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

Joe Morgenstern's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Man on Wire
Lowest review score: 0 Just Married
Score distribution:
1,871 movie reviews
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    As long as this deity remains childish, materialistic and narcissistic, Jim's in his heaven and all's right with the world. It's when the story reaches for maturity, spirituality and altruism that the divine spark of comedy sputters and nearly goes out.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. McCanlies's style lurches between the lyrical, the fantastical (flashbacks to the uncles' youth) and the clumsily antic, and Mr. Osment's performance is woefully stiff and inexpressive.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Too many mind and the story grows tedious or absurd. No mind and the spectacle suffices.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The sweet spirit that made last year's "Elf" such a success has curdled considerably.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Impressive for Patrick Tatopoulos's production design but depressive for the juiceless story.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Lavishly produced -- overproduced, actually -- and persistently unexciting.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    There's a lot to appreciate here, especially Mr. Murray's variations on the sad but hopeful soul he played in "Rushmore" (and in "Lost In Translation"). Yet meanings get lost in a clutter of cleverness.
    • 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.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    If you're looking for logic or finesse, The A-Team can be numbing. If you're looking for good cheer, hold out for egg nog at Christmas. But if you're a fan of causeless effects, consequence-free causes and digital Dada, let the silly times roll.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The second film, in particular, grows tediously episodic, and the exploits become a blur. What never blurs is Mr. Cassel's presence. We're told that he bulked up for the part-though Mesrine was many things, lithe wasn't one of them-but it's his phenomenal zest for his checkered character that fills the screen.
    • 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
    Intimacy has vanished from the relationship between Tony and Pepper, and grace has been stricken from the movie as a whole.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Two movies for the price of one, though only one of them-a fragmented romance within a ponderous parable-qualifies as a bargain.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Douglas's performance in the sequel measures up to Gekko's rep, but the rest of the movie is pumped up to the bursting point with gasbag caricatures, overblown sermons and a semicoherent swirl of events surrounding the economy's recent meltdown.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    For all his years doing "E.R." and other top-line TV series, Mr. Wells hasn't yet tailored his techniques to the big screen.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Total fluff, though its totality is reasonably agreeable, and Pascal Chaumeil's comedy cum scenery-mainly Monte Carlo-gives the mercurial Romain Duris a chance to show his chops as an homme fatal.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Most of the scenes depicting the couple's domestic life are borderline-banal, and they miniaturize the political drama that plays out partly in public, partly in the shadows but almost always in a middle distance just beyond emotional reach.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Plays like "Norma Rae" on blood thinners. The movie is by no means bloodless; every once in a while a stirring scene comes along, though it's seldom a scene labeled as stirring by William Ivory's formulaic script and Nigel Cole's insistent direction.
    • 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.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The safe course is to recommend the film, which seems pitilessly long at 147 minutes, only for the transcendent quality of Javier Bardem's performance.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Most of those hardships are familiar to movie lovers; that's a reductionist view of a serious and ambitious production, but it is, after all, a movie on a screen. (And a movie with a dreadfully clumsy ending.)
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Sanctum is far from a good movie, just as 3-D is far from the movie industry's savior. But it certainly looks good, and watching it through those plastic glasses reopens your eyes to the promise of the third dimension.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    One difficulty with this film is that Doug is the least vital of the three main characters; he has mastered mildness as a second language. Another is the zone in which the film operates, equidistant between droll and dull. If that's a comfort zone for you, Cold Weather may be worth a look-see.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    This drama, directed by Pablo Trapero, is violent, and unconcerned with easy redemption. That makes it hard to watch, though fascinating for its performances, and the bottomless corruption it portrays.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The motion-capture animation is spectacular..Yet the action grows wearisome as it grinds on, and the film becomes a succession of dazzling set pieces devoid of simple feelings.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie has its own deficits - a lack of variety, originality, subtlety, clarity and plain old charm.
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Visually Hugo is a marvel, but dramatically it's a clockwork lemon.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    That's one of the puzzles of this piece. You'd think a film with talent to burn - would provide some electrifying encounters at the very least. No such luck. Words fly, some of them medium-witty, but lightning doesn't strike.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Andrew Niccol's In Time looks great, sounds stilted and plays like a clever videogame with too many rules.
    • 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.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The third iteration of a franchise that began so well becomes a hollow hymn to martial gadgetry. The suits and story clank in unison.
    • 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).
    • 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.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie lacks a resonant center. The script seems to have been written by committee, with members lobbying for each major character, and the action, set in vast environments all over the map, spreads itself so thin that a surfeit of motion vitiates emotion.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The younger man's personality is all the more startling for the skill and generosity with which Mr. Brolin creates a persuasively vital K while foreshadowing the grump to come. The script explains the change in elaborate detail, but the performance defies explanation; it's mysteriously marvelous.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Madagascar 3 is all about exuberant motion, cute characters and gorgeous colors. It aims for the eyes, not the heart.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Prometheus, in efficient 3-D, places most of its bets on the wonders that today's visual artists and technicians can work with digital tools. This tale of an interstellar search asks cosmic questions about the meaning of life, but comes up with lame answers in a script that screams attention-deficit disorder.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Jack's problem is that he's a commoner, but the movie's problem is that its script is commoner still, an enchantment-free pretext for animated action, straight-ahead storytelling and ersatz romance.
    • 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.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    While the action flashes back and forth in increments of centuries, years or months, we're adrift in the here and now, trying to get a grip on the characters and their relationships, yet finding it loosened with every new dislocation.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    "Could be worse" isn't exactly a ringing endorsement of Pacific Rim, but my head is still ringing, and hurting, from long stretches of this aliens vs. robots extravaganza that are no better than the worst brain-pounders of the genre.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Michael Winterbottom's films aren't always successful, but they're almost always interesting. And, in the case of this odd transplantation from Thomas Hardy's grim Wessex to the glare and blare of contemporary India, spectacular visually, though awfully somber dramatically.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Trouble With the Curve finally finds its zone when Gus and Mickey find the young baseball prodigy they've been looking for. That doesn't happen until the narrative's last inning, though, too late to save the movie. I'd call it "Neanderthalball."
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie's emotional content was manifest as an absence. What stayed with me most memorably was the father's insufferable bombast and the son's sad passivity.
    • 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.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The film, for all its visual felicities, comes to life only sporadically.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Shallow down inside, End of Watch is a music-video Frappuccino of quick cuts, sparkling banter, serial crises, grisly violence and tongue-jerk profanity. But the film is exciting, in its manipulative way, and exhausting.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The violence wears you down. Like one of its nutso characters, Seven Psychopaths has a death wish.
    • 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.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The director, Arie Posin, and his co-writer, Matthew McDuffie, have tried to do with their film — fill a bare-bones version of the Hitchcock film with an illusion of life. They do succeed sporadically.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    An absurdist fantasy on a solemn theme, Where Do We Go Now? suffers from a serious clash of styles, but it's also brave and startlingly funny - at one point verging on "Mamma Mia!" - when it isn't bleak or shocking.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Five or 10 children might have led to comedy; 533 of them make for farce. All the same, Mr. Huard is endearing in the role of a perpetual adolescent who finally wants to stand up to his responsibilities, which include the one baby he has fathered the traditional way, and in his own name.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The big difference is that "The Exorcist" took the nation by storm with fresh ideas and brilliant filmmaking. The Conjuring conjures with amped-up echoes of old ideas, and represents a bet that they still retain their creepy appeal for today's audience.
    • 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?
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Why are certain films less than the sum of their appealing parts?
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    There's also reason to worry when a simplistic movie like this one takes on an issue of overarching importance to the nation's future. The challenges presented by fracking are immense, and Capra-esque nostalgia isn't helpful.
    • 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.
    • 39 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.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie looks lovely, but it's luminous prose.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Any meaningful perspective on the greedfest of the period is obscured by the gleefulness of the depiction.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    I like Mr. Gordon-Levitt a lot as an actor, and I wish him only the best in his future work as a filmmaker. There is, however, the matter of this particular movie, an overheated disquisition on the pleasures and limitations of masturbation.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    Devolves from an electrifying character study into a disappointing tale of trackdown and revenge.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    "Another Earth" and "Moon" transcended their financial and physical limitations with mystery and ambiguity. Europa Report goes ploddingly where bolder films have gone before.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    There's so much of so many flavors of cleverness — a surfeit of surfeits — that sensory overload causes aesthetic suffocation.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    When the film finally gets around to monsters on a rampage, you'll get both more and less than you bargained for.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie is grimly efficient on its own terms, a string of ever more naked calculations. But it looks like a business school opened up and all the marketing grads were allowed to start their own studio.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The story is a shallow-draft bark with flat characters on board: Josh, in particular, is de-energized to the point of entropy. Night Moves suffers from a lack of mystery and a deficit of motion.
    • 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.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The Armstrong Lie wears thin before it's over; the wafer-thin nature of the cyclist's personality can't sustain a two-hour running time.
    • 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.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    It's admirable and even memorable, in its moody fashion, thanks to Roman Vasyanov's richly textured cinematography — he's a shooter to keep our eyes on — and three affecting performances.
    • 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.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie has a couple of problems. The lesser one arises from its opaqueness about the involvement of Mr. Stewart and “The Daily Show” in these events. The larger one lies in its narrative — enlivened from time to time by instructive absurdity, yet awfully familiar, overall, and padded with a notably clumsy dramatic contrivance.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 83 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.
    • 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.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    What happens when a genuinely dear John gets a Dear John? For the answer, just meander--no need for running or walking--to your local multiplex. That's where Dear John, based on the Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name, will be meandering on its downward path from sweetly tender to terminally turgid.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    I watched the film in an agitated space between engrossed and aghast.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    An exhaustive and exhausting dissection of a relationship that was never all that promising in the first place.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    It's overextended and exhaustingly comic.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    What's remarkable here is the consistency of the mediocrity.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    In a film that has the courage of its absurdity but not much else, Mr. Pattinson gets the best of what passes for style.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie is stifling, all right, and depressing in the bargain.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    There's simply too much stuff for a two-hour feature, and three writers, including Tony Gilroy, haven't figured out how to boil it down into a readily comprehensible narrative, or how to solve the problem of an ending that goes blah rather than bang.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Furiously raunchy, occasionally bright and eventually benumbing comedy.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The film is beset by incoherence and implausibilities that are perplexing, given the close relationship between the Wachowskis and the director, Mr. McTeigue.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    If Lords of Dogtown accomplishes nothing else, it shows how hard writing a fiction film can be, and what a vast artistic distance can stand between a bad fiction film and the first-rate documentary that inspired it.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    I wish I could report the arrival of an impressive movie, but this one, for all its ostensibly big ideas about mathematics and wounded minds, struck me as an elaborate pretext for a synthetic love story.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 82 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The absence of any nuance in the father's character bespeaks the filmmaker's unwillingness to trust his audience. Making the movie may have been therapeutic for him, but I can't say the same about watching it.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Malevolence is in generous supply throughout the film. Easy enjoyment is not.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 68 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    A long, slow slog through what could have been, and should have been, a more absorbing story.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 40 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Jennifer Aniston brings a needed liveliness to Derailed, though not enough to go around.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Sometimes comes on like a NASA commercial; those logos loom gigantic on the IMAX screen. More troublingly, the film fails to explain how computer animations were combined with actual imagery from the missions.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Little more than a showcase for Owen Wilson's amiable shtick, and a showcase in the merchandising sense of the term.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 61 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    It's so easy to be seduced by technique... What a disappointment, then, to find the technique pressed into the service of little substance and lots of fashionable cynicism.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 39 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The result is a mess -- sometimes an entertaining mess, but mostly a movie that makes a perfunctory mockery of the mockery currently passing for political discourse.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 68 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Ms. O'Hara, like almost everyone else, falls victim to a prevailing tone that's short on wit and long on self-congratulation.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Tests your patience to the breaking point -- maybe beyond.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    In what was clearly designed to be a chick flick, the on-screen chicks work hard at being endearing, while Jude Law, as Amanda's more than conversational partner, charms everyone effortlessly and gets the best lines.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Steven Soderbergh's new film is a puzzle wrapped in a mystery inside a perversity. The puzzle is Mr. Soderbergh's approach to what might have been an intriguing experiment, rather than the off-putting one it turned out to be.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Starts busily, and soon becomes a bafflement -- such an interesting cast, such technical excellence, so many intricate details and parallel plot threads, yet so little clarity or urgency.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The pursuit is manipulative and repetitive.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The film suffers from a style that settles for pleasant or touching at the cost of spontaneous or impassioned. Too bad, because Ms. Garner is a genuinely pleasing presence.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The situation in The Situation is grimly photogenic, yet persistently opaque.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 59 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Remember "The Flight of the Phoenix," the movie about the misshapen plane, built from scavenged parts, that flies its builders to safety? Music and Lyrics is like that plane, up to a point. The plot is misshapen, the pieces are scavenged and nothing quite fits. The film does manage to take off, albeit barely, then flits around cheerfully in search of coherence, but finally crashes and fizzles.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The result is lots of gunplay and explosions governed by little logic.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Despite Mr. Howard's best efforts in the role, though, the film rarely realizes its subject's potential.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    A ponderous pirate saga, 168 minutes long, with more doldrums than "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." Those doldrums are relieved from time to time by spectacular effects.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The director, Steven Soderbergh, and his large, cheerful cast have managed to make the least possible movie that still resembles a movie.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    What passes for the movie's reality is interlocking episodes of ersatz ecstasy and angst -- a Cupid-governed "Crash" -- plus snippets of wisdom dispensed by Mr. Freeman's character.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    There's no scarier myth for males, and Mr. Lichtenstein turns various images of emasculation into a black comedy that flirts, fairly tediously, with pornography.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The essence of Youth Without Youth, which was shot -- luminously -- in Romania, lies in its solemn speculations about aging, time and consciousness. Mr. Coppola is one of the cinema's peerless masters, and I would have enjoyed nothing more than a chance to celebrate his new film. I'm truly sorry to say, then, that I found it impenetrable.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    It's a fascinating story, but Mr. Nichols and his actors never stop reminding us how fascinating it is. With the exception of Mr. Hoffman, a master of understatement, everyone acts up a storm, yet context is lacking.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 41 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    If the movie gets by, as it surely will during the current entertainment drought, most of the credit should go to a couple of performers (Latifah/Keaton) who come from different traditions, yet share a gift for breathing life into moribund material.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    After covering much of its ground at a stylish canter, The Other Boleyn Girl finishes at a plod.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    At least Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day has the good grace to go wrong quickly, you don't have to sit there squirming with doubt.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    In contrast to the series, which was quick-witted, fast-paced and self-ironic -- oh, and sexy -- the movie is earnest, often aimless (couldn't anyone cook up a plot?), visually bland (except for the fashion shows) and, at two minutes short of 2½ hours, a decreasingly amiable meander.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Dumbfoundingly erratic, for the most part, but smart and funny from time to time.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The world didn't need a superficial big-screen adaptation of a rich, dense book that's about, among many other things, the passage of time. The perplexity is why the film is so lifeless and remote.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Not even she (Patricia Clarkson), however, can save a movie that suffers from terminal self-enchantment.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    As a first-time feature director, though, he (Ball) seldom lets the material speak for itself. Every shot is a statement, every scene sells an attitude.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Mannered, episodic and slow.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Instead of scintillation, the movie gives us a succession of discrete set pieces, as if the action takes place in rooms but not in the halls connecting them.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Kinnear is fine; he's an actor we always like, and he gives a skillful, heartfelt performance. The problem is the material -- dramatic in the describing but painfully predictable in the telling.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Enjoyable enough for what it is, a clever idea developed by fits and starts.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The plot borrows as freely from Hitchcock and Henry James as from the Bard of Avon, and doesn't make scrupulous sense, though I'd have to see the film again, which I won't do, to make sure it doesn't cheat.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The possibilities of the dating game are endless and the potential for pain is great, yet the permutations of the movie's plot are predictable and repetitive.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Angels & Demons is a serious slog. Still, it's an odd kind of a slog that manages to keep you partially engaged, even at its most esoteric or absurd.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    This is filmmaking by the numbers meant to succeed by the numbers.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The biggest battle in Monsters vs. Aliens is banality vs. originality, and banality carries the day.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    No one could save Is Anybody There? from its treacly self and Michael Caine doesn't, but he gives it a grand try.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    There’s also a sense of ineptness in a script that constantly reaches, with only modest success, for amusing things that the mammoths and their friends can do.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Fabrice Luchini is thwarted by an unwieldy plot.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Unfortunately, the movie could use a bit of pachyderm memory, given its habit of flashing back to Tien's childhood with exactly the same footage used in previous flashbacks. Instead of the narrative being deepened, it keeps getting shallowed.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The most surprising thing about Alice in Wonderland is its general lack of surprise.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    For a while Green Zone generates genuine excitement, as well as plenty of provocation--a fatuous surrogate for Ahmed Chalabi, a pervasive scorn for American planning--but then goes off its own reservation into a won't-fly zone of awkward preachments and hapless absurdities.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    How bad must a movie be to be good fun? How dumb to be smart? (Or, in the case of "Dumb and Dumber," how pretend-dumb to be surpassingly smart?) Whatever the case, Hot Tub Time Machine doesn't make the cut.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Crystal underplays his role wisely and well, while Mr. De Niro parodies -- maybe the better word is pillages -- himself and his career with scary gusto.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Like many dreams that enliven filmmakers' nights, this one derives from other, better films, though it does have a few clever twists.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The shallow-seated problem with Murder by Numbers is that it's serious and doggedly intricate but not much fun.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Starts out stylishly, and promisingly, but then coarsens into a silly parody of film noir.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    What's strong and true in Harrison's Flowers -- the hideous chaos of war, the stirring heroism of photographers and journalists -- falls victim to what's familiar, melodramatic and false.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 40 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The revelations of The Invisible Circus don't justify the quest.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    There's nothing wrong with beguiling star turns, but I wish this one had been surrounded by more of a movie. Birthday Girl is a harmless trifle that makes 93 minutes go by as if they were hardly more than an hour and a half.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Movies like this have been around forever too. They're a normal condition of winter's doldrums, which, in the fullness of time, will pass.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 37 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The script's foolish contrivances crush its content.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Kevin Spacey's pinched portrayal of Quoyle as a scared palooka rarely transcends its own artifice.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 33 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    By the climax, the adult has finally become a responsible though still charming citizen; the child has become age appropriate and, yes, even cuter. Tsunami swell of music. Roll the credits. Minus the charm, that pretty much sums up Uptown Girls.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    A visionary film with dramatic myopia.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    It's as if the filmmakers, having committed themselves to the book, fled from its essence, which is wildness.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 40 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Aspiring to pure action -- several very long passages are wordless -- the movie ends up teetering on the brink of self-parody.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    If you're able to take The Missing seriously, as I was not, you'll be impressed by its sweep and ambition. The most lasting impression it made on me was one of absurd overreaching.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Freeman, a superb actor, creates the illusion of drama even when there is none.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    This frenzied sequel has all of the clank but none of the swank of the previous version.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    This is an odd and ultimately dispiriting film, despite some intriguing ideas about brute force vs. moral authority, the elaborately staged uprising -- and impressive actors in the cast. That is to say, they've been impressive elsewhere.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Predictably dumber than its predecessors, though that shouldn't get in the way of its profitability.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    None of it is enough, though, to save this glum drama from its schematic self.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    A deeper problem in The King Is Alive is an almost total absence of spontaneity.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie is pleasant enough, in its studied way, and Mr. Hopkins does as well as anyone could in the role of a wise man with vaguely supernatural powers. Still, it's awfully amorphous and pokey.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 68 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    All the same, X2 and recent action adventures like it constitute a mutation in their own right: fast-paced, slow-witted movies in which the impact is the message; impersonal movies that deny any need for characterization; disjointed movies that make no apologies -- and pay no penalties -- for making no sense. Their special gift is giving little and getting a lot.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    It's a movie at war with itself. The first half, more or less, is witty about California culture, or the lack of it, in a "Clueless" kind of way, which is a very good way.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 44 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Reasonably entertaining time-travel romance.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 60 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Feelings play second fiddle to stylized attitudes in Spartan, and fancy style can't conceal the film's clumsiness.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie isn't all bad, and it's sure to succeed with its target audience.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 62 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Comes to the screen missing subtle cues and crucial connections.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Like so many parties, this one goes on too long.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    A film that tries constantly to amuse, but succeeds only fitfully.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    It's slapdash, crudely crafted and resolutely adolescent. And occasionally, though only occasionally, very funny.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    A not-bad idea lurks inside this insipid story.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    To get to the beginning, one must first get through the end, which is almost literally unendurable.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    A provocative but eventually dislikable two-part film that dares us to dislike it.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 44 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Every scene in this oppressive film has a theme or didactic purpose, but little life.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie isn't terrible -- a few clever notions snap to life and pay off, at least modestly -- but it's dispirited and eventually dispiriting, a force-fed farce that falls far short of fascination.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Can't lift the double curse of too little genuine action, as opposed to quixotic events, and too many fancy words.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The book presented several special, perhaps even insuperable, problems for adaptation to the screen, and the movie, which was directed by Robert Benton from a screenplay by Nicholas Meyer, hasn't solved them.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 68 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Of the original and the remake, only one film feels authentic, and it's not The Good Thief.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Jeff Cronenweth did the lovely cinematography. It's the only element that improves on the original material.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Can't hold a candle to Robert Altman's 1992 comedy "The Player." Both films present themselves as knowing views of the movie business, but Mr. Altman and his writer, Michael Tolkin, really knew.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 36 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    A shopworn studio contraption, slapped together from second-hand parts.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 74 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Functions mainly as an action extravaganza, and a numbingly depersonalized one at that.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 27 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Qualifies as top-grade catnip for connoisseurs of trashy camp.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    If this adds up to a full-fledged feature film, I'm a monkey's uncle.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    This movie needs a star performance at its center, and the director, Joe Johnston, doesn't seem to know it. His closeups dote on Mr. Mortensen's striking face, and on the actor's interesting inwardness, but he doesn't ask for, or find, the sort of zest that could turn laconic into romantic.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie's real locus of anger must have been the director, Ang Lee, once he realized what an epic clod his computer wizards had wrought.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    A remarkably dislikable film, long on atmosphere -- I admired Dion Beebe's brooding cinematography -- and desperately short on vitality.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 33 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Punishes the audience with a flat starring performance; Mr. Jane finds few sparks of life in a hero who wasn't all that lively to begin with.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Al Pacino is his own venue as yet another flamboyant, self-ironic, self-dramatizing, self-parodying, self-selfing quasi-Mephistopheles. His performance isn't very good, but it's big.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 28 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    It's too much for a feature film, and too little, but it certainly isn't dull.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    For all its seriousness, though, Levity struck me as pretentious and intractably lifeless.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie is counterfeit too, a coarse imitation of a stylish star vehicle for stars who deserve the real thing.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 37 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Certainly grows in its own right, into a coarse-grained summer vaudeville that could have been much smarter and sharper without losing its target audience.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    A misshapen semi-spectacle that seems to be simulating an epic, and getting away with it only occasionally.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 38 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Ms. Berry works hard in her role, generating some excitement in the course of her distress. But the story's convolutions can't cover a deficit of substance, or sense.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 60 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    I say don't bite unless your taste runs to thin gruel, and grueling gruel at that.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The result is heavy and humorless, despite a smart, skillful performance by Brooke Smith.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    To enjoy what's enjoyable in The Fighting Temptations, you've got to take in the music and shut out the words -- not the lyrics of the wonderful songs, but the dialogue stuffed into actors' mouths.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 27 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    I haven't seen the original, but I can vouch for the clumsiness of the new version. As usual, though, Queen Latifah is an indomitable, if sometimes undirectable, comic force.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The story leaves you snoozing with the fishes.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 84 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    If this death-obsessed drama is a classic, then give me potboiling life.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    What I do know is that I was gripped for a while by the strength of Mr. Gibson's filmmaking, only to be repelled and eventually excluded by his literalist insistence on excruciation. There is watching in horror, and there is watching in horror.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Seldom has grandeur struggled so mightily, and fruitlessly, with rampant goofiness.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 67 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Suffers from a lifelessness that seems built into the terse, slightly detached style of the director, David Mackenzie, who also did the adaptation.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 67 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Braff's idea of self-discovery is my idea of narcissism.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    I've enjoyed Ms. Leoni's comic gifts in the past, and I'll enjoy them again, but Spanglish asks her to play crazed, and she delivers with a performance of unremitting, crazymaking shrillness.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 62 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Jim Carrey is the prime offender here. He's such an unseemly showoff that the movie keeps stopping in its tracks.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 41 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Does Meet the Fockers make you laugh? Sure it does, from time to time. Just lower your expectations to the altitude of the gag that's showcased in the trailer, the one in which Jinx the cat flushes a little dog named Moses down a toilet.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 44 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    A wispy, fundamentally sentimental tale about a nice girl who has to support herself by working as a phone-sex siren, Spike Lee's movie takes the better part of an hour to get started. Once it does it still can't dramatize the script's one good idea. [2 Apr 1996, p.A12]
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Having run its course in the third installment, the franchise jogs and lurches but mostly meanders through a story that tests the limits of true love (Shrek's, and ours).
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    He's (Crowe) thwarted by the production's almost total, and truly absurd, absence of fun.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The screenplay, by Antonio Macia, is earnest and unsurprising--not a good combination--and neither the director nor the star quite knows what to make of the quirky character inside the traditional garments that signal otherworldly innocence to customs agents.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The film's real shocker is its unpleasantness.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    What brings Monsters down from its extremely low perch is a conspicuous lack of monstrosity.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Why didn't Mr. Jordan spend more time grounding his self-enchanted script in some semblance of reality? Unlike "Splash," this film finally goes plop.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    How you feel about Paul Haggis's new film may depend on your contrivance threshold.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    You keep rooting for the child to get a new pair of lungs, but all of the beatings, betrayals and bitter ironies leave a bad taste in your head.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Hopkins gives the production what he was hired for. Whenever you wonder how much longer he can trade on Hannibal Lecter's special zest, the same answer comes up-a lot.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The filmmakers can't keep the strands of their clumsy plot straight, but they create brilliant images and manipulate them with blithe abandon.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Sacha Baron Cohen's tosses off some sensationally funny stuff before descending into a rat-a-tat rhythm of random insult and ritual vulgarity.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Once Captain America goes off to war in his endearingly silly suit, however, the movie starts to lose its vibe.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Now the two men are back, along with Irene. But she vanishes all too soon in this overproduced, self-enchanted sequel, and so does the spirit of bright invention that made the previous film such a pleasant surprise.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    This hugely elaborate production is supposed to be the reboot of a foundering franchise, but rebooting a computer wipes the silicon slate clean. In the movie, what's old is old again.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The narrative lacks a strong heartbeat; you keep wondering why the spectacle isn't as affecting as it is picturesque.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    In this frustrating fizzle, the friendship does keep struggling to change into a love affair. But year after year, July 15 after July 15, it's the same old same old - two increasingly tedious people talking self-conscious talk.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    This new Disney film, marked by myriad lapses and marketing follies, bears the woefully familiar earmarks of a big studio production that was pulled and hauled every which way until it lost all shape and flavor.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    A slow start, a single star performance surrounded by indifferent acting and an onslaught of computer effects that range from seen-it-all-in-"Transformers" to a whole sky full of spectacular stuff in the midtown Manhattan climax.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    What's not fine is the dead zone occupied by the monster of the piece, Tom Cruise's veteran rocker, Stacee Jaxx.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Ted
    Ted is often hilarious, sometimes sweet and, in the spirit of "Family Guy," consistently raunchy. Yet it's seriously overextended and, as the premise wears ever thinner, frantically overproduced.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Some of the action sequences, and a few of the performances, are enjoyable enough to make up for the dialogue, which has been upgraded to cheerfully absurd, and the plot, which has been simplified to the point of actual coherence.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Rather than a character rooted in some sort of reality-social, satirical, psychological, take your pick-Hesher is an abstract notion animated by false energy.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Ms. Scott Thomas is as intelligent and attractive as ever, but the synthetic world her character inhabits can't compete with a harrowing past that depicts French complicity in Nazi atrocities.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Amusing, in fits and spurts, and sure to make tons of money, but terribly familiar and fatigued.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The pretext of the movie, which was directed in broadbrush-cartoon style by Anne Fletcher from a coarse-textured script by Dan Fogelman, is a road trip taken by mother, Joyce, and son, Andrew.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Here's one more studio extravaganza brought down by numbing action and an addiction to generic digital effects.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The mystery posed by Oblivion as a whole is why its mysteries are posed so clumsily, and worked out so murkily.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    I was put off by the acting, or more properly by the spectacle of good actors dutifully following leaden direction, and equally by the writing, which is as thin as the veneer of civilization it purports to peel back.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    One could argue that the target audience - black teenagers, Mr. Lucas has said - might be most receptive to a film that conveys history through contemporary entertainment. But this isn't contemporary entertainment, it's antiquated kitsch reprocessed by the producer's nostalgia for the movies of his boyhood. The story has been stripped of historical context - don't black teenagers and everyone else deserve hard facts? - and internal logic.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    This franchise needs more than a reset. It's ripe for retirement.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    This time, though, the happy ending plays out in real life, while the screen version falls afoul of a laggardly pace, an earnest tone and a surfeit of domesticity.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Depending on how you feel about Zac Efron, he is either a sensitive hunk or an inexpressive hunk, but definitely a hunk. Unable as I am to locate any feelings about him, I see Mr. Efron as a hunk with a problem delivering sustained dialogue in units of more than one or two sentences.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    This latest iteration of the Tolstoy classic was clearly the product of audacious thinking, stylishly applied. Still, the thinking was as wrongheaded as it was hollow-hearted. Yet another elaborate production chases its audience away.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Any movie that gives Helen Mirren a chance to shoot really big guns, wear an ermine astrakhan and channel Bette Davis as Queen Elizabeth can't be all bad, and Red 2 isn't, though it comes close.
    • 30 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    It neglects, for one thing, to make any sense.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The only rewards, and they are real albeit insufficient, involve watching Jane Fonda in full cry and Catherine Keener in a quieter fullness of feeling.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The result is fitfully interesting, and Mr. Kinnaman, best known for "The Killing" on television, compels our empathy with a kind of macho melancholia. Still, the whole thing comes down to an action adventure that's graphics-rich, logic-poor, coherence-challenged and pleasure-impaired.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Going on too long seems to be the disease of the week; it's certainly what brings this movie down, though the going on here stems from a surfeit of implausible plot that suffocates the main characters and the excellent actors who play them.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    This icon of witchcraft can't save a production that's suffocatingly elaborate yet insufficiently bewitching.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    42
    What's been carefully filtered out of the film as a whole is the tumult and passion of Robinson's life.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The concept is schematic and predictable, and watching first-rate actors - the cast includes Susan Sarandon as a local librarian - doing third-rate material is a dubious pleasure.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The story refuses to combust; it's a strangely unsatisfying combination of bloodless observations and unresolved sexuality.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Spontaneity has been banished by rigid stylization, and the net effect is as lifeless as a severed head that turns up in a basement freezer.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The more these two likable people rattled on, the more I found myself thinking about the elusive distinction between characters talking genuinely smart talk and simply chattering for the camera.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    When does banter turn to blather? In the case of this action adventure, which was directed by Baltasar Kormákur, it's when you realize that keeping track of the barely fathomable plot isn't worth the bother.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    This is moviemaking in a modular mode, an inspiration-free action adventure — with cheesy cinematography — that fills its modest running time by fitting together familiar elements into something reliably, even insistently, not new.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Having been deeply moved — though often exasperated — by Terrence Malick's previous film, "The Tree of Life," I don't have the heart to belabor the failings of his new one, which is depressed and deeply depressing. The only thing that's wonderful in To the Wonder is the imagery.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie's tone is at war with its subject, and sometimes with its wavering self.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The Fifth Estate gives us an obsessive-compulsive messiah with a taste for martyrdom, and full-screen cascades of computer code in place of a coherent plot. Exhausting in a new way, the movie is a data dump devoid of drama.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    She's All That isn't mindless, just techniqueless...What's on the screen says they aren't yet up to speed on making feature films. Most of the actors mumble while the script lurches from one sketchy notion to the next. All the same, She's All That offers insights into life as it is lived, or at least filmed, in Southern California. [29 Jan 1999, p. W1]
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 66 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The point of the film is vacuous materialism, but the way these larcenous children return the camera's impassive gaze suggests that no one is home behind their beautiful faces and dead eyes.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Nolan’s 168-minute odyssey through the space-time continuum is stuffed with stuff of bewildering wrongness. Eager for grandeur, I went in hoping for the very best from a filmmaker with his own vision of the theatrical medium’s potential. The last thing I expected was a space adventure burdened by turgid discussions of abstruse physics, a wavering tone, visual effects of variable quality and a time-traveling structure that turns on bloodless abstractions.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie commits the sin of boredom, partly because Ms. Martin is exceedingly inexpressive.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Nothing if not ambitious, yet at war with itself stylistically.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    No one ever stops talking. Twenty-somethings talk incessant small talk, or cute talk, or fatuous talk that's supposed to be clever.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The production feels tentative and underpopulated: I thought not only of Katniss Everdeen but of the marvelous pandemonium in Danny Boyle's zombie epic "28 Days Later."
    • 62 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    It’s easy to see why Mr. Burton, an influential imagist in his own right and a collector of Keane paintings, was attracted to this saga of contending Keanes, and the result, photographed by Bruno Delbonnel, is a study in yummy colors and period design. But I watched wide-eyed with dismay while the film turned as lifeless as the paintings.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    I wish I could say that the film gives a great actor a worthy role, but the truth is otherwise. The character is banal — Günther lavishes attention on remarkably uninteresting spycraft — and Mr. Hoffman, like everyone else, is stuck with the glum tone set by the director, Anton Corbijn ("Control," "The American").
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    This new feature, though, sets up a dialectic between reason and faith and argues it insistently, with eye-rolling earnestness.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    None of the film's tropes — fancy camera angles, dark streets, persistent rain, psycho killers in doomy settings, Scudder trudging around the city on their trail — can hide the essential hollowness of a not-very-interesting revenge tale that takes a not-at-all-welcome turn into grisly, ugly horror.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    As I watched the minimal plot unfold at a glacial pace in claustrophobic settings, I found myself wondering where the rest of the movie was.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    In the end, the only question of consequence that the story poses is whether superior acting can prevail over inferior writing. The answer lies not in the stars.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    I'm sorry to report that Biyi Bandele's would-be saga, based on the celebrated novel by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, is disappointing, a romance pastiche that muddles the politics of the period beyond comprehension.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The production as a whole is awfully clumsy, and Ms. Moretz, who is only 17, needs more help than she gets from the first-time feature director, R.J. Cutler.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Cold and clever to a fault, like the main character played by Liam Neeson, the movie is based on a fundamental miscalculation—that our desire to penetrate its mysteries will trump our need for people to care about.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    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.
    • 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.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    In the spirit of that world, I cannot tell a lie: The Invention of Lying, which the English comedian both directed and wrote with Matthew Robinson, soon loses altitude and eventually falls flat.
    • 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.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Osunsanmi's chutzpah exceeds his skill.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    This Transformers is a pile of glittering junk.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie on the whole is joyless. Whatever Works doesn’t.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Why is she (Bullock) demeaning herself with such shoddy goods? She’s a talented woman with a faithful following. She has made formula films of varying quality before, and her fans may well swallow this one, but it’s a formula for disappointment laced with dismay.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    300
    300 presents a dual clash of civilizations. An action adventure that pits thousands of Persians against 300 brave Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae, it also pits millions of fans of brainless violence against a gallant band, or so I choose to think of us, who still expect movies to contain detectable traces of humanity.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 34 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Long on cutlery and décor (including, of course, the marvelously decorative Ms. Garner, of the TV series "Alias") and woefully short on narrative.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 50 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Constantine is yet another studio extravaganza that's all aswirl with atmospherics, though empty at its center. The invasion of the soul snatchers proceeds apace.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 44 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    If claustrophobia's your style, The Jacket is a perfect fit.
    • Wall Street Journal

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