Michael Phillips

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For 1,632 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 4.5 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Michael Phillips' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 American Hustle
Lowest review score: 0 Did You Hear About the Morgans?
Score distribution:
1632 movie reviews
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    It's a bit schematic and sweet-natured, perhaps to a fault, yet the faces linger. Smith and his mixture of actors and non-actors remind us that an act of generosity is all it takes to change a life.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    I enjoy both Timberlake and Kunis; just this side of manic, they seem right together.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Plenty gory, but graced by a jovial sense of humor and an enjoyably guts-centric use of 3-D.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The neatest effects in U2 3D are simple ones. The wow/coolness of watching a revered superstar tilt his mic stand toward the camera creates a simple but irresistible feeling of being there in the flesh, with a phalanx of expensive digital 3-D cameras.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The films are not works of genius. They are, however, wily reminders of the virtues of restraint when you're out for a scare.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    A small but droll big-box comedy.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Style is a tricky, elusive thing, and this film doesn’t so much have it as strive for it, constantly. But something in Watson’s story endures: The wish-fulfillment truly satisfies. And with the war clouds gathering by story’s end, the fairy tale acquires a bittersweet edge, nicely cutting all that whipped cream.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The parent/child relationship at the movie's core is endlessly fascinating.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Now, about the spider. Julia Roberts voices Charlotte in a way that suggests ... not much, I'm afraid. She may be a genuine movie star and can be a good actress, but her voice -- and what she does with it -- never has been one of her strengths.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Around the midpoint Alpha Dog becomes less sociological and more personal, developing a real sense of suspense.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    On the facile side, but it's well-crafted and smartly acted.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    If any one aspect of Chase's film keeps it from being more than merely coolly engaging (which it is), it's the casting.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    In the end Tropic Thunder is an expensive goof about an expensive goof, and the results are very impressive and fancy-looking.
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    It is, however, just about perfect in its wrenching emotion, expressed by an actor clearly up to the challenge of acting in a Paul Greengrass docudrama — which is to say, acting with as little capital-A Acting as possible.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    For all its workmanlike devotion to out-of-control helicopters, “Spectre” works best when everyone’s on the ground, doing his or her job, driving expensive fast cars heedlessly, detonating the occasional wisecrack, enjoying themselves and their beautiful clothes.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    With most films, that'd be enough to cut out half the potential American audience. But effective, evocative science fiction, which Elysium is, has a way of getting by with an ILA (Insidious Liberal Agenda) in the guise of worst-case dystopia.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The film is an exercise in improbable contrasts. The more extreme the actions of the characters, the more contained and fastidious the director's technique.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    It's nice to see a movie that is, well, nice. Nice but not dumb. It's also a comfortable fit for Costner.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Linklater's working-class mosaic is seriously interested in how most of this country gets by for a living. And that, sadly, makes it distinctive.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    While not everything in Jindabyne works, especially in its final, redemptive third, the film and its faces stay with you.
    • 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.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    This is an effective genre piece. And Marling's quiet way of anchoring a scene is subtle enough to escape detection in almost any narrative circumstance.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The best Hirsch's film can do, in the end, is remind us that bullying means more than we admit, and its effects aren't always immediately clear, even to loved ones.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    A gentle, honest and shrewdly realized film such as Tiger Eyes, based on the 1981 Judy Blume novel, shouldn't have to fight for a moviegoer's attention or an exhibitor's screens. But it's worth seeking out.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The Spectacular Now is rare: a coming-of-age movie featuring a teenage couple about whom you actually give a rip.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Director Barry Poltermann’s sweet little evocation of a show business career captures Reilly at “the twilight of an extraordinary life,” in Reilly’s words.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The film treats depression and despair and young love with just enough gravity so the movie doesn't float away completely.
    • 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.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Effective dialogue doesn't necessarily mean witty dialogue, but wit certainly helps, and you tend not to get much of it in a low-key legal thriller. Fracture is an exception.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Stewart did direct Rosewater, and even with its limitations, the film works. Stewart has serious, dramatically astute talent behind the camera, as well as (big shock) a sense of humor.
    • 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    At its best, 99 Homes finds Bahrani tightening the screws on his own style, going for speed, concision and an agitating rhythm where his previous films took their time. I hope he'll go on to make movies combining the vital aspects of all his work.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    I like the way DiCaprio and Hammer capture the little things - the byplay, the moments in which two men are "playing" FBI agents, partly for show, partly for real. At times, DiCaprio's macho posturing recalls a junior G-man version of Marlon Brando's self-hating homosexual in "Reflections of a Golden Eye."
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The acting is exceptional. If parts of A Secret veer toward soap opera, the ensemble work reduces the suds to a minimum.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The film has an easygoing, inquisitive spirit, heightened by Webb's visual conceits
    • 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.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    A small, shrewd movie about large, messy emotions and regrets. It is a grown-up work about people who grow up the hard way, leaving one heart in disrepair and the other in reckless forward motion. It's a sad piece, but not maudlin.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The material may be formulaic, but the spirit of the piece is friendly.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Those receptive to Godard's sense of humor will find Film Socialisme an elusive yet expansive provocation. Those less receptive will find it elusive, period.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Zack and Miri has a bright, chipper look to it, thanks to cinematographer Dave Klein, a frequent Smith colleague. Wintertime in Pittsburgh never looked so good.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Like the great, bittersweet Thomas Dyja account of Chicago's 20th century, "The Third Coast," Hogtown is hip to both the glories and the disgraces any great city can claim.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    I'm not sure Edge of Tomorrow holds much repeat viewing potential among teenage movie consumers, since the movie's a self-repeating entity to begin with. But once is fun.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    It may not look like anything he's done before, but Inland Empire joins "Mulholland" and the whatzit "Lost Highway" (1997) to form the strangest show-business triptych around. All three concern artists whose identities demand more than one body. The films give new meaning to the phrase "dual citizenship."
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The movie's pretty light on matters of science. It works best as a study of human vulnerability and love's way with us all, and as such, a handsomely mounted, slightly hollow picture by the end becomes a very affecting one.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    A rich, vexing experience.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The director is Kevin Macdonald, a documentary filmmaker making his fiction film feature debut. (He won an Oscar for his Munich Olympics hostage chronicle, "One Day in September.")
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Something in the Air, is the latest screen portrait of an artist as a young man. It's a good one too, rich and assured, even if writer-director Olivier Assayas is more successful at creating atmosphere than at making his romanticized younger self a three-dimensional being.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Bright and engaging, and blessed with two superb non-verbal non-human sidekicks, Tangled certainly is more like it.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    One part smart, one part stupid and three parts jokes about body parts, the extremely raunchy Neighbors is a strange success story.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Frank's dialogue owes a little something to Elmore Leonard, but it's less comic and heavily brocaded.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    With a refreshing lack of fake glamour, the film captures what it's like to be an initially unpromising comedian on the road.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The film has a compelling way about it. All five of the immediate Block family members emerge in full and affecting portraits.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    It’s a close call, but Grace is Gone is worth seeing for the way John Cusack works with Shelan O’Keefe and Gracie Bednarczyk, two of the least affected and most affecting young actors to hit the screen this year.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Unabashedly theatrical and richly cinematic, even when it's falling apart.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Twenty or 30 minutes into Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium the urge to flee may rise within you like an oceanic tide. But stick with it. The film is very sweet--in fact it represents the dawn of a new sport, Extreme Whimsy.
    • 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.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    A small but, in its way, daring picture.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The film, a handsome nerve-jangler co-produced under the storied Hammer horror banner, amps up the scares without turning them into something completely stupid. Success!
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Berge is a meticulous and intriguing host, though one gets the feeling he's relaying, very selectively, only so much of the messier side of his life with Saint Laurent. So be it.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Well, it's a masterpiece compared with 'Little Fockers,' the last movie featuring Barbra Streisand.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The best of Prometheus is nonverbal and purely atmospheric: Fassbender's "Lawrence of Arabia"-loving character bouncing a basketball as he patrols the spaceship while his human cohorts finish up their two-year nap.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    While it's effects-heavy, the movie itself does not feel heavy. Consider it a fanciful extension of the recent and very fine documentary "Project Nim."
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    For about an hour Looper really cooks. Its second half is more of a medium boil, and less fun. But watching it, I realized how few commercial entertainments hold up straight through to the end-point.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    It's entertaining, and following an old Disney tradition Frozen works some old-school magic in its nonhuman characters.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    An elegant miniature, Rama Burshtein's Fill the Void labors under a narrative inevitability, but it's artful work nonetheless.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    In Top Five, you sense Rock trying to load all these disparate talents onto a conventional romantic-comedy structure. It's a close call, but it holds.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The more you like Leone's work the more you'll likely respond to To's latest. Which is odd, considering Exiled is a gangster picture by strict definition.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Surely the gentlest American film ever made about home-grown revolutionaries.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    It boasts a generous exuberance and, as entertainment products go, it's surprisingly sweet.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    This sense of unruly behavior is mitigated, deliberately, by the gentleness and odd comic grace of July's presence and voice.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    For all the boozed and abusive amusement provided by the great Bill Murray in the good-enough St. Vincent, the moment I liked best was Naomi Watts as a pregnant Russian stripper, manhandling a vacuum across the Murray character's ancient carpet. In movies as in life, it's the little things.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    As MI6 head Stewart Menzies, Strong is my favorite of the supporting players — witty, knowing, deserving of his own movie and yet comfortably a part of this one.
    • 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.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Director and co-writer Eytan Fox is going for a sexually democratic, politically aware variation on story themes familiar to "Sex and the City" viewers. (At one point Lulu is referred to as "Miss Israeli Carrie Bradshaw.") Surprisingly, it works, and the entire cast is excellent.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    At this point in Pixar's history, the studio contends with nearly impossible expectations itself. This is what happens when you turn out some bona fide masterworks. Brave isn't that; it's simply a bona fide eyeful.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The film's emotional claustrophobia may not be for everyone.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    A far more Tyler Perry-ish mixture of comedy and tragedy than the easygoing "Best Man" was, back in the pre-Perry movie era.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    One Crazy Horse staffer, also female, is asked on camera by a visiting journalist to define the cabaret's notion of eroticism. To "suggest," she says. To "seduce."
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    A weirdly old-fashioned affair. If it weren't for the explicit sexual encounters, this could be an Ibsen or a Strindberg play, unclothed and unmoored from the late 19th or early 20th century.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The actor (Segel) creates a dreamy, solemn but subtly vibrant version of Wallace that works for him and for the material.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Through good scenes and derivative ones, Adams is disarming.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    By the end of this modest, strange venture, Leto made me believe it was worth being forced to hang out on the sidewalk with this man, if only to get a creeping sense of what that might’ve been like.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    All three leading performers are scarily convincing on the film's own tight, clammy terms.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Campbell’s film offers not surprises, exactly, but craftsmanship and low, brute, cunning satisfactions.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    It's not a frenzied head-trip, the way Roman Polanski's "The Tenant" was, nor does the movie have half the energy and nightmarish allure of David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive." It's best taken, I think, as a jape and a wry male-centric fable on transgression and desire.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Since he popped up and broke hearts in Altman's "McCabe and Mrs. Miller," Carradine has learned a wealth of practical acting knowledge about how much and how little need be done at any given moment. He provides the on-screen link to those earlier days and brings the natural authority a director craves in a performer.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Wholly predictable yet serenely enjoyable.
    • 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
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The Brave One is "Death Wish" with a guilty conscience, and while it may be a bit of a hypocrite as vigilante thrillers go, the internal contradictions of the thing make for a very interesting picture.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Mainly it's about fast and brittle talk, a lot of it peachy. The dialogue has one ear on the screwball '30s, the other on the way people actually speak when their minds are racing faster than their lives can carry them.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    While it's a cliche to praise a performance requiring some harsh, fairly explicit on-screen behavior and interactions, Silverman's doing the opposite of grandstanding here.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    McConaughey is first-rate throughout, on top of every dramatic and blackly comic situation, even when the character isn't on top of anything.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Timecrimes doesn't end as well as it begins. Then again, writer-director Nacho Vigalondo deliberately fudges the beginning and endpoints of his premise, which involves one of those nutty causal loops so dear to writers and consumers of science fiction.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    What's striking about the picture, I think, is its lack of violent threat.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    From its first moments, the new documentary The Hunting Ground instills a sense of dread that is very, very tough to shake.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Porumboiu's picture, small and pungent, lacks the resonance of "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu," Cristi Puiu's masterpiece of contemporary Romanian malaise released in the U.S. last year. But this one's less forbidding, and it has a satisfying shape and fullness.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Problems aside, this is a good, twisty, absorbing work.

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