Michael Phillips

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For 1,813 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 2.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Michael Phillips' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 Greenberg
Lowest review score: 0 Hostel: Part II
Score distribution:
1813 movie reviews
    • 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
    Warts, entrails and all, I had a ball at Zombieland. It’s 81 minutes of my kind of stupid.
    • 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
    Some may find Results a little light on plot (it is). But with the Smulders character, we're treated to a refreshingly dimensional female lead. Kat isn't one of those aggravating Type A Katherine Heigl cliches. Nor is she a mere attractive doormat. She's prickly, a little lost, but running her own show, and on the road to something better.
    • 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
    • 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
    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
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    The film is rarely dull; it's one life-and-death sequence after another, and the filmmaking's efficient, crisply delivered. But Eastwood honors his subject without really getting under his skin.
    • 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
    When the songs themselves take center stage the movie works. What remains in the wings constitutes another, fuller story.
    • 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
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    It's a tasty primer on the man, the eater, the critic and the city.
    • 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
    Parts of Sunset Song rank with Davies' very best work.
    • 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
    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
    A small but droll big-box comedy.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    The tone of "Hail, Caesar!" is even and assured, yet the comic inspiration is sporadic.
    • 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
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The tone of Dope is very interesting — funny, but rarely stupid-funny.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    Even though the film shows very little of the rough stuff, it's still fairly traumatizing. By the end you may feel like seeing a documentary about a more fair-minded and evenhanded treatment of a society's citizens.
    • 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
    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
    • 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
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    This latest in the ever-broadening Marvel movie landscape is fun. For an effects-laden franchise launch it's light on its feet, pretty stylish, worth seeing in Imax 3-D (for once, the up-charge is worth it) and full of tasty, classy performers enlivening the dull bits.
    • 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
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    [Lowery] has made a larger, very different movie without losing his instincts, his directorial stealth or his ability to finesse his actors' performances, in this case in the vicinity of an achingly expressive and unexpectedly furry dragon with a little bit of bulldog in him.
    • 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
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    Much like Bonello’s previous film, “Yves Saint Laurent,” Nocturama revels in pure experience. But the sum total of its gliding abstractions is a mite brainless.
    • 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
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    Vince Vaughn, plainly enjoying himself, plays his casually astonished sergeant, who encourages hazing and beatings of Doss.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The film, a sleek and oddly moving study in the cost of debauchery, has its gleeful excesses.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Phillips
    Your kids may will fall in love with it, if you help them find it.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Partly, I think, the problem lies in Kurzel and his key performers being so determined to make the language conversational and naturalistic, they forgot to make the individual scenes move.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    Every time you start resisting, somehow the film makes the sale, again.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    I can't help but wish this new Far From the Madding Crowd came with the thrill of interpretive discovery, the way Jane Campion gave Henry James' "Portrait of a Lady" a good shaking-up or, more conventionally, the way James Ivory mainstreamed E.M. Forester in "A Room With a View" and "Howards End."
    • 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
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    The film is a clever if increasingly mechanical suspense contraption, yanking our sympathies this way and that, before turning into a different sort of movie entirely.
    • 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
    This is straight-up commercial comedy, low-keyed diversion, and while it can't hold a candle to recent, dark-comic Israeli achievements such as Joseph Cedar's "Footnote," the actors more than save it.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    This weird marriage of indie earnestness and matter-of-fact fantasy gives Colossal its moderately engaging distinction.
    • 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
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    I cannot say how I'd feel about The Walk if I'd never seen "Man on Wire," because I did see "Man on Wire," and I can't un-see it. I love it. I can only say The Walk struck me as an honorable good try of an also-ran, though with some lovely things to offer.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    Is it fun? Parts, yes, and many will get exactly what they wanted from The Nice Guys.
    • 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.

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