For 721 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 59% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 37% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 7 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Joe Williams' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Up in the Air
Lowest review score: 25 New Year's Eve
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 55 out of 721
721 movie reviews
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Williams
    The film would be incalculably different if the lead role had been divided between two or three young actors for a conventional shoot. But Linklater’s patience allows us to see a thoughtful personality being formed both on and off the screen.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    Even as it looks to the heavens, Gravity is bound to earth, where the beauty is in the details.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    Although it's slow to unfold, this courtroom drama is so timelessly humane and even-handed it feels like it came from the dockets of Solomon - by way of Sidney Lumet.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    It's a well-earned curtain call for some of the most beloved characters in one of the best-sustained feats of recent cinema.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Williams
    Winter's Bone is the best film of the year.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Williams
    Her
    Her may be the most technologically astute movie since Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: a Space Odyssey.” And as the friendly ghost in the machine, Samantha is a more inviting companion for the great leap forward than HAL9000 could ever dream of being.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Williams
    As much as anything, the wildly entertaining ’70s flashback American Hustle is a triumph of style.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    A miniaturist's masterpiece, the ebb and flow of familial love distilled to its essence.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Williams
    Beauty comes to us unexpectedly. That's the message of Poetry, a Korean movie about an aging housemaid that turns out to be one of the best films of the year.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    May be too cute to qualify as high art, but it's highly entertaining.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    I’m pretty sure it would still be one of the best films of the year if the explicit lesbian sex scenes were censored, but it wouldn’t earn a penny in Peoria.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    The King's Speech is the epitome of prestige cinema, an impeccably crafted and emotionally compelling drama that deserves the many laurels it surely will receive.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Williams
    After feeding on this sweet buffet, sated cinephiles will want to call the front desk to extend their stay.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    Directed by Steve James, whose “Hoop Dreams” Ebert hailed as the best film of the 1990s, it’s the kind of documentary the dying man wanted — honest, humane and inclusive.
    • 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.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    Like the previous seven movies, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 obliviates the line between art and craft, but the witchcraft conjured for this satisfying finale is uniquely generous.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    Although you don't have to be a sports fan to enjoy it, Moneyball is one of the best baseball movies imaginable.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Williams
    For his complex portrayal, Day-Lewis is likely to have roses thrown at his feet, but for the dreadful film in which he's enslaved, emancipated onlookers will reach for the grapes of wrath.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    A co-star deserving special mention is Nebraska itself, which Payne films in black-and-white to mirror the austerity of life on the de-populated prairie. These corners of the Cornhusker State are as empty as the promise of a sweepstakes prize. In this land of ghosts, one old pioneer tries to grab his stake before he becomes another windblown husk.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    Imagine an opulent movie palace that was 30,000 years old, with posters preserved on the curving walls and the bones of the Stone Age patrons peacefully sleeping in the fairy dust. That's essentially what archeologists found in a French canyon in 1994 and what Werner Herzog brings back to life in the extraordinary documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    For the many mavens who aren't familiar with Varda, this autobiographical documentary will be puzzling, in the best and most literal sense.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    Before it turns into a great escape flick, Argo is an amusing spoof of the movie biz.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Williams
    The Master is not a schematic attack on a particular religion. It is a brilliantly conceived and powerfully realized work of art, with complex characters, exquisite images and ambiguously big ideas.
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    Both arduous and artful, City of Life and Death is the best imaginable movie about the genocidal siege that's now called the Rape of Nanking. Anything more explicit would be unwatchable; anything more contemplative would be a betrayal of the sustained suffering.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    For a public that's been bullied by the tastemakers, the mystery is a gift. Once we exit this fun house, the only giant left to obey is ourselves.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Williams
    The combination of a literate script, an adroit cast and an economical style is simple addition that achieves an alchemical feat: the best film of the year.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    Vincere, which translates as the battle cry "Win!" is like invisible ink on the ledger of war, a secret record of love and loss.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    Shannon's powerfully imploded performance ignites one of the best films of the year.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Williams
    The Tree of Life is a religious experience. Overtly. Audaciously. Unashamedly. No film has ever reached as high toward the face of God and, in our commodified future, few are likely to try.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    Notwithstanding exquisite images that evoke Terrence Malick's "Days of Heaven," city-slicker audiences may find themselves getting saddle sore. But those with the courage to explore uncharted territory will be rewarded with a rough gem of a movie.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Williams
    There are a few beguiling moments in Holy Motors, particularly a martial-arts sequence and an erotic dance while Mr. Oscar is dressed in a motion-capture body suit, but the road between those moments is so strewn with stalled ideas that audiences who care about character and plot are liable to take the exit to a movie that makes sense.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    It sustains a palpable fatalism in such recurring details as a whirring buzz saw and the cry of a loon, while the static camera and lack of musical cues enable some unforeseeable plot twists.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Williams
    The best film of the year and perhaps the purest love story in cinematic history.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    With exquisitely simple images and minimal dialogue, Seraphine is both haunting and humane.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    While Looper lacks the heft of a classic, this wayback machine is worth taking for a spin.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    An Oscar-ready collaboration between a great director and a star at the peak of his powers, but at its heart is a message in a bottle reading: "Trapped in paradise. Please send help."
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    What makes this low-key movie memorable are the pitch-perfect performances.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Titanic technical achievement.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    It's often obscenely funny, but it tickles more than it stings.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    Until a devastatingly effective finale, Monsieur Lazhar is an exercise in delicacy, carried by Fallag's gentle performance and a fine cast of kid actors.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    There's so much higher intelligence in Project Nim that simply digesting it feels like evolutionary progress.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 63 Joe Williams
    Typically lovely to look at, with big-eyed young people espousing high ideals amid natural splendor. But outside of their bubble, a prickly history looms, and Miyazaki’s dubious attitude toward the wartime role of his hero makes the movie a mixed blessing.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 63 Joe Williams
    For better or worse, this is a straightforward performance film.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    Hogancamp's alliance with director Jeff Malmberg in this artful and poignant film marks a victory in the war against the self.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    For cinematic sojourners, Hugo is a trip to the moon.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    Despite the obvious mismatches involved, this isn’t a simplistic smackdown. Freighted with weighty issues, Captain Phillips is a film worth debating.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    Garcia’s performance, which won the best actress award at last year’s Berlin International Film Festival, is a marvel of self-effacing artistry.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Williams
    Up in the Air may not end up as the best picture -- that will be decided by the Academy -- but it has landed in the middle of the discussion because it's laser-focused and right on time.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 63 Joe Williams
    The Holocaust must never be forgotten, but like many well-intentioned documentaries, The Flat derives more power from the implicit strength of the subject than from the explicit choices of the director.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    Ajami is neither a puzzle nor a polemic. It's an admirably even-handed portrait of life in an occupied ghetto that is bounded by checkpoints. Everyone we meet is a more or less honorably motivated victim of circumstance. That the circumstances were inscribed centuries ago makes Ajami a tragedy of biblical proportions.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    The Illusionist has surprises up its sleeve that are unusually nuanced for an animated movie.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 63 Joe Williams
    Canadian director Denis Villaneuve knows how to stoke a hot debate about the legacy of violence. But in this case, where there's smoke, there's not enough air.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    Director Lindholm is a graduate of the Dogma school, and he is able to maintain tension with a documentary camera technique, virtually no music and minimal on-screen theatrics.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    When the two men compare impersonations of Michael Caine or Sean Connery, Brydon's version is always slightly better - and Coogan knows it.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 63 Joe Williams
    There’s much to appreciate here. Like “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” which had a stronger sense of its place in the world, this coming-of-age movie should appeal to smart, sensitive young people who haven’t been exposed to the better examples of the genre.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Although the film has elements of a puzzler by Michelangelo Antonioni and a psychodrama by Ingmar Bergman, it never becomes compellingly intellectual or unnervingly emotional.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Footnote is faintly comic, and director Joseph Cedar mines dark humor from the humiliations of identity checks and pecking orders.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Marley is thus a valuable history project but not a definitive or analytical one. For that, we await a film that's less "One Love" and more "Stir It Up."
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    A marvelous piece of work.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    The kind of working-class, character-driven drama that few American directors would dare to make. It's tough and unsentimental, with a documentary aesthetic that belies the craft of the calibrated tension.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Two things that the British know that most Americans don't: Michael Sheen is the best actor in the English-speaking world; and soccer is the only football that matters.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Although it has some memorably disquieting scenes, this story of long-delayed justice is sustained by its melancholy more than its thrills.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    It's true that the movie is both emotionally violent and sexually explicit. Yet these scenes from a marriage are crafted with such attention to detail and overarching honesty that Blue Valentine touches the heart.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    What animates this dramatically constrained film are the lively words and the vitality of nature. An image of butterflies blooming in a bedroom is Keats' worldview in miniature.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    Anyone suggesting that an Italian film could rival the style and grandeur of "The Godfather" might end up sleeping with the fishes. But Il Divo delivers.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Fortunately, Fish Tank feeds us more than crumbs and leaves us feeling like we've come up for air.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    Although it's sly and sardonic, Police, Adjective is as rigorous as a tea ceremony -- or a Stalinist re-education camp.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Williams
    With a fearless director and his mighty pen freeing a talented cast to attack a vital theme, Django Unchained is damnation unleashed.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    Ultimately Skyfall is rooted in tradition - and in British soil. A pastoral drive to Bond's boyhood home (in a kind of car that will delight purists) opens the gates to some psychological background, and given the true-love subtext of "Casino Royale," it's not surprising that there's an emotional payoff here.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    A fanciful French cousin to Allen's "Zelig" and "The Purple Rose of Cairo," yet the fulfilled wish for a better life is high-concept absurdity without high-anxiety guffaws.
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    The reason District 9 reverberates so loudly is because its moral indignation is cranked to 11.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Williams
    When films are good, actors and directors get a lot of the credit that should go to the screenwriters. In the case of Silver Linings Playbook, which is one of the best films of the year, there is a popcorn bowl of glory to go around.
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 63 Joe Williams
    Waiting for Superman raises important questions while wearing a big red heart on its chest, but inconvenient facts are its kryptonite.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 63 Joe Williams
    Like a newborn planet, Melancholia is magnetically beautiful, but it's also an unformed mass of hot air.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    Although it's a guilty pleasure, The Queen of Versailles is artful enough that both the prosecution and the defense could invoke it when the peasants cry "Off with their heads!"
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    True Grit is just a couple bloody gunfights removed from an old-fashioned Disney yarn. Yet it's still unmistakably a Coen brothers movie, from the stray weirdness of a bearskin-clad dentist to the bulls-eye delights of the dialogue.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Like a train, I Wish is slow to build momentum, then it carries us away in a wondrous rush.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    You might expect a cartoon about a man and his dog to be strictly for kids, but My Dog Tulip, based on a memoir by J.R. Ackerley, has a psychological richness and anatomical explicitness that is very grown-up.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    An art-history lesson and a spiritual exercise disguised as a movie.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Goodbye First Love is like a postcard from a lost Eden, a painfully pure oasis where we're not allowed to linger.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    This humane movie is an ode to joy, albeit of the mature sort.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    If you require a plot, look elsewhere.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Williams
    With such supercharged material under the hood, a magnetic man behind the wheel and a nimble director manning the pits, Senna is simply the greatest sports film I have ever seen.
    • 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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    Few mainstream movies, let alone disability dramas, are so frank about sexual mechanics, yet notwithstanding the nudity, The Sessions isn't voyeuristic or sleazy.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    Although Precious is based on a novel, it's an act of truth-telling on behalf of a character in hellish enslavement.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 63 Joe Williams
    The most provocative thing in Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work is the moment during the opening credits when we glimpse the comedy legend without makeup.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Williams
    That action is bloody, but Fiennes' choices as director are unassailably apt and artful. Coriolanus is a triumph.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    With a mad captain at the helm, this documentary version of Jodorowsky’s “Dune” is probably more entertaining than what Hollywood would have done to it, with a clearer message: Our lives are like sands though an hourglass, so dream the impossible dream.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Joe Williams
    It’s not only a fresh and funny spoof of the movie business, it represents a real-life triumph within it.
    • 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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    With its mix of true-blood romance and full-moon madness, Let Me In should hasten the twilight of the twerpy pretenders.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 63 Joe Williams
    I Am Love is easy to savor but tough to swallow.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Williams
    It starts as a bittersweet parable about the cruelty of commerce, but the wonder of Searching for Sugar Man will not soon slip away.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 Joe Williams
    As Refn is riffing on thriller cliches, he gets solid support from the ensemble. Brooks, a comedic standout since the '70s, makes a sympathetic villain, and Gosling stokes the young-Brando comparisons - instead of settling for Richard Gere.