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 Paradise: Love
Lowest review score: 0 Pokémon: The First Movie - Mewtwo Strikes Back!
Score distribution:
854 movie reviews
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    Suzuki has made the ultimate meta-movie, a self-parodying, surrealist gangster daydream as intoxicating and insubstantial as an absinthe swoon.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    It's a uniquely lonely film, and one of the year's most memorable.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    I've seen only a few films in my lifetime that so potently express the golden hopes of childhood and parenthood, as well as the inevitable decimation of that hopefulness -- that forward-looking bliss -- at the hands of catastrophe, or merely age, spite, and exhaustion. Or, as for the Friedmans, all of the above.
    • 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.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    A prototype of news-footage realism, the film makes shrewd use of handheld sloppiness, misjudged focus, overexposure, and you-are-there camera upset; the payoff is the scent of authentic panic.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    Yamada shoots his movie with a grandfatherly expertise, never squeezing the drama for juice or distancing us too far from the characters -- it's a pleasure to see a movie that makes every shot count, narratively and emotively.
    • 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
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    Oasis is utterly beguiling because Lee, like many other percipient Asian filmmakers, is simply more attentive to his characters' emotional tumult than the audience's.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    Bergman locates a generosity and élan that make F&A feel like his youngest film.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    It's an altogether remarkable piece of work, deepening the genre while whipping its skin off, satirizing an entire nation's nearsighted apathy as it wonders, almost aloud, about the nature of truth, evidence, and social belonging.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    It seems easily the most valuable piece of film to emerge about the war in all of its three-plus years.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    Like nearly every other Kiarostami film, Close-Up takes questions about movies and makes them feel like questions of life and death.
    • 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.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    Takes us through reams of fascinating drama, from the first heroic forest-saving protests to the reactive police violence and resulting dead-of-night firebombs to the core group's implosion after the FBI tightens the net.
    • 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).
    • 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."
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Atkinson
    A dead-eyed, lyrical art film that kicks you in the throat.

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