Michael Phillips

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For 2,122 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 56% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 42% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Michael Phillips' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Beasts of No Nation
Lowest review score: 0 Left Behind
Score distribution:
2122 movie reviews
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    It’s an efficient, well-acted thriller from the writing-directing team — relative newcomers to features — of Danielle Krudy and Bridget Savage Cole.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 38 Michael Phillips
    It’s a lame and weaselly thing, made strangely more frustrating by some excellent performers.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Phillips
    In Reichardt films ranging from “Wendy and Lucy” to “Meek’s Cutoff” to “Certain Women,” the lives of outsiders are defined by the natural world, economic circumstance and by their own dreams of connection. First Cow is one of her very best.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    With The Way Back, Ben Affleck didn’t have to deliver his biggest or most attention-getting performance, simply — and simplicity is hard — his truest.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    Does it work? It’s one busy movie, though without much variety in its rhythm or much breathing room in its perils.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    The film is about bargains made and broken and re-negotiated. You watch it in an anxious, protective state, regarding the fate of these characters, and this fallout.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The latest film version loosely adapting the Wells story exploits it both ways, subtly and crassly. It works, thanks largely to a riveting and fearsomely committed Elisabeth Moss mining writer-director Leigh Whannell’s stalker scenario for all sorts of psychological nuance.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The latest “Emma,” marking the feature directorial debut of Autumn de Wilde, is a little edgier, driven by a more ambiguous and emotionally guarded portrayal of the blithe young matchmaker played by Anya Taylor-Joy.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Phillips
    Not much music finds its way on the soundtrack, but what’s there is crucial. Vivaldi’s “Violin Concerto in G Minor," heard twice and strategically, ends up crystallizing the love story in ways we don’t see coming.
    • 22 Metascore
    • 38 Michael Phillips
    Seriously, the running time of Fantasy Island should be listed as “sometime tomorrow."
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The Photograph treats all its characters with some decency and understanding, in a genre where straw villains and cardboard adversaries typically run rampant. The plaintive, jazz-inflected musical score by Robert Glasper establishes the right vibe and level of drama, which is to say: more like life and less like the movies.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Besides being the best American film of our new year, writer-director Kitty Green’s drama The Assistant confounds expectations and has the strange effect (on me, anyway) of simultaneously chilling and boiling the viewer’s blood.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    The movie is made well, if you’re buying what it’s selling, and if you don’t consider a story or a script as crucial to the quality of a thriller.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    It’s not straight-up realism; nor is it the usual moralizing, candy-coated melodrama. It’s just very, very good, and the scenes between Tenille and Perrier are very, very easily among the plaintive screen highlights of this new year.
    • 26 Metascore
    • 38 Michael Phillips
    The problems begin and end with the script, credited to three writers. “Dolittle” turns its title character into an eccentric and wearying blur of tics, tacked onto a character who comports himself like a bullying, egocentric A-lister rather than someone who, you know, actually enjoys the company of animals.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Bad Boys for Life may be a frantic visual blur but it’s razor-sharp thematically. Its mission, should you choose to accept it, is to make a jaded 2020 audience glad to see these guys again. The movie’s not the point. The boys are the point.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 38 Michael Phillips
    Conceived and developed shortly after Haddish scored, deservedly, with “Girls Trip,”” the movie is a mechanical series of witless yeast infection jokes, or thereabouts. While director Miguel Arteta has made some interesting work in the past, including “The Good Girl” and “Beatriz at Dinner,” his way with low physical comedy here is pretty artless.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    What’s missing, I think, is a sense of human complication within an inhuman judicial sphere. While Foxx works wonders, especially in his scenes with Jordan, Just Mercy rarely gets under the skin or behind the eyes of McMillian.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    The latest nerve-shredder from Josh and Benny Safdie is worth seeing, even if it’s not their finest two hours, and even if half of any given audience will resent the hell out of it. Adam Sandler’s excellent.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 0 Michael Phillips
    Is it the worst film of 2019, or simply the most recent misfire of 2019? Reader, I swear on a stack of pancakes: “Cats” cannot be beat for sheer folly and misjudgment and audience-reaction-to-“Springtime for Hitler”-in-“The Producers” stupefaction.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker does the job. It wraps up the trio of trilogies begun in 1977 in a confident, soothingly predictable way, doing all that cinematically possible to avoid poking the bear otherwise known as tradition-minded quadrants of the “Star Wars” fan base.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    However freely fictionalized, I like my docudramas with as much moral complication and human shading as filmmakers can provide. Years from now, it’d be wonderful to look back at something more than good actors, with or without wizardly prosthetics, taking our mind off what’s not quite right with the stories at hand.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    A different editing rhythm (and a less narcotic musical score) would substantially change the personality of this movie, for better or worse.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    Richard Jewell is a sincere and extremely well-acted irritant from 89-year-old director Clint Eastwood. It’s destined to get under the hides of different moviegoers in radically different ways.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Phillips
    The second half’s a letdown — the audience knows where the movie’s going, and gets there before the movie does. Nonetheless it bodes nicely for longtime horror producer Travis Stevens, here making his feature debut behind the camera.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Phillips
    I doubt Gerwig read the 1868 Tribune classifieds, but her film is, in fact, fresh, sparkling, natural and full of soul.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    It’s reassuring to see Hopkins return to form, after several years of authoritative coasting. As for Pryce, his affinity for morally comprised men of high achievement (“The Wife,” etc. ) keeps his portrayal of the film’s clear moral paragon from hardening into sainthood.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Phillips
    There’s not much justice and very little peace for the characters portrayed by Kaluuya (terrific) and Turner-Smith (more of a novice, but often affecting, and a singular camera subject). Does it overreach? Here and there.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Phillips
    Before long in 21 Bridges, the extent of the corruption becomes the top line of a vision test — far too easy to spot from a distance.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Phillips
    Even with some padding, it’s a whodunit canny enough to take the human stakes inside the artifice seriously. And that allows a fine ensemble of side-eye champs the leeway to make Knives Out funny, too.

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