Michael Atkinson

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For 881 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 8.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Michael Atkinson's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 54
Highest review score: 100 The Terrorizers (1986)
Lowest review score: 0 Mr. Deeds
Score distribution:
881 movie reviews
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Atkinson
    Although it's thoroughly retooled, H.G. Wells's scenario doesn't allow for many soft landings, and the extreme respect for havoc on view quite properly keeps the Spielbergian cutesies to a minimum.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 68 Michael Atkinson
    A brooding, stunningly realistic portrait of familial self-destruction that raises far more questions than it can possibly answer.
    • 27 Metascore
    • 67 Michael Atkinson
    A fresh and beautifully timed, if slight, romantic comedy.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 67 Michael Atkinson
    It's such an accomplished, beguiling film in its details that you almost don't notice that the story is scattershot, arbitrary, and thin -- almost.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 67 Michael Atkinson
    It is only once the movie has exhausted its roster of "weird" notions and contrived images that it finds its emotional footing, leaving you with one half of a lovely, woebegone film.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 67 Michael Atkinson
    Has storytelling rambles and lapses that no amount of electrifying jump-cuts and original image-making can compensate for.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 54 Metascore
    • 67 Michael Atkinson
    It's Besson's stunning visual fluency that takes center stage, and in the end, that's not quite enough.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 67 Michael Atkinson
    A classic Sundance résumé movie -- texturally interesting, bubbling with ideas, and as structurally predictable as a cardboard box.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 66 Metascore
    • 66 Michael Atkinson
    Despite terrific comic acting...and an atomic first hour, Fight Club makes a few wrong turns and ends up lost itself.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 91 Metascore
    • 66 Michael Atkinson
    The characters are barely characters, the story barely a story, and the elliptical filmmaking style that so besots Denis' many fans could drive you to drink.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 38 Metascore
    • 65 Michael Atkinson
    Has an unforgettable artery of hot-blooded talent coursing straight through it.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 67 Metascore
    • 65 Michael Atkinson
    Assiduous, temperate, and a lot more honest about government and politicians than any other Hollywood film of the last few decades, Thirteen Days is nevertheless too little, too late.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 65 Michael Atkinson
    A vapor trail of a comedy, comfortable as an old chair (and deliciously photographed in shades of melon and banana by Chinese vet Zhao Fei), but ultimately quaint and unchallenging.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 64 Michael Atkinson
    For all its originality, O Brother doesn't seem to have a point, or enough spark to distract us from the lack thereof.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 64 Michael Atkinson
    The frequent song interludes will distract the kids (but send the adults into comas), and the anti-Disney satire rages as never before.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Atkinson
    Burton's films are endearing and impassioned despite the fact that they generally fail to tell a whole story, create a single rounded character, or inspire even mild laughs or chills.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Atkinson
    The dilemma is simple: Living, making art, and then dying does not constitute much of a story.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Atkinson
    Accomplished, middlebrow costume-drama entertainment. It's not so simple that it could be mistaken for the work of, say, Lasse Hallström, and yet it's not so sophisticated that audiences of "Chocolat" would be mystified.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Atkinson
    It's a drab, familiar story with no oomph (and less humor than you'd think), and it's inconsistent.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 62 Michael Atkinson
    Mature and adroitly performed but ultimately underachieving.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 61 Michael Atkinson
    It's yet another serial killer movie, a plot element that by this point in time, far from being disturbing or fascinating, is just plain dull.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 44 Metascore
    • 61 Michael Atkinson
    There's a sense of life to Committed that's unpredictable and sweet, but too much of it is cluttered with lazy shortcuts.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 70 Metascore
    • 61 Michael Atkinson
    From the beginning of his career a fervent, epic documentarian, Herzog is a personal filmmaker as well, and My Best Fiend is certainly his most intimate and introspective film.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Spear's portrait of unpaid, passionate fastpitchers could give filmmakers of all budgets a notion of how real Americans speak.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Despite the soft-spoken Smith, a type-A British liaison self-named the Turbocharger, and the apparent involvement of the IRA, the doc prioritizes flash over facts, leaving you pining for the New Yorker exposé it could've been.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Some of the buckshot hits its target: Shrek's second sidekick, assassin-turned-comrade Puss in Boots, is voiced by Antonio Banderas as an outrageously mock-dramatic Spaniard with most of the pig-pile screenplay's best toss-offs.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Either way, Kim's rather clumsily acted film remains monstrously effective ookiness, with crepuscular cinematography (by the Hollywood-destined Kim Byeong-il) that suggests a nightmare endured from inside a suffocating velvet pillowcase.
    • 30 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    This might be as perfect a new-millennium Halloween creepshow as we can expect.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 40 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Beneath may be an earnest goof, but any intended irony is so spiked with rainy-day-matinee movie love that the result is an oddly guileless horror exercise, unscary but rather adorable.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    The omnibus film usually saves its home run for the climax, but Eros begins with the best third, Wong Kar-wai's "The Hand."
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    What can a movie tell us about the painter that the paintings do not? The effort has done no favors for Picasso or Rivera or Bacon.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    The movie does what any self-respecting politician would do: sidestep the issues, soft-pedal mortal costs, talk a fat game, and divert your attention away from history with exercises in spectacle and power.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Madagascar's relaxed density is a relief given the DreamWorks tendency to overbear, overblast, and overcaricaturize.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Though bourgie audiences looking for a sun-warmed romance will be slapped; the movie may look pretty and may plod, but it also leaves a bruise.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    The voyage is never less than interesting, even when you have no idea where it could possibly go.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Produced by veteran Chicago doc outfit Kartemquin (and correspondingly bullshit-free), Siegel’s archive-and-talking-heads narrative revels in forgotten details—like Ali, during his suspension from boxing, appearing in an Off Broadway musical about slavery, the taped footage from which is eye-popping.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    The material it does pull off is daring and sharp.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    At times you can feel Van Sant trying to loosen the movie's windpipe-folding collar, but he doesn't get far, except with Busta Rhymes, as Jamal's gone-nowhere big brother.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Arresting, visually accomplished documentary.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 40 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Repetitive, aimless, and as frustrating as you'd imagine any two-hour music video to be.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Plenty of twisty scripting makes the queasy damage seem conceptually neat and tidy, as if that's a good idea, but what we need here is a little more meat.
    • 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.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    As amusing and sharply performed as it is, Lisa Picard quickly grows thin and dull. Perhaps it would have been better as a real documentary, with Kirk and DeWolf simply playing their pathetic selves.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    A tepid and surprisingly dull farce stamped from the "About Mary" mold.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Even more of a party-hearty-Marty potlatch of silliness than its predecessor. The franchise having been established, Verbinski, Bruckheimer, and Co. have been liberated to indulge in absurdities, pile on the so-old-they're-new-again clichés, and make jokes at their own expense.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Glossy, gruesome police drama.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    At once arch, derivative, and, in the end, bizarrely lyrical.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Juliet is never less than eye-catching, but is rarely more.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Davis has energy, but she doesn't bother to make her heroine's book sound convincing, the gender-war ideas original, or the comic scenes fly. Instead, the film is buttressed by song montages and jokey chapter titles.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Mild as satire and completely unconvincing as tragicomedy.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    A movie of one billion cigarettes, Hannah Arendt is about moral reason, not personality. It could do worse than lead you straight to the woman’s books.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Virtually plot-free, the movie's organic cultivation of Argentina's economic tension and ethnophobic woes is smooth as silk.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Directors Jenner Furst and Daniel Levin go for montaged ambience, and Levin's lyrical camerawork limns a beguiling, modestly Wong Kar-wai–ish rhapsody out of very little. When Levin's lens is focused on Shirtcliff's unwashed hair and spectral eyes, the film grabs hold of something sweet and sad.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    It's Korzun's film, and she is in complete control of her character, never divulging too much of the haunted woman under the studied facade of American hotsiness.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Perhaps a radical re-editing of Fear X-like Lynch did on “Mulholland Drive”-could rescue the film's workaday unease from the dread taboo of derivative weirdness. It's half a movie, but a half that hums.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    There's something dull and evasive at the film's center--for one thing, contrary to its festival buzz, Bad Education tiptoes around the issue of priesthood pedophilia; lovelorn gazes are as desperate as it gets.
    • 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.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Packed with melodrama, and often it works in the passionate, easy-to-watch manner of an old-fashioned "woman's film."
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Romero's fourth-grade dialogue doesn't help matters, but anyone seeking out the latest achievements in cranial ruptures, spewing-blood gouts, and ground-beef spillage need look no further.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Being French, the film at least has indelible details -- something a Hollywood remake would fix but good.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Full of well-observed supporting riffs, Crash might've accumulated more frisson had it cast a clearer eye on how social tension actually plays.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    There's no denying bespectacled, brace-ridden, homely wild child Eliza (Lacey Chabert), who can speak to animals and emerges as one of the most stirring heroines in contemporary media.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    The question of whether this is a movie about reincarnation or fate or middle-aged delusion remains unaddressed far beyond our capacity to care. Many of the admirably long conversational scenes are pointless; some, like Harden and Linney's climactic bitch-fest in a hotel room, are flat-out absurd.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    White’s revelation-free, nostalgia massage of a film works the archivals with genuine fondness.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    This shadowy film may ooze with espionage enigma, but Darby’s real-life role finds him casting himself as a crusader; he’s like a hipster Zelig, lost among media appearances, evasive social principle and TV-propagated naïveté.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    For some viewers, this will seem a trial of predictability and unrelenting sweetness; for others, it's more than enough.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    If the movie stops short of exploring its own baggage, the actors still make for unforgettable company.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    A mess, bouncing nonsensically from one style of farce to another, leaving large vacuums and dead spots — which may themselves, of course, be deliberate.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    C&C hardly coalesces, but then again, it doesn't try to--never more or less than what it appears to be, the film is a slow honky-tonk thud-beat, only intermittently punctuated by a joke or idea.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Basinger takes her shuddery Stanwyckness very seriously, but everyone else has a ball.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Squint through the humbug, and there's some genuine life going on.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Hardly the trippy icon the doc’s title suggests, the artist is now more like everyone’s slightly seedy hedonistic granduncle, happiest sketching cartoon pigs and walking the moors of County Cork.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Seasonally it's more appropriate as a May Day bacchanal, but in any month Demy's movie makes for an evocative globe-paperweight tableau of its place and time, and a concise demonstration of the disquietude inherent in classic fairy tales.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    The loss of the first film's hurtling who-am-I? story engine is keenly felt, and too much time is spent observing the characters get on and off planes, trains, and automobiles.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Nolan and his co-screenwriter David Goyer can only press the big buttons so hard—it's still an old-school superhero summer movie, the plotting tortuous, the characters relegated to one-scene-one-emotion simplicity, the digitized action a never ending club mix of chases and mano a manos.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Sags, lollygags, and blusters too much to sustain the what-the-hell momentum that Kitano achieves in his best movies.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    A decent little exercise in nativist outrage, Rolf de Heer's The Tracker, with its dynamic between indigene and colonial oppressor, could've easily been a western.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Pure, irrational, claustrophobic, gritty, unpretentious.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    A competent, earnest ethnographic video doc that never quite rises above its own best intentions.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Now, we have Jeremy Renner as another Treadstone mega man (there were nine, apparently), and though he is a likable enough pug-nosed action figure, the Damonlessness is sorely felt.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    It is, for a contemporary CGI-fraught fantasy-slash-living-video-game, not at all bad, dotted with moments of Bosch and steady on its storytelling feet.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Israel's one-man new wave, Amos Gitai, surveys his nation's hardscrabble quotidian in Alila, which dallies with both Kiarostamian spirit and Altman-esque fabric, examining the intersecting lives of a dozen or so Tel Aviv residents.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Harmless and affectionate, The Dish gives its clichés breathing room, and so a few are pleasantly surprising.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    It's not a movie you could call dispassionate, however aimless and unfocused. It's a Molotov cocktail tossed in several directions at once.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    The tale's faux-fable simplicity is cunningly eloquent.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Has one of the most stupendously tasteless premises in cinema history, and much of the time when this movie tries to beckon a smile, the effect is closer to astonished nausea.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    For all of the film's preciousness, the pungent notion of having your young-teen self gazing in horrified disappointment at the adult you've failed to become is as fresh a thematic undertow as it is disquieting.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Casting Tokyo as a neon wilderness thick with aged "perverts" and teenage pimps, the movie frames a critique of socially permissible pedophilia as indelible as Harada's eavesdropping mise-en-scène.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Murray is always pleasurable company, and his barely suppressed soulfulness might've supported this dawdling big-fish story if its insistent larkiness had abated and let a little reality in, as had "Rushmore."
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Instead of hitting the gas and allowing the scenario to rock 'n' roll with g-forces, Reitman keeps his movie small, unvaried, slack, and deliberately and oddly, completely smoke-free.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    The cast is largely nonprofessional, and the story has the simplicity of myth.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 43 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    It's all about the performances. Kechiche is reserved and superbly troubled, but Wright Penn, her stardom-crippling reserves of bitterness and bile rising to the surface, is a scary monster in full bloom, and her habitation of this wacky role makes the movie worth its weight in pixels.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    It's a shame that Jeepers Creepers cops out -- as American genre movies have been doing for years -- and plays it safe with an F/X-heavy creature that no one would believe in a thousand years.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    You're not sure what this is till it's over, but certainly Hawke's performance is his nerviest and most sincere in a decade.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    The naked, artless display of nerve and rebellious bile is altogether unique in modern movies.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 37 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Rock is brave, fully invested in his character, and with a wide-open face and foolish grin, outrageously funny. It's a singular performance achieved without condescension or camp. Who'd a-thunk it?
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Polished and adroit ado about next to nothing, Hodges's film owes everything to Owen, who nails the vaguely unsavory, unreadable, half-lidded hunks that inhabit every profitable entertainment-industry outpost.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Plays like "The Honeymooners" might have if Ralph Kramden were from Pakistan, but with less laughs and more ignorant spite.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Hribar's film is not remarkable or ingenious in its creation of ethnic gusto and peripheral naturalism, but it's adept enough for a pass on M:i:III.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Atkinson
    Hilary and Jackie tries far too hard to dictate emotional involvement right out of the gate, and you're left counting off the doom-laden cues for things that are sure to return full circle.

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