Michael Phillips
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For 1,522 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 Trouble the Water
Lowest review score: 0 Did You Hear About the Morgans?
Score distribution:
1,522 movie reviews
    • 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.
    • 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
    Even with its limitations it's one of the necessary films of 2013.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Disney TV star Bridgit Mendler brings an effective if limited friendliness to Arrietty; Will Arnett and Amy Poehler are relatively restrained as her parents; Carol Burnett runs through a career's worth of vocal flourishes and aural panic attacks as the housekeeper.
    • 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.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    It's a small story set in a memorably desolate location. The actors, all quite magnificent, enlarge it, just as cinematographer Mikhail Krichman illuminates the vistas and roadways and even the furtive kitchen table glances between clandestine lovers.
    • 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.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Bone-dry but completely assured, both in its visual strategy and its wry deconstruction of the workplace comedy genre.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The new film works. It's rousing.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    For some of us, Anderson's LA lamentation is a siren song, and there's no more ardent and poetic chronicler of California mythology.
    • 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.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    In relation to the well-made and sensitive confines of "The Messenger," Rampart required a more unruly visual approach. Beginning and ending with Harrelson, this sophomore effort is full of malignant life.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    It is a fine little old-school thriller.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    It feels fresh and unpredictable, as quietly strange as the remarkable musical score from first-time feature film composer Mica Levi.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Amuses and unnerves in equal measure.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    While the protracted third act doesn't kill the two-hour, 23-minute picture, "Casino Royale" remains the best of the recent Bonds, with Skyfall just a notch below it.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Best of all: the musical score by Alfonso de Vilallonga. It's terrific — witty, symphonically lush and shrewdly informed by flamenco strains throughout.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    I greatly prefer this cleverly sustained and efficiently relentless remake to the '73 edition. It is lean and simple.
    • 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.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    It's a nerve-wracking visual experience of unusual and paradoxical delicacy. And if your stomach can take it, it's truly something to see.
    • 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.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    It is a film, often breathtaking without settling for being pretty, filled with nervous silence.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Get on Up hits all these high points. But the Butterworths fracture the order, fruitfully. They're more interested in making musical and dramatic connections across time and space — something in the '70s triggering a childhood memory, for example — than in laying them out predictably.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Nina Paley's delicious Sita Sings the Blues finds solace in autobiography and an animated gold mine in the caverns of an ancient Sanskrit epic.
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    You wait for months, sometimes, for a movie to show you something new. "7 Boxes" does exactly that, and while it's no more than a briskly managed bit of escapism, it's a really good example of same.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    One of the pleasures of Magic Mike is its egalitarian spirit and dedication to the ensemble.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    This exercise in racked nerves makes most of the year's thrillers look like flailing maniacs by comparison.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The documentary carrying the same name as Schiele's painting works like a suspense drama and a slippery chronicle of ownership, theft and vaguely unsettling resolution.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The most stylish comics-derived entertainment of the year...It's paced and designed for people who won't shrivel up and die if two or three characters take 45 seconds between combat sequences to have a conversation about world domination, or a dame.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The film is a remarkable experience on a purely sensory level, and the best of its archival footage - on the track, in private meetings with drivers before the races, from the white-knuckle, over-the-shoulder perspective of Senna himself - is pure gold.
    • 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
    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.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    One of Morris' swiftest works, yet also one of his saddest, Tabloid reveals among other things what happens when one person's definition of ordinary healthy romance is undone by another's.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Here's what I most appreciate about Shannon's work with the writer-director Jeff Nichols: the subtlety.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    A true feat of daring and one of the craziest films of the year.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The best material, however, keeps returning to the unstable power dynamic between Q-Tip and Dawg.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Here's one of the strongest feature film debuts in a long time, in any genre.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Mainly it’s a very solid dance picture, which is the point.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Here's a funny, poignant oddball of a movie, existing on a galaxy far, far away from the likes of "Pacific Rim" or "World War Z" or anything whose computer-generated actions speak louder than words.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Vivid, assured and extremely suspenseful.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    This is an exceptional film about nearly unendurable circumstances, endured. You will come out the other side of it a markedly enriched filmgoer.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Chomet himself has written the gentle waltz theme and other music. The piece glides by, effortlessly.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    This is the first film the Dardennes shot in the summertime. Excellent choice of seasons. I'm not sure I could've handled Cyril's travails without it, or without de France's smile.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    This may be the most overtly Christian mainstream picture since "The Passion of the Christ." Unlike that one, though, Malick's comes with a generosity of spirit large enough to get all sorts of people (including non-believers) thinking about the nature of faith and what it's all about.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Farmiga's film doesn't state things directly, but we sense what is happening to Corinne, and how some turn to fundamentalism for complex and interconnected reasons.
    • 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    We need films such as Kennedy's as a corrective.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The acting in Durkin's feature is excellent. Olsen is utilized largely as an object for camera adoration, but not in the usual glamorizing way. Olsen, Hawkes and company play slippery figures with lovely assurance.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    This film, calm but full of feeling, relays an intriguing story brought to life by some beautiful actors.
    • 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.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Part Joel & Ethan Coen and part John Millington Synge, this grotty little fairy tale casts a deft line and reels you in. I'd see it again just to hear the drug smugglers argue over the use of the Americanism "good to go."
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The movie is full, assured and extremely wry.
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Cooper's performance is his best yet. As is Lawrence's (the more crucial role, in fact).
    • 92 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Folk standards such "500 Miles," "The Death of Queen Anne" and "Dink's Song" infuse the movie, and as in the Coens' "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" T Bone Burnett has done first-rate work supervising the musical landscape. The film, I think, falls just a tick or two below the Coens' best work, which for me lies inside "A Serious Man" and "Fargo."
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    David Fincher's film version of the Gillian Flynn bestseller Gone Girl is a stealthy, snake-like achievement. It's everything the book was and more — more, certainly, in its sinister, brackish atmosphere dominated by mustard-yellow fluorescence, designed to make you squint, recoil and then lean in a little closer.
    • 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."
    • 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.

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