Michael O'Sullivan

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For 1,263 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 49% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 49% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 3.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Michael O'Sullivan's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 58
Highest review score: 100 The Truman Show
Lowest review score: 0 Tomcats
Score distribution:
1263 movie reviews
    • 87 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    It plays out with all the suspense of a thriller. Assisted by acclaimed editor Walter Murch, Levinson wisely shapes the story not around the hardware, which was plagued by malfunctions and other delays, but around the people tasked with making the LHC run.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    It’s as affecting as drama as it is effective as horror. It wrenches, even as it unnerves.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    On one level, The Attack is a mystery, but not the kind you think. It’s obvious from the start who detonated the bomb; the only question is why. It’s a question that probably cannot be answered to the satisfaction of anyone living outside Israel or the occupied territories.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    The final, deeply satisfying conclusion to the trilogy of Swedish thrillers based on Stieg Larsson's bestselling novels.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Like a fat slab of pastrami, Deli Man is the cinematic equivalent of comfort food: warm, generous and made with love.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    As she demonstrated in “The Skeleton Twins,” the former “Saturday Night Live” comedian has grown so adept at rendering troubled characters without offering sideline commentary that you can’t help but fall in love with her, even as laughter gives way to uncomfortable silence.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Believe it or not, there's life in the old boy yet. After a disappointing third outing, this "Shrek" brings the cycle of fairy-tale-themed films to a fine finish.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    It isn't as sad a movie as "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work," another behind-the-mask documentary. It's funnier. But it's just as illuminating.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    A movingly told tale of tragedy and its consequences, not just for the players in the original tragedy but also for those touched by their actions, in an ever-widening circle of aftershocks.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    The real value of poetry - of the contest itself - is not revealed until the closing credits, when we see the impressive list of colleges that the movie's four subjects have gone on to.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Unbroken may not exactly be mired in sanctimony, but it’s standing, almost up to its ankles, in an unhealthy sense that its subject — about whose simple humanity the film otherwise goes to great lengths to illuminate — is a candidate for sainthood.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    It is the four young actors who play the students who truly shine, and who elevate the formulaic film above and beyond its familiar proceedings.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    A fascinating, funny and informative documentary.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    What happened to almost an entire generation of musicians in Cambodia isn’t a scandal. As “Forgotten” makes powerfully, passionately clear, it’s a tragedy.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Cartel Land reveals a culture that spans the border, full of death and dismaying behavior on both sides, but thriving all the same.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    It's uncompromisingly steamy, in a way that seems designed to make people who are uncomfortable with a physical relationship between two men even more uncomfortable.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    For a kids' movie, the humor, at times, strays a bit too far into grown-up territory.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    This trio of losers somehow forms a kind of loony family. Like the one in "Little Miss Sunshine," which also used the metaphor of a broken-down car to drive home its point, the interpersonal dynamics are out of whack, but not unworkable.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Rosewater doesn’t hector, nor does it giggle about the issue of press freedom. It’s an impressive and important piece of storytelling.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Under the direction of George Tillman Jr., these two young performers exercise remarkable restraint, never milking the material for unearned tears.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Microbe and Gasoline doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it just might ride four of them into your heart.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Kingsman delivers on its promise of escapist fun, with a touch that alternates between Galahad’s old-school polish and Eggsy’s roguish charm. Like the rookie who knows that you have to make a few mistakes while following the master, the movie shrugs off its missteps with a wink and a smile that makes them easy to forgive.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Jealousy is less cynical than it sounds. While certainly no love story, this dry-eyed tale feels achingly, maybe even exhilaratingly alive.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    It’s a compelling, even stirring, tale.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Duplass and Moss are so good, and their reactions to the frankly nutty circumstances of the film are so plausible, that the preposterous premise of the story hits home both conceptually and emotionally.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Yes, it features some of the most rapturous footage of calving glaciers and ice floes — alternately freezing and thawing — that you’re likely to have seen (much of it captured on equipment designed and built by the filmmaker). But it is the simple glimpses of ordinary life in an extraordinary place that are the most stirring moments in the film.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Moving without being melodramatic, War of the Buttons is a tale of the worst -- and the best -- that people of all ages are capable of.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    The acting is strong, with Robbie and Ejiofor turning in performances that feel powerfully authentic, even in moments of ethical confusion. Maybe especially in moments of ethical confusion.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Populaire is a mostly delightful and entirely unironic throwback to the kind of film they stopped making about 50 years ago.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Live From New York! is a fun, not academic walk down memory lane.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    The film is an effective, even heartwarming, tale of one man’s commitment to teaching that playing by the rules is more important than winning.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    By the time it glides -- not lumbers -- to the closing credits, it's also amazingly moving.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    In addition to all the rollicking, ribald humor, Tamara Drewe also has a couple of flashes of darkly comic violence. In a literary sense, it's poetic justice, really. Punishment meted out for bad behavior.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    At its core, The Company You Keep is a good, solid thriller about a fugitive trying to clear his name. But it’s a much more interesting movie at the edges.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    The first half of Cold is tense and suspenseful, albeit in a conventional way; the second half is sickeningly compelling. It’s hard to watch and hard to look away from.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Puenzo has a knack for plumbing the heads and hearts of teenage girls. The director coaxes a mesmerizing, unmannered performance out of Bado, who is making her feature-film debut.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Trinca delivers a marvelously unfussy performance, rendering her complex character gradually, along with the effects of the opposing forces that tear at her.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Rosenwald isn’t just a portrait of a great, selfless American and his powerful company, but an excavation of an ugly strain of our own history, and a reminder of what one person can do to uproot it.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    The film’s patina of richly textured grime lends the film a gloomy, claustrophobic beauty that serves its mood, as well as its satisfyingly misanthropic message: Greed isn’t good, and most people aren’t either.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    The Book of Life may use state-of-the-art animation, but it derives its strength from the wisdom of antiquity. It only looks new, but it’s as old as life (and death) itself.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Winter on Fire has all the immediacy and power of drama. If it lacks the dispassionate context of more balanced journalism, it makes up for it with a complex, contradictory emotional impact that is simultaneously demoralizing and hopeful.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    While the movie is best viewed as an examination of a specific place and time, it also can be seen as a celebration of a larger, more generic cultural phenomenon that one might call creative foment.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Rolls straight over silly, smashing through stupid without stopping and then barreling into a kind of insane comic brilliance without so much as a speed bump to slow it down.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    The plot thickens, along with the emotional tension, which was always the best part of the Potter universe, and not the dazzling special effects.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    An invigorating blast of cinematic adrenaline.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    There's a powerfully creepy sensibility to Deadfall. But the way it handles the messiness of families -- a universal message given vivid metaphorical life in the blood and guts it leaves in its path -- is finally rewarding.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    It’s a tale bluntly told that arouses intense, evanescent emotion and then leaves you haunted, long afterward, by provocative but arguably answerable questions.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Violette mostly avoids the pitfalls associated with movies about writers by limiting the scenes of Violette scribbling furiously in a notebook.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Far from being a historical cautionary tale, Command and Control looks forward, not backward. Kenner’s unsettling film casts its worried gaze not at the accidents that already have taken place, but at the ones yet to happen.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Tim’s Vermeer makes a convincing case that Vermeer could have painted the way Jenison says he did. It also makes a pretty powerful ancillary point: that some people are both geniuses and geeks.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Like "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," Flame and Citron is the story of handsome rogues with guns. It's fast-paced, stylish and thrilling.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    As Finders Keepers gets weirder, it also gets better and deeper. Somehow, Carberry and Tweel have managed to fashion an inspirational tale out of what one local newscaster calls a “freak show.”
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Listen Up Philip makes literary talent seem less like a blessing than a curse.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    The relatable theme of the magical misfit may not be entirely original. But as brought to life by Burton, Riggs’s fictional vision of a world in which the nonconformist can flourish serves as both a self-portrait of the auteur and a “Wonderland”-like looking glass in which many in the audience will no doubt see a reflection of themselves.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    A worthy addition to the Christmas movie canon. It's funny and good-looking, with an impeccable voice cast of U.K. actors. It's also unexpectedly fresh, despite the familiar-sounding premise.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    For No Good Reason rambles too much for its own good, compared to more traditional documentaries. The most rewarding parts of the film feature Steadman simply talking about his influences (Picasso, among others) and his youthful goal of changing the world through art.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes works both as allegory and action-adventure film. The internecine conflict between apes mirrors the troubled history of our own race.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    By the end of this troubling film, the cognitive dissonance that it highlights — between the theoretical glorification of the illegal Mexican drug industry and its actual cost in blood — is jarring. It’s an important film, but Narco Cultura is also maddeningly hard to watch.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    As incomplete as the narrative is, The Maze Runner delivers on almost every other level.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    The vérité style of filmmaking is slow and sometimes monotonous, making it all the more surprising that you will probably find yourself bawling your eyes out — without ever knowing how you got to that state — at the film’s profoundly, heartbreakingly somber conclusion.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Kennebeck may be a newcomer to feature filmmaking, but her grasp of the material is accomplished.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Franco’s hand-held camerawork draws the story forward as unfussily as a shepherd leads a sheep, and yet with a kind of ghastly grandeur. This is functional filmmaking more than it is flashy. But there is, at its heart, a single virtuosic performance.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Long Way North combines thrilling ad­ven­ture with a slightly somber mood. It’s a beautiful trip, even if it’s a little chilly and sad when it finally gets to where it’s going.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    The second half of this nearly two-hour film is a pure delight — fast-paced and funny and filled with special effects and humor as great as any recent Marvel movie, with the possible exception of “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
    • 48 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Admission is not especially funny. The trailer can’t seem to make up its mind. On the one hand, it looks like a satire of academia. On the other hand, it could be a gentle rom-com. In truth, it’s neither.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    The movie, for all its uneventfulness, is intensely memorable.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    In addition to McKay, Danes makes a sassy, sexy Sonja. And Efron more than gets by in his role as the sweet, plucky, starstruck newbie. It's a part that doesn't require much heavy lifting, though.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    A surprisingly intelligent and effective (if slightly pulpy) psychological thriller.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    What is their passion for? Not newspapers, or even a single newspaper, per se, but for journalism itself, the practice of which is nowhere stronger than at the Times. That, at least, is how Page One argues it. It's a compelling argument.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    The Hedgehog is a treat: a movie that's smart, grown-up, wry and deeply moving. Best of all, this is accomplished with the lightest of cinematic strokes. It sneaks up on you, without grandstanding, melodrama or outright jokes.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    The fate of these birds, which, the film tells us, could live into their 40s, becomes as engrossing as many a human drama.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    The picture that emerges is fractured, making for a portrait that’s as fascinating as it is baffling.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Life has cool effects, real suspense and a sweet twist. It ain’t rocket science, but it does what it does well — even, one might say, with a kind of genius.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Fed Up isn’t so much a warning to the ignorant shopper or a tip for the unimaginative chef as it is a rallying cry. It succeeds in firing up the choir. Whether it will convert the complacent is an open question.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    It’s an informative, if slightly unstructured, narrative, yet it plays more like a horror story.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    It’s a haunting story of love between two misfits who shouldn’t be together. In its doomed yet somehow hopeful spirit, it’s closer to the noir sensibility of “Let the Right One In” than the pop-horror of “Twilight.”
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Whatever your belief system, this much is gospel: Movies like The Conjuring are less about the battle between God and Satan than the battle between the silly and the scary.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    It's great fun.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    The movie is called Love Crime. But its hidden message has more to do with business than with passion. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Especially one in a power suit, who knows how to work a room.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    As this film’s engrossing character study makes clear, this woman of extraordinary tastes and appetites was ahead of her time, in more ways than one.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    It's the rare 2 1/2 -hour film that doesn't make you look at your watch once. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is such a film.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    The story of The Boxtrolls, in lesser hands, might have turned out only so-so. Under Laika’s loving, labor-intensive touch, it takes on a kind of magic.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    A lean and hungry thing. With the sparest of storytelling, the French filmmaker ("35 Shots of Rum") devours her audience, swallowing us up in a yarn that is as enigmatic as it is engrossing.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Together, under the assured direction of first-time feature filmmaker Oren Moverman, these three actors tell a story that is at once hard-hitting and bizarrely gentle.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    The film’s writers, directors and stars lovingly impale bloodsucker mythology with the sharpened wooden stick of comedy. As with “Shaun of the Dead,” their satire is a crude but effective tool.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    In the end, Marguerite isn’t a comedy so much as a love story. True love, it seems, isn’t just blind; it must be deaf, too.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Despite the story’s familiarity, its star manages to turn its many tropes into a winning formula.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    For the most part, it works brilliantly.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    As a storyteller, Amalric is a master of manipulation, first leading the audience in one direction and then another. The Blue Room is a hall of mirrors, reflecting every detail but making it hard to know where you stand.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Days of Future Past is, in itself, as intoxicating as a shot of adrenaline. It’s what summer movies are meant to be.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Peace Officer piles up evidence of outrageous excess, provoking what is likely to be a response, from its audience, that is far less measured than that of its main subject.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    It’s hard to say what is most difficult to digest about Prophet’s Prey.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    The films are highly entertaining and highly disturbing, in the latter case for both the right and the wrong reasons. While admirably delineating moral decay, which eats away at one character like a virus, the movies never really get at the seed of evil.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Thoughts become things. That's the message of Rise of the Guardians, a charming if slightly dark and cobwebbed animated feature about how believing in something makes it real, or real enough.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Elaine Stritch’s strength, along with the film’s, comes from her honesty. She is herself, even when — maybe especially when — she knows she’s being watched.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    It's both straight-faced spy film and sly spy spoof. That's a difficult balancing act, but director James Mangold gets it exactly right.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    By looking closely, clinically and ultimately compassionately at one eccentric practitioner of a dying way of life...Peter and the Farm nevertheless manages to harvest not just understanding of one peculiar, broken little man, but a broader wisdom about the cycle of seasons that we all must endure on this planet.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    Garrone has created a world of both rich and ugly textures — visual, narrative and imaginative — that transports, delights and imparts disturbing lessons.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    It isn’t easy to explain the appeal of the “John Wick” movies, and they are inarguably not for every taste, but there is a purity to them that transcends their barbarity and has something to do with the central character.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Michael O'Sullivan
    In writer-director David Chase's heartfelt delivery, this same old tune somehow comes out sounding fresh.

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