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 Harvard Beats Yale 29-29
Lowest review score: 0 CJ7
Score distribution:
1039 movie reviews
    • 78 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Sragow
    Its heart and head are in the right place, but its feet and hands aren't busy enough.
    • Baltimore Sun
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    Del Toro stuffs the film with wit and wonderments. Yet, coming out this superhero summer, it plays like a lovingly crafted synthesis of every fantasy saga we've seen in the past decade.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    Lumumba revives the tradition of Pontecorvo's "The Battle of Algiers" and Costa-Gavras' "Z" and "State of Siege." In substance and excitement, it joins their ranks.
    • Baltimore Sun
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    The title captures this film's harrowing qualities, but not its energy, its limpid beauty or its spiritual grace.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    The result is a treat for Sandler fans and a revelation for those of us who've spent the last decade wondering what on earth his appeal is.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    The Counterfeiters is in its own smart, trim fashion "The Bridge on the River Kwai" of concentration-camp sagas. Also based (like Kwai) on a real-life story, this movie starts small but becomes a miniature epic of overreach and moral drift.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    May be thin, but it's also sharp, like a stiletto.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    It flows like fast-moving lava to a climax filled with pyrotechnics. And for once in a summer blockbuster, the fireworks are both emotional and physical. The movie leaves you sated, yet wanting more -- just what you want from a series with two entries left to go.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 83 Michael Sragow
    The Last Mistress turns the melodramatic pieties of films like Fatal Attraction inside out. The anti-heroine acts like a vampire in reverse: Even when she drinks the anti-hero's blood, she makes him feel more alive.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 83 Michael Sragow
    Live-In Maid is a lived-in movie. Its cataclysms may be small in scale, but the movie brings us so far into these women's lives that a shattered cup creates an earthquake.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 38 Michael Sragow
    Nolan pushes the twilight-zone atmosphere so hard that it loses its capacity for mystery. When it's not assaulting us with jolting audiovisual expressions of fatigue, this movie plays like a pedestrian response to David Lynch's effortlessly eerie "Twin Peaks."
    • 78 Metascore
    • 83 Michael Sragow
    Like Brian De Palma's 1981 masterpiece "Blow-Out," this movie contains cutting perceptions of obsession, institutional and professional myopia, misplaced loyalty in experts, misreadings of evidence and the kind of confusion that leads to conspiracy theories. But Fincher's movie falls short of masterpiece status.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    It's like Chekhov with a British accent.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    Kung Fu Hustle is to "House of Flying Daggers" what "Blazing Saddles" is to "Unforgiven."
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    In the full-house ensemble of Henry Bromell's Panic, Neve Campbell is the wild card.
    • Baltimore Sun
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    If you didn't know that Martin Scorsese made The Aviator, the enthralling new adventure-biography of Howard Hughes, you might think it was the calling card of a neophyte visual genius.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    The movie's triumph is that we experience the ending, in which the three girls go mostly separate ways, not as a defeat but as a transition still open to possibilities.
    • Baltimore Sun
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    It's a soaper with a high grade of imported soap.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Sragow
    A star is born in 8 Mile, all right, but his name is Mekhi Phifer.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    The Dixie Chicks may never regain their prolonged eminence on the country charts. However, the art and entertainment value of this movie (and of their latest album) is off the charts in the best way.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    The offhand wit and casual self-revelation of Johnston's best words draw you deeper into the mysteries of his character. Feuerzeig is a music-lover to his bones.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    Like "Anais," the only surprises Breillat has in store for us are bad ones. In the willfully perverse final act, she delivers a sadistic blow to the audience -- with a sledgehammer.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    It's an experience that blows your mind, clears it and educates it.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 58 Michael Sragow
    It lacks even Tarantino-esque vitality. It moves more like a busted concertina.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 67 Michael Sragow
    It's infuriating in more ways than one. Yet it's also somehow touching in its melange of melodrama and modernism.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 83 Michael Sragow
    With Joan Allen bringing a crisp intelligence to the sharp, unsentimental narration, it's both awful and fascinating to follow Hitler's warped growth from frustrated painter to self-appointed arbiter of Germanic art.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    Italian for Beginners, on its own small scale, is a one-of-a-kind movie: a baggy-pants spiritual comedy.
    • Baltimore Sun
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    What proves the validity of Kandahar is that, by the end, all these scenes are human ruins of the same nightmare world.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    A bittersweet joy. Its humor and romance are refreshing because the writer-director, Greg Mottola, realizes that maturity is a two-steps-forward, one-step-backward process.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    In America is the most unexpected and personal triumph yet from Jim Sheridan.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 91 Michael Sragow
    The rousing new Western 3:10 to Yuma has the sweep of an epic and the economy of a stopwatch.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 58 Michael Sragow
    The movie comes together like a nihilistic jigsaw puzzle - with a few pieces removed for that special, indefinable dash of pseudo-density.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    The result is an exciting, infuriating, combative experience.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    The ovation that Hudson wins from the movie's audience is one of those miraculous moments when a performer's artistry breaks through the screen and makes you feel part of a live audience. I haven't experienced anything like it since Barbra Streisand sang "My Man" at the end of her astonishing debut in Funny Girl.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    There's great action moviemaking here: You learn what it means to "carve" a pool, as you learn what it means to "close off" the boxing ring in Ali.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 91 Michael Sragow
    Shine a Light has two maestros, Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger, and once they begin to mesh, around the third or fourth song, they put on a display of showmanship that erases the line between art and entertainment.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    Unfolds amid the mechanized carnage of World War I. Yet everything in it is personal. That's why it's a masterpiece.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    The whole movie aspires to set an Annie Hall vibe, especially when Tom keeps trying to re-create, first with her and then with someone else.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    Campbell Scott creates a new movie anti-hero -- the weak silent type -- and goes all the way with it in The Secret Lives of Dentists.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    The union of thought and feeling becomes flesh and blood thanks to four brilliant performers in Iris.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 58 Michael Sragow
    Misplaced hero-worship and glibness get in the way of its amazing true story.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    The movie is best when everything is up in the air.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 91 Michael Sragow
    It's an authentic, harrowing tale of heroism.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Sragow
    Spielberg's inchoate attempts at cultural observation stretch the movie out and dilute the giddiness instead of adding a pleasurable spike. When the movie doesn't feel inflated, it feels soggy.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    Plunges into an imaginative landscape as large as all creation - and never slackens its barreling pace or shrinks its panoramic scope.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    Man on the Train may be a modest film, but it offers privileged glimpses of transcendence.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    The genius of Garfield's performance is that he fills him with equal amounts of terror and wonder.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Sragow
    Holofcenere genuinely wants to make pictures that plug into an audience's need for intimate contemporary comedies. But she doesn't do enough to quench that thirst.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    At its best, the movie combines the musical and psychological meanings of a fugue. Sons and daughters and mother take up themes of dislocation and identity loss, and deepen them at every turn.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 67 Michael Sragow
    Once you get past the movie's needlessly fragmented framing device and its protracted introduction to a xenophobic rural Minnesota town, the core story gains some traction in your mind.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 83 Michael Sragow
    Nolte brings this movie a piece of his heart, and grants us peace.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    Its knockout success is a testament to Gore's eloquence and humanity and to the dexterity of his director, Davis Guggenheim.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    Brilliant, brutally poignant.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    The whole movie swings broadly from slapstick and mock suspense to song. But the film develops a strong amorous undertow; Kelly's script neatly allows for all the potential couples to get the fate or comeuppance they deserve.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Sragow
    There's no innocence left in Shrek 2. The helter-skelter story and throwaway gags emerge from a sensibility that confuses gossipy knowingness and jadedness with wit.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Sragow
    Instead of being supple and expansive like the book, this Little Children is heavy-handed and snarky.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    Fantasy, not honesty, is the point of The Kid Stays in the Picture.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    The giddy excitement of Startup.com comes from feeling as if you're inside the bubble as it soars into the stratosphere - and pops.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Sragow
    Critically lacks Highsmith's sixth sense for drawing you into the heart and soul of sociopaths, then jolting you with the realization that things are much worse even than they seem.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    Experiencing this film is like hurtling down a verbal slalom.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Sragow
    By the end, Hamer's crisp, prickly compositions go soft.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    A down-home-exquisite musical dramedy.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Sragow
    It's hard to stomp on a movie that pulls together a rich lay-about, hippies, a punk girl and an Amnesty International worker in a sort of Peaceable Kingdom, but About a Boy shows the limits of affability.
    • Baltimore Sun
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    Without proclaiming itself a wake-up call for the West, In This World cries out for some new method of achieving international trust.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    Guerrilla provides one huge compensation: the getting of historical wisdom.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Sragow
    The engrossing documentary Peace Officer looks at the militarization of police work from a fresh, provocative angle.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 91 Michael Sragow
    The movie is an inspired comedy-drama about artistic temperament.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Michael Sragow
    Infuriating and funny, the film forges a disturbing diagram from the avarice and chaos of a slapdash, heartless system.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Sragow
    Falls victim to flimsy characters and a love story that strains reality.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    Black Hawk Down, in the end, is a docudrama. But it's sensationally well done, and it opens up a battlefield that needed to be documented.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    It's the pushiest film around - "in your face" is still in-your-face, even if the dancers are in white-face.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    Humpday mixes hilarity with upset as the irresistible force of male pride meets the immovable object of sexual identity.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    The Sea Inside brings us outside and inside ourselves, and takes us to brave new aesthetic depths.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Michael Sragow
    Jumping off from the brilliant novel by Giles Foden and changing a key character entirely, it dramatizes and wrings humor from the way a white Western renegade can view a self-made Third World despot like Amin as a superman blowing fresh air into a fetid atmosphere.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    As Laura, Rueda hits sublime notes of confusion, grief and wrath. She's sympathetic enough to make you root for her and complex enough to get you arguing afterward about whether Laura did anything to deserve all this.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 42 Michael Sragow
    Munich is so broad-stroke it cuts itself at every turn. It's also a thoroughly lifeless movie.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Sragow
    And the movie, likable for short stretches, ends up seeming worn and frayed, like Christmas decorations left hanging until spring.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Sragow
    Despite its director's skill at staging trash with dash, Oldboy is too long and portentous to be an enjoyable B movie. The movie's self-seriousness short-circuits its sensationalism.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 67 Michael Sragow
    Journey is weary, yet imaginative.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    This documentary could have been a simple downer. Instead, it's a giddy, manic-depressive roller coaster - because it brings us eye to eye with Gilliam.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    Darger made art as if the lives of his subjects depended on it. That's how Yu has made her movie.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 83 Michael Sragow
    This documentary (like the fact-based 2004 feature Miracle) demonstrates how powerful true sports stories can be when they delve into the mystery of leadership instead of falling back on nostalgia.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    In The History Boys, as in all of Bennett's work, irony is what the characters live and breathe - and I mean irony in its truest sense, of using language to present opposite and often sly alternatives to accepted wisdom.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 58 Michael Sragow
    A Mighty Heart has the surface tension of a first-rate docudrama but neither the passion nor the vision to encompass its powerhouse subject.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 83 Michael Sragow
    The Duchess of Langeais is a romantic dance of death.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    Because Bar-Lev fails to go the extra mile either as a filmmaker or a friend, My Kid Could Paint That is at best "documentary silver."
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    The movie is supremely nonjudgmental and balanced.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Sragow
    Sin City is a seedy tribute to rugged masculinity disguised as a rogue's gallery, all the better to please college boys who like their sentimentality slicked with grunge.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    The sensuousness of Lemon Tree is its glory.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 83 Michael Sragow
    In every important way, Breach isn't just a solid thriller; it's also an ambitious and engrossing piece of narrative journalism.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    The glory of Japanese Story is that even after a daringly abrupt plot turn, the cast maintains its empathy and lucidity without interruption.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    Surprisingly moving and intellectually satisfying.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Sragow
    A genuine odyssey: a journey to self-knowledge.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Sragow
    With everything this film has going for it - humor, intelligence and a splendid ensemble - Richard Linklater's nightmare drug movie, A Scanner Darkly, should be continually compelling. But it loses its fizz after a strong series of pops.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 Michael Sragow
    Near letter-perfect.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Sragow
    If any man should be more than the sum of his parts, it's an artist. But Todd Haynes' I'm Not There makes Bob Dylan less than the sum of his parts. It's like a tony art-school parlor game.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Sragow
    Himalaya does for yak caravans what "Red River" did for cattle drives: it sees them as the stuff of epic conquest.

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