Michael Atkinson

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For 878 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 7.9 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Michael Atkinson's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 53
Highest review score: 100 Apocalypse Now Redux
Lowest review score: 0 Branded
Score distribution:
878 movie reviews
    • 84 Metascore
    • 93 Michael Atkinson
    So breathtakingly textural, so empathic in its images, that it transcends its context and achieves timelessness.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 92 Michael Atkinson
    Normal ideas of truth, illusion, and representation are sent into the meat grinder, and the result is consistently disarming and beautiful.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Michael Atkinson
    For the discouraged filmgoer, Erice's tone poem will be a ray of hope itself.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    Corpse Bride never skimps on the sass (as a good folktale shouldn't). And the variety of its cadaverous style is never less than inspired; never has the human skull's natural grin been redeployed so exhaustively for yuks.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    Garrone's film grows in your head afterward, making royal hash out of a cultural paradigm we'll be loath to remember years from now—if, by then, everything hasn't become "reality."
    • 100 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    Bergman locates a generosity and élan that make F&A feel like his youngest film.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    However familiar, it delivers like a shorted slot machine.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    Camus's film remains a revivifying experience - and a mid-winter oasis. Born and bred in France, Camus made other films, and lots of French TV, but Black Orpheus may still be the greatest one-hit-wonder import we've ever seen.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 63 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    The best film ever made about competitive surfing in Papua New Guinea (and Best Documentary of the year as per Surfer Magazine).
    • 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.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    Saleem, a Paris-based Kurd, displays the visual confidence and subtle screwball rhythms of a master, exploiting offscreen space, deadpan compositions, and deft visual backbeats, as well as attaining a breathtaking fidelity to real light and landscape.
    • 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    The Dance of Reality may be Alejandro Jodorowsky's best film, and certainly, in a filmography top-heavy with freak-show hyperbole and symbology stew, the one most invested in narrative meaning.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    The sense of continuing life is quietly remarkable.
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    Exactly the sort of mysterious and almost holy experience you hope to get from documentaries and rarely do, Jeff Malmberg's Marwencol is something like a homegrown slice of Herzog oddness, complete with true-crime backfill and juicy metafictive upshot.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    A dead-eyed, lyrical art film that kicks you in the throat.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    Compare it to what passes for sophisticated filmmaking in this country and the movie becomes a living instrument of cinematic humanism: lovingly intent on observing, not judging; concerned with sympathy, not control; accepting the inevitable ambiguities, not denying them.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    Easily the best directorial debut of the year, and possibly the most mature and haunting film to ever come out of Scotland, Lynne Ramsay's Ratcatcher is a throat-catching masterpiece of lyricism, observation, and stone-cold realism.
    • Mr. Showbiz
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    The ride is remarkable.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    Whatever its oversteps and excesses (I do think Park ran a little amok with the computer gimcrackery), Oldboy has the bulldozing nerve and full-blooded passion of a classic.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    It's still a feat of period filmmaking. More than that, Overlord's revivification of a wasteland Europe offers up a powerful whip lesson for the postwar complacent: that the waging of war, even this most romanticized of conflicts, means bringing a corpse-mountain hell to someone's home neighborhood.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    Binoche and Auteuil are both quietly sensational in their fracturing personae, but the film is Haneke's premier postmodern assault--less visceral, perhaps, than "Code Unknown" and the criminally underappreciated "Time of the Wolf," but more thoughtful and, in the end, deeper in the afterplay.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    Possibly the Iranian new wave's last meta-man, Panahi is in an ideal position to make the unique methodology of his filmmaking merge with its substance. But he's always been fascinated by how a film's bell-jar bubble can be punctured, leaving a viscous interface between real and cinematic.
    • 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
    • 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.

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