Joe Morgenstern

Joe Morgenstern
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
44% The Way of the Gun (2000) The Way of the Gun is doomy trash, a blood-soaked saga of remorseless killers and natural-born blatherers. I'm sure I've seen worse movies, but nothing so steadfastly unpleasant comes to mind. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 17, 2019
24% Men in Black International (2019) No need to huff and puff about the idiocy of Men in Black: International... Still, the fourth episode in the series sets a low-water mark for warm-weather entertainment. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 13, 2019
86% The Raft (2019) A document, as well as a documentary, of genuine consequence. The news is surprising, and pretty darned good. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 13, 2019
95% The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) The Last Black Man in San Francisco glides from moment to meaningful moment with cumulative power and singular grace. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2019
70% The Anderson Tapes (1971) The spectacle is entertaining, up to a point, but even the digital wizardry wears thin, and Dark Phoenix turns into a standard-brand miasma of explosions, collisions and swirling force fields. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2019
63% The Fall of the American Empire (La chute de l'empire américain) (2019) The tacit thrust of Mr. Arcand's film is didactic, even polemic. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted May 31, 2019
97% Booksmart (2019) Nothing funnier, smarter, quicker or more joyous has graced the big screen in a long time. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2019
89% Rocketman (2019) Whatever the film's shortfall in psychodynamics, Rocketman invokes the spirit and specifics of music -- enormously aided by Mr. Egerton's performance -- to illuminate the hero's soul. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted May 20, 2019
89% John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019) Mixed feelings about the violence are inescapable... Still, there's nothing iffy about the best action stuff in John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, although the film runs out of fresh ideas toward the end. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
49% A Dog's Journey (2019) I enjoyed the film, as many will, in a split-brain way that goes to the essence of fantasy -- half-believing what I wanted to be true, embracing the emotional manipulation whenever possible. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
71% All Is True (2019) The screenplay, by Ben Elton, wasn't woven from whole cloth. But its inventions and speculations aren't very interesting. Nowhere do they hint at the man who gave us the plays - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2019
89% Non-Fiction (2019) This is parody... As such, it's very funny and not without winsome affection for its hyperverbal, overprivileged characters. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2019
100% At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal (2019) Everything about "At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal" suggests someone coming toward you with a spoonful of particularly ghastly medicine. But the benefits outweigh the few unsavory side effects of this largely first-rate documentary. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted May 2, 2019
81% Long Shot (2019) The pleasingly adolescent absurdities soon regress to grindingly infantile and the raunch grows repetitious until the comedy wears out its welcome. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted May 2, 2019
95% Shadow (2019) The film doesn't pretend to be profound... But Mr. Zhang's film is elegant fun. Along with all the ying-yangery, there's the governing concept of movies as entertainment. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted May 2, 2019
89% Meeting Gorbachev (2019) As interviewers -- and filmmakers -- go, Mr. Herzog is one of a kind, his searching curiosity complemented by his instantly recognizable German accent. His new film, he goes out of his way to note, is a love letter. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted May 2, 2019
94% Avengers: Endgame (2019) Succeeds at its daunting task: summing up an epic struggle with bedazzling action... and with more humor, zest and feeling -- the real, heartfelt stuff -- than you'd dare to expect from what is, after all, an immense industrial undertaking. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2019
97% Hail Satan? (2019) A fascinating documentary about ragtag political activists making fundamentally serious mockery at a high level of media savvy. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 19, 2019
96% Little Woods (2019) This startlingly accomplished debut feature by Nia DaCosta has the eyes and ears of a documentary-the opioid crisis is everywhere, the nearest hospital is far away-but the heart of a drama, and a stirring one. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 19, 2019
97% Working Woman (2019) An understated polemic that becomes an affecting drama. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2019
17% Hellboy (2019) No one needed another Hellboy, let alone a wretched contraption whose single-word title suggests that it's an original, rather than the cynical enterprise it proves to be. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2019
81% Dogman (2019) Instead of sentimentalizing his character, Mr. Fonte gives a superbly austere performance, with comic dimensions, in which Marcello becomes a haunted, and haunting, enigma. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2019
46% Little (2019) Instead of seeing the world through a child's eyes, little Jordan continues to see it through the filter of big Jordan's psyche. Worse than a disappointment, that's a betrayal of the original premise. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2019
90% Shazam! (2019) What "Shazam!" lacks most obviously is gravitas. And grimness. Also bleakness, darkness and relentless self-seriousness. In other words, it's terrific fun. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 4, 2019
64% Peterloo (2019) This is historical re-creation on an epic scale. Yet it's a down-to-earth epic, with a density of detail that's stirring in its humanity and frightening in its clarity about miscalculations on both sides. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 4, 2019
55% Mighty Joe Young (1998) In a holiday movie season like this one, you take your pleasures where you find them. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 2, 2019
59% Hurlyburly (1998) Sean Penn gives another remarkable performance. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 2, 2019
80% The Thin Red Line (1998) stunning images couldn't make Days of Heaven a coherent dramatic whole, and they can't do it for The Thin Red Line. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 2, 2019
22% Patch Adams (1998) Like too many of Mr. Williams's recent movies, Patch Adams wastes the genius of a peerless clown. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 2, 2019
50% The Theory of Flight (1998) Unprincipled in its naked contrivance. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 2, 2019
61% A Civil Action (1998) There's much to enjoy in A Civil Action. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 1, 2019
45% Stepmom (1998) A disjointed hybrid of domestic comedy and mortal illness that might have been written by a support group of lobotomy survivors. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 1, 2019
38% American Dreamz (2006) Don't be offended, none of this really means anything, it's just a goof about a lot of dumb stuff going down around us. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 1, 2019
56% I, Robot (2004) This sci-fi action adventure, loosely based on the writing of Isaac Asimov, is impressive for Patrick Tatopoulos's production design but depressive for the juiceless story. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 31, 2019
45% The Cell (2000) The deeper the movie goes into its characters' heads, the more it finds shallow, familiar scenes of sexual domination and submission - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 31, 2019
36% Burlesque (2010) It's impossible to know if [Christina Aguilera's] actually acting, since the music-video cutting rhythms don't give her time to sustain so much as a compound sentence, not that the script provides any. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2019
93% Diane (2019) The movie is populated by people we seldom see in mainstream films, so seldom that we may not remember the pleasure we've been missing. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2019
82% The Brink (2019) What "The Brink" does best is show the missionary zeal that sustains this eccentric warrior. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2019
47% Dumbo (2019) It's astounding that Tim Burton and his colleagues could have created such a downer from a long-beloved source of delight. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2019
94% Us (2019) It's compulsory seeing for everyone who loves the horror genre, the movie medium and the notion of saying sage things about contemporary life without straying from entertainment's twisty path. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
76% Hotel Mumbai (2019) It's always unfair to ask a film to be something it isn't: Hotel Mumbai was meant to be an action thriller, and that's what it is, for better or -- mostly -- worse. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
94% The Mustang (2019) This debut feature by Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre opens strong, grows even stronger and, avoiding almost every trap, fulfills its abundant promise. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2019
98% Ash Is Purest White (2019) No one makes movies like Mr. Jia does. He's a dramatist with the eye of a documentarian and the instincts of a historian, even a geographer. But he's also a romantic poet, and his heroine... is driven by love as far as it can take her. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2019
95% Transit (2019) Provocative, even startling, and more edifying than you might expect. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 8, 2019
78% Captain Marvel (2019) This woman is a candidate for genuine heroism. Yet there's a fundamental dissonance between the depth of her plight and the shallow disorganization of the script... - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 7, 2019
97% Woman at War (Kona fer í stríð) (2019) Whenever you start thinking that the movie is one thing or the other, Mr. Erlingsson switches tones blithely, keeping you wondering what the next development will be. The result isn't perfect, but it's joyously audacious. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2019
98% Apollo 11 (2019) In contrast to the astonishing vistas, the film's style is nothing fancy, and that's meant as high praise. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2019
91% How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) The film feels like it's flying on empty... This is clearly the end of the franchise, one that gave great pleasure and stayed on too long. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2019
95% Birds of Passage (Pájaros de verano) (2019) Harrowing in its repetitive violence, but never less than fascinating as a piece of ethnology, with magic-realist dimensions, that amounts to an origin story of the Latin American drug trade. It's an extraordinarily accomplished piece of filmmaking. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2019
60% Alita: Battle Angel (2019) I loved watching this sci-fi spectacle's moving parts. I just couldn't get past its brain. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2019