For 819 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 60% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 36% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 4.3 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Joe Williams' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 67
Highest review score: 100 Up in the Air
Lowest review score: 0 The Divergent Series: Insurgent
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 67 out of 819
819 movie reviews
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    There will never be another Marilyn Monroe or Elizabeth Taylor, but Hollywood may have found a new Lee Remick in Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    At nearly three hours long, "An Unexpected Journey" has moments when the caravan seems both overstuffed and out of balance, but it's such a scenic trip that only a stubborn homebody could complain.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Apatow still hasn't set the table for a meaty drama, but making us laugh is a piece of cake.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Some of the themes and the hallucinatory special effects are reminiscent of Cronenberg’s “Naked Lunch,” and there are cheeky allusions to “Dawn of the Dead” and even “Eyes Wide Shut,” but a viewer with an open mind might say that this midnight-style movie is more enjoyable than any of them.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    The several allusions to Thomas Mann’s forbidden-love novel “Death in Venice” are apt, but Yossi is also a standalone film and an extraordinary sequel.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    With a child’s perspective on war, Lore deserves comparisons with “Empire of the Sun” and “Hope and Glory,” and with a feisty female protagonist it stands virtually alone.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    With a greater emphasis on sex than violence, Spring Breakers is a more enjoyable guilty pleasure than “Natural Born Killers” and just as acute about our cultural devolution. For all its seeming stupidity, its masterstroke is making us complicit in the corruption of its young stars (who include the director’s own wife).
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    It’s an enigmatic and austere film from a region where political, sexual and religious repression are as stifling as the sooty air.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    42
    The inspirational movie named for Robinson’s number is too dignified to throw audiences a curveball, let alone a knockdown pitch, but its solid fundamentals make it a winner.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    In telling a true story about hapless thugs who are the embodiment of Michael Bay fans, the director has made the most fiendishly enjoyable movie of his career.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Photography — and thus filmmaking — is painting with light. The connection is illuminated in the lovely Renoir, a twilight-years biography of the great French Impressionist.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    At its heart, this is a compassionate character study. Robbie’s tenderness toward his son and his remorse for a street fight are the raw ingredients of a ripening consciousness.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    The Great Gatsby is both swooningly romantic and giddily energetic.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Because the sociopath at the center of this family portrait never asks for forgiveness, The Iceman is truly chilling.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    In the roll call of visually distinctive ’toons, Epic looms large.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Gerwig makes us want to believe that in a city where anything is possible, Francis Ha has the last laugh.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    A bit undernourished to fit into the crown of a comedy classic. But the sharp wit, soft-focus cinematography and slow-motion lyricism lift it into the realm of this summer’s nicest surprises.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Gibney is as dramatic a storyteller as the Hollywood directors with whom he competes for our attention, and he employs a big bag of tricks.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    World War Z, based on a novel by Max Brooks and directed by Marc Forster ("Quantum of Solace"), has a relatively plausible perspective on mass catastrophe. It deserves comparisons to Steven Soderbergh’s brainy “Contagion.”
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    After watching the trailers, I was expecting torture, but this smart, subversive movie made me laugh. So shoot me.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    These wars being fought in our name may be dirty, but this courageous film reminds us that as long as we have a free press, they don’t have to be secret.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Aiming for a middle path between drama and comedy, The Way Way Back is so overloaded with jokes that it could sink in the water hazard, but on the final scorecard, sure enough, it’s in the hole.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    A minor revelation.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    The rare film that flows from a wellspring of ideas.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    This vision of a violent future makes Elysium well worth seeing, even as the conventional violence of the thriller finale makes it a missed opportunity.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    As the wife to a wolf of Wall Street, Blanchett shows us a lost sheep both before and after the slaughter. It’s not a pretty picture, but it’s twitching with life.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    With Whitaker, Daniels and screenwriter Danny Strong pulling the strings, The Butler can take a bow.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Until the sci-fi switcheroo, the versatile supporting cast puts Gary in such a ridiculous light that we can’t help laughing at him. Then suddenly this subversive movie challenges us to laugh at our own assumptions.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    With his actors and crew hewing to the script, the director’s craft is impeccable. His low-light images are suitable for framing, and there’s scarcely a moment of modernity, let alone humor or loose ends, to disrupt the tragic trajectory.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Whereas many kung-fu movies are a feast that leaves us weary with sensations, the tastefully bittersweet “Grandmaster” puts us in the mood for more.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Because Short Term 12 is a small movie about a challenging subject, you may have to accept my word that actress Brie Larson and director Destin Cretton are bright discoveries, but it shouldn’t be long before the wider world can see these talents with the naked eye.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    This documentary reconstructing the life of the ultimate cult author is like a three-act thriller, and the character at the center of the story is a mute man of mystery. Salinger would have recognized the irony, even as he hated the film for invading his privacy.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Here’s a toast to the cast and crew: Drinking Buddies is a three-dimensional movie that doesn’t require beer goggles.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Afghanistan-born Atiq Rahimi has powerfully adapted his own acclaimed novel, but the film is unlikely to play in the Middle Eastern countries to which this plea for sexual equality seems directed.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    It’s a measure of the movie’s success that we never stop to question how or when the trickery is employed.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    This thriller about the game-changing website Wikileaks is as smart about cyberspace as “The Social Network,” but there’s a glitch when it shifts the focus from felonious leaders to the misdemeanors of the man who exposed them.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    After we hear the hit parade that poured from rural Alabama and meet the men who led it to the top of the charts, we realize that Muscle Shoals could call itself Hitsville, USA.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    This very male and methodical movie is like the anti-“Gravity,” as the un-moored hero is quietly in control of his options and at peace with his possible failure.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    On a moral-justice level, we’d like to see this worm squirm a little more over his treatment of ex-colleagues before we let him off the hook to say that everyone else was cheating too.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    With Labor Day, director Jason Reitman turns a Nicholas Sparks scenario into an Alfred Hitchcock creep-show.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Jenison, who had never painted a thing in his life, does indeed produce a beautiful work, but we should never forget that Penn and Teller are professional bamboozlers, and their attempt to re-frame the definition of genius might be nothing but smoke and mirrors.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Periodically deviating from its fly-on-the-wall aesthetic, the film does a noticeably better job than the Joan Rivers movie of incorporating old footage and photos to underscore its subject’s importance.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Bad Words is often very funny, thanks to Bateman’s brick-wall malevolence and screenwriter Andrew Dodge’s inventively rude dialogue.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    If we want a bigger picture, we’ll have to wait for God to green-light “Noah: The Next Generation.”
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    The debut creation of director Ritesh Batra, it’s a lovely little film from a place where the little things linger.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Draft Day isn’t quite a comedy, but it’s got a similar kind of flow that makes it as easily consumable as lite beer.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    This hand-drawn French import is fresh evidence that you don’t need computers and singing princesses to make a charming animated movie.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    For better or worse, the whole exercise in lurid leg-pulling goes out with a bang.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    The movie is best enjoyed as a minor-key operatic, not a coherent story. While Law bellows blasphemous poetry, his director orchestrates a noirish light show with a cockeyed rhythm.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    With stately surroundings and hissable villains, director Amma Assante imbues the finale with such dramatic resonance that Belle becomes a ringing proclamation of human dignity.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    As predictable as a 3-and-0 pitch down the middle, but when it’s baseball season, who wants dark clouds?
    • 51 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    You can tell by some loose threads and hurried workmanship that God’s Pocket is a knock-off, but it’s so stuffed with value, it’s an offer you can’t refuse.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    How could you not marvel at a movie that includes a revisionist explanation of the JFK assassination, a football stadium floating over the White House and the sight of Richard Nixon firing a .45 at a villain in a Christ-figure pose?
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    The Immigrant is not unlike a Prohibition-era “Taxi Driver,” with Cotillard as the apprentice hooker, Phoenix as the sweet-talking pimp and Jeremy Renner (playing the theater’s magician, Orlando) as the would-be savior.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Although Steadman’s artwork seems like sloppy pen-and-ink caricature, there’s a method to the madness.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    The sharp writing and tag-team antics lift 22 Jump Street to a high level.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Sorry, partisans, but there’s nothing obvious about Obvious Child.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Doggedly indie but unpretentious, Begin Again is one of the best movies I’ve seen about the music industry and the ways it changes people whose paths diverge.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    In one of the most wickedly funny scenes in sci-fi history, Koba uses monkeyshines to bamboozle some gun-toting yahoos and scuttle the peace treaty.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Mainstream audiences will note that Hudson has never been better and that the tearjerking taps into something universal. For audiences seeking shelter from superhero carnage, Wish I Was Here is a lovely place to be.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    A film that aims for the stars and may have found one here on earth.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Like black coffee that's flung in our face, The Killer Inside Me silences the question of whether it's good or bad. But for darn sure, it's strong.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Gleeson is great as the troubled, conscientious priest, but until an abruptly shocking finale, his fatalism turns the ticking clock into a congested hourglass.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    While director Michael Roskam lays the groundwork for a heist thriller, The Drop is fueled by character, not plot.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    What makes Love Is Strange so special is that the challenges the couple face are more mundane than menacing.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    In a poignant and potentially depressing film, it’s redeeming to see that when they are with their kindred spirits, even the saddest skeletons can dance.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Ultimately what makes Gone Girl so watchable is the three-headed monster of Fincher, Pike and Affleck. The director bathes the B-movie scenario in the queasy-green hues of a morgue, while Affleck flashes his million-dollar smile like a dime-store Dracula and the beautifully inscrutable Pike absorbs the light like a wax mannequin. If it’s true that Nick and Amy were made for each other, they were made in a fiendish lab.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    A genuinely touching and occasionally powerful film, not least because the boys are so disinclined to pity themselves.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Despite playing with a stacked deck, The Judge is guilty of exceeding expectations.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    One one level, Pride is as fake as a lip-sync revue, yet the emotions it arouses are real.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    While the chronological details and social significance of the story Webb reported get shortchanged, Kill the Messenger is a vital reminder that a free press must be free to press the powerful for answers.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    The iconic actor may be too gruff for sainthood, but Murray still retains a secret stash of soul.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Directed by and starring Mathieu Amalric, it’s a deceptively low-key riff on a Hitchcock whodunit. It’s both sexy and inscrutable, a cold-blooded puzzler to the very end.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Most biographical docs contain a montage of old footage, but this one is especially haunting. As Campbell watches home movies, he has to ask Kim to identify the people on screen, including his ex-wives, his children and his younger self.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Although it doesn’t make a lick of sense as a stand-alone story, Mockingjay — Part 1 is the first “Hunger Games” movie with meat on its bones.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    While the wilderness vistas are starkly beautiful, there’s no tangible sense of Strayed’s ultimate goal. (Why Oregon?) And the flashbacks, which include scenes of sexual misadventure and heroin use, are too brief to provide answers.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Because VanDyke wasn’t embedded with the American media, Point and Shoot has some priceless front-line footage, including a chilling scene where he must decide if he’s willing to kill for someone else’s cause. But without a rigorous editor, it’s “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.”
    • 52 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Within the bloodshot-eye perspective of their other stoner comedies, it’s bluntly funny and ever-so-slightly sweet.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Indeed, most of the famous faces are surprisingly adept at singing. Even when the actors are not lip-syncing (which seems to be about half the time), the dense, clever lyrics are intelligible.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    For modern moviegoers, the earthy Mr. Turner may seem like slowly steeped tea with an unpleasant aftertaste. But while some are impatiently waiting for the paint to dry, astute viewers will see a cinematic landscape bloom.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Taking potshots at American Sniper is like shooting fish in a barrel. So why should war-weary Americans see it? Because Eastwood remains a masterful action director, and this may be his last hurrah. Because Cooper is one of our best young actors, and he poured a lifetime of craft into stilling his character’s heartbeat.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    A textured and unexpectedly entertaining drama about the human toll when racial assumptions crash.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    An entertaining tour of Tinseltown served with poisoned popcorn.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    The documentary offers undercooked subplots about Gruber’s mostly Hispanic staff and his romance with a health-conscious Catholic acupuncturist, but Deli Man is best when it sticks to the menu.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    The movie is more of a character study than a biography, as Bernstein dispenses his gentle wit and wisdom for the camera and for an elite class of student.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    While the movie sometimes seems like faux Fincher, the symbiotic acting, artful imagery and punchline ending turn True Story into credible entertainment.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Monkey Kingdom tugs our heartstrings to the top of the trees. With a lot of patience, and perhaps a little trickery, directors Mark Linfield and Alastair Fothergill have produced a simian “Cinderella.”
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Age of Ultron has self-aware laughs, grandiose themes and the best effects that money can buy. But at this point, it will take true vision to plot the umpteen sequels without getting trapped in a time loop.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    This showcase for Wiig is sufficiently absurd to make real-world parallels laughable.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    While Black is painfully effective as the dork who drops slangy kudos on his new BFF, Marsden is a revelation.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    It’s Belgian actor Schoenaerts who will leave the target audience atwitter. Seemingly incapable of cracking a smile, he fits securely in the stoic-farmer tradition that stretches from John Wayne in “The Quiet Man” to Russell Crowe in “The Water Diviner.”
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    In the context of confounded expectations, director Maxime Giroux may have intended the what’s-next ending to be ironic.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    But even without world-class smarts or amusing mutations, the next generation of “Jurassic” is an enjoyable ride.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    One man’s mirth is another man’s poison, this critic can only consult his belly as the barometer. On a gut level, Ted 2 is a funny film.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    This debut film is fun, and everyone involved can proudly declare, “Honey, I shrunk the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”
    • 49 Metascore
    • 63 Joe Williams
    This long, ludicrous soap opera is also a mighty spectacle, a new standard in disengaged destruction.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 63 Joe Williams
    To their credit, the creative team has retained the handmade look and unruly spirit of Maurice Sendak's bedtime fable; to their discredit, they haven't added enough narrative or emotional dimension to make it an effective movie.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 63 Joe Williams
    This broadside against sharia law lacks the finesse of an import, but it's effectively melodramatic.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 63 Joe Williams
    We're left with an impression of a vivacious pioneer; but warm shouldn't have to mean fuzzy.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 63 Joe Williams
    The actress and the aviatrix are a match made in heaven, but surrounding the soaring performance is a movie that's mostly earthbound.

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