Michael Phillips
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For 1,410 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 59% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 39% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 4.8 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Michael Phillips' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 Let the Right One In
Lowest review score: 0 What Goes Up
Score distribution:
1,410 movie reviews
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The theater building is a four-story monster, and by the end of the picture we know it very well, in all its broken-down glory.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    State of Play isn't a kinetic fireball like the second or third "Bourne" installment; like its protagonist, it's defiantly old school, "Three Days of the Condor" bleeding into "All the President's Men."
    • 42 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Hinges on humiliation and vengeance, which makes it like most other modern horror titles. Its focus on sexual assault, however, puts it in a different, more primal league.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    What works best is whatever's completely incidental to the story, such as the totes-magotes/slippy mcgippy jive talk.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The look and sound of Duplicity is half the payoff.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    For visual noise by the ton, Emmerich is my kind of hack, the pluperfect blend of leaden self-seriousness and accidental-on-purpose self-satirist.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The director, New Zealander Christine Jeffs ("Sylvia"), loosens the plotting as best she can, letting the interactions breathe. Her work, and the film, is strictly about the performers.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    There is a good deal of honest charm in this story, and in the three principal performances.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The film isn't much as cinema, but it doesn't really matter. The final half-hour, in particular, generates the sort of suspense you rarely get in a sports documentary.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Ledoyen in particular humanizes the story-within-a-story strategy. Her character's sly verbal hesitations become part of a mutual seduction, more theoretical than practical, but enticing nonetheless.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Instead of a modern classic, able to travel the globe with ease, Il Divo is merely a wonderfully cast, tonally assured achievement, with a uniquely strange tour de force at its core.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Nothing elegant about Adams here, but she's terrific -- a sparkling screen presence. Her Earhart hoists this big-budget sequel above the routine.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    One can’t help but wonder if Ephron would’ve been better off focusing exclusively on Child: She’s simply more interesting screen company.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Some movies pack such a terrific central idea, even their flaws can’t stop the train. District 9 is one of them.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The film has an easygoing, inquisitive spirit, heightened by Webb's visual conceits
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    This is very light material, and, unusually for a Lee picture, not everybody in the ensemble appears to be acting in the same universe, let alone the same story. On the other hand: It’s fun.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    It's a fascinating bundle of contradictions -- authentic in a million details, deeply romanticized in others. Cool, calm and collected, this is more love story than gangster picture.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    It is an actors' showcase, without being showy, and Moreau and Tukur reveal radically different personalities with just enough in common to make things interesting.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Unabashedly theatrical and richly cinematic, even when it's falling apart.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    If Wal-Mart, the Lucifer of multinational corporations in many liberal eyes, sees the fiscal sense in stocking an increasingly wide array of organic foodstuffs, consumer habits truly are changing. Not fast enough, though, for documentary filmmaker Robert Kenner.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    May have a dull title, but it's lively, idiotic fun, at least until it goes too far past "too far" into the realm of "far too far."
    • 52 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    This is a modest but expertly performed piece. And this summer, surrounded by lesser, louder, bigger and dumber diversions, it's especially welcome.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Peter and Michael Spierig's earlier, campier horror outing, the zombie picture known as "Undead," was even bloodier than this one. The movie-makers are after bigger game here, and a subtler mixture of speculative nightmare and action film.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The material may be formulaic, but the spirit of the piece is friendly.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    If you’re new to the Dardennes, Lorna’s Silence will serve as a fine introduction.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Here’s the surprise: Bandslam may come from synthetic materials, but the characters are a little more complicated than usual.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Sharp, well-acted film.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Why does “New Moon” basically work, even with its grave self-seriousness? A few reasons. Weitz lets the material breathe, and his actors interact. The film does not try to eat you alive.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The first 90 minutes of Avatar are pretty terrific - a full-immersion technological wonder with wonders to spare. The other 72 minutes, less and less terrific.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The movie won't be for everyone -- it's a little rough for preteens, and it doesn't throw many laughs the audience's way -- but along with "Sweeney Todd," this is Burton's most interesting project in a decade
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The Book of Eli works, even if the preservation of Christianity isn’t high on your personal post-apocalypse bucket list. Establishing its storytelling rules clearly and well, the film simply is better, and better-acted, than the average end-of-the-world fairy tale.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Barrymore’s direction is generous to a fault, and there are times when you wish Whip It simply moved faster, on and off the track. It succeeds because of the emotional rather than comic payoffs.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    It's Complicated isn’t: It’s pretty simple. It’s simply a good time.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The actors, remarkable and seasoned, take care of their end of things, stylishly and (when and where it can be arranged) truthfully.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The sexual component to Splice pushes the story in provocatively eerie directions.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Though uneven and less witty than the first two, Toy Story 3 delivers quite enough in two dimensions.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Farmiga has never been better than she is here. Rarely does she get to do comedy, and she and Clooney give Up in the Air's sustained air of engaging disengagement a heartbeat as well as a romantic charge.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Hardy is remarkable, however. This is an actor with a memorably expressive rasp of a voice, both blunt and musical.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Rock takes his Good Hair job as a documentarian seriously enough to be interesting, but not so seriously that the film groans with earnestness.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    He could dance brilliantly right up to the end, it’s clear.This Is It may be a court documentary, but as a heavily lawyered portrait of an artist, it’s still pretty compelling.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Campbell’s film offers not surprises, exactly, but craftsmanship and low, brute, cunning satisfactions.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Doggedly, or rather wolfishly, the film doesn't go in for camp or mirth, at least until its misjudged and semi-endless wolf-on-wolf climax.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Damon is becoming one of the truest, most reliable actors of his generation. And Eastwood has more films in development, proving, at 79, that 79 is just a number like any other.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    "Relief" is the word for it. It's a relief to see Robert De Niro giving an honest, effective starring performance in a project that does not stink and that, in fact, rises to a respectable level of filmmaking proficiency. How long has it been?
    • 42 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Stoopid fun, From Paris With Love doesn't do much for Paris or love, or your brain cells, but it flies like a crazed eagle on uppers and comes from the talented, propulsive schlocketeer Pierre Morel.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    A nerve-racking noir from Australia.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    What strikes me about the new Robin Hood, directed by Ridley Scott, is how its preoccupations and sensibilities lie almost precisely halfway between the derring-do of the 1938 film and the harsh revisionism of the '70s edition
    • 50 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    She delivers a solid and easy star performance. Some young performers lack a relatable quality; Seyfried has it, even with those old-school, big-screen peepers.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The reason Just Wright works is simple. It finds ways to let familiar characters move around inside a familiar premise like living, breathing, likable human beings.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Garcia's calm, steady guidance behind the camera, along with his nicely finessed faith in a very good cast, makes Mother and Child a fuller and more satisfying example of this storytelling style than we've seen lately.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    From director Ken Loach, England's longtime disciple of social realism, comes his most audience-friendly picture yet
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Still, it's a pleasant surprise about an unpleasant guy brought to life by an ingratiating paradox, a movie star who has turned into a wily character man.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Extremely raunchy, Get Him to the Greek is also very funny
    • 90 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The way Lawrence captures a young woman's fear and resolve, often non-verbally, well … this is a considerable talent well on her way to a great career. It's for performances like this that moviegoers find themselves taking a chance on a title that doesn't have a fast-food tie-in.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Breathlessly paced bordering on manic, but propulsively entertaining.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    A satisfying and movingly acted story.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Like the "Bourne" franchise to which Noyce's film is indebted, Salt is a combination of pursuit, evasion, name-clearing and a reversal or two.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The film is Nolan's labyrinth all the way, and it's gratifying to experience a summer movie with large visual ambitions and with nothing more or less on its mind than (as Shakespeare said) a dream that hath no bottom.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The interview sessions are all disastrous in one way or another; Let It Rain is at its wittiest when Michel flails around, grousing about his own divorce and child custody troubles without ever quite asking his interview subject an actual question
    • 45 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    It boasts a generous exuberance and, as entertainment products go, it's surprisingly sweet.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    At its best, Wright's film is raucous, impudent entertainment.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    This movie's good. It's fast, deftly paced and funny.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    So what is it? Primarily it's a showcase for Vincent Cassel, who dines out on the role and won a Cesar award (the Gallic Oscar) for his efforts.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    I liked the movie mainly for Barrymore. The way she handles the crucial, early "I love you" moment (he's saying it to her, and the camera shows us what she's thinking), you think: This is one canny actress.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The funky, enjoyable Hamburg-set comedy Soul Kitchen is a celebration of co-writer-director Fatih Akin's home base, a spacious, moody city of apparently limitless industrial warehouse space - like Chicago.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Catfish is fascinating. At the same time, it emits a condescending, pitying odor.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The film is a success. It works. Greatness eludes it, yes. But greatness eludes almost every film adaptation of a major novel, which we must remember when confronted by a good one.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    As pure, outlandish outlaw cinema it's undeniable.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The original was a very good thriller. The new one is simply a good one.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The result is both a success and a disappointment. It's Kind of a Funny Story, divided into neat little daylong chapters in Craig's stay, lacks the staying power and bittersweet layering of "Half Nelson" and "Sugar."
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Genuinely odd in its mixture of bluntness and indirection, screenwriter Angus MacLachlan's study in biblical temptation is saved from its own heavy-handedness by a fine quartet of actors.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Demons of mediocrity, be gone! Here we have a shrewd sequel a touch better than the original.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    With that kind of financial imperative it's something of a miracle the Potter films have been, on the whole, good. One or two, very good. One or two (the first two), less good. This one's good.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Surely the gentlest American film ever made about home-grown revolutionaries.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Bright and engaging, and blessed with two superb non-verbal non-human sidekicks, Tangled certainly is more like it.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Liman's sensibility isn't sophisticated enough to tease out the nuances of what must be a pretty interesting marriage; the movie is more about texture and surfaces and surface tensions.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The Dawn Treader doesn't so much reinvent the "Narnia" franchise as do what's needed, and expected, with a little more zip than the previous voyages.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Monsters is a sharp little low-fi monster movie operating from a tantalizing premise.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Its dramatic vexations are at war with Denis' prodigious visual skill. And the fight, ultimately, rewards the viewer.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The runaway train thriller Unstoppable is one of Tony Scott's better films.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    It's relaxed without being sloppy, or patronizing, and in particular Witherspoon and Lemmon - sorry, make that Rudd - bring charm to burn.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The biggest change from the '69 "True Grit" is the best thing about this formidably well-crafted picture. Portis's narrator and heroine, 14-year-old Mattie Ross, runs the show this time, not the one-eyed marshal.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    A small but, in its way, daring picture.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Rretains what made it work on stage, chiefly a disarming sense of humor amid the grimmest sort of personal crisis, and a pair of juicy leading roles.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    It's Williams you never question, who makes every detail and close-up and impulse natural. She's spectacularly good.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    For all the warmth emanating from the film's core, thanks to Broadbent and Sheen, I don't know if Leigh has ever made a crueler picture.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The acting's very strong throughout, though few would argue that the final half-hour satisfies either as suspense, or narrative, or social observation.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Modest in every way, the screenplay by Phil Johnston is enjoyable in the telling even when the details smack of contrivance.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Sleek and, until a stupidly violent climax, very entertaining, Unknown is the opposite of "Memento."
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    What's striking about the picture, I think, is its lack of violent threat.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Original, it's not. Exciting, it is. This jacked-up B-movie hybrid of "Black Hawk Down" and "War of the Worlds" is a modest but crafty triumph of tension over good sense and cliche.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Almost all of it works as wish-fulfillment fantasy.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    I couldn't help but feel this adaptation needed more of the thing for which Jane herself yearns: a sense of freedom. At their best, though, Wasikowska and Fassbender hint at their well-worn characters' inner lives, which are complex, unruly and impervious to time.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The film offers plenty of good screen company along the way.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Source Code is a contraption, no doubt. But it works.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Nicely acted by all and photographed in creepy, cold, under-lit tones.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Potiche is very "Touch of Class" and "House Calls" in its comic vibe and trappings, and if you're old enough to remember those Glenda Jackson rom-coms, you'll probably respond favorably to Potiche.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The last 25 minutes of Thor aren't much better than the first. But that hour in between - tasty, funny, robustly acted - more than compensates.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The film works because the screenwriters, Elizabeth Hunter and Arlene Gibbs, have a knack for juggling a dozen-plus major characters without succumbing to the obvious class-warfare gags every 90 seconds.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Wiig's natural and savvy instincts to go easy, and let the audience come to her, serve her and Bridesmaids well.