Michael Phillips

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For 1,742 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 3.5 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Michael Phillips' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 Flight
Lowest review score: 0 That's My Boy
Score distribution:
1742 movie reviews
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Certain things in Three Monkeys can only be described as brilliant.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Warts, entrails and all, I had a ball at Zombieland. It’s 81 minutes of my kind of stupid.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Engrossing and weirdly funny.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The Trip isn't much, but it's more than enough.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The filmmaker's documentary training pays off in detail after detail.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The film version of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” came out in the year in which An Education is set, and beyond the hairstyles, there’s something of the willful, gleeful Golightly reinvention expert about Jenny.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    I don't know if what the Safdies endured growing up was akin to what audiences experience in Daddy Longlegs. But I'm very glad they survived to make a very good film about it.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    It's also gorgeously acted by all, and while this may not be one of Kiarostami's finest, the craftsmanship nonetheless is so high, it makes everything else currently in theaters look slovenly.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Knocked Up is more verbally adroit than it is visually. But Apatow's awfully sharp as a chronicler of contemporary romantic anxieties.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The latest, meticulously atmospheric and wonderfully acted Potter adventure lands happily--broodingly, but happily---near the top of the series heap, just behind Alfonso Cuaron's "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban."
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    You buy the concept, from start to finish, because it feels strong and purposeful and in sync with Shakespeare's own vision of a malleable, fickle populace and a leader raised by the ultimate stage mother.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Remarkable documentary filmmaking, unflinching and full of unlikely grace.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The funniest American comedy of the summer.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The Artist may not be great art, but it's pearly entertainment.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    As pure craftsmanship, No Country for Old Men is as good as we’ve ever gotten from Joel and Ethan Coen. Only “Fargo” is more satisfying (it’s also a comedy, which this one isn’t).
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Shine a Light is one of those lions-in-winter affairs, and Jagger, who has a body fat count of negative 67, can still dance like a maniacal popinjay, and Richards still looks like a satyr who has stayed up all night every night of his adult life.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Each performance in this plaintive work is superb, but Kyoko Koizumi's gently melancholy portrait of the businessman's wife keeps Tokyo Sonata true and affecting, even when the later passages go a little nuts.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The movie is madly, wonderfully at odds with itself.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    This complicated but absorbing tale is not told through primarily American eyes ( Willem Dafoe plays a CIA. figurehead); primarily it's about French and Soviet brinksmanship, and those who succeeded at it, or failed, and one man who died for the risks he took.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    To millions, Stritch is the Emmy-winning actress who did "30 Rock," playing Alec Baldwin's mom. Those people who don't know the rest of her story should take the 82 minutes to see this.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Michael Clayton is a here’s-how-it-happened drama, cleverly but not over-elaborately structured.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Swift and compelling, winner of this year’s Oscar for best foreign-language picture, The Counterfeiters may not be destined for the large international audience that embraced last year’s winner, “The Lives of Others.” But it’s the better, tougher film, with a more provocative moral dilemma at its center.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Keeps you off-balance as it establishes a world where every conversation is a flirtation, and trouble and heartbreak sneak in on little cat feet when no one's looking.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    It's fascinating and unexpected both in its simple, looming images and its storytelling priorities, which may not intersect with the priorities of audiences who couldn't get enough of "Se7en."
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Nair's film, her best in a long time, is hardly the first to use a chessboard as a symbol of one life's struggles. It is, however, one of the best.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Frantic, violent and unrelenting, it is all of a piece, its tightly packed storytelling making cassoulet of its own implausibilities and familiar terrain covering a web of political and institutional conspiracy.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    I’m inclined to agree with a colleague who told me he could swing with Antichrist when it was simply unstable but couldn’t go with it when it turned insane.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Takes you places an ordinary documentary filmmaker might’ve gone to yet missed completely.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    This is a big-hearted, absorbing documentary about a writer who kept on writing until very near the end. Anyone who cared about Roger Ebert will find it necessary viewing.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The movie belongs to the women, for once, and The Conjuring doesn't exploit or mangle the female characters in the usual ways. Farmiga, playing a true believer, makes every spectral sighting and human response matter; Taylor is equally fine, and when she's playing a "hide-and-clap" blindfold game with her girls, she's like a kid herself, about to get the jolt of her life.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    It is that rare futuristic thriller: grim in its scenario, yet exhilarating in its technique.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    It's one of the most satisfying films of 2015.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Sweeney Todd may haunt you in ways you’re not used to with a movie musical. At least not since “Mame.”
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Eighty-four minutes is about right for this style of animation. Even at that trim running time, the silhouette approach won't be for everyone. Ocelot's unity of vision, though, cannot be denied. Your kids, even the preteens, will likely fall headlong into his worlds.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The Wall is no endurance test; rather, it presents the facts of the case, adding an eerie low hum to the soundtrack whenever Gedeck's character edges near her outer limits.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Talk to Me has a great subject and a great actor working in tandem, reminding audiences that once upon a time media personalities used to fight The Man, not be The Man.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    It makes the dream of flight itself a vehicle for bittersweet enchantment.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The film is not for the frantic of spirit. Its steady rhythm and even-handed tone threaten occasionally to stultify. But little things mean a lot in this universe, as they should.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    A real charmer, Me and Orson Welles is the work of a director who takes nostalgia, romantic possibility and the theater seriously, without being a pill about it.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    It all flows from the shum. The man's musical and political influence was no illusion.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    I've seen the fabulously acted Italian thriller The Double Hour twice now, and for all its intricate manipulations, it stays with me for a very simple reason: The love story at its bittersweet heart is played for keeps.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    This is the most satisfying thriller of the year, capping the Bourne trilogy.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    A rich and troubling documentary highlight of the year.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Both the man and his times resist a compact 93 minutes. This much anguished history, and Aleichem's inspired literary response to that history, has difficulties being confined to conventional documentary feature length. Yet Dorman's touch is sure, his pacing fleet and his chorus of voices marvelous.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    An exorcism movie for the rest of us, the gripping German drama Requiem contains not a single special effect. It doesn't need one. It has terrific actors fully invested in a casual-seeming, docudramatic brand of storytelling, notably Sandra Hueller.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The film is unusually free of cant and the usual trappings of war docs. There is no voice-over narration and very little dramatic underscoring. Right or wrong, the filmmakers shave matters of political policy and contextual analysis clean off the finished product, which runs a tight 94 minutes.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Parts of Sunset Song rank with Davies' very best work.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    After the Wedding defies the odds: For once, the bigger the emotion, the truer the moviegoing experience.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    We meet a variety of interdependent characters, from tuna vendors to rice experts, all in thrall to Jiro and his sons. I really wish Tokyo were closer.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Project Nim is practically irresistible. The story keeps getting odder and richer and more complicated.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    It is a fine and plaintive experience, more modern-day folklore than ethnographic study, and a wonderfully assured piece of cinema.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Polanski turns a conventional conspiracy thriller into a triumph of tone, ensemble playing and atmospheric menace.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Finally! A romantic comedy that works. And not just because of Shakespeare.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Of all the movies culminating in a rite of exorcism, Romanian writer-director Cristian Mungiu's remarkable Beyond the Hills stands alone.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Deliver Us From Evil has a few things wrong with it, including an egregious musical score, but without resorting to sucker punches, it takes your breath away while making your skin crawl.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The movie putters near the end, but it's a film lover's delight.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Everything within the film connects to neighboring elements, performance to performance to cryptic absurdity (the opening is one of the strangest of the year) to surprisingly heartfelt acknowledgment of the power of love. Whether things work out or not.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Weirdly touching documentary.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    For me, it's a sign that a filmmaker is on to something if you love hanging out with the characters as they eat and drink and talk and reveal little bits of themselves through everyday action.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Half the film, written by Coogler and Aaron Covington, revels in cliches, skillfully. The other half sidesteps them and concentrates on scenes and relationships that breathe easily and draw us in the hard way: not by narrative fiat or bald calculation, but through well-written and shrewdly acted encounters.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    It's worth seeing just for the banter between Segel and Hader, which recalls the peak conversational riffs from "Knocked Up."
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Whit Stillman's Love & Friendship is compact, modestly budgeted, sublimely acted and almost completely terrific.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The actors, predictably, are superb in roles shaped by screenwriter David Seidler, and directed by Tom Hooper. Yet they are unpredictably superb as well.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The director thinks visually, which sounds redundant until you realize how many monster movies are flat, effects-dependent factory jobs. Edwards knows how to use great heights for great effect.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Any film with Jennifer Ehle, perfect as the tightly wound but loving therapist, tends to be worth seeing in the first place.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The wonderful thing about Fassbender and Mortensen? Several things, actually. They're effortlessly convincing in period, and they know how to make recessive characters intriguing.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The life of Riley is not exotic; her troubles are not unique. But they are rendered with serious imagination by Docter and company.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    It is craftsmanship incarnate and the embodiment of tonal unpredictability.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Looks, feels and flows like a real movie. It's better than the last few Pixar features, among other things, and from where I sit that includes "Toy Story 3."
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Premium Rush is great fun - nimble, quick, the thinking person's mindless entertainment.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The main thing with Cedar's film, I think, is to approach it not as a farce, not as a drama, not as a mystery, not as any genre in particular. It's a comic nightmare, in the vein of the Coen brothers' "A Serious Man," and Cedar proves masterly at playing the stakes for real.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    A seriously entertaining highlight of the fall season.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The Messenger is not itself grueling, which is practically a miracle. Rather, this pungent little chamber piece offers a full yet delicate range of emotions, and it humanizes its characters so that polemics are left in the background.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Hinds has been ready for a role of this size and shape for years; it was simply a matter of finding it, and its finding him.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    A triumph of ambience, Rachel Getting Married is the first narrative feature since the 1980s from director Jonathan Demme that feels like a party--bittersweet, but a party nonetheless.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Lerman's excellent as Marcus, capturing his principles as well as his bullheadedness. Sarah Gadon's Olivia is no less fine.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    It's a beauty, all right. It's more a style show than a deep philosophical treatise, but with surfaces this sleek and faces this interesting, I'll take style over substance any day.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Kim evokes everything from "Seconds" to "Nip/Tuck" here, but his sureness of touch and lack of melodrama make the themes pertinent and vivid. A heartening step up from Kim's previous film, "The Bow."
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The miracle is that even with a bit of dramaturgical clunkiness The Past is fluid, intimate cinema. Few directors today can shoot in such tightly confined spaces, with such a determined control over his actors' movements, and make the drama work so well.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Do not expect dynamic filmmaking from Love Is Strange. It's about other things, and Lithgow and Molina are splendid, their eyes full of wisdom and experience.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The National Society of Film Critics recently cited Jean-Luc Godard's Goodbye to Language, the nuttiest lil' picture ever released in 3-D, as the best film of 2014, nosing out "Boyhood" by a single vote.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    More than any previous screen role, this one affords Damon a chance to work his sly comic chops.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Perry may never make a movie for the masses, whoever they are. But his truest work burrows into weird, blackly comic places few other filmmakers would dare explore.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    A functioning, funny, weirdly touching fable of artistic angst and aspiration, a meditation on fame and its terrors and the metaphoric usefulness of masks and huge fake heads.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The story of Harvey Milk is a tragedy, but not since Jeff Spicoli in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" has Sean Penn played such a serenely happy individual.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Good and creepy, The Mist comes from a Stephen King novella and is more the shape, size and quality of the recent “1408,” likewise taken from a King story, than anything in the persistently fashionable charnel house inhabited by the “Saw” and “Hostel” franchises.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    A tough-minded, empathetic portrait of dreamers on the edge.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Deeply personal, wryly funny and fantastically cinematic.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    In the populist vein of Ron Howard's "Apollo 13," Affleck's rouser salutes the Americans (and, more offhandedly, the Canadians) who restored our sense of can-do spirit when we needed it.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Some may find Results a little light on plot (it is). But with the Smulders character, we're treated to a refreshingly dimensional female lead. Kat isn't one of those aggravating Type A Katherine Heigl cliches. Nor is she a mere attractive doormat. She's prickly, a little lost, but running her own show, and on the road to something better.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    As is, Cotillard (nominated for best actress) scrupulously avoids melodrama. There's enough without it, in watching a story of an ordinary woman argue for her dignity, her colleagues' better instincts and her own livelihood.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Marguerite achieves what the protagonist herself never managed: perfect pitch.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    A welcome surprise: a supernatural romantic comedy that works, graced with a cast just off-center enough to make it distinctive.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Is Black Swan high-minded? I'm happy to say: No. It is extremely high-grade hokum, which is to say it offers several different and combustible varieties.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    At 85 minutes, it's a tight, sharp achievement, yet one of the things I love about it is simple: It moves to a relaxed rhythm, in sync with its slightly otherworldly subject.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Be warned: Thirst is one of those pictures that tacks on another chapter just when you think it’s wrapping up.

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