Michael Phillips
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For 1,460 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 58% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 40% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 4.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Michael Phillips' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 The Class
Lowest review score: 0 I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell
Score distribution:
1,460 movie reviews
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    It pulls audiences into a meticulously detailed universe, familiar in many respects, wacked and menacing in many others.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The funniest American comedy of the summer.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    As a director, Kaufman isn't yet his own best salesman. He's not enough of a visual stylist to sell his script's most challenging conceits. But the cast rises to a very strange and rich occasion.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    It is that rare futuristic thriller: grim in its scenario, yet exhilarating in its technique.
    • 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.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The filmmaker's documentary training pays off in detail after detail.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    As big-budget comic book adaptations go, this one's a gratifying freak--the right kind of conflicted, as well as quick-witted. It's a lot of fun.
    • 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.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The film goes pretty easy on the royals in the end, and it's a flattering portrait of Blair. But it's not credulous. Frears may swim in the political mainstream with The Queen but he does so like a champion channel crosser.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Ellen Page is key to its success, as much as Cody, or director Jason Reitman.
    • 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."
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The Wrestler works for the same reason "Rachel Getting Married" works. The way they're acted, shot, edited and scored, both films deploy a loose, rough-hewn documentary style to great dramatic advantage. The corn isn't hyped. The performances click without going for the jugular.
    • 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."
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Revanche has an unusual rhythm: Once it leaves the grotty urban despair behind for the deceptive calm of the countryside, it relaxes and explores the character’s interior lives.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Hampton and Wright have been more than sensible when it comes to Atonement. They’ve responded intuitively to a tale that is half art and half potboiler, like so many stories worth telling.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    I can't imagine Anvil! not appealing to anyone interested in any aspect of showbiz, and the drug of fame, and the lives people lead in pursuit of the next fix.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Swift, vicious and grimly imaginative, the zombie film 28 Weeks Later exceeds its predecessor, "28 Days Later," in every way.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    This is the most satisfying thriller of the year, capping the Bourne trilogy.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Eleven years ago director Campbell made "GoldenEye," the first of the Brosnan Bond pictures. Casino Royale trumps it every which way.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The tone of The Host is slippery in the best way; you're never sure if you're in for a joke or a shock, yet nothing feels random.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    No halves about it: Half Nelson is a wholly absorbing and delicately shaded portrait of an educator played by Ryan Gosling, a young man harboring an offstage secret.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    A seriously entertaining highlight of the fall season.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    You always get more than one genre with this filmmaker. Volver draws upon all sorts of influences -- a little Hitchcock, a little Douglas Sirk, a little telenovela -- but from those sources Almodovar and his collaborators, both on screen and behind the camera, make an improbably organic whole.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Earns its happy ending like few other contemporary dramas concerned with the fate of a child. It puts you through hell for that ending, in fact, hell being modern-day Russia.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Mafioso is shaped like a comedy, and it is one, but its intentionally jarring clashes of tone and rhythm are truly out there.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Sissako has an unusual camera eye, patient and alert to the ebb and flow of both the courtroom sequences and the outside scenes. The music is wonderful as well.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The most charming comedy in town, writer-director-editor Katsuhito Ishii's 2003 piece is a modern Japanese variation on "You Can't Take It With You," with some lovely fantastical flourishes.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    If Beyond the Gates were merely a well-intentioned bore, the reality might seem jarring. As is, the coda fits and feels like the only possible ending--proof that surviving to help tell the story of a genocidal nightmare is the best revenge.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    After the Wedding defies the odds: For once, the bigger the emotion, the truer the moviegoing experience.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Except for the tractors, and the tanks in the later desert battle sequences, Flanders could be taking place centuries ago. Or centuries from now.
    • 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.
    • 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."
    • 64 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Sunshine is near-classic modern science fiction, hobbled only by a chaotic final reel and some casting missteps in the white-male department.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    It is not an easy film to watch, nor should it be. It is, however, beautifully made. Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern, the co-directors, wrangle their information and lay it out clearly, vividly and with a sharp sense of focus.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    An unusually strong crime thriller, Eastern Promises comes from director David Cronenberg, a meticulous old-school craftsman of a type that is becoming increasingly rare.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Tommy Lee Jones is marvelous in the film. He has one scene in particular, a simple two-person encounter, that's as good as it gets in the realm of American screen acting.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    It is a film, often breathtaking without settling for being pretty, filled with nervous silence.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Michael Clayton is a here’s-how-it-happened drama, cleverly but not over-elaborately structured.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    As a director Hedges is smart enough to allow his actors to share the frame and interact and let the material breathe.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    A breezy diary from a pair of first-time farmers, as well as a wry rebuke to a nation devoted to eating cheaply but not necessarily well, King Corn makes its points without much finger-wagging.
    • 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.
    • 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.”
    • 63 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Mainly it’s a very solid dance picture, which is the point.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The Witnesses may be schematic, but it lets each character live and breathe. The film captures a time and place that seems very distant now.
    • 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.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Pulls you into a well-observed world and its characters.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Small but sure, the film is like Alejandro himself: quick on its feet, attuned to a harsh life’s hardships and possibilities.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    “Elephant” may have won the Palme d’Or at Cannes but it really didn’t have anything to say about anything. Modest and artful, Paranoid Park says a great deal.
    • 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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Jenkins and The Visitor”make lovely music together. It’s a case of a veteran character actor slipping on a leading role like the most comfortable pair of pants in the world.
    • 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."
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Everything about Kung Fu Panda is a little better, a little sharper, a little funnier than the animated run of the mill.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Takes you places an ordinary documentary filmmaker might’ve gone to yet missed completely.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Deeply personal, wryly funny and fantastically cinematic.
    • 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.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    There’s something of the harlequin in Leigh’s conception of this bright, manic young woman.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Remarkable documentary filmmaking, unflinching and full of unlikely grace.
    • 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.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    While Streep has a tiny bit too much fun with some of her character's excesses, she's awfully good. So is Hoffman, who walks a fine line between obvious guilt and possible innocence.
    • 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    It's a big ice cream sundae, this one -- not great documentary filmmaking but tasty all the way.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Certain things in Three Monkeys can only be described as brilliant.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Watching Loeb opposite Berg, you're reminded of the miracles of chemistry and the luck of the draw when it comes to casting a show -- any show.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    It is a fine little old-school thriller.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Gigante represents the sort of artful low-budget accomplishment that could, and should, be coming out of distressingly stingy Chicago once a year — whatever the subject, whatever the sensibility.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    A Prophet pushes its protagonist into circumstances he did not choose but in which he watches and learns and kills and eventually becomes all he can be, albeit criminally. Certainly Muslims living in France have embraced the movie and Malik, played by Rahim
    • 55 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    I greatly prefer this cleverly sustained and efficiently relentless remake to the '73 edition. It is lean and simple.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    A rich and surprisingly old-fashioned musical biopic, The Runaways has neither the bloat nor the blather of your average Hollywood treatment of stars on the rise.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Accomplishes what "Snakes on a Plane" did not: It offers a merrily idiotic movie to go with its willfully idiotic title.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Seeing "Dragon" in 3-D really is a must. Its formidable realm of Vikings and dragons and nerds (oh my!) should be enjoyed to the fullest extent theaters allow.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    A gripping documentary.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    I prefer my horror with a chaser of wit, and Severance, a modest but very lively British import, serves it up in harsh but high style.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The film is a singular achievement.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Bone-dry but completely assured, both in its visual strategy and its wry deconstruction of the workplace comedy genre.
    • 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.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The picture's visual style is clean, exact and beautifully photographed by Yorgos Arvanitis.
    • 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.
    • 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
    Tone is everything here. While likely influenced by Chilean absurdists of another era, such as playwright Egon Wolff, in The Maid Silva treads an ultra-fine line between caricature and character, leaning toward the latter without weighing down an essentially featherweight creation.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Polanski turns a conventional conspiracy thriller into a triumph of tone, ensemble playing and atmospheric menace.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The brilliantly untrustworthy documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop reminds us that a film can start out in one direction and then change course so radically, it becomes an act of provocation unto itself.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Amuses and unnerves in equal measure.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    This exercise in racked nerves makes most of the year's thrillers look like flailing maniacs by comparison.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    I Am Love makes no apologies for its style. None needed: The film, a two-hour swoon, is a cry for romantic freedom, perched on the edge of self-parody, as all good melodramas are.
    • 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.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    It is craftsmanship incarnate and the embodiment of tonal unpredictability.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Like Charles Ferguson's excellent Iraq documentary "No End in Sight," "Countdown to Zero" has an agenda but has the cogent, reasoned rhetoric to support it.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    This film, calm but full of feeling, relays an intriguing story brought to life by some beautiful actors.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Is director David Fincher's film the stuff of greatness? Not quite. But the picture is very, very good.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    This is an inspirational true story worried less about turning dramatic screws than earning its feeling through character.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Matt Damon narrates, and I do wish the narration didn't end on such a generalized, throw-the-bums-out note, over footage of the Statue of Liberty.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    An off-center but exceptional boxing film I prefer in every aspect, especially one: It feels like it comes from real life as well as the movies.

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