Michael Phillips

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For 1,573 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 57% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 41% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 4.4 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Michael Phillips' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 A Serious Man
Lowest review score: 0 Left Behind
Score distribution:
1,573 movie reviews
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Too often the film itself simply shuffles the postcards of Tibetan scenery, Buddhist rituals and the Tibetan people (many amazing faces on view, to be sure).
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Most of this doc is content to wander through Franken's recent show-biz resume, to no particular end.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Just about everything in the video-gamey World War I picture Flyboys rings false, although the planes certainly are terrific.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    The flaw in Death of a President isn't one of morality. It's one of dramatic interest.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Despite the proficient technique, after a while you may feel you're watching a particularly scenic snuff film.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    After the fourth electrocution gag, the 10th smack in the face and the 12th assault on a wee rodent crotch, we could all use something quiet.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    While Brand manages a couple of effectively brutal bits of violence, Matthew Waynee's gassy screenplay is all premise and no propulsion.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    A large amount of dope is smoked in The Pick of Destiny, perhaps the most since the salad days of Cheech & Chong. This may be the problem. Pot rarely helped anybody's comic timing.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    The Holiday is a 131-minute romantic comedy for those who, if they had their way, would still be watching "Love Actually."
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    With "Braveheart," "Passion" and now Apocalypto, Gibson clearly has established his priorities as a director. History is gore, plus a few hearthside family interludes. The trick is instilling the audience with enough rageful bloodlust to make the story work.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    By the time Perfume arrives at its ridiculous mass orgy, staged at the gallows where Grenouille is supposed to meet his end, you really would rather see him meet his end than endure a ridiculous mass orgy.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    If you want a relationship comedy that feels like last year's stuff, doesn't go far enough in any direction and is made watchable only by an overqualified ensemble, there's The Ex.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Making her feature-film directorial debut, Grant is going for an everyday conversational texture and a sense of life's curveballs. But the results wander and you never really believe them.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    This film was not based on a video game, but that's the vibe and the aesthetic at work here: YEAH! KILL!, followed by a few muttered expressions of the horror, the horror.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Apted and his collaborators are so in awe of their subject they neglect to bring him to full human life.
    • 29 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    As Premonition zigzags toward its solution it loses its head completely, packing a risible final reel with left-field religious disquisitions and heartfelt warnings against infidelity.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    A screwy assassination thriller for these murky times, it takes half its pages from Soldier of Fortune and the other half from links provided by conspiracytheories-zapoppin.org.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    It lacks the rutting nuttiness of "Basic Instinct," even as it recycles much of that film's kiss-or-kill premise.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Kasdan has inherited much of his father's surface skills; he knows how to round out a scene and keep things on story point. But In the Land of Women doesn't for a moment feel messy and chaotic where it counts.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Routine cinema but rich history.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    I doubt even rabid fans of the first two will consider Shrek the Third a worthy addition to the franchise.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    It is passable comic book stuff, dumb and loud. Loud. LOUD.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Feels constrained and rather dutiful, no matter how passionate these people are about what they're observing.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    I did like seeing the (fakey-looking) sheep take flying neck-high leaps at various human throats, in scenes recalling the killer rabbit in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." And I enjoyed the Kiwi dialects. And I suspect King's next film will be better.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    The film is half rutting goat, half preacher.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    After seeing No Reservations you'll be hungry for a really top-flight meal. And, to go with it, a better film.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Turns out to be nothing special. Well, the music is. The storytelling is not.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    It's the big stuff that doesn't really work, at least well enough to be called special.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Ruthlessly skilled as Atkinson is, the Bean persona of generic, maniacally grinning ineptitude owes most of its appeal to seeing just how far an actor can pull a face without pulling a muscle.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    They should've thrown everything away except the title and the outline. That's what the "Devil Wears Prada" creative team did, and that film turned out a lot richer than this one.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    If it gets people thinking about which light bulbs they buy and their current gas mileage and such, then it's good to have it in the world. It is, however, a panicky blur as documentaries go.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Enough with the snatching, already.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Robert Benton’s recent films have been vexing combinations of gentility and stiffness, and despite a fair bit of nudity "Feast of Love" behaves itself all too well. It’s as neat as a pin; it ties up every loose end in careful "Playhouse 90" style. Despite some awfully smart actors, Benton’s movie made me long for a few interrupted sentences and the occasionally conflicted character.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Outside the bedroom, the wartime swirl of intrigue never develops beyond postcard imagery, however. This is one of the major disappointments of the film-going year.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Nearly two hours long, 30 Days of Night makes you feel the cold (though it was shot in New Zealand) and feel the fangs, but it also makes you feel like 30 days is a pretty long time.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    In Rendition Gyllenhaal is supposed to be the smartest one in the room, yet he’s essentially just a good-looking plodder. And despite its whirligig story machinations, so is Rendition.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    The best efforts of the performers cannot authenticate a plot that no longer feels inevitable. It feels contrived. And the audience stays at a remove instead of entering someone else’s nightmare.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    All the astute acting in the world can’t bring such a preposterous story into the station on time and intact.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    It is a silly film about serious matters.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Gray’s writing lacks the punch and zing that might take your mind off such rickety plotting.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    This is the sort of film where a character says “Here we are, having a high-minded debate ...” and you wonder if countless moviegoers will be rolling their eyes in unison.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Beowulf is all right as far as it goes, and it goes pretty far for a PG-13 rating: Dismemberment, “300”-style blood globules comin’ atcha, and a digitally futzed and, for all practical purposes, completely naked!!!
    • 32 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Strives to be nothing more than easygoing and heartwarming.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    So it’s one of those Hip, Now updates, albeit with jokes riffing on pop-cult artifacts that are already Then. I mean: “Jerry Maguire”? Moratorium!
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    While not autobiographical, The Kite Runner feels authentic in its ethnic tensions, even when the narrative itself, with its handily reappearing and easily avenged villain, undermines that authenticity.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    It is well made as far as it goes. I wish it went beyond its own carefully prescribed limits of the commercially acceptable.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Allen is obsessed with the notion of getting away with murder, mulling over which personalities can shoulder the psychological burden of killing without remorse, while others crumble under the pressure. The problem is, you don’t feel the human sweat and strain in Cassandra’s Dream, despite game work from Farrell and McGregor.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    The eerily precise Heigl, who provided confident back-court support as the exile in Guyville also known as “Knocked Up,” has no trouble filling a leading lady’s shoes. She’s just snarky enough to be interesting, and she knows how to take a fall.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    The most vivid aspect of The Eye is its poster image, that of a huge female eye with a human hand gripping the lower lid from the inside. The least vivid aspect is the way Jessica Alba delivers a simple line of expository dialogue.
    • 30 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    The slapstick is crudely executed. And the movie never makes up its mind regarding how nasty the ghost of Kate is going to play her revenge tactics.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    With a less pedigreed international cast the whole thing would be a disaster, as opposed to a chilly new kind of disaster film.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    It’s a little “Karate Kid,” a smidge of “Fight Club” (with none of the ironic ambivalence toward violence that David Fincher brought to that story), a lot of “The O.C.” (evil boy Gigandet played an evil boy on that series), and presto: probable hit.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    "Superbad” got a deserved R rating for its unmitigated and gleeful raunch. Drillbit Taylor is cleaner in mouth but far uglier in spirit. Wilson and Mann do what they can to tone it up, but their scenes belong to a different film, and a fresher one.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    One of the problems with the new comedy Run, Fat Boy, Run is that it’s not English enough, even though its antagonist is a thoroughly detestable American go-getter.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    21
    21 isn’t pretentious, exactly, but it’s damn close, and in trying to whip up a melodramatic morality tale the film becomes an increasingly flabby slog.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Sidelined by a script that plays like an imitation of another era’s artifacts. It’s an oxymoron: a mild screwball romance.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Isn’t eye candy; it’s a drool-worthy slice of eye pie.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Church is most at home in his character’s skin; aside from the game but strident Quaid, all the leading players are ideally cast. It’s the script that isn’t ideally cast.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    I enjoyed parts of Street Kings but I didn’t believe one thing about it, and I couldn’t get past Reeves’ unsuitability to his role. He may someday play a cop on the edge convincingly, but the edge needs to be sharper than this.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Midway through I started wondering why I wasn't laughing more. "Baby Mama" was not written by Fey and/or Poehler, which may be the reason.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    With her arresting, off-kilter look of bruised desire, Michelle Williams ends up being the most interesting aspect of this somber corn.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    You find yourself smiling at some of the bits, wincing through many, many others, and ultimately wondering if the pacing would've improved had either H or K developed a terrible cocaine habit.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    It has a rich premise and no lack of amazements. What it lacks in any sort of dramatic shape.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Roughly the same as the first in terms of quality and style. It delivers without much visual dynamism, and with a determined emphasis on combat. In the 1951 novel the climactic battle between the good Narnians and the bad Telmarines lasted a few pages. The film version of the same battle feels like "The Longest Day."
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Does not know when to quit. Nor does it extract much fun from a cockamamie story provided by George Lucas.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Cinematographer Zhao Xiaoding manages some lovely images, and some of Spottiswoode’s compositions remind you he's capable of fine work. But Hogg never comes to life, on the page or on the screen.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Savage Grace comes up bland and seems to go nowhere in particular.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    An Israeli-on-Arab version of "Shampoo," You Don’t Mess With the Zohan is terrible in many ways, and shoddy in every way that has to do with filmmaking. But politically it's sort of interesting.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Missed it by that much. Actually, the new version of Get Smart misses by a fair-size margin.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    What are Jolie and Freeman and McAvoy doing here, besides acting cooler than Clive Owen in "Shoot ’Em Up"? Cashing a check, that's what. Bekmametov may have talent, but the arrested-adolescent "escapism" of this picture emits a pretty bad odor.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    The heartbreaking thing about Meet Dave...is its occasional funniness amid a sea of pablum. If it were completely rank, it'd be less frustrating.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    It's funny what you buy completely onstage and resist completely, or nearly, on-screen. Case in point: Mamma Mia!
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    This debut picture never makes up its mind about what sort of comedy it wants to be. But at least it has one--a mind, that is.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    The story is both a muddle and a drag.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    At times the film appears on the verge of morphing into a singing-cowboy musical.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Striving for low-key character comedy, Diminished Capacity ends up diminishing its returns.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    The film's tone is utterly indistinct, beyond fatuous adoration of its subject.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Wine may be sunlight held together by water, as Galileo said, but Bottle Shock is held together only by Alan Rickman.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Unfortunately it’s all a bit dull.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Clooney remains as game as ever, but the way he and McDormand push the energy here, you feel the strain. Pitt, just floating through, comes off best. He doesn't judge the moron he's playing; he just is.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    As skillful and charismatic as Gere is, I never get the sense he's really in there, conversing with his fellow actor.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Half the time I wasn't sure what Lee was going for in terms of tone, or style, or focus. It was a tricky assignment to begin with, because McBride's novel, and his screenplay, is part socio-historical corrective, part magical-realist folklore, part wartime procedural.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    One wishes LaBute, a bleak satirist and, at his best, a crudely compelling dramatist, had taken the script and made it his own sort of twisted comedy instead of a routine thriller
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Full of interesting little grace notes, and the cast is excellent, yet it grows more and more frustrating.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Too often The Express sidelines its own main character in favor of the lemon-sucking, jaw-jutting glower patented by Quaid.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    The film disappoints particularly in relation to "Young Adam," an earlier picture about sexual obsession from writer-director David Mackenzie; this one's more in line with the creamy tones and surface readings of "Asylum."
    • 31 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    The film is responsible, earnest, well-intentioned and, as it was in Sundance, maddeningly inconsistent.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    The film itself, which has everything from erection jokes to a computer-generated tornado, comes down to a battle between the interpreters and a screenplay riddled with convenience, cliche and well-meaning contrivance.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    This film is very different: chilly, methodical, a slave to 10-ton metaphor as opposed to metaphoric provocation.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Ashes of Time Redux remains a hermetic and rather frustrating work, dotted by lonely, windblown figures dwarfed by the sand dunes of western China.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    The movie expresses honest concern for the plight of so many newcomers to America, legal or illegal. What it lacks is moment-to-moment credibility.
    • 30 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    The film works a bit better than the 2004 "Punisher" installment, the one starring surly, dislikable Thomas Jane as Frank Castle.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Keanu Reeves plays Klaatu, confining his usual two-and-a-half-note vocal range to half that.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Can a formidable actress redeem a pile of solemn erotic kitsch? Kate Winslet answers that one as honestly as she can in the film version of Bernhard Schlink's 1995 novel "The Reader."
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Eastwood's foursquare directorial aesthetic tends to heighten, rather than camouflage, a screenplay's shortcomings.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Clean enough to fly the Walt Disney Pictures flag, yet it's full of bimbos and cleavage and shots of Adam Sandler getting kicked in the shins by a dwarf.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    A massive and rather tiring showcase for Bollywood action hero Akshay Kumar.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    The nuttiest hunk of junk in many months.
    • 29 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    New in Town is "The Pajama Game" without the songs, the laughs or the bare-knuckled realism.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Nothing is harder and more elusive than successful slapstick onscreen. Nothing.

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