Michael Sragow

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For 1,039 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 51% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 47% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2.5 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Michael Sragow's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
Lowest review score: 0 Deck the Halls
Score distribution:
1039 movie reviews
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    Will be hailed for its macabre imagination and inventive farce. But it also elegantly renders an archetypal teenage tale.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    Spider-Man 2 offers one emotional or action-packed aria after another; at the end you feel like giving it a standing O.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Sragow
    Spider as a character is a fantasizing detective, but the movie is no Singing Detective (the high-water mark of the sub-genre). This film rarely rises above a murmur.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Michael Sragow
    This film about fierce competition among classic video-game players is a comic action epic in documentary form. It captures fear -- and heroism -- in a handful of dusty video games.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    Quick and lowdown-delightful. It's also a graveyard or two up in class from the torture films that, in recent years, have redefined horror for the worse.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 58 Michael Sragow
    Cache is the feel-guilty movie of the new millennium.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    A dizzying - sometimes frustrating - marvel of moviemaking instinct and ingenuity.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    The picture has immediacy, force and humanity. It's a muckraking work of art.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    What emerges is a fallen warrior's tale: the inside story of a man bloodied and bowed.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    Enraging and inspiring. It boasts the miraculous quality of finding a letter in a bottle and discovering that its authors are alive.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Michael Sragow
    The impact is hypnotic.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    Venus is a magnificent tribute to actors by filmmakers who know they are the essential human material of theater and the screen.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    In its own quiet, voluptuous way, Rivers and Tides, an unpretentiously brilliant documentary, uses the work of Scottish sculptor Andy Goldsworthy to open up the hidden drama of the natural universe.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Michael Sragow
    The title Tell No One recalls the days when ads proclaimed, "No one will be seated after the first 15 minutes" and "Be considerate of your neighbors: Don't give away the ending of this picture." Both rules apply to this canny, refreshingly emotional and intuitive thriller.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    The movie grows richer as it goes along and contrasting pieces click together.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    A thriller from the inside out, a romance from the outside in: that's the double-edged brilliance of The Constant Gardener.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    Sugar is a near-great movie with qualities more unusual than some all-time classics. It resists cliche at every turn and puts something solid in its place: raw yet controlled observation that gives the film the form of a flexing muscle.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    Takes a chaotic moment in the long history of "the Troubles" and turns it into a keening, air-clearing epic.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 67 Michael Sragow
    Director Joe Wright's new movie version of Pride and Prejudice is more Gene Kelly than Fred Astaire: more earthy and athletic than balletic.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    Watching this movie, you can dream with open eyes.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Michael Sragow
    Bitterly funny about divorce, it's even sharper and more original about intellectuals and their discontent.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    What makes this movie ultra-contemporary is the way Abrams has re-imagined Spock and Kirk as a team of rivals.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    Making you feel the presence of absences - of the distant and the departed, of dreams that never quite come true - is the key thing that this uneven film gets exactly right.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    The Prisoner of Azkaban is to Harry Potter what that other No. 3, "Goldfinger," was to James Bond: the movie that takes the invention and gamesmanship of the series to a whole new giddy peak.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Sragow
    That's the problem of Downfall in a nutshell: It provokes insufficient emotional and intellectual responses to a grotesque and atrocious dictatorship. Instead of the banality of evil, it gives us the banality of banality.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    Most contemporary horror films derive shocks from mere torture. Let the Right One In locates most of its fright-power in the needs and confusions of people who are usually overlooked.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    For audiences, two things keep the tension from becoming too excruciating: the presence of the survivors in front of us and the knowledge that in the grip of Macdonald's humane, lucid filmmaking, we're in the best of hands.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    As a documentary, The Agronomist, in its excitingly fractured, modern manner, does what Lawrence of Arabia and The Leopard do: It traces the upheaval of a civilization in the profile of a magnificent individual. It's a 90-minute nonfiction film with the impact and the greatness of an epic.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    Hathaway carries you on an emotional whirligig that can be horrifying and funny, hopeful and devastating.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    Chicago is the zingiest, most inventive movie of its kind since "Cabaret."
    • 82 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Sragow
    Pawlikowski's heart may be with Mona, but his art is closer to Tamsin. He luxuriates in his sensibility without delivering a movie that pays off in originality or insight.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    An unconventional and engrossing French thriller.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Sragow
    Strip away the portentous style and lush views of nature in The Return and all you've got is a slender nightmare of a family gone haywire in an outing that turns into survival camp.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Sragow
    A handsome, accomplished piece of work, but it drove me from absorption to excruciation within 20 minutes, and then it went on for two hours more.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    A solid, satisfying movie.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    Until the final shot, the movie keeps you wondering how it will turn out.
    • Baltimore Sun
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    A beautiful display of celluloid bungee-jumping.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Sragow
    Eastern Promises is intensely anti-dramatic.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 58 Michael Sragow
    A History of Violence is a hollow story from an empty graphic novel.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    The triumph of A Mighty Wind is that it makes an audience love the sing-along catchiness of folk and still break up at its banalities. This tiny titan of a movie is a perfect melding of form and content.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 58 Michael Sragow
    The movie has been hailed and marketed as this year's Little Miss Sunshine, but it has none of that movie's empathy and comic surprise. Too much of it is like a subpar episode of Freaks and Geeks, padded out to 92 minutes with pseudo-witty dialogue.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    When it comes to the oft-doomed genre of seafaring adventure, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is a spectacular throwback and a great leap forward.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    The Station Agent has craft and pace and that far rarer quality, fellow-feeling.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    Bright Star delivers a prismatic depiction - tart, funny and piercing - of the romance between poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne in the three years before he died, in 1821, at age 25.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    A first-person documentary with the subterranean pull of a superb confessional novel.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Sragow
    You have to grasp at straws to make even "poetic" sense of the narrative.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Sragow
    This movie has an aura of forced tragedy, like a fourth-generation version of "Requiem for a Heavyweight."
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    It gives you such an intense hit of creativity that afterward you may find yourself trying to jete out of the theater and into the street.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 67 Michael Sragow
    Too bad the bulk of Rowling's humor goes down a black-magic drain.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    In its entirety, Hairspray has the funny tilt that only a director-choreographer like Shankman can give to a movie.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 83 Michael Sragow
    When it comes to what's great about King Kong, it's not the harum-scarum. It's the girl.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Sragow
    It's a bad joke that District 9 will be hailed for its "originality."
    • 81 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Sragow
    The movie gets as overblown and masochistic as the worst Joan Crawford vehicle. Its saving grace is that Bernal really does have his own deep-set, smoldering variation on Bette Davis eyes.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    Too often when actors portray complicated or enigmatic characters, they seem to be flirting with the audience, playing hard to get. Not Williams.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    One happy surprise after another, even when the content is bittersweet or sad.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    Promises may want to unite the audience in humanitarian emotions, but it's more useful as a prod to examine what these children are learning from their schools, their leaders, and their media.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    A scary movie that's also funny, touching and good for you.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    As magical as it is realistic.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    Beguiling, moving and just plain fun documentary.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    The movie may be Nine Queens, but it slakes your thirst for surprises and thrills because of its Nine Jokers.
    • Baltimore Sun
    • 48 Metascore
    • 25 Michael Sragow
    The film saddles Craig T. Nelson with the generally thankless role of Paxton's cold, distant dad. But when he feels like the only person who doesn't understand what's going on with Tate and his son, you feel like saying, "No, me too."
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    Casino Royale marks a shrewd relaunching of a franchise. But Campbell and company show too much of their sweat. If these movies continue to follow Fleming's profane pilgrim's progress, the next Bond movies should be more emotional and funny, with a bit of brass-knuckled charm.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    Bergman's creation of family banter that turns irredeemably cruel remains without peer.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    I love Rabbit-Proof Fence as drama, as protest, as moviemaking and as poetry.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Sragow
    Whale Rider is one long, sensitive downer capped by an uplifting finale. A martyr fantasy that turns victorious -- it's a surefire recipe for arthouse crowd-pleasing.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    Howl's Moving Castle is one animated epic that has it all: poetic intensity, potent storytelling, vivid and surprising characters, and intoxicating powers of visual imagination.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    Like "Hairspray," it's not just a spinoff but a wised-up family comedy that's spirited and inventive. It retains the farcical belligerence of the TV comedy but also heightens the series' oddball warmth and expands on its Hellzapoppin' slapstick.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    Few films even try to render the full range of emotions and sensations in female sexuality as the aptly titled Lady Chatterley, directed and co-written by a Frenchwoman, Pascale Ferran.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    This movie has a tone, look and mood all its own - it's a joyously bittersweet piece of visual music about isolation, melancholy and everyone's yearning for transcendence, through love, art or both.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    The combination of 3-D photography and puppet-animation - centered on actual figures designed by hand and manipulated frame by frame - creates a world that's dense, active and fluid: a sensory Jacuzzi.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    You go to Good Night, and Good Luck expecting inspiration, and you get it. It's also unexpectedly subtle, tense, and challenging, complex both in its take on its subject and in its craftsmanship. So the movie brings you to your feet - and, at times, to tears.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    Deep Water is a movie that will connect to anyone whose private fantasies and creative plots have landed them in hot water.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 38 Michael Sragow
    The dramatic content in Memento is as blank as Leonard's post-traumatic mental state.
    • Baltimore Sun
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    You won't see a brighter, truer affirmation of the All-American messed-up improvisational family than Little Miss Sunshine.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Sragow
    We'll never know what might have been, as eye candy and food for thought replace real thrills in the cool but cold Minority Report.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    Ron Howard has made his best movie with Frost/Nixon, an electric political drama with a skin-prickling immediacy.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    The movie pays tribute to sexual equality and to each gender's agility and strength of character.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Sragow
    A razzle-dazzle lower-depths melodrama.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    It's cathartic and exhilarating.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    Enraging and enthralling.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Sragow
    The movie dramatizes a social-sexual sea change with an out-of-control blend of cartoon farce and melodrama and clinical, often ludicrous sex scenes.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Sragow
    Kingsley gives the movie a jolt and blows the rest of it to pieces.
    • Baltimore Sun
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    Uproarious, moving and thrilling.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    This film teaches the rewards of patience for directors, for actors and for audiences, too. The compelling reality of Juliette's plight comes from how subtly and gradually she emerges from her carapace.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 42 Michael Sragow
    Flags of Our Fathers fails as fact or legend. It's woefully incompetent as narrative moviemaking.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Michael Sragow
    The movie has been compared, with some reason, to the French New Wave. But it's like "Jules and Jim" or "Band of Outsiders" blended with "A Hard Day's Night."
    • 79 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Sragow
    All the Coens come up with is a movie about bad things happening to limited people.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Sragow
    Look at Me is a virtuoso exercise in domestic tension - with the emphasis on "exercise."
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    As a writer-director, McCarthy, like the characters and the places that he suffuses with emotion, has poetry in him - and he knows how to let it out. He has a talent for demarcating those spaces in which characters can become whoever they want to be.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Michael Sragow
    Downey and Favreau and the special-effects team transform the trying-out of the armor and its powers into slapstick cadenzas. But equally entertaining is Stark's and Potts' recognition that they share more than a mere working chemistry.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    Gripping footage about the controversial Qatar-based Al-Jazeera Satellite Channel, which transmits news to 40 million Arabs. But the movie offers neither lucid analyses of the channel nor probing portraits of its journalists.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    A marvelous picture and a highly unusual journey in and around the Holocaust.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    Isn't an act of expiation but a gift of understanding.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    You may find Va Savoir pleasant to sit through, but will it stay with you the next morning? Who knows?
    • 35 Metascore
    • 25 Michael Sragow
    The whirl, bang and general bother of crashing gears and gnashing metal ends up suffocating the senses.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    The movie may not be perfect, but it's jam-packed with goodies -- like a breakfast cereal fun-pack with a prize on every box-top.
    • Baltimore Sun
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Michael Sragow
    Even if you have no interest in Joy Division, this picture is worth seeing for the unsentimental empathy and passion of the moviemaking.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    A rapturous, ruefully funny flight of sympathetic imagination. Featuring the first movie role for Frank Langella that ranks with his best stage parts, it's a rare kind of American movie.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    The love that heals and the love that kills are one and the same in the exhilarating Head-On, Fatih Akin's overgrown dead-end-kid romance for live-wire adults.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    Lightning in a Bottle has breadth, both in its multitude of perspectives and its spectrum of performances.

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