Glorifies its subject without quite knowing what to make of her. There's no question, though, about Ms. Blanchett in the title role. When she's on screen, the Fourth Estate flourishes.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    The result is a film that may stay in the mind's eye longer than it lingers in the heart.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Who knew that one of Billie Holiday's most haunting songs was written in Budapest in the 1930s? I didn't until I saw Gloomy Sunday, a German film, shot in Hungary and directed by Rolf Schubel, that I enjoyed quite a lot, even though it's all over the map in more ways than one.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    A curious combination of strident preachment and smartly farcical thriller; it's heavy-handed and light-footed at the same time.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 44 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Although mood often substitutes for momentum in Ms. Kalem's film, both of her stars give affecting performances, and there's growth on both sides of the unlikely romance.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 48 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie finally comes together into something that is genuinely -- and almost quietly -- stirring.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 50 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Any shortfalls in Home on the Range a conventional but perfectly pleasant entertainment, have more to do with the ABC's of storytelling than with the D's of animation.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Ritchie is back with more of the same in his second feature, a comedy called "Snatch" that's a sort of lethal pinball machine in which even more picturesque characters bounce from pillage to post.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    An attractive, intelligent film that's intractably at odds with itself.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    At its best, Fahrenheit 9/11 is an impressionist burlesque of contemporary American politics that culminates in a somber lament for lives lost in Iraq. But the good stuff -- and there's some extremely good stuff -- keeps getting tainted by Mr. Moore's poison-camera penchant for drawing dark inferences from dubious evidence.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Entertaining when it's really lurid, and Gerard Depardieu is something to behold as the proprietor of a broken-down hotel. He's a spectacular ruin in his own right.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    If Ice Age lacks the fit and finish of top-of-the-line films from Pixar, DreamWorks or Disney, it's still an impressive piece of work for a new feature animation group, and a harbinger of cool cartoons to come.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Thus does a book of literary distinction become not-so-grand-Guignol.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    At many points along the way I wanted to wash my hands of Scotland, PA., but then this sly, silly comedy got me smiling again.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    The cast is superb: especially Kate Winslet, who transcends, by far, the limits of her character's narrow soul. Yet The Reader remains schematic, and ultimately reductive.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Endearing, though sometimes belabored.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    So many movies these days are overworked or overblown: The Hammer feels genuinely tossed-off. It isn't a great movie, or even a consistently good one. Yet it gets to elusive feelings about failure and success, hope and mortality (and reveals a quietly subversive attitude toward the boxing-movie genre).
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Maquiling's gotta learn more about dramatic arcs, but he has an infectious interest in how the world looks and works, and he can make you laugh unexpectedly. I look forward to his next film.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    The film contends admiringly, and convincingly, that Ralph Nader's authentic sense of outrage is the reason he persists when he can't prevail.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Watching this surrealist silliness, I would have welcomed the sight of a geezer on a riding mower.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Surprising as it may be, given an unpromising trailer, the 3D update of Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth turns out to be perfectly charming as well as predictably eye-popping.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    This is silliness of such a special grade, performed with such zest, that it makes you forgive and even forget the movie's foolishness and borderline incoherence.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Grungily stylish and often funny, at least for a while, though all of the caveats and contradictions that apply to Tarantino films apply here: One man's--or boy's--stylization is another's profane, unrelenting and tedious brutality.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    The butler, Cecil Gaines, is a fictional creation, an African-American Forrest Gump who bears special witness to the civil-rights movement while serving on the White House staff under seven presidents. The contrivance is stretched to its breaking point over a running time of 132 minutes; some of the episodes cross a different line from almost plausible to downright silly. That's not the whole story, though.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    This is less a film in the lustrous Pixar tradition than a Disney fairy tale told with Pixar's virtuosity. As such, it's enjoyable, consistently beautiful, fairly conventional, occasionally surprising and ultimately disappointing.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    With all its flaws, though, The Grey Zone deserves to be respected, and to be seen.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Affecting but formulaic.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Mama itself is above average as a piece of filmmaking, even if its scare quotient is middling or below. That's OK with me. I was content to be impressed by the skill of the first-time director, Andrés Muschietti; absorbed by the performances and smitten by some startling images.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Mike Leigh's latest film preserves the mystery of why another marriage has flourished over decades. That's not the stated subject of Another Year, but it's at the center of this enjoyable though insistently schematic comedy.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Eventually, though, Ghost Town buckles beneath the weight of contrivance -- so many ghosts to dispel, so many lessons to learn.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    A smart entertainment that trades on Mr. Jackson's forceful presence, a cast of extremely likable young actors and lots of basketball action.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    The new version is out of scale with the basic premise -- too much rain, too much water, too much doom, gloom and intricate eccentricity.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    This English heart-warmer isn't all that kinky. It's actually quite sweet-spirited, as well as unswervingly formulaic.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    It's a diverting mess, sometimes even a delightful mess.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Its ironic complexities tease the brain without pleasing the heart.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Will the extremely extravagant special effects prove sufficient to sustain the picture? Surely they will, this time. Still, there's a sense of fatigue in the scenes that don't involve high-tensile webs and high-tension suspense.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    It’s a marvelous story about science and humanity, plus a great performance by Benedict Cumberbatch, plus first-rate filmmaking and cinematography, minus a script that muddles its source material to the point of betraying it. Those strengths make the movie worth seeing, but the writing keeps eating away at the narrative’s clarity — and integrity — until it’s impossible to separate the glib fictions from the remarkable facts.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    The problem isn't a lack of substance, and certainly not a dearth of talent, but a shortage of fun.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Though Hannibal the movie is unresolved in ways the book is not, that isn't Mr. Hopkins's fault. He's still a star for all seasons, and seasonings.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    I know this sounds like great fun, and some of it is, but there's nowhere near enough good stuff to fill the 114-minute running time.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    A movie you want to like, and a movie you can enjoy if you cut its slackness some slack.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    This Flubbery fantasy won't win any prizes for elegant craftsmanship or originality, but it's entertaining, good-natured and a slam dunk to be a hit with young kids.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Del Toro is a fearless actor, and his Jerry, a heroin addict lurching toward redemption, is the heart and soul, as well as the haunted, rubbery visage, of a story of grief and loss that would be fairly lifeless without him.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    By all that's unholy, this third edition of the high-emission franchise should have been at least as awful as the second one was. (The first one was good fun.) Yet it's surprisingly entertaining in its deafening fashion, despite the absence of Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, the co-stars of parts one and two.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    It's a deafening, sometimes boring, occasionally startling and ultimately impressive war movie with a concern for what it is that makes us human.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Anger is the rocket fuel of drama. Of the four women in Nicole Holofcener's Friends With Money, only Frances McDormand's Jane is flamingly angry, and she's the most vivid character in the group.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Trumbo doesn't pretend to be tough-minded about its subject, and its failure to date the letters is an annoyance. But the substance of those letters, along with documentary footage and a touching appearance by Kirk Douglas, throws a baleful light on a bleak chapter of American history.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    In the wake of Walker’s death, it constitutes a farewell of fitting elegance.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    A little humanity can go a long way to make up for a movie's shortcomings, and there's more than a little in Ladder 49, a surprisingly stirring celebration of heroic firefighters.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Ayoade's new film, adapted from Dostoyevsky's novella "The Double," is at least as startling as "Submarine" in its visual design, eerie environments and unusual premise. But it's lifeless, for the most part, a drama suffocated by its schematic style.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Much of the action is interesting, and surprisingly well grounded in science...Yet the script works few variations on its basic idea until the climax, which is crazily out of scale -- the urban-traffic equivalent of a nuclear holocaust.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    The scenery, effects and balletic, iconic combats are perfectly wonderful, but there's an emotional black hole where the hero should be.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    The film as a whole has the gravitas of a really thoughtful rock video.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    This cheerfully chaotic, gleefully vulgar action-comedy retread of the old television series has box-office success written all over it, and where's the harm? It's irresistibly funny until it isn't.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Surprisingly, though, most of the material avoids the treacle zone, while Jason Segel, as the man-child in residence, gives a performance that I can only describe as gravely affecting.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    My heart was warmed by gratuitous moments when Mr. Carrey clowns for clowning's sake - in the best of them, he makes a slo-mo entrance to a press conference, even though the camera is running at normal speed.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    What's on screen, though, is a cautious approach to cinema wizardry -- broad, colorful strokes and flash-bang effects that turn J.K. Rowling's words into a long, cheerful spectacle with a Muggle soul.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    This, too, is a mood piece, sometimes surreal and dominated by Chow's lovelorn sadness. But it's hard to find an emotional or narrative handle to hang on to, since the filmmaker keeps reaching for dramatic energy that keeps eluding him.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    For all its rich trappings, A Little Princess is impoverished at the core. [18 May 1995, p.A14]
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    For its delicate tone, provocative themes, impeccable craftsmanship and superb performances-by Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley-Never Let Me Go earned my great admiration. I wish I'd been affected in equal measure, but I wasn't, and it's not the sort of film you can will yourself to enjoy.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    Ting's exploits grow ever more violent and repetitive, but a lot of Ong-Bak is very enjoyable.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    It doesn't make Cars a bad picture -- the visual inventions are worth the price of admission -- but it constitutes conduct unbecoming to a maker of magic.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    This is Coupland's first screenplay, and it shows -- in a cheerfully discursive quality, but also in a reliance on gestures, contrivance and dialectic speeches rather than dramatic development and conflict.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Monster House benefits from strong graphic design and lovely lighting, but the script is nothing to write home about.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    A textbook case of a film that's befuddled by its subject.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    In spite of the film's surface allure -- no, not the leather, the period evocation -- and a fine performance by Gretchen Mol in the title role, Bettie is in bondage to a shallow, black-and-white script.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The more elaborate the plot becomes, the sillier it gets.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The sweet spirit that made last year's "Elf" such a success has curdled considerably.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie wears thin as its style turns from light parody into affectation, and the plot, which certainly generates lots of anxiety, eventually settles for facile irony.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    James Caviezel makes us care more about that innocent romantic, Edmond Dantes, than we may care to care about the rest of the picture, which entertains in fits and starts, with startling ruptures in tone.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Fuqua, who did such a fine job directing Mr. Washington and Ethan Hawke in "Training Day," loses control of an increasingly slapdash script, and the whole movie turns into a slaughterhouse. The question isn't who wants it — box office action is assured — but who needs it?
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    All the pieces would seem to be in place for an effective film, but the direction is zestless, the pace is more often laggardly than leisurely, and the lead performances are surprisingly lifeless, although Mr. Isaac manages to make a virtue of his scammer's deliberate vagueness.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    This would-be epic is beautifully photographed, elegantly crafted and adventurously cast. Unfortunately, though, it plays like a gargantuan trailer for a movie still to be made.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Field is a filmmaker with an exceptional gift for directing actors -- he's an actor himself -- and an eye for telling detail. (His cinematographer here, as in the previous film, is Antonio Calvache, and again the images are quietly sumptuous.) Yet I was put off by Little Children's satiric tone.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Andrew Niccol's In Time looks great, sounds stilted and plays like a clever videogame with too many rules.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    My First Mister, which was written by Jill Franklyn, watches Jennifer with lively interest, but rarely pierces the mysteries of her soul.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 39 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    His (Eddie Murphy's) performance in Daddy Day Care isn't bad. He's restrained, and even tender in some of the scenes he plays with the kids. But restraint is the last thing we want from a comic of his caliber. It's no fun at all.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 81 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie comes on like a put-on--next to nothing happens for an excruciatingly long time--and ends as a fascinating dialectic between following one's conscience or following the law.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    You could also say it's like they're likable tourists on a quest to plunder an endearing movie that didn't need this mediocre remake.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Ask the Dust is beautifully shot -- sepia becomes the ravishing, affecting Ms. Hayek. Unfortunately the images of the heaving waves of the Pacific in the moonlight, of mountains rising over scrub and cactus in the sunlight here, serve only to emphasize the emptiness of the drama unfolding in the foreground.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Looks magical, seethes with elusive profundities and makes remarkably little sense, though the murkiness makes perfect sense on a shallower level.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    To the Arctic 3-D is an impassioned plea for action on global warming, and the passion is intensified by the music.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    From time to time the movie grabs you (though the music keeps repelling you). Taking stock and letting go-of superfluous things, of worn-out love-is a strong theme. But the progression of the script is like Nick's self-help program. We're familiar with the steps.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    What's on screen, though, is a peculiar clutter of gentle sentiment, awkward dialogue, shaky contrivance — especially the resolution of Joey's feelings — and monotonous performances from a supporting cast that includes Marisa Tomei and Darren Burrows.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    It's sometimes exciting but rarely thrilling, a victory of formula over finesse.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Whatever the cause, the movie turns sour when the singers aren't singing. And the first-person accounts don't work at all, even though much of their substance comes from the show.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Weaves a sensual spell of extraordinary delicacy, then sustains it -- up to a point.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Doesn't measure up to the depth of detail, let alone the drama, of "Unzipped," the 1995 documentary about Isaac Mizrahi. Still, this new documentary conveys an ample sense of the process.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Much of the fun is awfully silly. The story strains logic, as well as credulity. It's been cobbled together, often crudely, from pieces of classic predecessors. (Here snippets of Hitchcock, there stretches of "Speed," with wings on the bus.) Yet the silliness parades itself in a spirit of cheerful self-awareness, while Liam Neeson fills the thrill quotient impressively as an air marshal.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Terrific actors give glum performances.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Takes liberties with its hero, which is hardly a crime (the real-life Barrie was extremely childlike), but the movie chases after magic with overproduced fantasy sequences, and a feel-good, literalist climax that betrays the very notion of imagination as a force superior to reality.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Two dramatic problems beset Roman Polanski's darkly handsome new film of the Dickens novel. The boy is as passive as ever, and bleak in the bargain -- instead of glowing like the Oliver of the musical, he takes light in -- while Ben Kingsley's Fagin and Jamie Foreman's Bill Sikes manage to make villainy a bit of a bore.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 80 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Remaking a cherished movie is not, to borrow a fancy phrase from the dialogue, malum in se - wrong in itself - but there are always losses along with the changes and gains.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    A small story, a monodrama with a hero but no antagonists.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Once again, Queen Latifah survives some remarkably clumsy filmmaking. More than survives; she manages to prevail.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    All of it amounts to a been-there-done-that-better recapitulation of Mr. Spielberg's career.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The whole dumb movie is a baloney cake, but the enticing icing on it is Reese Witherspoon, who manages to have a few moments of spontaneous fun in this half-baked store-bought comedy.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The folk-wisdom level is tolerable, just as the clichés and manipulations are palatable, because the story is full of life, and free of ironic additives.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Though the first-time director, Gabor Csupo, has achieved distinction as an animation artist, he lacks experience directing actors. The best adult performance in the film is that of Zooey Deschanel; she comes off -- again, agreeably -- as self-directed.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    It's a cheerful trifle tossed off by the Coen brothers in their self-enchanted mode, an approach to comedy that shrugs off comedy's cardinal rule -- Don't Act Funny.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The action looks impressive, even when nothing much is happening beyond local explosions or shattering glass, and the drama turns, affectingly, on a mysterious female sniper with a partitioned soul.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    What's good in the film, which was shot superbly by Matthew Libatique, is so good - so exuberant and touching and sweet - that you want the whole thing to be perfect, but Ruby Sparks is a closed system that gradually turns in on itself. There isn't enough of someone else.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Skips from episode to episode without illuminating the essence of the woman or her art.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Doremus is an exceptional director of actors; almost every scene in Breathe In comes alive, with or without the help of music. But the film needs more help than it gets from the script, which turns on facile coincidence and dwindles in originality as it moves toward its climax. Next time around, let's hope this gifted filmmaker hangs his characters' lives on stronger dramatic bones.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    What we see, though, is the same old same old - beautiful faces turning gaunt and haunted, strung-out hero and heroine, stupid parents, de-tox worse than tox, descent to and return from the depths. Candy could be seen, I suppose, as a cautionary tale; take this as a cautionary review.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    So the awful truth about The Truth About Charlie is that it needed two movie stars and got one.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Oversweetened or not, "Mary Poppins" remains a deservedly beloved work of art. Nanny McPhee is an overproduced industrial enterprise.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Igby has his own prickly charisma and bleak humor; he's a character you'd like very much to embrace. But he's surrounded by insufferable fools in the airless Manhattan universe of a film that's as offputtingly precocious as its preppy hero.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    A sentimental -- and modestly enjoyable -- fantasy of mutual need.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Deeply felt convictions and first-rate craftsmanship-craftswomanship, in the case of the Spanish director, Icíar Bollaín-win out over contrivance in this parallel drama of exploitation in the New World discovered by Columbus, and in the Bolivia of 2000.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The plot really is basic, so the bafflement of the movie lies in its combination of visual riches and dramatic -- as well as thematic -- impoverishment.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The production certainly looks sumptuous, and certifies Mr. Hartnett as a mainstream movie star. But the script is frequently impenetrable, the pacing is ponderous, and the film noir style can't conceal a crucial piece of misconceived casting.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Everyone's work is heartfelt, heaven knows, but the script, by Mr. Hoffman's brother, Gordy Hoffman, gives the movie's star little but lugubriousness to play...eventually the whole thing seems to be running on fumes.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Jindabyne started with a bad idea and the finished film doesn't do well by it.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Takes a sharp turn for the better when Ronnie and a poor big rich boy played by Liam Hemsworth fall in love.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie has its own deficits - a lack of variety, originality, subtlety, clarity and plain old charm.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Despite a synthetic optimism in the script, the movie's pervasive bleakness is relieved only by some bright performances.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Once Nacho gets the wrestling bug, though, it's all about Jack Black the irrepressible clown, and the comedy dies a slow death for lack of fresh ideas.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    I can't pretend that the third episode instilled a fever in my blood, but it didn't leave me cold. For the first time in the series I felt I'd seen a real movie.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Through it all, though, Kurt Russell gives Dark Blue a bleak integrity -- funny word, given the circumstances -- that almost serves as its redemption.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Why are certain films less than the sum of their appealing parts?
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    In fairness, the movie is good for more than a few laughs, but little substance lurks beneath the antic poses and frantic shenanigans in this remake of the classic 1955 English comedy.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    I can't say I was scared, but I wasn't bored. By way of full disclosure, Warner Bros. provided free popcorn at the screening. I gobbled up every greasy morsel.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    More unfortunately still, the elements of the story fit poorly, like a Tucker decked out as a sexmobile.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Stylish, highly accomplished and, thanks to its severely restrained palette, mostly off-putting.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 88 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Up
    I'm still left, though, with an unshakable sense of Up being rushed and sketchy, a collection of lovely storyboards that coalesced incompletely or not at all.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    This is not a simple picture. It's serious, disarmingly funny at times and certainly ambitious, yet diminished by some of the traits that have made the standard Sandler characters so popular.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 22 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    It's basically a cheerful slob job, one of those slapped-together features so often embraced by teenagers with more disposable income than discernible taste.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The only parts of the film that ring true -- and they sometimes ring touchingly true -- are the ones that give Mr. Allen simple human themes to work with.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Todd Graff's would-be inspirational film lift their voices in song that makes you smile, and squander their voices on dialogue that makes you cringe (but also smile in oddly pleasurable disbelief).
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Another is how the film manages, in the absence of a coherent plot, to be so funny and engaging until, somewhere around the midpoint, it goes as flat as a stepped-on creepy-crawly.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie's real star is the cinematographer, Elliot Davis -- his images carry more emotional freight than all the performances put together.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    It's thanks to her (Leoni) that we stay tuned to Mr. Allen's comic premise long after it has gone from delightfully outrageous to off-puttingly preposterous.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    It’s billionaire-glossy, as much an ode to consumerism as a study in sadomasochism; intermittingly titillating, with fugitive flashes of droll; and, bondage apart, a dutifully romantic tale of an old-fashioned girl who takes a particularly roundabout route to true love.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    In case you were holding your breath, Renée Zellweger's Bridget Jones is still sweetly earnest, chronically overweight and swinging once again from lovestruck to lovelorn.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    World Trade Center shows us many things we already know, though with impressive flair, then plunges underground for an unconvincing drama based on a multitude of facts. It's upbeat, all right, but badly off kilter.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Very funny and surprisingly likable until it goes Hollywood.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The violence wears you down. Like one of its nutso characters, Seven Psychopaths has a death wish.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Firth gives his all, and then some. He’s very funny, even touching, when the material allows him to be. Yet the production, directed by Matthew Vaughn (“Kick-Ass,” “X-Men: First Class”) from a screenplay he wrote with Jane Goldman, can’t contain its centrifugal force.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Pleasing moments don't add up to a feature film, even though this one strives desperately for substance and coherence by slathering its slender story with treacly family values.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Coogan, lavishly talented as a comic, and a comic actor, is fairly monotonous in the mostly serious role he wrote for himself. That leaves Ms. Dench to carry the picture, which she does, up to a point, with her usual delicacy and grace.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Like "Transformers," which it rivals in relentlessness, Battleship comes with its own force field, a furious energy that renders criticism irrelevant.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The main — and for my money only — attraction in Le Week-End, which was directed by Roger Michell, is the marvelous Scottish actress Lindsay Duncan. She is witty, fiercely intelligent and intensely sexy in the role of Meg, a woman stuck in a failing marriage.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The film is enjoyable enough, at least for young children.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Declarative sentences are as scarce as detectable feelings in this stylish, emptyish thriller -- it's Tarantino with the vital juices left out.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Fur starts stylishly, and confidently, but the film dwindles down to a chamber piece in a claustrophobic chamber. Enter at your own risk.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The star of this fantasy adventure for young audiences is a charmer from the moment she is hatched (from a huge blue egg that starts to rock like a Mexican jumping bean). Her name is Saphira, she speaks with the voice of Rachel Weisz, and it doesn't matter that she's too young to breathe fire -- at first -- or that she waddles a bit on the ground, because she lives and breathes the joy of flight, which is exactly what was missing from most of Harry Potter's solos on a broom.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 81 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    After two flat-out triumphs in a row, "All About My Mother" in 1999 and last year's breathtaking "Talk To Her," Pedro Almodóvar hasn't done it again. Yet lesser Almodóvar -- in this instance "Bad Education" -- is better than most of the movies we see.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    If only the showmanship were equal to the scholarship. As beautiful as the film is (despite notable variations in the quality of the cinematography), it is also sluggish, underdramatized after that initial suspense, and for the most part emotionally remote.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    It's a lovely pretext for dazzling visuals, yet the production is diminished by the clumsiness of an 8-bit script.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Pretty bad, and pretty funny.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The narrative engine leaves the rails when Irving, like Hughes, plunges into paranoia (though Irving actually is the object of a high-level plot) and the style turns to the sort of intensely manipulated surrealism that Charlie Kaufman practiced, not successfully, in "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind."
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Impressive landscapes, plus Kristen Wiig's appealing Cheryl, the fellow worker who inflames Walter's passion, make the movie enjoyable enough. Yet its style is a constant bafflement.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    One unwelcome surprise is how shopworn the story's components prove to be. Still, they're enhanced if not redeemed by Mr. Washington's stirring portrait of a skillful, prideful pilot hitting bottom.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Any meaningful perspective on the greedfest of the period is obscured by the gleefulness of the depiction.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The technology is seamless, the movements are eloquent and the problem may be my own misprogramming, but the robot still looked to me like a man in a robot suit.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    It's formula stuff, to be sure, but full of feeling for the sweep of the past as well as for the unsettled, yearning present.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 83 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Visually Hugo is a marvel, but dramatically it's a clockwork lemon.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Eloquent acting -- in fits and starts -- can't make up for the movie's glib, off-putting calculations.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The kind of inspirational movie that Hollywood made about the Army, Navy and Marines during World War II. Now, with inspiration in short supply, it's the Coast Guard's turn.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Mark Andrus's script is built on soggy sandstone, and Irwin Winkler's bulldozer direction keeps unearthing toxic epiphanies. That's not to say the movie isn't occasionally moving, as well as exasperating.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Alice and John are good company — especially Alice, thanks to Ms. Temple's buoyant humor and lovely poignancy. The problem comes when the couple gets greedy, the gods grow angry and the tone turns dark. It doesn't stay dark, but getting back to the brightness is a painful process.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The show is redeemed by its co-stars, up to a point. They struggle womanfully, and sometimes successfully, to find truth in the script's silly symphony of false notes.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The title isn’t “Broken,” so there’s not much doubt of the outcome. But it’s certainly regrettable, because this long and increasingly sluggish film version of the Laura Hillenbrand book celebrates an American life of singular heroism.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The Clearing has been directed by a successful producer. In this case it's Pieter Jan Brugge, who brings seriousness and intelligence to his newly chosen craft, but little verve.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The deeper problem with Rock Star is its insistence on turning a heavy-metal fairy tale into a morality tale that's as heavy as lead.
    • Wall Street Journal

Top Trailers