Joe Morgenstern

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For 2,456 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 43% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 55% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Joe Morgenstern's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys
Lowest review score: 0 Ender's Game
Score distribution:
2456 movie reviews
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Shinkai has marshaled more themes than he knows how to organize, but his film feels fresh and urgent. Star-crossed lovers are old news. Hodaka and Hina are cloud-and-rain-crossed, the hero and heroine of a tale of love in a time of climate change.
    • 27 Metascore
    • 10 Joe Morgenstern
    Too much tumult and chaos, not enough dramatic focus; too many animals with clever names spouting glib one-liners, not enough simple human — or for that matter nonhuman — feeling. What a waste!
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    The production is no masterpiece. Much of the physical action is ludicrous, or gratuitous; some of the heroes’ emotional baggage is excess. But an unexpected something sneaks up on us as the story unfolds. In between the volcanic eruptions of violence and mayhem, the film takes its buddies seriously — with such outsize sincerity that we can take them to our hearts.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    It reminds us how long she had to wait for the recognition she so richly deserved, and what a distinctive, generous, funny, astute, self-doubting, unstoppable and formidable figure she was along the way.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    The film becomes an enthralling, edifying, terrifying, sometimes funny and improbably stirring portrait of a multiethnic, polycultural cauldron where fury against injustice and neglect hovers near the boiling point.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Clemency is a meditation on capital punishment from a singular perspective. Call it Dead Warden Walking.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    Ms. Gerwig’s reimagining — and provocative restructuring — of the American classic is all ablaze with ferocious purpose, urgent passion, boisterous humor and the nourishing essence of family life in good times and bad.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 Joe Morgenstern
    It’s impossible to imagine that “The Rise of Skywalker” won’t do huge business, even though it’s merely good, not great, and though there’s a growing sense around the galaxy that Star Wars fatigue has set in.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    Can a movie that generates steady-state anxiety also function as entertainment? Yes it can, and Adam Sandler is here to prove it in Uncut Gems, a hard-edged and hard-charging phenomenon directed by Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie from a screenplay the brothers wrote with Ronald Bronstein. Mr. Sandler is flat-out sensational as Howard Ratner.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Richard Jewell has much to recommend it. The story is compelling — from hero to reviled heel in no time flat. In a jauntier time it might have been raw material for social satire; in our day it’s a cautionary tale about abuse of power by the press and government alike.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Joe Morgenstern
    By all wrongs, though — beginning with a single-minded script and clumsy direction — a movie with a compelling story to tell turns into a blunt-force polemic that can’t stop hammering its message home.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 40 Joe Morgenstern
    A heavier-than-air adventure, set in Victorian England, that seldom rises above the level of elegant hokum.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    The prime mover is sexual tension, which grows inexorably as the women learn the contours of each other’s lives. Portrait of a Lady on Fire — the fire is figurative, but also real — goes beyond painterly beauty. It sees into souls.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    The film is a dramatic and visual feast, one that portrays its adversaries as passionate humans who move us and make us laugh while they’re having at each other in search of common theological ground.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    An entertainment that’s as smart, witty, stylish and exhilarating as any movie lover could wish for. It’s tempting to call it the sort of movie they don’t make any more, but they didn’t make all that many way back when, because it’s really hard to pull off a production of such startling quality. If there’s a false note from start to finish I must have been laughing or gasping when it sounded.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Haynes, a notable stylist whose work is sometimes tinged with surrealism, was an improbable choice to direct this material, though a fine one, as it turns out. Like Rob, the film isn’t flashy, but it is honorable, admirable and improbably stirring.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    Given the nature of the production — it was made for grownups, not children, in an era when life moves much faster than it did in Mr. Rogers’s day — sticky sweetness threatens at every turn, along with naked contrivance. Yet the movie bets on goodness, and wins.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The calculation couldn’t be clearer. Put two superb performers together — they don’t get superber than Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen — and you’re on your way to making an exceptional movie. Not so fast, though. The Good Liar is calculation from arch start to hollow finish.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    It’s a new and emotionally complex model of an old-fashioned audience-pleaser, with wonderful performances by Christian Bale and Matt Damon and a resonant soul to go with its smarts.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    It’s a life-affirming, profoundly affecting classic.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Before and after everything else, Honey Boy — James’s nickname for his son — is a movie worth seeing for its distinctive qualities, but it must also have been worth doing for its therapeutic effect. Filming well is the best revenge.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    This new film, which seems shorter than its 209 minutes, feels genuinely new and deeply satisfying — for its subtlety, wit and resonance; for its serenely confident technique, meaning no truck with fancy tricks; for the sumptuous quality of the production; and for the epic scope of the story, an extraordinary tale of organized crime’s grip on American life as seen through the eyes of one outwardly ordinary man.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 20 Joe Morgenstern
    The plot makes no sense — time travel as multiverse Dada. Worse still, it renders meaningless the struggles that gave the first two films of the franchise an epic dimension.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    One word for Nadav Lapid’s Synonyms, a movie with a hero obsessed with words, is astonishing. Other words apply to this Israeli feature, in subtitled French and Hebrew, that’s set in Paris. They include, in no particular order, fascinating, infuriating, frightening, lyrical and befuddling. Plus deadpan funny and frequently stunning as a bittersweet ode to contemporary France, one that’s suffused with New Wave verve.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    By the Grace of God is overlong, and loses dramatic momentum as the group works out a social-media strategy and debates potential clickbait. But Mr. Ozon’s film is notable for the range of its concerns — the Church’s belief in redemption versus the legal requirement of punishment; the power of forgiveness versus the need for revenge; and before and after everything else, the special pain inflicted on innocent, uncomprehending children.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Joe Morgenstern
    “Focuses” is a relative term for a documentary that dispenses lots of information without organizing it very well, but Fantastic Fungi is never uninteresting, and often startling in the natural beauty it reveals.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 30 Joe Morgenstern
    The big-horned heroine is played once again by Angelina Jolie in this dull sequel to the not-so-sparkling 2014 original.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 10 Joe Morgenstern
    The film doesn’t lack for audacity, or ultimate purpose — it’s against hate and in favor of love. But the adaptation isn’t funny enough to sustain the style, which owes an overt debt to Mel Brooks and amounts to Springtime for Hitler Youth.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    That’s all there is, the two men and the lighthouse — plus a matched pair of brilliant performances, torrents of astonishing language, a slow crescendo of fateful sounds and a succession of hypnotic images, in black and white on an almost square screen, that lend a rock-solid sense of reality to a growing struggle for dominance.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Joe Morgenstern
    The story begins as a social satire of rich and poor, as witty and sophisticated in its fashion as vintage Preston Sturges or Ernst Lubitsch. Remarkably, though, it gets funnier as it grows more serious, then savagely funny and finally…but we mustn’t get ahead of a movie that stays ahead of its audience every frame of the way.

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