Michael Atkinson

Select another critic »
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 Time of the Wolf
Lowest review score: 0 Pokémon: The First Movie - Mewtwo Strikes Back!
Score distribution:
881 movie reviews
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    Keane is a painfully specific figure but at the same time a totem, lean and frightening, for a morass of modern anxieties. That might be this phenomenal film's emergent achievement: Its raw hopelessness is its universality.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Atkinson
    But Monsters, Inc. -- directed by Pixar soldier Pete Docter, not by master digital comic John Lasseter -- turns out to be stingy on context, commentary, and the prism-ing view of pop culture that made the earlier films mint.
    • 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.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Atkinson
    While the astonishing street footage of "l'affaire Langlois"--perhaps more familiar to the French than to us--is where this exhaustive talking-heads portrait becomes beautifully, bafflingly surreal, the whole project, however conventional, has the allure of a communal embrace, a home movie of a motherland left irrevocably in the past.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Atkinson
    One of the year's best films, and certainly its most challenging so far: At more than three hours, watching it is less like consuming entertainment and more like living.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    This is what Woody Allen movies might be like if they were not ruled by narcissism, pretentious point-scoring, cheap observations, and Woody's peculiar speech patterns.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Atkinson
    In the Fog has the inevitability of an avalanche, and only our overfamilarity with Nazi-tribulation scenarios, and perhaps its excessively punctuated ending, could slow it down. A better anti-summer blockbuster is hard to imagine.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Atkinson
    My Joy is a maddening vision and one of the year's must-see provocations.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Atkinson
    Sweet and fiercely humane, Song’s layered family portrait is decidedly Buddhist: silent when it needs to be and steadfast about approaching inevitable tragedy with care and patience.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Atkinson
    The first punk tragicomedy, a chain-whipped cartoon meditation on Good, Evil, and Free Will that is as seductive as it is tasteless. That Kubrick misjudged the distance between comedy and cruelty seems to be unarguable.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Atkinson
    Without the intrusion of voice-overs or interviews, Mylan and Shenk attained a remarkable intimacy with the strapping, earnest, startlingly beautiful teenagers.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    Innocence is not merely the year's best first film, but one of the great statements on the politics of being 'tween.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Atkinson
    Dynamic but preachy.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 30 Michael Atkinson
    The carload of codgers in Fred Schepisi's Last Orders merely bellyache, philosophize, crack unfunny jokes, and ruminate simplemindedly about Death.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 81 Michael Atkinson
    Lacks scope and doesn't resonate grandly as a portrait of an American underbelly like Morris' earlier works do. But it still packs a wallop.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Atkinson
    Seidl's visual style -- bitter-comic three-walled tableaux -- makes the scenario's tension between desire and reality almost unbearable, but Melanie offers hope by simple virtue of her youth, her unformed romantic folly, and her guileless courage.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    Mood is everything, trumped up by a score so rich with pop songs, bossa nova drama, and symphonic mournfulness it's almost a movie on its own. 2046 may be a Chinese box of style geysers and earnest meta-irony, but that should not suggest there aren't bleeding humans at the center of it.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Atkinson
    The Aviator could've been a "Raging Bull" brother film, given that masterpiece's crystalline purity of purpose and humiliated courage. But it brakes far short.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Atkinson
    In the end, once we realize the title doesn't refer to these bantams' weight class but to their strength of heart, or something, the film feels blandly respectful and, oddly enough, apolitical.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Atkinson
    The dilemma is simple: Living, making art, and then dying does not constitute much of a story.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Atkinson
    However schematic, the movie percolates with immediacy and genuine warmth.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 87 Michael Atkinson
    Lusts for a feel-good ending the material doesn't comfortably provide. One can't help wondering how dismal Jerry and Dorothy's life together will be after the credits roll.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Atkinson
    Thick with reenactments and cute cutaways, the movie evolves into a cultural inquisition, following this stranger through the strange land of bad-news America, where the truth is still waiting to be exhumed.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Atkinson
    For all of its well-schooled orthodoxy and visual splendor, Kekexili remains somewhat off-kilter--the characters' passionate wartime camaraderie and doomed sense of martyrdom aren't quite reflected in the facts of volunteer service and devotion to a balanced ecosystem.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Atkinson
    With Child's Pose, the Romanian tide enters its Cassavetes phase, where the thin ice of haute bourgeoisie life cracks and opens wide.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 84 Michael Atkinson
    Dumont's movie has virtually nothing wrong with it -- aside from the fact that it drives people crazy. Take the leap, but expect no answers. Just like life, as they say.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Atkinson
    Bani-Etemad's generational melodrama observes a blue-collar dynastic collapse worthy of Lillian Hellman, but stays steadfastly fixed on the quotidian of Tehran life.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Atkinson
    Arriaga's script (a prize at Cannes) has a lovely, fascinating shape to it, even if his crushing portrayal of white Americans--all of them, even Jones, suffering from a zombified affect and crippling shortsightedness--is somewhat counterset against his Mexicans, who are all morally balanced, if not always happy or nice.
    • 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.

Top Trailers