Michael Phillips

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For 37 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 75% higher than the average critic
  • 5% same as the average critic
  • 20% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 6.6 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Michael Phillips' Scores

Average review score: 76
Highest review score: 100 The Underground Railroad
Lowest review score: 50 The Offer: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
37 tv reviews
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Exceptionally good. Amid a river of true-crime dramatizations featuring big names side-eyeing their co-stars while contemplating murder, or their characters’ tragically misunderstood innocence, this one knows what it’s doing. It sets a tone, gets everybody in the same movie and focuses on character interaction in long, fluid takes, glance by glance, bizarre development by development.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    It’s charming. It’s a slyly comic romance as much as it is a yarn of cryptic last words and accumulating corpses. Its amateur detectives are played by Lucy Boynton and Will Poulter. And they are perfect.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    The actors periodically save it. Goode captures enough of the real-life Evans’ vocal rhythms to keep every one of his scenes cooking, and he makes him a delightful, then scuzzy satyr of unpredictable moods and unerring pacing.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Overpacked but compelling.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The intersecting storylines hold enough interest to pull you through the odd cliche and the occasional thesis line. And Vance, as a modest soul trying to outrun any number of clocks, really is a marvel.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Mosley took on much of the adaptation chores, and the scenes come to life when the characters — especially the ones at the center, played so vividly by Jackson and Fishback — converse and reflect in ways transcending functional dialogue. At its best “Ptolemy Grey” lets the audience know it’s listening to a writer with a singular ear for vernacular, and dramatic poetry. See it for Jackson and Fishback, in particular, and for what they can accomplish when plot takes a back seat to character.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    “Inventing Anna” isn’t a tough watch. The actors do a lot to compensate for what’s missing. But it’s overly devoted to the Vivian part of the story. If anything, I found myself wishing Alexis Floyd’s Neff could somehow spin off her own series, right in the middle of this one.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    It’s fun to check out a few of the first-season “Archive 81″ podcast episodes, just to see where and how the basics have been amplified, revised, imagined for the eyes as well as the ears. Shihabi and Athie, their eyes full of dread and wonder, are reason enough to watch.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    The actors cut through the clutter, even if “Landscapers” can’t quite pull off its intended swings from ironic-comic referencing to Susan’s anguished revelations of her childhood.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The final two episodes of “Dr. Brain” may frustrate the give-it-to-me-straight-no-more-dream-sequences-please crowd, i.e., my fellow Americans. But as a genre mashup, and craftsmanship, the series is super-sleek, very violent and pretty sharp.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    There’s no question that Bergman’s version is the superior, tougher and ultimately fairer-minded achievement. But this version showcases two actors doing some of their cleanest, truest work on screen to date.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    There’s serious satisfaction in watching Oh, Taylor, Balaban, David Morse (as the masterfully inscrutable dean) and others go to town with this material. It’s the audience pandering that limits “The Chair.”
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Director Jonathan Levine tries a little of everything, errantly, which is very different from what Mike White manages within the comic and dramatic strains of “The White Lotus.” Instead of casting a spell, it settles for air quotes around its characters.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The show, in short, does what “Into the Woods” does with its fairy tale characters in terms of mashups and revisions. It starts out on a narrow path that widens, nicely. And if I ever get DeBose’s schoolroom tune “All of Your Heart” out of my head, it’ll be a bittersweet miracle.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Creator and screenwriter Michael Waldron and director Kate Herron have a ball with the multiverse and competing-timeline angles. While the show’s overall narrative apparently feeds into the forthcoming 2022 “Doctor Strange” sequel, which Waldron worked on, these first two episodes work on their own.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Bareillis, who worked on the scores for the musicals “Waitress” and “SpongeBob SquarePants,” contributes some songs, too, and amid a lot of clever, outsized exaggeration, her easygoing presence grounds this promising series nicely.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Phillips
    Anything but limited. It’s profoundly expansive and exploratory.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The scene doesn’t have that easy catharsis of so many therapy-breakthrough “aha!” moments in so many series. It’s simply and powerfully real. Not all of “Mare of Easttown” feels that way. But it’s enough.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Phillips
    The show is about people, not positions, but it’s about people who learn the price of taking a position, a stand, as well as people who pay the higher price of not doing so. All this without cant and speechifying. Plus it’s really funny and truly moving. Bravo.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Even within its limitations of scope, “Allen v. Farrow” is compellingly argued.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    If the TV adaptation goes a bit slack near the end, just when you want the screws to tighten, it’s worth seeing for the performances. And for this: The supernatural element is artfully realized in a selective, effective handful of sound cues and visual strokes, among them a voice from the grave, recorded on a static-ridden CD. “The Sister” may be familiar, but it’s rarely obvious.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    “WandaVision” seems likely to entice die-hard, movie-starved Avengers fans in pandemic lockdown. It may also frustrate others to distraction, or the bailout point, just as things have a shot at getting interestingly good.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    What’s missing here overall isn’t seriousness, but context and a little tension. The way the comics are deployed individually, too many of the same points are stated, reiterated and unchallenged. (A roundtable setup would’ve been livelier.) An extra 10 minutes per episode might’ve led to a richer examination of the issues — the words humankind creates, then stigmatizes, then weaponizes, and then tends to use over and over to less effective advantage.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Everything that works in writer-director Scott Frank’s highly bingeworthy adaptation of “The Queen’s Gambit,” which is most everything about it, comes from treating Walter Tevis’ 1983 novel just seriously enough. ... The results aren’t “important," or “improving.” They’re just pretty irresistible.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Phillips
    Chicago, you should watch it. Everybody everywhere else, you should watch it, too. Seek out “City So Real” either to confirm your suspicions about how this city functions, or to affirm your idea of Chicago as the brash epitome of American character, from politics on down. Or up. ... The grand, sprawling five-episode docuseries complicates and humanizes your idea of the place.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Even in the more uneven and discursive monologues, the performers take care of business. ... It is very difficult, however, to make such politically toxic recent history work as comic truth with a serious dimension. “Coastal Elites” manages it just enough.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    Screenwriter and producer Joanna Johnson applies a nice, smooth coat of “This is Us” lip balm on your chapped pandemic soul throughout. It’s an easy watch, though I found it hard to take my eyes off the amazing LA pandemic circumstances showcased here, with all those spacious views. It’s entertaining, that is, until we get to the show’s strident lesson plan. ... It’s all in your outlook, according to “Corona.” You’re either improved by the pandemic, or you’re not.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The series features terrific actors, led by Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Majors, going for broke but full of subtlety when the emotional terrain demands it. They’re hardly the only ones worth watching, but they’re the first and best reasons to invest in this wild enterprises.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Phillips
    It’s easy to fall for it, even if you find some of its unscripted storytelling techniques less than trustworthy. The subjects’ search for love and romantic companionship, as they navigate dating experiences that, for some, are their very first, don’t need much editorial flourish. The people on screen are so naturally charismatic and compelling.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Phillips
    While “Angel of Darkness” has its blaringly anachronistic moments — “sounds like a plan,” Sarah says at one point — it’s well-tooled and visually detailed enough to keep you coming back for more genteel punishment.

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