Michael Atkinson
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For 854 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 29% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 68% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 6.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Michael Atkinson's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 53
Highest review score: 100 Brazil
Lowest review score: 0 The Cat in the Hat
Score distribution:
854 movie reviews
    • 28 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Atkinson
    Director John Irvin, whose hapless 40-plus-year résumé runs from early Schwarzenegger to late Harold Pinter, never gets in the way, but the resulting sangria cocktail is mild, unchallenging, and kinda dull.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Atkinson
    Even though Gray is no raw-boned rookie-he has made TV movies for decades, plus, back in the day, a single Steven Seagal floater-his movie is rather inexcusably obvious, going for "troot," but recycling dese-dose-dem clichés already pressed into plastic lumber 25 years ago.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Atkinson
    It's decent, exoticized pulp with a porcelain veneer, and should be consumed idly.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Atkinson
    Fox's briskness leaves certain questions gaping open. As in, how cynical and derisive is she deliberately being of Rinpoche's teachings, since all we get are trite homilies and vague advice?
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Atkinson
    Women of a certain age will kvell, but the point might be better made for the rest of us by rewatching the autumnal Rampling in Ozon's "Under the Sand."
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Atkinson
    Monahan's debut has verve and charisma, but, in the end, the tension of a late-night pub shrug.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Atkinson
    Another break in the tension is the inescapable fact that every Holocaust movie, however hair-raising, essentially thrums the same self-sacrifice-versus-self-preservation chord. It's not fair, but there it is: We've been here before.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Atkinson
    The glacial pace is only quickened for seconds at a time with evocative ideas and hints of satire.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Atkinson
    Left with barely any there there, Morley compensates with long reenactments starring look-alike Zawe Ashton that are never quite convincing but instead suck more air out of the haunting vacuum left behind in Vincent's wake.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Atkinson
    Dano, with his remarkably guileless meta-teen puss, is thoroughly convincing, which is more than can be said for the film's shameless climactic steal from "Five Easy Pieces."
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Atkinson
    Tiresomely simple, the film introduces a subplot involving betrayal and political informants in the eleventh hour, but by then you're either smitten by these guileless Zulu lads experiencing "freedom" on the waves or you've checked out.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Atkinson
    Would that Harris had simply let the images and their historical context speak for themselves. His narration is simplistic and narcissistic... and the textual ideas he and his interviewees present about the intersection between race and imagery are hardly fresh.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Atkinson
    All of the filmmaker's fine work and good intentions cannot make this repetitive and finally tiresome saga fly.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Atkinson
    A watchable mediocrity at best.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Atkinson
    No matter how quotable the one-liners, the movie remains a far stretch from truth or insight.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Atkinson
    Just another basketcase with a blade.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 49 Michael Atkinson
    Predictable, tame dreariness.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 49 Michael Atkinson
    Turturro's movie is all surface, all artifice, and little substance. Actors love artifice; the rest of us wait for it to clear so we can find something meatier.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 51 Metascore
    • 48 Michael Atkinson
    Mangold ultimately delivers the same film any number of other Hollywood journeyman could've made from this material, and the results are predictable and stale.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 70 Metascore
    • 48 Michael Atkinson
    A modest project with an agreeably modest point of view, but it cries out for a sharp, believable naturalism Kusama simply doesn't supply.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 54 Metascore
    • 48 Michael Atkinson
    Its characters and plot are almost wholly negligible. It's just a party.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 32 Metascore
    • 48 Michael Atkinson
    Somehow manages to stay afloat on a sea of pretension, thanks largely to some splashy visuals.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 75 Metascore
    • 47 Michael Atkinson
    Strains our patience with overacting and photography so sumptuous you can't help but ponder why so much bloodshed and mayhem is being so expertly prettified.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 52 Metascore
    • 45 Michael Atkinson
    Crammed with interesting ideas, visuals, and people, but Stone buries it all in a s--tstorm of technique.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 55 Metascore
    • 44 Michael Atkinson
    Few other 1999 films are as filthy with tantalizing elements as Agnieszka Holland's The Third Miracle, and of those that come close, none other is as pointless, confused, or unsatisfying.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 44 Michael Atkinson
    A pale, derivative little Brit ditty that will be forgotten almost as speedily as it was dumped...into theaters.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 44 Michael Atkinson
    Whatever extraordinary ingredients are necessary to fashion a 1776 home run, this movie doesn't have them.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 43 Michael Atkinson
    Isn't terribly revealing, and though it is interesting to watch Condo paint, it's only interesting for so long.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 43 Michael Atkinson
    X
    It's gibberish, but when X works at all, it works not on the brain, but on the gut.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 42 Michael Atkinson
    An empty, affected exercise, executed with just enough style to make you wish McQuarrie had a motive beyond his own career.
    • 21 Metascore
    • 42 Michael Atkinson
    A thoroughgoing mediocrity that musters up just enough low-down chuckles to remind you that you're not watching another Freddie Prinze Jr. yawner.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 41 Michael Atkinson
    Hardly a ripping, inspired children's film.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 41 Michael Atkinson
    Provocative but lame-brained polygamy comedy.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 41 Michael Atkinson
    Has only its actors to keep it afloat.
    • 28 Metascore
    • 41 Michael Atkinson
    Aims low and cheats on an ending, but meanwhile it's a bottom-shelf hoot.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Vertical Limit's real problem is its digitized sheen. Every shot seems to have been CGI-enhanced, so the movie has an overpasteurized, Velveeta-like glow -- processed movie food.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    The movie is typical Hill-pulp: modestly scaled and efficiently cheesy.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    de Broca's efficient fencing-mania melodrama brings little that's original to the table.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Obsessives can be seductive, and Toback is interesting for the same reasons his films are often unendurable: He's not an artist so much as a giant pop-cult testicle pumping absurd energy in a rampaging, self-justifying gout.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Wittily conceived but clumsy as a newborn calf.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Elling is nothing if not carefully controlled hokum -- both actors, the director, and screenwriter all worked it through first as a stage adaptation of a novel by Ingvar Ambjornsen.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Stilted as a beach house, the movie crawls from one harangue to another.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Everyone in the film is a walking cliché.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Dryly cynical; the scenarios pit plump, amoral, industrialized Jews against draconian, wife-beating, tribal Arabs.
    • 30 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Mattei is tiresomely grave and long-winded, as if circularity itself indicated profundity.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    That the Cold War was a wasteful charade proves Bitomsky's point amply enough, but his movie is a repetitive bore.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    One of those hellishly predictable digital-monster gauntlets that makes you pity the actors.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Sandler is less goofy than spitefully self-absorbed, and most of the comedy feels like child abuse.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Since Lee is a sentimentalist, the film is more worshipful than your random "E! True Hollywood Story."
    • 65 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    An adept mood maker, Medem strains madly for cosmic alliances, fairy-tale imagery, and fated coincidences, but he triumphs only with two hot bodies, a cluttered apartment, and a Shower Massage.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    In the end, Ted Bundy's only justification is the director's common but unexplored fascination with the frustrated maniac; there's no larger point, and little social context. "Badlands" this ain't.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    It's an easier movie to tolerate than it should be if, like me, you're in love with Téa Leoni, who, as a lithe, lusty, strangely patient firecracker Superwife in a shag, rescues the movie from the tar pit of irrelevance. With some decent lines, she could be the new Myrna Loy.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Only Giovanni Ribisi, with a back-of-the-bus speech about the betrayals of insurgent and counter-insurgent politics, finds a genuine moment. All the same, for some unfathomable reason, Dylan's autumnal self-salute is not particularly difficult to watch.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Wang mistakes affectless storytelling and character conception for rigor, and as a result huge portions of Beijing Bicycle are dull and repetitive.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    The commonest sort of cultural pasteurization.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    His movie (Jordan's) winnows the original's existentialist fable into a busy caper thriller, copping plot devices from Soderbergh's "Ocean's 11" and even straining to Wong Kar-wai its camera's way around the fleshpots of Nice. It's all pizzazz, and the pizzazz is all borrowed.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Gave me a craving for something nouvelle, not a half-hearted Hollywood co-optation.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Irritatingly repetitious and piled high with long-foreseen conclusions.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Written, directed, and edited with the offhand shoddiness of a day worker thinking about his evening beer.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    What's more disappointing is how filthy Invincible is with missed opportunities for Herzog to be Herzog.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Polished and visualized with a sharp sense of place, writer-director Robert Connolly's drama is propped up by bogus science (the relationship between stock undulations and the Mandelbrot set is never made plausible), and the characters are paint-by-numbers.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Zucker's frenzied trifle is painless, with a few decent running gags -- and an ocean of bad ones.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    A big, stupid bull with bodacious tits, but that's not to say it doesn't dish out some lite hardy-hars.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Cliché-density aside, Roger Donaldson's perfectly rote movie is childishly naive about the reality of the CIA as it stands in the official record and in the public mindset.
    • 25 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Campbell is the movie's primary power source. His steely gaze and overbearing quietude are forever tainted; "Once and Again" doesn't stand a chance in Lifetime reruns.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Eccentric enough to stave off doldrums, Caruso's self-conscious debut is also eminently forgettable.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Desperately avoiding the risk of even a half-second of boredom, the movie is wall-to-window-to-door noise, babbling, and jokes.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    It's a shame that, somewhere in his mystagogical handstanding, Fresnadillo forgot the real world.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    An air-conditioned bus tour of Punjabi ritual. Nair stuffs the film with dancing, henna, ornamentation, and group song, but her narrative clichés and telegraphed episodes smell of old soap opera.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Prince Chatri Chalerm Yukol's movie is lovely, large, and tedious, subscribing blindly to storybook stereotypes (this warrior is brave, this prince is noble, this consort is evil) and acted, for the most part, in a passionless monotone.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Has a customarily jovial air but a deficit of flim-flam inventiveness.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Bumrushed onto American screens like late-breaking news, the Japanese TV doc Power and Terror: Noam Chomsky in Our Times is a relatively thin slice of Chomskiana -- a chapter from any of the man's many interview volumes, or even an hour of his C-SPAN dialogues, has more political substance.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Has only its stylized designs to recommend it.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    I have a friend who insists Allen should make a western, if only because the demands of genre might force the birth of new ideas. His movies do create and service an innovation-free comfort zone that makes most TV sitcoms seem adventurous.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Jonesing for headlines and gossip-buzz, Wonderland is too look-Ma for its own good -- the simple story of a doomed hop-hog over his head in bad shit could've hit the nerve if left to tell itself.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    The upshot is a general fog of two-dimensional characterization, slowly churning plot gearwork, and an ineffective air of forced lyricism.
    • 30 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    The gooseberry Harlin came up with will win no proselytizers, but it does have a pleasant matinee modesty, a cool sepia-period look, and an interesting flashback relationship with Nazis.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    All in all, Hijacking is less a movie than a litany of arguments intended as, or at least only useful as, a brickbat in the discourse, aimed at your neighbor's Republican noggin.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Sayles, it seems, doesn't think much of his audience, and the tone of his discourse is only nominally less pandering than a politician's.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    The movie's single brilliant invention -- Julianne Moore as a used, contentious, profoundly odd floozy on her own magical mystery tour.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Pushing Tin pivots on our dubious fascination with professional erection duels, which are a sad substitute for dramatic conflict.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    A standard-issue fin de siècle costume parade, simplifying every dramatic transaction to a torpid minimum but never answering its own looming "why": Why Alma?
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Adroit but finally a trifle flat, Mad Love doesn't galvanize its outrage the way, say, Jane Campion might have done, but at least it possesses some.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    There's precious few yucks, for one thing, but you can't say you're surprised that the astonishingly humorless Lyne hadn't noticed or cared that the Nabokov original is a droll comedy of errors first and a self-pitying romantic tragedy second.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    All the same, The Rider Named Death is curiously anemic; rather than passion, outrage, and danger, we're contemplating the sotto voce conspiracy love of a quaintly distant age, when results weren't quite as emotionally important as commitment and camaraderie.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Derrickson's flick can sour your stomach with piety, which is a shame -- its moments of jolt wattage rate with many J-horrors.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    The film galumphs along in static panels, prioritizing flash over thought, hyperextending a story that would barely sustain a children's picture book.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Shot in DV by Lisa Rinzler, Joseph Castelo's modest drama struggles for verisimilitude, but it wears clichés like concrete boots, down to the cycle-of-intolerance-and-violence message that we hear every day on NPR.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Land of Plenty is a woozy fantasia on California dreaming, all agog at urban strife and blabby with redundant voiceover.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Only Nthati Moshesh, as a single black mother working as a housekeeper wooed by a displaced Congolese (Eriq Ebouaney), makes a dent in white-American-expatriate Mark Bamford's toothless scenario.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Gone are Chung's willfully irrational non sequitur surrealisms, vertiginous designs, dry humor, and physiological weirdness; now we have Charlize Theron trying to look icy, leaping about in resistance to a future dystopia that looks a lot like an overlandscaped European Union industrial park.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    The ambitions are so paltry that our response should be too: Wolf Creek is unimaginative, light on the grue and heavy on the faux-serious desperation.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    The three stars are all perfectly naturalistic, but their roles are too bloodless and their patter too dry.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    The movie is a sloppy amalgamation of animated instruction, dramatic vignettes (starring actualization-starved single gal Marlee Matlin), and talking-heads interviews.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    As used cars go, the latest and possibly last Harrison Ford thriller, Firewall, is no deal: It runs rough, stalls frequently, smells like the stale sweat of four dozen older movies, and handles like a blind mule.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    The net effect would be doze-inducing if in fact the Dolby didn't attempt to wake the dead.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    As his story emerges-rape, assault, manslaughter, prison, and torrential self- destruction-it becomes clear that Pacheco is some kind of sociopath, and the movie evolves into a monstrous portrait of economic annihilation on the outskirts of the global village.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    Overshadowed by its own marketing hurricane and popular rage, Code struggles for significance as a movie experience and flies a weak flag as a provocation.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    For some fans, the taste of on-location color matters most, but Nuñez's idea of the characters' ordinariness translates to flavorlessness.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Atkinson
    On a strictly experiential level, Deborah Scranton's The War Tapes is remarkable, tactile, and affecting; as a piece of sociopolitical culture with context and ramifications of its own, it's a worthless ration of war propaganda--ethnocentric, redneck, and enabling.

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