Michael Phillips
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For 1,463 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:
1,463 movie reviews
    • 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
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    See the movie, flaws and all, simply to see where you stand in this digital river that runs through all our lives, connecting and isolating us in ways we're barely able to comprehend.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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
    Be sure to hang around for the closing credits, which imagine all sorts of "Jump Street" sequels to come.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The movie does its duty. It's a reliable commodity, delivered efficiently and well, like pizza.
    • 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.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    I enjoyed it as much as any Allen film of the last 20 years.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Yet it's worth seeing because the sights are truly something. Claudio Miranda's pearly cinematography, Donald Graham Burt's luscious production design, the visual effects supervised by Eric Barba--everything blends, and none of the seams show.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    Arnold's interpretation is taciturn, often entirely without dialogue, though it becomes increasingly conventional in its scene structure as it goes and as the actors hand off the key roles. In reality it's a bit of a slog. ... The movie plays like an idea for a 'Wuthering Heights' adaptation.
    • 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.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    He's the anti-Michael Bay, the un-Roland Emmerich. No fake-documentary "realism" here; Soderbergh values the silence before the storm, or a hushed two-person encounter in which one or both parties are concealing something.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Why isn’t the film better? Guggenheim doesn’t seem to have prodded his subjects in any interesting directions.
    • 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.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Swanberg may be one of the few American filmmakers who'd benefit from reading one of those "10 Rules for Mediocre Hollywood Screenwriting" how-to books. Many find a kind of truth and life and rough domestic magic in his films. Here and there, now and then, I see what they're talking about.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 38 Michael Phillips
    I find Lars and the Real Girl adorable in the worst way, bailed out only by most every member of its excellent cast.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    The result is a Jewish “Death Wish,” to borrow Pauline Kael’s description of “Marathon Man,” amped up to epoch-changing proportions, made by a gentile writer-director with an unlimited appetite for celluloid, right down to its highly flammable properties.
    • 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
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    A true feat of daring and one of the craziest films of the year.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The runaway train thriller Unstoppable is one of Tony Scott's better films.
    • 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.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Ashes of Time Redux remains a hermetic and rather frustrating work, dotted by lonely, windblown figures dwarfed by the sand dunes of western China.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    As pure, outlandish outlaw cinema it's undeniable.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    However sterling the craftsmanship, the film adaptation inflates the meaning and buffs the atmospheric surfaces of Yates' story, rather than digging into its guts.
    • 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.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The look and sound of Duplicity is half the payoff.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The Chinese locations ache with beauty. And when Watts and Norton focus, intently, on Maugham's often dazzlingly vindictive characters, The Painted Veil really does feel like a story worth filming a third time.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Guaranteed to make you think twice about what you're paying for what you're drinking.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    A preposterous but beautifully polished Danish thriller.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    It's still worth seeing. This ambitious and powerful sphinx, a major force in a particular chunk of recent history, may not give away much. Watching and listening to how he doesn't give it away — that's the known known here.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    If the film is more solid and satisfying than terrific, so be it.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    A tender and upbeat spirit informs the writing and the execution.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    It is well made as far as it goes. I wish it went beyond its own carefully prescribed limits of the commercially acceptable.
    • 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.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Slick, ice-cold and enjoyable, The Bank Job is a bit of all right.
    • 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.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Woodley is an ace at handling laughter through tears — "my favorite emotion," as a character in "Steel Magnolias" once said. She improves with each new film, even when the films themselves aren't much.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The drug humor in 21 Jump Street carries its own distinction, in that it's actually humor.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Not everyone can act his material with ease. But Ejiofor, who brings a serene gravity to every exchange, was born to do Mamet.
    • 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.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    At its best, Wright's film is raucous, impudent entertainment.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    Near the end, we hear Cobain reveal his disdain for adults who “can’t even pretend, or at least have enough courtesy for their children, to talk to one another civilly.” A painful and unexpected moment.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    As a performance vehicle The Drop does the job. As a story, and an uncertainly padded script, the movie lurches and lets us get out ahead of its developments.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    Though stylistically all over the place, it's not without interest.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    Schoenaerts is often affecting and just as often scarily intense. The film's intensity, by contrast, beams on and off.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    The filmmaker's access was impressive, the results moderately entertaining.
    • 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.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    This is the "Babel" or "Crash" of ensemble romantic comedies, with screenwriter Dan Fogelman mapping out several narrative surprises that throw you for little loops as they're delivered.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    The drawback of the film's visual approach, however, is a considerable one. The relentless first-person shooting in End of Watch - figurative and literal - is less about YouTube factuality than it is about Xbox gaming reconfigured for the movies.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    With "Braveheart," "Passion" and now Apocalypto, Gibson clearly has established his priorities as a director. History is gore, plus a few hearthside family interludes. The trick is instilling the audience with enough rageful bloodlust to make the story work.
    • 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.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    I fear Spielberg and Jackson hitched their wagon to the wrong technological star here.
    • 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.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    All the movie has, really, is Tilda Swinton acting up a storm, which is more than enough for some. For me, given what's up with the rest of the picture, it's not quite.
    • 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.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The depiction of Havana neither sugarcoats nor grunges-up the harsh reality. The movement intoxicates, but the situations are tough.
    • 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.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    True to form, Guest's newest doesn't pull out the long knives. On the gentleness scale, this one's way over here, as opposed to the film of the moment, "Borat," which is way, way over there.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    This one's a margin Western. Frustratingly uneven, rarely dull.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The very antonym of "fun," writer-director Craig Zobel's new film Compliance is one of the toughest sits of the movie year 2012. But it's an uncompromising and, in its way, honorable drama built upon a prank call that goes on and on.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The actors are excellent. Rogen falls very comfortably into the role of a 29-year-old who has fallen very comfortably into a living thing - a marriage - and stopped working on it.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    A rich, vexing experience.

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