Michael Atkinson

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For 882 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 30% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 67% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 8.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Michael Atkinson's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 54
Highest review score: 100 Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai
Lowest review score: 0 The Cat in the Hat
Score distribution:
882 movie reviews
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    Just as in the best old-school, Cain-style noir, Fukada’s film is eloquent about the fragile privileges of modern urban life and the hidden lies it can be built upon.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Atkinson
    It’s an orgy for film geeks and history jonesers, to be sure, and the revelation of how exactly the prints got waylaid and then buried in the permafrost, saved by virtue of Dawson City’s fading away in the twentieth century, proves a sweet narrative reward.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    It's a film, a rather gorgeous one, of glances and ephemera and delicate metaphors.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Michael Atkinson
    Yang keeps all of the balls in the air, resisting definitive answers and conjuring a lean-in sense of intimate dread. Practically every sneaky, off-center image seems to hold a clue, but the takeaway is failed connections and disastrous modern discontent.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Atkinson
    Ogalla makes it happen: Bedroom-eyed and shaggy, looking every inch like a reincarnation of dead-too-soon ‘70s French star Patrick Dewaere but without the haywire intensity, he's an amiable spectacle.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    In effect, [Guerín] seems to be making Pinto's case — the intellectual necessity of passion and Muse-force, in order to compel men toward Art — while utterly enjoying the messy, unpredictable, real-world tumult the women make of it.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    It's not a riot, though the Midwest textures are sharp (especially for an Irish filmmaker in an entirely Irish production), and the idea of witnessing a killing spree from the p.o.v. of a town's funeral home is full of rich discomfort.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 30 Michael Atkinson
    Kate Plays Christine is a documentary, but often a totally fake one, cheekily defining itself as its own making-of DVD supplement and documenting its own evaporation into near-nothingness. Every scene cries — or whines — about the entire project's inherent impossibility.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Atkinson
    The film is a vehicle for Applebroog-appreciation, daughterly and otherwise.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Atkinson
    You don't watch prolific doc-master Wang Bing's new film about a Chinese mental hospital so much as get imprisoned within it, pacing its dingy corridors and rooms like a zoo animal.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    A low-bore DeLillo-ness plays at the movie's edges, but does it aggregate into a substantial something? Not really, but the traces of postmodern dread, however Haneke-lite it all may be (isn't everything Haneke-lite?), can tickle your short hairs if you're prone.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Atkinson
    This is not a movie, really, but a back-rub and a cup of tea for Tsai purists, for whom the filmmaker's company, behind or in front of the camera, is all that's required.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 30 Michael Atkinson
    As filmmaking it's drearily anonymous — proof, if we needed it, that writing a screenplay via referendum is not a great idea.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    Quite possibly the only film ever made focused on the centuries-long enslavement of the Romani in Eastern Europe, Aferim! plays like a sleight of hand, amusing us at a distance with vulgarisms and entrancing us with countryside while the bloody work of civilization grinds on out of the corner of our eye.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Atkinson
    In a manner so sly you could overlook it, Porumboiu invests this tissue-thin premise with the shadows of Romanian history.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Atkinson
    A rambling daydream that aims literally to supplant your life, it's in effect a serial, in eight ninety-plus-minute chapters, TV-ready but defined by Rivette as a consuming theatrical experience. It consumes, all right, like a drug that won't fade, but it's also a lark, a metafiction without any reality, a magnificent irrelevance.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    The movie is itself a rat-maze of one-sided mirrors, windows upon windows, anonymous hallways, compartmentalized instances of watching, being watched, seeing and not-seeing.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    However brightened by some fast dick-and-pussy banter and lovely Tuscan scenery, the film's slow boil makes it fairly unconvincing, and Creatini is one of modern European movies' least palatable, and least animated, protagonists.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Amelio might just be trifling around, and sometimes that's how the film feels — rudderless and unsure of its own purpose. If fuzzy thematic thrust doesn't bug you, however, the essence of Albanese as a shrugging everyman for post-debt-crisis Europe may be its own reward.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    A pleasant old man's movie, in the end, but not one for which Boorman will be remembered.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    Textually, the setting's brutalist conflation between the far future and the distant past makes the film timeless, an elusive fable told with the viscous immediacy of a life on the diseased edge of civilization.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Michael Atkinson
    Distant, enigmatic, fragmented, and possessing a dead-eyed steeliness in the tradition of Michael Haneke, Tsai Ming-liang, and Ulrich Seidl. The Guitar Mongoloid is a quilt of moments, set pieces, and voyeuristic opportunities building to no specific thematic idea.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Atkinson
    It's the rare contemporary film that's as majestically and gruelingly rigorous in its form as in its thematic interrogations.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Atkinson
    Involuntary doesn't simplify its stories into a single point of view or idea; rather, Östlund is merely visiting these high-pressure moments in which Swedish culture frays, melts down, and betrays its ultra-civilized idea of itself.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Atkinson
    Easily the most rigorous, vital, and powerful movie of 2014, Sergei Loznitsa's Maidan may be a perfect Bazinian cinema-machine — reality is captured, crystallized, honored for its organic complexity, and delivered unpoisoned by exposition or emphasis.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Atkinson
    When it isn't TV-movie familiar, Egoyan's film is bughouse crazy, mixing in campy pulp elements that bleed pressure away from the story.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Good intentions can be deadly: Benoit runs into the common tripwire of caring more about pitching her cause than she does about movies. Scenes illustrate simple social-injustice points, and the characters are one-dimensional sufferers.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Atkinson
    In the end, this morphing of ideas and styles is more deadpan romantic than sociocritical, and sweeter for it.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Atkinson
    The film's blast of self-mocking overkill can be charming.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Atkinson
    Resnais's lightheartedness is infectious as he dispenses with the cinematic "reality" he never quite trusted, shooting the six-person farce on obvious sets, with curtains for doors and flat theatrical lighting.

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