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 A Mighty Wind
Lowest review score: 0 Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
Score distribution:
882 movie reviews
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Atkinson
    Dietrich is the movie's primary cannon: Her amused eyes, open face, and relaxed sensuality monopolize our sympathies.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Atkinson
    The kitsch is back in full bloom.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Atkinson
    It's a heart-sundering vision of preadolescent helplessness that rivals passages of "Landscape in the Mist" and "Ponette."
    • 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.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    Beehive is a graceful and potent lyric on children's vulnerable hunger, but it's also a sublime study on cinema's poetic capacity to reflect and hypercharge reality.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Atkinson
    Full of observed life, the movie is also a bit of a vacuum, and once we register our admiration for Lopez, we can hardly help contemplating the cold equations of the students' futures, their uneducated families, and the rapturously desolate farmland around them.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    For many the question remains about how Treadwell's eventual death should be regarded--as a tragedy, as a fool's fate, or as comeuppance for daring to humanize wild predators and habituating them to human presence. Herzog's perspective is, of course, scrupulously nonjudgmental.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Michael Atkinson
    What's not recognized enough is the indelible, self-sickened performance of William Holden as Desmond's boy-toy/hired hack.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 93 Michael Atkinson
    The best film we'll see this year.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Atkinson
    All the same, Eastwood's point of view has been seasoned enough to locate poignancy and respect for his protagonists where you least expect -- saying it's an old man's movie is a serious compliment.
    • 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    Drug War might arguably be [To's] best film for this reason—it doesn't attempt to raise the stakes on its genre, but instead fully exploits what's there, piecing together an elaborate narc campaign tale out of classic clichés and tight-knot plotting, and letting the disaster of balls-out crime make its own statement.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Atkinson
    There's little sense in trying to resist the film's relentless boogie-woogie party vibe, its tumultuous visual banquet, its unpredictable sense of switchblade satire, its fools' parade of modern grotesques, or its river of startling melancholy, turning from a wary trickle to a flash flood by film's end. Sorrentino's vision is the size of Rome itself, and his confidence is dazzling.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Atkinson
    Ozon -- has finally hit a home run, and Rampling is his most remarkable RBI.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Atkinson
    The new film is more informational than resonant. But you can still sense a vacuum, a rat pit of stories waiting to be unearthed. The dark something that triggered the whole ordeal in West Memphis is still out there.
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    Her (Cheung) gorgeously sad face and slow, lithe frame are the movie's hammer and chisel. One shot of her walking away from a rented room down a hallway is, all by itself, twice the movie of anything else currently in theaters.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Atkinson
    Far from a maxim-expounding sermon, the film is a fresh spring of irrational visual pleasure.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Atkinson
    Although the film has a righteous heart, by focusing solely on government as showbiz, it's part of what it decries. Curry makes uproarious hay with the illegal shenanigans of incumbent mayor Sharpe James, but is that all there is? That said, Street Fight has enough cultural crosscurrents to fill out a novel.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    Marquise is almost ironically uninflected, like a tense game of chess. But soon the no-nonsense two-shots and scarlet-satin self-consciousness let the story build to genuine fireworks. No costume-drama escapism here, just distilled social warfare.
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Atkinson
    A minor triumph of atmosphere and nightmare imaginings.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    If Otar is, finally, a mite thin and predictably structured, that takes little away from the filmmaker and her cast, who work hard at fashioning the most outlandish special effect of all: believable human life.
    • Village Voice
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Atkinson
    Naturalistic, gritty, and unrelenting.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Atkinson
    One of the year's best films.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Atkinson
    Brilliant, mind-boggling.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Atkinson
    Moving and ambitious in scale like nothing else in cinema, Michael Apted's Up films began in 1964 as a BBC news program exploring an old Jesuit maxim: "Give me the child until he is seven, and I will show you the man."
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Atkinson
    Achieves an abrading, intimate, primal force his later films only hint at. It's difficult to imagine the Euripides original ever being more eloquently adapted.

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