For 1,366 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 5.2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Michael Phillips' Scores

  • Movies
Average review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 Waltz with Bashir
Lowest review score: 0 What Goes Up
Score distribution:
1,366 movie reviews
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    As in “Pan’s Labyrinth,” The Orphanage relies on a risky blend of clinically realistic horrors and poetic suggestions of an alternate world, one that can be visited, but at a price.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    A grandly kitschy rendering of Genghis Khan's early years.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    It's entertaining, and following an old Disney tradition Frozen works some old-school magic in its nonhuman characters.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    I love Pete Postlethwaite as a rule, but here - as a murderous florist who pulls all the strings - he overacts his key scene so badly it's as if he did it on a dare. Also, Jon Hamm may rule on "Mad Men," but here he's stuck as a rather dimwitted FBI agent who's two beats behind the action, always.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Amuses and unnerves in equal measure.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The film is a river of pain, weirdly funny in places, as are all of Herzog's filmic essays.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The film is worth seeing, if you have any fondness for the writer who co-created "Beyond the Fringe" and who is second only to Stoppard in his sprightly but mellow wit.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    A worthy film on a great, tragic subject.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The performances reveal precisely what Rivette wants to reveal, which is to say, in conventional psychological terms, not a great deal.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Phillips
    It is a wonder, marked by a sense of wondrous skepticism that has nothing to do with cynicism.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Some will take it and like it, all the way to the heart of darkness. Others may feel they've been jacked with, manipulated. Villeneuve collaborates with unusual sensitivity with his actors. The script operates on one level; the interpreters on another, higher level.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    With its one-of-a-kind poetic lamentation, Young's voice sounds more peculiarly lovely than ever. A small picture, but good and true.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Source Code is a contraption, no doubt. But it works.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    It's an odd film in some ways. The porn milieu is detailed in ways at once sparing, in terms of actual screen time, and bluntly explicit. The odd-couple relationship guiding the story has its familiarities. But where it counts, 'Starlet' ... allows its characters room to maneuver within the potential cliches.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Cooper is the reason to see the film, which was photographed by Tak Fujimoto in the dour tones he brought to a more flagrant realm of evil, and FBI detective work, in "The Silence of the Lambs."
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Phillips
    Arnold reminds us that the best thrillers don't settle for taking the audience away from their everyday experience; rather, they burrow inward and, by sheer power of cinematic observation, make it hard for us to look away lest we miss something--on a screen or off.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    It’s half-crock and half-sublime, which seems about right for its subject.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    It is a fine little old-school thriller.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    Bird has serious promise outside the animation realm; in "Ghost Protocol" he errs, I think, by shoving the camera too close to the bodies in the frame, so that the momentum and spatial relationships become awfully hard to parse.
    • 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."
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    I appreciate Haynes’ craft and ambition. I love the Ledger/Gainsbourg scenes, which are sweet and sad and delicately shaded. And Blanchett’s inspired not-quite-impersonation of Dylan is reason enough to tussle with the rest of it.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Part "Law & Order" morality play, part "Wall Street" with a dash of the more recent and topically pertinent "Margin Call," Arbitrage hums along, complicating its narrative without tying itself in knots.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    The movie slam-jams its overpacked story in a frenetic, needlessly complicated manner. It lacks for nothing in setting and atmosphere but comes up short where it counts: the characters.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    The Raid is maniacal in its pacing and assault tactics. It's also, absurdly, rated R. Fantastic. I love that a film this gory secured the same Motion Picture Association of America rating as "The King's Speech."
    • 73 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    As is, it's worth seeing, but you may get frustrated at the way Dellal raises provocative questions about ancestry and prejudice, only to lose them in the shuffle of so many mini-portraits of musicians, getting to know each other and each other's foreign yet familiar musical language, on a long 16-city tour.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Everything that was false about the tsunami sequence in the recent Clint Eastwood film 'Hereafter' - the bland overview perspectives, the lack of human immediacy - is corrected, terrifyingly, by the first half-hour of director J.A. Bayona's nerve-shredding docudrama 'The Impossible.'
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    Doesn't quite work but is worth seeing anyway.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Uneven but rollicking, The Pirates! has a personality to call its own.
    • 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.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Warts, entrails and all, I had a ball at Zombieland. It’s 81 minutes of my kind of stupid.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Frank's dialogue owes a little something to Elmore Leonard, but it's less comic and heavily brocaded.
    • 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.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Certain things in Three Monkeys can only be described as brilliant.
    • 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.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Leave it to the first-class actors dining out on those roles to make the cat and the mouse interesting and unpredictable.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Phillips
    The beauty of the Turkish film Climates, a small but indelible masterpiece, is more than skin-deep. No 2006 film meant more to me. It's as sharp and lovely as the best Chekhov short stories.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    The film is reasonably effective all the same, though Affleck has yet to learn how to conduct each scene like a musical score, paying attention to matters of tempo and dynamics.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    One of the pleasures of Magic Mike is its egalitarian spirit and dedication to the ensemble.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    The Cabin in the Woods is pure mechanics, as if the shadowy Dharma Initiative of "Lost" switched agents and found itself at the center of a brain-bending ensemble drama.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Swift, amoral and nicely unpredictable.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Eastwood's foursquare directorial aesthetic tends to heighten, rather than camouflage, a screenplay's shortcomings.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    A year into their new lives, all three men experience profound isolation. How, they wonder, can Americans live such anti-social lives, so unconcerned with the idea of societal interdependence? This is the chief unexamined question raised by a worthy picture. What is there holds you all the same.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    A small but droll big-box comedy.
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    What works about ParaNorman is its subtle interweave of the stoical and the heroic. The voice work is inspired, without a lot of theatrical flourish. The low-key musical score by Jon Brion, one of the year's best, teases out the macabre humor in each new challenge faced by Norman.
    • 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
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    You may buy the ending or not. The filmmakers certainly do, which helps. And the film is modest but skillful and heartfelt, spiced just so by Plaza and company.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The new film works. It's rousing.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    A rewardingly twisted hybrid of low-fi mumblecore and stylized thriller.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Some of it's schematic and on the nose. But the grace notes are what make 50/50 better than simply "good enough."
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Abrams knits together the ordinary stories of the mill town's inhabitants in a way that feels dramatic without showing their contrivances too obviously. And his casting of Courtney and Fanning was fortuitous, though Abrams' banter for the supporting kids grows tiresome in that "Goonies" way.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    Take the theatrical flourish away from this story, however, and the story's thinness becomes apparent.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The fetching comedy Priceless”(“Hors de Prix”) weighs about as much as its star, Audrey Tautou, but like Tautou’s pleasingly craven heroine it knows exactly what it’s doing.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    I found the first 30 minutes of Wreck-It Ralph a lot of fun, the second and third 30 minutes progressively more routine.
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    The mordant wit and paradoxical melancholic bounce you find in a great many Eastern European filmmakers informs every joke and rosy sexual encounter in the work of Czech writer-director Jiri Menzel.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    It's pleasant as far as it goes. For all the blithe interaction among the central three performers, however, the material's conventional and predictable.
    • 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
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    There is a good movie to be made about someone like Brandon, especially with someone like Fassbender, a performer of exceptional technical facility and a fascinating sense of reserve. McQueen's isn't quite it.
    • 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."
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The movie is full, assured and extremely wry.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    Wysocki is a genuine talent, as is Jacobs, but the subject of Terri remains a pleasant blur.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    Is the movie itself good? Half-good, I'd say - the second, more openly sentimental half.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Destined to be remembered as the one that handed the screen Harry his first kiss. Like much of the film, the smooch comes and goes briskly, without a lot of fuss.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    Feels different from most recovering-train-wreck stories. The movie is a tidy relaying of a messy situation involving two reasonably functional middle-class LA alcoholics, one of whom gets serious about cleaning up a lot sooner than the other.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Chabrol's final picture was designed with Depardieu in mind. It's a small work. Yet it's so pleasurably well-made, so obviously the work of major talents in a comfortable groove, why carp about the scale or ambition of the project?
    • 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
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    With his thin-lipped grimace and big, soulful eyes, Lindon's an ideal actor for this sort of puzzle.
    • 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.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Bright and engaging, and blessed with two superb non-verbal non-human sidekicks, Tangled certainly is more like it.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Phillips
    Your kids may will fall in love with it, if you help them find it.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    Cody would likely acknowledge she's working through her own contradictory feelings toward her protagonist - and that she may have been a draft or two away from shaping those feelings into a terrific black comedy, rather than a pretty interesting one.
    • 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.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The most coldly compelling version yet of the tale dreamed up by the late Stieg Larsson.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    Someday, if we’re all good little boys and girls, the world will hand us a Dr. Seuss film half as wonderful as one of the books. Meantime we have the competent, clinical computer animation and relative inoffensiveness of Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! to pass the time.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    Every time you start resisting, somehow the film makes the sale, again.
    • 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.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Phillips
    Not since Robert Altman took on “Popeye” a generation ago, and lost, has a major director addressed such a well-loved, all-ages title. This time everything works, from tip to tail.
    • 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.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    It's entirely possible, maybe even inevitable, that Like Crazy will win over a good many moviegoers despite its bouts of semipreciousness. In the end, I was one of them.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    The skillful quartet at the center of Drinking Buddies reveals the weaknesses in the material.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    What are they trying to accomplish and is this really the best way to accomplish it?
    • 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.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Phillips
    The self-taught man behind the griddle, his wife, Eve, and their five seen-it-all kids emerge as the ensemble of the year.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    It's gut-grinding, to be sure. But a misjudged degree of cinematic dazzle obscures the outrages at the core of Standard Operating Procedure.
    • 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.