For 97 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 35% higher than the average critic
  • 9% same as the average critic
  • 56% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 10.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Mike Hale's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 51
Highest review score: 80 Trollhunter
Lowest review score: 20 3-D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 97
  2. Negative: 13 out of 97
97 movie reviews
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    One of the many pleasures of the Norwegian director André Ovredal's clever and engaging mock documentary Trollhunter is the way it plays with the idea of the supernatural rule book.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    Mr. Morgen was given access to Cobain’s archives — “art, music, journals, Super 8 films and audio montages” — and his exhilarating, exhausting, two-hour-plus film, both an artful mosaic and a hammering barrage, reflects years of rummaging through that trove.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Absorbing and amusing for as long as it looks back at those Hollywood westerns, recounting their sins against American Indians.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    His film is no more profound than its forerunners, but it’s quicker, funnier and less pretentious.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    The courses of colonialism and racial strife were radically different in America and Australia than they were in Africa. That doesn't make Mr. Freeth's cause any less just, but it does mean that Mugabe and the White African needs to be approached with care.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    The Disappearance of Alice Creed will keep your attention, but you may walk away thinking you've seen something like it before: "Sleuth," with more sex and violence.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    A sad and engrossing look at a haunted landscape.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    The film builds in interest and intrigue as it goes along, helped immeasurably by the directors' choice - canny or fortunate or both - of the astonishingly good-natured and likable Jacquy Pfeiffer, an Alsace-born, Chicago-based chef, as their chief protagonist.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    In her director's statement for Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields, Gail O'Hara writes that "this one's for the fans." Rarely has that been more true.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    If nothing else, the directors, Duane Baughman and Johnny O'Hara, deserve praise for devoting this kind of attention to a foreign leader and to the internal politics of another country (as opposed to how those politics affect the United States).
    • 52 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    While I Am Secretly an Important Man skims the surface of Mr. Bernstein's life, it's a surface with more than enough texture to keep you interested.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Winston Churchill: Walking With Destiny is a handsomely produced, television-scale documentary with a split personality.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Only for those with a truly bottomless appetite for gore and fan-boy humor.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Shinobu Terajima, a major figure in Japan who won the best actress award at the 2010 Berlin film festival for Caterpillar, is effective as the wife, though Mr. Wakamatsu is more interested in scoring political and historical points than in shaping her character.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Between Mr. Ziman's music-video skills and his close approximation of the kinetic style of Michael Mann (a scene from Mr. Mann's "Heat" has a key role in the plot), it's easy to overlook the formulas and just enjoy the ride.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    It's an interesting story, well told, though Mr. Jendreyko overworks some documentary fallbacks: gnarled fingers, the view from a moving train.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    It all adds up to an entertaining 88 minutes, despite the film's ramshackle construction and its once-over-lightly approach to political, cultural and athletic history.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    It's significantly smaller and more casual than "Mystery Train" or "Lost in Translation," movies its premise calls to mind, but in some ways it's more layered and complex.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Surprisingly old-fashioned. It seems to be having an argument with itself: the dazzling but often antiseptic immersiveness of the viewing experience is countered by storytelling suffused with nostalgia for a simpler, messier, livelier period in Chinese film.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Mr. Ryoo (“The Unjust,” “The City of Violence”) isn’t known for his sense of humor, but Veteran is amusing throughout, even if the funny scenes are more subdued or go on a beat or two longer than American viewers are used to.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    While it could stand to lose 20 minutes and several plot twists, Mr. Na’s debut manages to be thought-provoking and adventurous while providing solid thrills.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    What leaves a bad taste in the mouth is not the film itself, which is passable for a low-budget war picture, but the fact that neither the official Web site nor the press notes even suggest that it largely has been scavenged from an existing movie.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    At several points the depiction of Ulla's isolation takes on slasher-movie overtones, which undercuts the general solemnity but doesn't really add anything to the experience.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    Holding things together are Mr. Phillips's quiet charm and his songs, which really are funny.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    The sometimes impressive visual effects make these battles entertaining, in a mindless way, but it's impossible to work up any feeling about them. The only thing supplying that is the occasional laugh, pout or gurgle by Ms. Rudd.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    The film works quite well as a melancholy travelogue - an elevated version of something you might see on cable television - but its aspirations for depth of feeling or more profound social commentary aren't quite realized.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    Everyone involved in "Never Say Never" is working overtime to prove that he is, as one of them puts it, "just a regular kid who had a dream," while everything about the movie screams the opposite.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    The overall effect is one of lulling beauty and immersion in the landscape and culture - certainly enough to carry you through the film - but also an irritating sensation of being led by the nose through Ms. Álvarez's highly aestheticized ruminations.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    Responses to religious films are bound to be personal, so at the risk of sounding patronizing, I'll say that my main reaction to The Grace Card was one of pleasant surprise at its competence.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    The Robber may have less on its mind than its sheen of seriousness would suggest, but the view is gorgeous.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    It has the structure and some of the pleasures of a well-made sitcom or docu-reality show, despite the nervous-looking, unhappy guy at its center; it could have been called "Nobody Understands Phil."
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    Frenetic, paper-thin but entertaining documentary.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    After a stirring opening battle, however, the fights in True Legend become pretty routine. And beyond some lovely mountain scenery and a tiny cameo by a radiant Michelle Yeoh, there isn't much else to look at.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    Whether you're predisposed to seeing Second Life as liberating or creepy, Life 2.0 would have been more interesting and original if it, like its subjects, had dwelled more in the virtual world, and if it had told us more about that world's mechanics and folkways.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    If you don't get the jokes, there isn't a whole lot else to get, and it's a safe assumption that non-Latino, non-Spanish-speaking viewers are going to miss a lot of them.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    The Juche Idea is meant to be a comedy, one that cuts two ways: mocking the strictures placed on moviemakers in both Communist and capitalist systems. Viewers who don’t share the radical-nostalgist sensibility of Mr. Finn, who teaches at Emerson College in Boston, may find the humor both too rarefied and too obvious.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    A toothless satire whose targets include vampire mania, low-rent theater, indie romantic comedies, Scorsese, Shakespeare and “Law & Order,” it plays like a Web series expanded to feature length, or an adaptation of one of the Naked Angels’ staged serial soap operas.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Some of this is awfully pedestrian, but there are moments of both high comedy and high drama.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Parents may also be happy to see a movie for children that doesn't involve wizards, vampires or action figures that can be bought in the food court. They should be warned, though, that the price of contemporary realism is a story that includes layoffs, bickering and unpaid bills.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    The lack of information about the school, or about any aspect of the two dancers’ lives that doesn’t involve training for and competing in international competitions, can be startling. When another Centro de Dança student, a petite woman, is a winner at the prestigious Prix de Lausanne, we’re stunned. We didn’t even know she was there.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Mr. Refn, who can pull off stylish brutality (in the "Pusher" films and "Bronson" ), shows no knack for the kind of visionary, hallucinatory image making that would render Valhalla Rising memorable.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Neither the dangers of the plot - a dissolute uncle who wants to sell the farm, a father missing in action - nor the forbidding Nanny McPhee herself are as fearsome as they were the first time around.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    You can admire the craftsmanship and enjoy the retro soundtrack, supplied by a roster of Milwaukee musicians, but it seems likely that Modus Operandi was more amusing to make than it is to watch.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    The consistent comic tone of those earlier scenes - a gentle squirm - makes The Happy Poet a promising debut.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Over all, the film is a prime exhibit in the relentless and regrettable shift away from a natural, allusive, romantic Hong Kong style and toward a mainland studio aesthetic that is stagebound, literal, overstuffed and sentimental - like the big-budget Hollywood weepies of the '60s or the '80s.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    An immigrant-family comedy that hits all the sentimental clichés of the genre as if they were stops on the No. 7 train.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Their characters are instantly recognizable; how you respond to the film may depend largely on whether you find any of them in the least likable and whether you think that matters.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Angel Gracia, whose career has been in European music videos and commercials, imbues his feature directing debut with a televisionlike crispness and disposability.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Handicapped by Mr. Tapa's sometimes sketchy screenplay and the limitations of his nonprofessional cast. (His clumsy staging of their dialogue scenes doesn't help.)
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    About the most you can say for it is that it's inoffensive.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    The strongest analogue for the second half of Insidious is one that the filmmakers probably weren't trying for: it feels like a less poetic version of an M. Night Shyamalan fairy tale.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    That the movie remains consistently watchable is largely a tribute to Brian Hasenfus, a Needham, Mass., contractor making his acting debut as Phillip.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    It's generally fun to watch Mr. Yen move and not much fun to watch him act, and Legend of the Fist is no exception.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Producing smarm at the high level of When Harry Met Sally requires special talent, and when you fall short all you're left with is garden-variety smarm.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    As uplifting stories of tolerance and self-discovery go, Spork has a messy appeal, but it's no "Hairspray."
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    As a meditation Some Days has its virtues - if you're in the market for a picture-postcard bummer - but it will leave your mellowed mind pretty quickly.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    It's also a pretty familiar story, and "Reindeer," despite Mr. Neuvonen's verve and Jani's charisma, can drag. Like a lot of addiction stories, it starts to mirror the monotony and self-absorption of the addict's life.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    That things tend not to end, or bode, well doesn't detract from the overall Hallmark vibe.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Carrying far more weight than their screen time would warrant, the "interviews" with actors playing young children are the best part of the film.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    The overall mildness and inconsequence of Girlfriend is disrupted for a while by Amanda Plummer, who gives a vivid yet gentle performance in a small part as Evan's patient, protective mother.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    The depictions of cosmopolitan Germans and mostly avaricious, bestial Czechs are likely to stir strong emotions among some viewers, but over all Habermann is more potboiler than political or historical statement.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    The Harvest, in its modest way, calls to mind "The Grapes of Wrath" but with no glimmer of a New Deal or a union, or even of better economic times ahead.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Mr. Park's screenplay, pedestrian direction and stolid performance don't set us up to care.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    The overall effect is distancing; there are some early comic moments that have you laughing along with the movie, but eventually the clashing tones and preposterousness just have you laughing.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    "The Warriors” and the “Mad Max” films will come to mind as you watch Tokyo Tribe, and from scene to scene Mr. Sono’s visual inventiveness and sure hand with action stand up to the comparison. The cumulative effect, however, is numbing.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 40 Mike Hale
    Frank V. Ross wrote and directed this slice of Midwestern mumblecore in a style -- overlapping dialogue, off-center compositions, a jumpy, disconnected narrative -- that suggests Robert Altman without any of Altman's instincts for character and poetry.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 40 Mike Hale
    This talking-animal tale - has old-fashioned backgrounds that occasionally achieve a touch of grandeur, but that's about the best that can be said for it.
    • 25 Metascore
    • 40 Mike Hale
    A thoroughly dreary, by-the-numbers exercise.
    • 24 Metascore
    • 40 Mike Hale
    A number of talented performers are stymied by this mediocre material.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 40 Mike Hale
    Mr. Kretschmann holds your attention through each whining complaint and bland denial. His character may be banal, but his portrayal is the only thing that keeps you watching.
    • 24 Metascore
    • 40 Mike Hale
    Be aware: if you see the film in a theater equipped with RealD 3D and Dolby sound, you'll come away with a pretty good idea of what it would feel like to have flying body parts hit you in the face.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 40 Mike Hale
    There's exactly one thing about the misbegotten big-screen Yogi Bear that might make you think back with any fondness to the Hanna-Barbera cartoons on which it's based. That would be Justin Timberlake's charming performance as the voice of Boo-Boo Bear.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 40 Mike Hale
    Ong Bak 3, which picks up the largely incoherent story of the rebel prince Tien battling evil lords and demons in some mythical pocket of Thai history, is actually less bloody than its predecessor.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 40 Mike Hale
    It's strictly for the fans, who will furiously parse the changes in the narrative (including a new female pilot) and the nonsensical stew of philosophical and religious symbolism.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 40 Mike Hale
    As the not-so-comic violence and the violent, misogynistic sex pile up, it becomes the kind of black humor in which the joke is largely on the audience.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 Mike Hale
    It seems that it's time to admit that dressing actors in LED-studded catsuits, asking them to give performances on sterile white sets and handing the results to a team of computer animators is not a way to make a good movie.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Mike Hale
    The central conceit of the characters' fates being determined by the "rules" of horror movies feels irredeemably tired; a clever idea that was worth one movie.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 40 Mike Hale
    It becomes clear pretty quickly that the only real thought in the movie has gone into the cowboy-gothic costumes and the computer-generated effects.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 40 Mike Hale
    The intertwining of the narratives, along with the somewhat elliptical, or perhaps rudimentary, storytelling, makes for a confusing experience. But the stories are mainly an excuse for pretty pictures, some quite striking, of poverty and oppression, and for a closing frenzy of bloodletting.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 Mike Hale
    It's a hard movie to engage with or even sit through, despite the fact that much of the material is interesting in its own right. Oddly, but perhaps predictably, the problem is the resolutely conventional and soft-headed way in which that material has been assembled.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 Mike Hale
    A new wrinkle in how the killings spool out actually makes the film even more predictable, and the deaths, which tend to be squirmy rather than explosive, are so perfunctory and lazily jokey that they leave a decidedly bad aftertaste.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 Mike Hale
    Mr. Bale, turning in a respectable if oddly chipper performance under the circumstances, has the unfortunate task of playing a character who doesn't really add up.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 40 Mike Hale
    Mr. Landis’s sensibility, which combines sitcom jokiness with mumblecore sentimentality, tends to be more grating than amusing in Me Him Her, though scattered moments will make you laugh.
    • 30 Metascore
    • 30 Mike Hale
    Mostly, though, "Kitty Galore" is a grind, as well as proof that "What up, dog?" isn't any funnier when a pigeon says it to a dog.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 30 Mike Hale
    The dancers may be skilled, but their work has no meaning in terms of the story -- it's pure spectacle, and numbingly repetitive spectacle at that.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 30 Mike Hale
    The final image - a freeze frame of a pas de deux staged to resemble a triumphal Communist poster - perfectly captures the film's overall effect: it's strenuously brainless.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 30 Mike Hale
    Unfortunately, the things that can be funny and even liberating in a movie like "American Pie" end up looking coarse and slightly depressing in the scripted pseudoreality of The Virginity Hit.
    • 26 Metascore
    • 30 Mike Hale
    Some obvious comparables for Skyline are "Independence Day" and Steven Spielberg's "War of the Worlds," but there is nothing here that even approaches the comic-book verve of the first or the churning dread of the second.
    • 18 Metascore
    • 30 Mike Hale
    The talented Ms. Fanning gives a capable performance, and Mr. Konchalovsky and his camera and special-effects crews put a few arresting images on screen, including some frightening metal rat-dogs. But even there they fall short of obvious models like Jean-Pierre Jeunet's "City of Lost Children," and the 3-D treatment adds nothing.
    • 22 Metascore
    • 30 Mike Hale
    About the only honestly funny thing in the movie is Faizon Love's uncredited performance in the Joe E. Brown role, as the school maintenance man who's immediately smitten with Big Momma.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 30 Mike Hale
    What was sometimes charming and funny in "Turnaround" is almost uniformly dreary in "Business," a result of tired humor, a monotonous pace and Mr. Schaeffer's inexpressiveness as an actor.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 30 Mike Hale
    The fall-off in sexiness, soulfulness and wittiness from Ms. Gugino and Antonio Banderas, the parents in the first three "Spy Kids" films, to Ms. Alba and Joel McHale is whiplash steep.
    • 24 Metascore
    • 30 Mike Hale
    A drab combination of science-fiction horror film and conspiracy thriller, accomplishes something the world wasn't really crying out for: it recreates the tedium of watching the later Apollo missions.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 30 Mike Hale
    Halloween II is full of in jokes and references but nearly devoid of wit.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 30 Mike Hale
    There’s nothing wrong with the type of movie Special Correspondents wants to be. The problem is that Mr. Gervais doesn’t appear capable of making a good version of it.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 20 Mike Hale
    Sex in this film looks so nonecstatic that a better title might have been "3D Sex and Zen: Zero Child Policy."

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