Joe Morgenstern

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For 2,125 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 42% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 56% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 1.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Joe Morgenstern's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Lowest review score: 0 The Life of David Gale
Score distribution:
2125 movie reviews
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The result is heavy and humorless, despite a smart, skillful performance by Brooke Smith.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 40 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The revelations of The Invisible Circus don't justify the quest.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 37 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The script's foolish contrivances crush its content.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 74 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Functions mainly as an action extravaganza, and a numbingly depersonalized one at that.
    • 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.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    A film that tries constantly to amuse, but succeeds only fitfully.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    For all its seriousness, though, Levity struck me as pretentious and intractably lifeless.
    • 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
    • 44 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Every scene in this oppressive film has a theme or didactic purpose, but little life.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 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
    • 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
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    It's slapdash, crudely crafted and resolutely adolescent. And occasionally, though only occasionally, very funny.
    • 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
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    None of it is enough, though, to save this glum drama from its schematic self.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Predictably dumber than its predecessors, though that shouldn't get in the way of its profitability.
    • 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
    • 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
    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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Like so many parties, this one goes on too long.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Kevin Spacey's pinched portrayal of Quoyle as a scared palooka rarely transcends its own artifice.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie isn't all bad, and it's sure to succeed with its target audience.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    A visionary film with dramatic myopia.
    • 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
    • 84 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    If this death-obsessed drama is a classic, then give me potboiling life.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    A not-bad idea lurks inside this insipid story.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 36 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    A shopworn studio contraption, slapped together from second-hand parts.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Seldom has grandeur struggled so mightily, and fruitlessly, with rampant goofiness.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 27 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Qualifies as top-grade catnip for connoisseurs of trashy camp.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 67 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Braff's idea of self-discovery is my idea of narcissism.
    • 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
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The story leaves you snoozing with the fishes.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    A deeper problem in The King Is Alive is an almost total absence of spontaneity.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Furiously raunchy, occasionally bright and eventually benumbing comedy.
    • 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.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie is stifling, all right, and depressing in the bargain.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    This is filmmaking by the numbers meant to succeed by the numbers.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    An exhaustive and exhausting dissection of a relationship that was never all that promising in the first place.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Fabrice Luchini is thwarted by an unwieldy plot.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    It's overextended and exhaustingly comic.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The most surprising thing about Alice in Wonderland is its general lack of surprise.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    I watched the film in an agitated space between engrossed and aghast.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    What's remarkable here is the consistency of the mediocrity.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    What brings Monsters down from its extremely low perch is a conspicuous lack of monstrosity.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    How you feel about Paul Haggis's new film may depend on your contrivance threshold.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Amusing, in fits and spurts, and sure to make tons of money, but terribly familiar and fatigued.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The story refuses to combust; it's a strangely unsatisfying combination of bloodless observations and unresolved sexuality.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 30 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    It neglects, for one thing, to make any sense.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Here's one more studio extravaganza brought down by numbing action and an addiction to generic digital effects.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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."
    • 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.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie's tone is at war with its subject, and sometimes with its wavering self.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    This franchise needs more than a reset. It's ripe for retirement.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    This icon of witchcraft can't save a production that's suffocatingly elaborate yet insufficiently bewitching.
    • 54 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.
    • 38 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.
    • 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.
    • 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").
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Ms. Robbie, on the other hand, aces her role from the start; she’s got an unerring gift for romantic comedy. Still, the film itself comes to feel like a con, thanks to a script that’s too clever by two-thirds, and butterfingered in the ways of portraying love.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Even the Bollywood ending, a pleasant echo of “Slumdog Millionaire,” is intercut with darker reminders of dwindling days. Much of this sequel is clumsy, and awfully silly, but consistently shallow it is not.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Had anyone recognized the signs and done something about them, the picturesque fable would have gone up in smoke, or snow, and Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter would have become a different picture. I’d prefer that one, though, sight unseen. This one is a closed system about a closed system.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Youth may be wasted on the young in this muddled movie. But age is equally wasted on the aging.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    All three sides of the love triangle are appealing, and the movie as a whole might have been winning if it weren’t for the absurdist style that was clearly dear to the filmmaker’s heart. Sometimes Aloha reminded me of John Huston’s cheerfully unfathomable “Beat the Devil.” More often than not, though, it left me yearning for simplicity and sweet clarity.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Rudd, whose overall performance as the former con-man Scott Lang is fairly pallid, confines himself to genial winks and nods in a film that will surely be popular, given Marvel’s marketing might, but one that’s woefully short on coherence and originality.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Seeking spontaneity and release for her character, Ms. Streep gets stuck in a laboriousness that I don’t want to belabor, since her efforts are gallant — she does her own singing and playing — and there are fleeting moments of real fun. Still, it’s hard not to wonder why so much in the movie went so wrong.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Goes by pleasantly enough as you come to understand where it’s headed, but this romantic comedy, directed by Isabel Coixet from a screenplay by Sarah Kernochan, wears out its welcome, and energy, through unswerving conformity to its dramatic scheme.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    I won’t make a case for No Escape being a good film; the first half is pretty good and the second half ranges from pretty bad to truly awful. Nor will I deny having enjoyed quite a bit of it as a zombie film, never mind that it’s supposed to be an international thriller with contemporary political significance.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    To fill the downtime between commercials, there's a fitfully entertaining adventure.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    I came out of this would-be epic feeling physically exhausted, psychically mauled and none the better for wear.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Joy
    Joy is at its annoying worst when it’s clamoring to be antic, and at its brilliantly funny best when Joy and her adversaries — including one played by Bradley Cooper — are deadly serious about business as mortal combat.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    For all the luster of its subject, though, this earnest biopic lacks the spark of life.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The writing and direction, by Robert Budreau, range from pedestrian to lethargic — not a good thing when the subject is passive more often than not.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The film turned out to be plodding and boring. No one can accuse Hardcore Henry of being plodding. It does get to be boring, but in the high-tech, cutting-edge mode of first-person-shooter videogames that dazzle your eyes, spark your synapses and numb your brain.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The star shouldn’t be blamed, though, for the failings of the direction and script. Here’s a case of consistently miscalibrated tone, from the first clumsy stabs at humor to the hero’s default expression, which is painfully pained.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Susan Sarandon is Marnie Minervini, a recent widow and the meddlesome mother of The Meddler. Marnie is an Italian iteration of Molly Goldberg minus the charm. She might be charming if there were a full-fledged movie around her instead of a display case —Ms. Sarandon is, of course, a deft comedian.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Clooney’s prancing, dancing and clowning for the TV camera feel tame and vaguely self-conscious when measured, as they will be, against the calculated craziness of his role’s model, Mr. Cramer, who usually manages to seem simultaneously shrewd and stridently unhinged.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    The good news is that Mia Wasikowska is back in the title role, bright-spirited and skillful as ever, but she’s burdened by the manic direction of James Bobin, working from a dramatically inert script by Ms. Woolverton.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Strong acting often lends authenticity to writing that lacks it, and Mr. McConaughey is, to be sure, an exceptionally strong actor. Yet this screenplay is so arid in its didacticism, so pallid in its would-be passion, that it defeats his efforts and our involvement.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    There’s no secret life because there’s no life, only the promise of pets in perpetual motion.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    Bourne used to be an anguished amnesiac. Now he remembers who he is, but this fourth episode of the franchise forgot to make him human.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    This gets to be exhausting, since there’s hardly a scene that isn’t manipulative or assaultive.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    If glum were good and bleak were best, Hart's War would be a standout.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 33 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Five months after Sept. 11, the movie inevitably echoes those events, but in a loud and extremely cheesy way.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 35 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    I've been a Vanessa Redgrave fan for such a long time that I would have been happy to watch her beautifully weathered face without much happening around her.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 66 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The worst part of Ms. Zellweger's plight is that she, along with others in the cast, has fallen victim to a first-time feature director whose vocabulary doesn't seem to include the word "simplicity."
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 49 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    There's no transcending a prosaic plot and several flat performances.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 37 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    A rube's-eye view of Hollywood, but the rube is weary, and those around him seem to be suffering from terminal torpor.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 42 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Joyless and largely witless sci-fi fantasy.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 58 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Li is a master not only of martial arts, but of composure; no one does nothing better. The film itself is no great shakes.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 63 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    A good subject has been ill-served by Ms. Greenwald's cliched script and clumsy direction.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 33 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Goes down fighting, but it goes down just the same.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 20 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    As the hilariously foul-mouthed, sweet-souled Dr. S, he (Wayans) slaps Marci X to life every time he's on screen.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 60 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Comes briefly to life, after many longeurs -- many large longeurs in IMAX -- with the discombobulated entrance of B.E.N., a dysfunctional, hyperverbal robot voiced by Martin Short.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 35 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    A turgid recycling of Mr. Carpenter's remake of "The Thing."
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 73 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Ordinary moviegoers, on the other hand, may wonder what they're supposed to feel, apart from bored.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 60 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The blithely dishonest script would have us believe that the real Napoleon can't prove his identity when the fake Napoleon refuses to come clean. Not only is that patent nonsense, it's cockeyed dramaturgy.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 53 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Not a pretty sight, any of it.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 35 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    This horror-free horror flick sent me wandering through my own memory warehouse, where, at every turn, I bumped into images from similar -- and mostly superior -- entertainments.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 31 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Has many more downs than ups, but this ragged action comedy, with Martin Lawrence and Steve Zahn as mismatched buddies, rings some outrageously funny changes on a deadly serious genre of amateur video that began with Rodney King.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 46 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    All that's missing is wit and humanity.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 47 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    There's nothing wrong with the structure of Heartbreakers, but David Mirkin's direction is woefully clumsy -- and the movie's tone is nasty.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 56 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    What's new here is a severe deficit of style, or even craftsmanship, both in the action sequences and what passes for human interludes.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 57 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Won't kill you, but it could bore you half to death.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 48 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    What's missing is an emotional center. This Sinbad, with its flying ship and becalmed script, seems destined to be DreamWorks's version of Disney's "Treasure Planet."
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 35 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Stinker doesn't begin to describe this movie's character -- both frenzied and dispiriting.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 63 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The script is dead in the water, and most of the misanthropic repartee rings resoundingly false.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 32 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Another dim adaptation of a bright comic novel.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 30 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Knows that it's junk and tries feebly to rejoice in its junkiness.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 54 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    For all its video-game bedazzlements, Attack of the Clones suffers from severe digital glut, periodically relieved, if you can call it that, by amateur theatrics.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 65 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    A grim disappointment for grown-ups, and far too violent for young kids. I found it to be clumsy, misanthropic and intractably lifeless.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 57 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    If only Brotherhood of the Wolf had the wit and grace to match its exceptional physical beauty.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 25 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Costner has never been further from the lively, engaging actor he can be, or at least once was.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 39 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    If you go to see this sloppy sitcom, in which Mr. Martin plays a divorced, repressed lawyer named Peter Sanderson, do expect to be surprised, seduced and entertained by Queen Latifah.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 45 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Its tone is unquenchably pretentious, and its scale is overblown.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 52 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Unforeseeably bad things can happen to good performers.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill inflicts intolerable cruelty on its characters, and on its audience -- though I'd like to believe that there is no mainstream audience for what has already been described, quite correctly, as the most violent movie ever released by an American studio.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 38 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Gooding is out there in almost every scene, and the destruction of his once-promising career proceeds apace.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 45 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The performances, under Mike Newell's direction, range from conventional (Ms. Roberts) to dreadful, and the script is as shallow as an old Cosmo cover story.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 42 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Go in with lowered expectations, and expect to have them dashed.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 33 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    No one comes out of Mooseport unscathed -- not Rip Torn, as the president's campaign manager, not Christine Baranski as his avaricious ex-wife. It's a democracy of mediocrity, or worse.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 49 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The crucial evidence has to do with rigor mortis. The movie's a stiff too.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 47 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie's leisurely, elegant setup makes its action payoff seem, by contrast, particularly mechanical, cynical and grotesque.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 56 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    In Troy, and in overreaching, underachieving productions like it, digital imagery is fast becoming both a Trojan horse and Achilles' heel.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 38 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Ms. Hudson makes the most of her role, even though that's not saying so very much -- the writing is terribly thin -- while John Corbett gives an unaccountably clumsy performance as a romantic pastor. Joan Cusack gets the funniest lines as Helen's sister, a model of boring mommyhood, but she also stops the movie dead in its tracks every time she plays a scene.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 45 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Samuell's stylistic revelries are meant as comments on the conventions and excesses of movie romance, but his approach is glib and self-congratulatory. No feelings dwell beneath the layers upon layers of faux-naïve artifice. I dare you to sit through this movie and not wish you were somewhere else.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 55 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The Terminal is a terminally fraudulent and all-but-interminable comedy.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 46 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Bleak, remarkably turgid, tediously violent, devoid of drama, deprived of magic, stripped of romance and, except for one of the oddest boy-meets-girl scenes in movie history, a befuddled and befuddling excuse for entertainment.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 47 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    A remarkably ill-advised remake.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 49 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    This new Alfie is earnest -- irony is so last century -- and not angry at all, since working-class anger would mean nothing here, because class means nothing here. Nothing means anything here.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 61 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    A train wreck of mind-numbing proportions.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 39 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    There's no zest to the general depravity, no coherence to the script or the spectacle -- clarity is missing in some of the camera work -- and, most important, no character to give a Greek fig about.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 65 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Bring Zoloft and a tank of oxygen to Closer, an airless, ultimately joyless drama of sexual politics.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 40 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    An experience best likened to being battered by hurricane-force winds generated by an organ with all stops pulled permanently out.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 35 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Ms. Wynter's performance is only one of many failings in a heavily accented costume drama that Bruce Beresford has directed turgidly from Marilyn Levy's amateurish script.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 49 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Ever so slightly defective in the area of coherence; it plays as if it should have been written by a committee but they didn't bother to convene one.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 21 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    A few clumps of very funny stuff (including a quick tonsorial reference to "Mary") can't hide all the spots that are bald instead of bold.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 34 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Long on cutlery and décor (including, of course, the marvelously decorative Ms. Garner, of the TV series "Alias") and woefully short on narrative.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 50 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Constantine is yet another studio extravaganza that's all aswirl with atmospherics, though empty at its center. The invasion of the soul snatchers proceeds apace.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 44 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    If claustrophobia's your style, The Jacket is a perfect fit.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 44 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie as a whole is nonsensical. And long. And slow. And head-poundingly loud as it culminates in slavering horror.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 64 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The video-game sequences are impressive, but you know that a 'toon is in big trouble when its most powerful theme is planned obsolescence.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 53 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Palindromes finds him (Solondz) stuck with his single theme inside a sealed dollhouse of his own construction. He has gifts to give a larger audience, if ever he breaks out.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 45 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    This is little more than a big-budget sitcom, with a guest appearance by Mike Ditka, who plays an unfunny version of himself as Phil's assistant coach.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 40 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The result is a movie groping for a comic tone while its FX machinery spews vast clouds of visual gibberish.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 50 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Comes on like an overproduced coma, and leaves you comatose by the end. In between are 127 minutes of intermittent chaos that feel like a lifetime.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 35 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Brought down by repeated bursts of high absurdity.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 33 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    YEEEEE HAAAAW! They've gone and done it. The feature version of The Dukes Of Hazzard turns a sow's ear into a bigger sow's ear.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 45 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    A saga of static set pieces and strenuously clever notions, this is a fiasco of a film if ever there was one.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 61 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    A guaranteed downer that's devoid of any upside, and free of dangerously entertaining side effects.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 53 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Heart-breakingly awful -- slow, lugubrious, and misconceived to the point of baffling amateurism.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 68 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Jarecki undercuts his own case -- not just undercuts but carpet-bombs it -- by using the same propaganda techniques he professes to abhor.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 45 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Before Firewall crumbles into foolishness, Harrison Ford and Paul Bettany make an oft-recycled plot look like a stylish model that just rolled out of a showroom.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 43 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The Shaggy Dog is paint, or more appropriately here, pant by the numbers. It also manages a one-two punch -- it will upset small children and bore their parents. There's just no other way to say this: Disney, that movie of yours is a dog.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 26 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Basic Instinct 2 is pretty awful. Rarely has a meaningless thriller had so many meaningful glances, or such arch acting by good actors who know better.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 45 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie stands as a genuine offense against the venerable and indispensable institution of satire.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 49 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    I can't find much slack to cut the film, except to say that it's a potboiler cooked in an upscale Teflon pot.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 52 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Nothing stands up to scrutiny -- least of all the lethargic acting and the clumsy script. I was hot to trot for the exit halfway through, but a dogged sense of duty kept me stuck in an endless present.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 51 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Depressed and depressing drama.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 62 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    A snapshot, to be sure, but scattershot as well.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 51 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    I feel for the marketing person charged with devising a tagline for Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain, a fantasy whose turgid pretensions defy the very notion of marketing.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 42 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Starts well with the stirring spectacle of young men and women, members of a National Guard unit stationed south of Baghdad, struggling to do their duty in an alien land of unfathomable danger. Once they return, however, wounded physically or shattered spiritually, the film turns didactic, contrived and occasionally ludicrous.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 28 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    N'ever was an apostrophe so misplaced, n'ever was the prospect of good cheer so perversely defeated.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 44 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Stepping is everything in Stomp the Yard, and, dare I say it, a stepping stone to DJ's redemption. The movie itself is redeemed -- slightly -- by its almost touching devotion to the hoary Hollywood traditions of college movies with battling frats, as well as its earnest endorsement of education.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 52 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.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    For all the preposterous clichés of the plot, which clanks as loudly as Laz's chain, and for all the inertness of Justin Timberlake's performance as Rae's brooding squeeze, Black Snake Moan finds unchained energy in its foolishness, and gives Mr. Jackson a chance to pluck a guitar and sing. He's really good at it, too. The music almost redeems the movie.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 35 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    But clever casting, and inspirational dieting, can't make up for this poor little rich girl's shortcomings as a comedienne. Under Mr. Benjamin's vulgar tutelage, she portrays Connie's coarseness coarsely, with an accent that seems to have come from Ida Lupino by way of Madonna. [19 Apr 1996, p.A11]
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 44 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Since Mary rarely gets to see any of the good stuff, neither do we; Dr. Jekyll hides most of his switcheroos behind closed doors. [23 Feb 1996]
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 53 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The failures of White Squall are dismaying as well as perplexing. Director Ridley Scott serves up some ravishing images along the way: the stark geometry of the ship's riggings against an azure sky, crew kids scampering along a verdant ridge toward a volcano's silvery crater lake. But the script is a shambles. [06 Feb 1996]
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 56 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The drama is repetitive rather than resonant, an over-calculated, under-ventilated studio production -- even paranoid thrillers need to breathe -- whose plot machinery grinds grim and coarse.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    Katherine Heigl carries 27 Dresses when all else fails, which it does with great regularity.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    There's no maybe about its standing as romantic comedy -- definitely bad.

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