Michael Wilmington
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For 1,275 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 77% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 21% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 13.2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Michael Wilmington's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 73
Highest review score: 100 The Fallen Idol (re-release)
Lowest review score: 0 Chaos
Score distribution:
1,275 movie reviews
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Doesn't really add up to much -- except a good time. But it's smart, funny and cute. With all that going for you, who needs to be money? [25 October 1996, Friday, p.H]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    The movie, a keen look at the way passion unravels and obsession destroys, creates a black mood, a sense of truth and an enduring chill that stay with you.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Wilmington
    It's an engrossing peek at an era that now seems as meteoric, crazy and distant as the Roaring Twenties.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    A fine, taut, tough example of the realistic police drama.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    A rare thriller - and a rare American film - that centers on both dramatic and moral issues, crises of conscience. And thanks to a superb central performance by Nicholson as detective Black, it's a film that compels, thrills and ends up coming very close to tragedy.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    It's a warmly realistic comedy-drama that pulls you right into its lively, well-drawn L.A. milieu.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Wilmington
    Though one can question the movie's quality as a documentary -- Broomfield is a dogged but often annoying interviewer, and Churchill's photography is sometimes slapdash -- Aileen raises such troubling issues that it stays, hellishly, in your mind.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    It's a summit meeting between three brilliant leading men from three generations with three striking on-screen personas.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A great love story and a deeply moving celebration of simple lives.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Why should we keep seeing Austen fresh, through our own, modern eyes? Because she's a writer who has never really left our field of vision. And, as this new Mansfield Park proves again, she never will.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    A prime example of advocacy journalism--a form often criticized but perfectly honorable. Most importantly, it gives you a chance to ruminate on some crucial questions of human error, justice and life-and-death.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    The writing isn't always up to the actors, who all give the kind of expert, theatrically ingenious performances that often seem director-proof.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A prison movie of unusual richness and jarring power.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Wilmington
    If you're in the mood for something strange, this film may please you, twice over.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Moves us now because it's so playful and the players are so young - and because later, when Godard tried to play for keeps, in his self-consciously radical films of the late '60s and '70s, he began to lose his game.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    His (Dafoe's) re-creation of Schreck is an Oscar-level performance, but more than that, it's an unforgettable one: great, scary, horrifically funny.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Really two movies: a taut, terrific, realistic crime drama, and, by the end, an over-the top, high-tech extravaganza which tries to out-Woo John Woo and turn Cruise into another Terminator.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Zbanic, who lived through the Bosnian war in Sarajevo, is an unusual talent. Here, she makes us feel the hell her characters once lived through as well as the leftover, stinging pain of today.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    These girls can cook, and Yamashita captures them with an austere, unhurried visual style that has been rightly compared to rock aficionado/filmmakers Aki Kaurismaki ("Ariel") and Jim Jarmusch ("Mystery Train"). [8 Dec 2006, p.2]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    It's a funny-sad portrait of fame and its junkies, and of an era and its music.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Tape may not be a great movie, but it's a great demonstration of creativity within severe limitations.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    The movie scrambles our responses and covers so much ground, with such zest, that its two and a half hours race past like a firestorm.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Wilmington
    You either go for a movie like this or you don't. But though I didn't like it much, I've got to admit that The Descent is a nerve-jangler.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    A family tale, in the best sense. [19 February 1999, Tempo, p.4]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    An incredibly ambitious film and one of the most highly accomplished of the year.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 38 Michael Wilmington
    Just another self-absorbed teen chronicle, with the added twist of a little time travel and a surprise ending.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    In Year of the Dog, there are dark moments that are both strangely poignant and bizarrely hilarious. The ending took me by surprise. In a way it's a cheat, a redemption that arrives out of nowhere. But it's also a cosmic joke, a perfectly funny, sincere salute to dog and pet-lovers everywhere.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Nolan is a fascinating, offbeat choice for a huge movie franchise such as this. Just as Bale turns Batman into a near-tragic obsessive -- a Scarlet Pimpernel with the soul of a Hamlet and Monte Cristo -- Nolan turns Batman Begins into something much closer to Miller's "Dark Knight" interpretation.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Wilmington
    As Almereyda unrolled his modern Gotham version, the story became gripping, the characters fascinating, the events mesmerizing, the resolution shocking and piteous.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    A nostalgia movie that doesn't get sticky with false sentiment.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Kaufman's startling Quills gives us an anatomy of fear, images both silken swift and molten hot, scenes that disrupt and inflame the imagination.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    The new Israeli movie Ushpizin, a film about man's clumsiness and God's grace, is a touching and amusing tale that expands our horizon and also should open our hearts.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A brilliant entertainment, full of bemused skepticism and reckless, prodigal love -- for these people and their vanishing era and lives.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    An absolute delight, one of the most sheerly pleasurable movies Altman has ever made. It's wry, jokey and sexy, a tart and delectable entertainment. And, like most of Altman's best work, it's graced with a top-notch ensemble of first-class [9 April 1999, Friday, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Immersed here in both the fair, dreamy air and chilly, deeper waters, Rampling and Sagnier make Swimming Pool a fine sunlit noir, oozing sensuality and menace.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Exquisitely designed, lovingly executed, beautifully scored and played, every hair and note in place, it's a movie full of irony, passion and bluesy riffs.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Blazes up constantly with a stunning, off-kilter brilliance, an incandescent force that sometimes explodes the space between us and the screen.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Seems small in subject and scope, but it's large in spirit and implication.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Wilmington
    Girlfight, for its skill and theme, will please many. It's a shame it's no knockout.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    A stark, lyrical and affecting portrait of war's aftermath.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    there are times when Grease really kicks in. I'm fond of Channing singing "Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee, rotten with virginity" and then telling an imaginary Troy Donahue, "I know what you wanna do." And most of the big musical numbers work, especially the showstopper: the sunlit Danny-Sandy duet to "Summer Dreams." Greasy kid stuff it all may be, but just like rock 'n' roll, it'll probably never die. [27 Mar 1998, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Wilmington
    A bright and zippy, but alarmingly over-campy and lighter-than-fluff cartoon feature.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Wilmington
    Freaky Friday commits a lot of sins; luckily, it has Curtis and a few others to cover them up.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    An excellent, unforgettable film.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Though it's not the great film "Grand Illusion" is, and though it may strike some as a little schmaltzy, it still has some of that earlier film's deep feeling and empathy for soldiers trapped in the jaws of war and for the joys of Christmas--for believers and non-believers alike.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    It's a work by cinematic geniuses that reveals beauty and terror in a long-ago time with a virtuoso intensity. You won't soon forget its mad, lovely sights and sounds.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    It only works about half the time, but it's an interesting half.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    The characters need more exploration, especially the killers. Yet this look at teen life and death chills you anyway.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    It's a winner with flaws.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Isn't all it could have been. But the filmmakers catch the right glittery look and paranoid intensity, and they make gutsy speculations about the story beneath the story.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Wilmington
    Fascinating documentary.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    It's a moving tale of love and destruction in unexpected places, unexamined lives.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Wilmington
    For all Ricci's zingers, the actress who gets the most laughs here is Kudrow, who has an amazingly right-on offbeat comic sense and rhythm. Playing a bright, sexually repressed Indiana teacher, she displays priceless timing. [19 June 1998]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    It's not a hasty, knocked-together promo job--though it is clearly pro-Kerry.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Blessed with one of the strongest casts of any American movie this year, this bravura film, with its radical structure, is full of risk and reward.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    It's a horror movie for aficionados. But it's also for people who don't usually like horror movies at all, who regard them as cheap, crude and over-obvious.There's nothing cheap or crude in Pulse," a fine, shivery movie about the terror of solitude and emptiness.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    One of the movie's most moving elements is the duo's famous prison correspondence, as eloquently read by Tony Shalhoub as Sacco and John Turturro as Vanzetti. But Miller's obvious passion and dedication shine throughout.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Wilmington
    Lethal Weapon 2 has the brain-rattling pace of a terminal speed freak going the wrong way down an expressway. [7 Jul 1989, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    This is a movie that rocks and socks you, and has a performance by Washington that's ruthless and scary. But in the end, it leaves you unmarked.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    In a movie that dwells so wittily and movingly on forgiveness, you have to grant pardon. Clarkson alone makes "April" a feast.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Wilmington
    A ridiculous but exciting action movie.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    One of those corny, lusciously mounted, almost predictably thrill-packed action movies you can't help but like.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Shot with a Peter Greenaway-like austere impudence and edited brilliantly (by Jed Parker), this is an entertaining movie, and a moving one--even if, like me, you're not especially fond of these paintings or that scene.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    The result is something so old it's new, so corny it's funny. And while Tears of the Black Tiger is nothing more than entertaining, at least it's that.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    It's not a great movie, or one that should preoccupy you much afterwards, but it's certainly a good one. It's a fine debut for first-timer Mills.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    It's a powerhouse, demanding film that sometimes stretches the limits of credibility. But it's done with such consistent technical brilliance--and with such a first-rate cast and company.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Like Robert Altman's "Short Cuts," it is an all-star fresco, but the stars--none of whom carries the movie--get to play the kind of morally ambivalent, sometimes unlikable parts that big-name actors usually avoid.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    This is the Paris -- and the mad, beautiful young Parisienne -- we look for in dreams.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    A movie about love, friendship and finding oneself, and it takes all its subjects very seriously while seeming to treat them with the lightest and most piquant of touches. Like its bizarre heroine, it irrigates our souls.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Funny Games is an intellectual's suspense film, which ultimately tries to critique and demystify violence. But, since our responses are never all cerebral, that's not entirely possible.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    At a time when new westerns are in short supply, Devil a sight for sore eyes.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    The movie has a deliberately screw-loose feel.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    It put a smile on my face that never left for 117 minutes.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Wilmington
    In many respects, Forgiving Dr. Mengele is an ordinary documentary, stylistically and technically unexceptional. But its subject enobles the work. So does Kor : determined, indomitable, and by the end of the movie, a symbol herself of both survival and mercy.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Soderbergh pretty much failed in trying to evoke a noir-like nightmare world in the 1919 Prague of "Kafka," his 1991 terror film. But here, he dazzlingly hews out a noir landscape in more unlikely territory: modern-day Austin, Texas. [28 April 1995]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Visually, even compared to Sayles' own best work, it's somewhat prosaic - and dramatically, it suffers from the fact that its two main characters are kept so far apart. But the screenwriting and the cast redeem this film.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A wildly original movie with astonishingly varied moods and influences.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Wilmington
    This movie gives us mostly the "what" when we need a bit of the "why" as well. In her other, better work, Denis always supplies it.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Wilmington
    Proves, unhappily enough, how U.S.-style media politics is spreading around the world.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    The film has many strengths, but one of its major assets is its solid sight line. Though we might expect it to go sentimental - with its cute cat, torn families and sympathetic, pretty protagonists - it doesn't.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Wilmington
    Pugach's selfishness, his inability to detach love from gratification, is the key to this crazy story.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Starter for 10 is cute and smart, just like its star triangle, and it's also well-written, acted and directed.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Vibrating with humanity, it's a potent portrait of love, ranging from the purely carnal to the impurely sublime.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    It's an unabashed pacifist movie that really works, emotionally and dramatically.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Most movingly, Monsieur Ibrahim takes a provocative subject -- friendship and love between a Jew and a Muslim -- and makes it seem natural and wondrous.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    A thrilling ride but also a thoughtful one, it's a movie that does manage to do more good than bad by the end of the day.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    With his usual consummate visual skills and his flair for the nauseatingly audacious, David Cronenberg’s written (spottily) and directed (stunningly) a movie that often makes you feel as if you'd lost contact with reality: a twisted, nightmarish tale of futuristic reality games and a couple on the run. [23 April 1999, Friday, p.D]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 68 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    This is a film precisely constructed, brilliantly imagined.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Often, Requiem for a Dream is as technically inventive and daring as the Scottish heroin film "Trainspotting," but it has more resonance and feeling. And when Burstyn is on screen, it often becomes heartbreaking.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    At its best, it's an exhilaratingly grandiose Highland fling. [24 May 1995, Tempo, p.1]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    It's a lovely, terrifying sight.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Becket, now richly restored, is one of those '60s British theatrical spectaculars that we always imagine as a bit better than they were.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Fast, funny, big-hearted.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Movies about literary lives don't always catch fire, but Henry Fool is a glorious exception: an austerely funny, brilliantly written and acted serio-comic tale of two writers. [17 Jul 1998]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    For a film that points out so much wrong with German society and shows such dubious, dangerous behavior, it leaves the audience with high spirits and a sense of crazy exhilaration.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Wilmington
    The movie overflows with action, slapstick and cliches, but the cliches never impede the action, and the slapstick is so expertly performed, it doesn't annoy you -- much.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    It's a tasty but evasive treat, no matter what your taste in politics or movies.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Once again, as love dies and illusions crumble, this natural actress (Isabelle Huppert) shines with human fire. [26 March 1999, Friday, p.B]
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    The result is both engrossing and moving, a poem about a love that breaks barriers and passes understanding.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    The story is engrossing, full of thrills and humor, the period re-creation wondrous and the pace intoxicatingly brisk. And the actors are all so good and their parts so well-written that we're engaged emotionally as well.