Michael Phillips

Michael Phillips
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
3/4 75% Godzilla vs. Kong (2021) Even if "Godzilla vs. Kong" feels more a tad more mecha than human, it satisfies nonetheless. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 31, 2021
3/4 75% Bad Trip (2020) "Bad Trip" has the blithe advantage of the easygoing complementary personalities at its center. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 26, 2021
2/4 71% Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021) I'd love to say it isn't half-bad, but I can't, because it is. It's roughly 50 percent bad. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 18, 2021
3.5/4 94% Raya and the Last Dragon (2021) The vocal characterizations courtesy of Awkwafina and Tran lend so much skillfully wrought feeling to the material, the movie's occasional bumps don't much matter. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2021
2.5/4 49% Coming 2 America (2021) The script's wit beams on and off. But there's a dance-party finale, and the viewer glides into the bungled-outtake end credits in an easygoing mood. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 5, 2021
3/4 55% The United States vs. Billie Holiday (2021) If this risky movie hits some bum notes, Andra Day cannot be found anywhere in the vicinity. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 25, 2021
2/4 80% I Care a Lot (2021) The acting's uniformly strong, and the script is distressingly weak. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 18, 2021
3/4 93% Saint Maud (2020) The steady, screw-tightening accumulation of crises making up "Saint Maud" indicate a fully formed talent behind the camera. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 13, 2021
2/5 80% Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar (2021) Wiig and Mumolo work so easily and smoothly together, you feel like an ingrate for not enjoying their efforts more in these script circumstances (especially since they wrote it). - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2021
2.5/4 85% Just Mercy (2020) "Just Mercy" is solid, meat-and-potatoes docudrama filmmaking, if you don't mind a first-rate story of systemic injustice undercut by second-rate dialogue. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2021
3/4 99% Saint Frances (2020) I do wish "Saint Frances" indulged in or two fewer getting-to-know-you montages. But I say that about most every movie that comes along, even the good ones. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2021
2/4 27% Bliss (2021) I wish the results were better, and a lot stranger. Cahill's world-building has its moments, though. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2021
2.5/4 83% The Way Back (2020) Affleck does a lot with a tailor-made role, by doing as little as his movie stardom will allow him. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 3, 2021
3.5/5 96% Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) "Judas and the Black Messiah" may stir the pot some, and I'm glad. The vividly wrought history feels like the present, and the actors seize the day. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 1, 2021
2.5/4 74% Palmer (2021) Timberlake and his cohorts keep this well-acted fraud honest. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 26, 2021
3.5/4 92% The White Tiger (2020) "The White Tiger" keeps an eye on clarity while keeping the pace breathless. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 20, 2021
1.5/4 43% Locked Down (2021) A movie shouldn't rely on Hathaway and Ejiofor to shell-game your attention away from the movie itself. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 13, 2021
3.5/4 98% One Night in Miami (2020) Some of the writing remains explanatory first and dramatic second. But King, making her feature directorial debut, makes so many right decisions. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 12, 2021
2/4 75% Pieces of a Woman (2020) This is difficult to say, given the trauma out of which it was born, but "Pieces of a Woman" is well-acted while also being pretty shameless (when it's not merely contrived) in its storytelling tactics. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2021
2.5/4 59% Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) It's a moderately diverting sequel. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 17, 2020
3.5/4 50% The Midnight Sky (2020) This is easily Clooney's finest hour behind the camera since "Good Night, and Good Luck" 15 years ago. And it's one of his finest performances. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2020
1/4 30% Wild Mountain Thyme (2020) The one success story of "Wild Mountain Thyme" belongs to Blunt, who has yet to give a poor or lazily considered performance. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 9, 2020
3/4 88% Let Them All Talk (2020) he movie at hand is small, I suppose, and it may not be enough for some audiences. It's enough for me. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 9, 2020
2.5/4 55% The Prom (2020) The material, wildly uneven in quality, went to work on my inner sap, even as my outer sap kept inching the chair further from the screen, to better approximate 8th row, orchestra section. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 9, 2020
2.5/4 87% THE GODFATHER, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone (2020) It's a little better now. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 7, 2020
3.5/4 100% 76 Days (2020) Rarely has recent global history seemed so far away, yet so present. It's one of the year's essential documents. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 3, 2020
3/4 97% Sound of Metal (2020) The movie's a little sketchy and underwritten, and it feels sometimes as if scenes have been pared away or cut altogether to concentrate on Ahmed. But Ahmed really is terrific. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 1, 2020
3/4 83% Happiest Season (2020) It works. It's built. And the people seem real, or at least reality-adjacent. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 24, 2020
3/4 90% Belushi (2020) Cutler's documentary skip-walks a fine line between a great, unstable talent's rise and fall, and between the un-tender trap of addiction and the joyous energy of a Chicago-bred giant. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 24, 2020
4/4 98% Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Wolfe, Santiago-Hudson and the ensemble have gotten the thing to move, on screen, and they energize the experience. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2020
3/4 89% Run (2020) It's a familiar but enjoyably vindictive PG-13 thriller about mother/daughter trust issues. Plus a little psychopathology. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
2.5/4 69% Ammonite (2020) Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan are very good in a fairly good, slightly stiff second feature by writer-director Francis Lee. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2020
3/4 83% Mank (2020) I like it, don't love it, though I do love the score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, which boasts a seriously haunting main theme. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 10, 2020
3/4 83% Let Him Go (2020) What keeps the film on the rails, and pretty engaging, has a lot to do with the comforting presence of its stars. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 4, 2020
3/4 57% Come Play (2020) Even if you don't love the movie's rather cruel emotional tactics (what else is new, in horror?) and Olivier's frequent audible and visible anguish, you can admire the execution. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 29, 2020
97% What the Constitution Means to Me (2020) The art and thrill of political debate informs every part of Schreck's work, shrewdly captured for the camera. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 22, 2020
2/4 85% Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) I laughed at a good deal of the movie, but a good deal more of it left me with (Cohen's intention, probably) the taste of ashes in the mouth. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 22, 2020
1/4 8% Grizzly II. Revenge (2020) It's a pity "Grizzly II: Revenge" isn't giddy-bad, the way Tommy Wiseau's "The Room" delights so many. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2020
1.5/4 39% Rebecca (2020) Maybe next remake. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 15, 2020
2/4 39% Honest Thief (2020) I like watching Neeson in just about anything. I like him especially in some of the non-franchise, off-center action vehicles he's made in the last dozen years, from "The Grey" to "Unknown." This one's a middling addition to the list. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 13, 2020
2.5/4 98% Spontaneous (2020) A pretty diverting movie. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 7, 2020
3/4 93% Possessor: Uncut (2020) The best of Cronenberg's nightmare is pure, imaginative immersion. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 1, 2020
3/4 82% The Boys in the Band (2020) Half-tantalizing, half-antiquated, but fascinating nonetheless. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 30, 2020
2/4 86% On The Rocks (2020) It's minor, as in understated, and minor, as in not much. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 30, 2020
3/4 89% The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) Sorkin's writing may be better served by a director who can bring a new set of perspectives and dynamics to the work, rather than simply presenting them head-on. Yet it works anyway. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2020
3/4 89% The Nest (2020) A less predictable emblem of '80s excess and blinkered avarice might've turned a good drama into an excellent one. This one's still worthwhile. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2020
3/4 84% The Way I See It (2020) Souza comes off as a genuine and genuinely humble talent. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2020
3.5/4 94% Nomadland (2021) Here's a beaut. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2020
3/4 64% The Devil All the Time (2020) It's worth seeing for an intriguingly cast ensemble, authenticating the milieu as much as possible. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2020
3/4 55% Coastal Elites (2020) It is very difficult... to make such politically toxic recent history work as comic truth with a serious dimension. "Coastal Elites" manages it just enough. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 9, 2020