Michael Phillips

Michael Phillips
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
No Score Yet Merrily We Go to Hell (1932) "Merrily" packs an improbable number of narrative developments and tonal swings in a zippy running time. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted May 24, 2019
92% Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (2019) Pamela B. Green's documentary operates as an archival treasure hunt as well as a tribute to film preservation the world over. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted May 24, 2019
2/4 58% Aladdin (2019) The new material folds well enough into the existing material. Tragically little of this matters, because the musical numbers are staged and edited as if director Ritchie had never even seen a musical. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2019
3/4 97% Booksmart (2019) I like the general lack of meanness in "Booksmart." The party-all-night premise may be as old as the hills, but the script has been successfully finessed as a slice of the here and now, idealized but full of life. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2019
3/4 72% All Is True (2019) "All is True" shows a better eye and a less fussy, more purposeful sense of rhythm and pacing than all but one or two of the Shakespeare adaptations Branagh has brought to the screen. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
3/4 89% John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019) This one's the best of the three so far. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
1.5/4 15% The Hustle (2019) Whatever I said about "Ocean's Eight," I take it back; that was a paragon of wit compared to this movie. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2019
3.5/4 92% Long Day's Journey Into Night (Di qiu zui hou de ye wan) (2019) Three different cinematographers worked on "Long Day's Journey Into Night" and yet the results feel like a single, sustained puzzle that comes together on its own terms. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2019
2/4 50% Tolkien (2019) With a faint plop, "Tolkien" lands in the marshy middle ground of disappointment. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2019
2.5/4 72% Stockholm (2019) The situation, as presented here, isn't unbelievable, exactly. It's just oddly dull. Hawke is not. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted May 6, 2019
3/4 97% Hail Satan? (2019) It's a sly primer in homegrown grassroots activism. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted May 2, 2019
3/4 95% Avengers: Endgame (2019) [E]xtravagant - and mostly very gratifying. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 23, 2019
3.5/4 83% High Life (2019) The production design, the shimmering, evocative Stuart Staples music, everything blends together. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 15, 2019
3.5/4 93% Diane (2019) "Diane" affords Martin, Parsons and company the chance to do honest, low-keyed work with material worth the effort. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2019
4/4 99% Amazing Grace (2019) Her voice could lift people straight out of their seats in jubilation; her vocal flourishes and deep readings of the simplest, most elemental lyrics remain incomparable. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2019
4/4 98% Ash Is Purest White (2019) This is one of Zhangke's peak achievements: pure cinema, and a story of the underworld unlike anything you've seen before. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2019
3/4 53% The Best of Enemies (2019) I like this movie, especially now, because it puts a premium... on finding compromise and resolution the hard way: by getting to know your ideological adversary, and then doing something about what needs doing. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 4, 2019
2.5/4 90% Shazam! (2019) To paraphrase Jack Lipnik, the studio head in "Barton Fink": It has heart. And we need more of that in motion pictures. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 3, 2019
2/4 54% The Beach Bum (2019) "The Beach Bum" is just out for Korine's idea of a good time. By the end, I could've used some shade, a cup of coffee and a round-trip ticket to Buffalo in February. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2019
1.5/4 47% Dumbo (2019) I felt warmly toward Dumbo, but not "Dumbo." - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 26, 2019
3/4 52% The Hummingbird Project (2019) "The Hummingbird Project" basically works; it's intriguing; the actors play it just straight enough to make it feel like a fact-based drama (though it isn't) with a few darkly comic details. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
2/4 28% The Aftermath (2019) I kept thinking of Donald Duck's nephews: For all its noble intentions, "The Aftermath" is dewey, gooey and, even with its moments, hooey. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
3.5/4 94% Us (2019) Peele, who came out of sketch and improv comedy and retains his wit even when he's frying our nerves, has made his second fascinating thriller, this one closer to full-on and wonderfully suggestive horror. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
3/4 91% Gloria Bell (2019) I often wish Lelio's movies were a little longer, messier and a little less tidy, and that's true of "Gloria Bell," too. But what's there is shrewd, engaging and a sturdy actors' showcase. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2019
2/4 54% Five Feet Apart (2019) First-time feature director Justin Baldoni treats the tidy if increasingly shameless script as sincerely as possible, albeit with as many hackneyed montage sequences as possible. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2019
2/4 80% Ruben Brandt, Collector (2019) A satisfying heist movie, animated or live-action, requires more selectivity and less clutter than this one. The movie dashes by door after door, but it lacks the key. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 7, 2019
3/4 78% Captain Marvel (2019) How's Larson? She's more than good enough for this job. It's not her loosest work, but few, if any, good actors deliver their loosest work in a superhero movie. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 5, 2019
2/4 45% Second Act (2018) Here's the quickie review: Good cast, nearly hopeless script. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 3, 2019
2/4 No Score Yet Canal Street (2019) The film... is nobly intended but, as drama, rickety. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 3, 2019
3/4 100% They Shall Not Grow Old (2019) There's a lot to debate here, and a lot to admire. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 3, 2019
3/4 78% Everybody Knows (Todos lo saben) (2019) The acting's uniformly strong, always at the service of a knotty story. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 3, 2019
3.5/4 85% The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019) When the triumphs of the human, agricultural and engineering spirits arrive, they work. It's moving, and it's earned. Ejiofor is off and running as a director. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2019
2/4 59% Greta (2019) The movie frustrates. And it squanders Huppert, which really is a waste. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2019
3.5/4 94% The Wild Pear Tree (Ahlat agaci) (2019) I can't wait to see it again. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 21, 2019
3/4 91% How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) Despite a routine middle section, "Dragon 3" starts and ends with a strong, simple emotional bond between humans and dragons. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 20, 2019
3/4 92% Fighting with My Family (2019) Nothing much held me back from enjoying writer-director Stephen Merchant's engaging, charismatically acted underdog fable. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 20, 2019
2/4 68% Isn't It Romantic (2019) Why isn't it better? - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2019
3.5/4 88% The Image Book (Le livre d'image) (2019) "The Image Book" lives and breathes cinema; the cutting and sound games (up and down and all around) remain arresting and instinctive and inspired. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2019
3/4 45% What Men Want (2019) Henson's shameless in the mugging department, and Shankman's tendency to cut away to another pop-eyed reaction shot puts the "obvious" in "obvious." Yet who can deny it? Henson's skillful enough to pull it off. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2019
3/4 85% The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) I loved "The Lego Movie," and I liked "The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part." That about covers it. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
3.5/4 100% War Don Don (2010) Cohen's unusually lucid documentary plays against type: It dares to see the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebel leader Issa Sesay as something like human, rather than an embodiment of pure evil. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
1.5/4 69% Cold Pursuit (2019) The movie delivers, in its chosen way. But it's a soulless way. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 28, 2019
3.5/4 93% Stan & Ollie (2019) It's a modest film, but a very good one, and by the end I was quite moved by its valiant belief in decency and in the duo's eternal appeal. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 26, 2019
1.5/4 19% Serenity (2019) Long before the midpoint, "Serenity" suggests rather too strongly that all is either "Lost" (as in the TV show) or simply lost (as in missing in action and lacking in persuasion). - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2019
3.5/4 92% Cold War (Zimna wojna) (2018) It's as verbally spare as it is visually spellbinding. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 18, 2019
3.5/4 92% Life and Nothing More (La Vida y Nada Más) (2018) Because Esparza's a dramatist, not a melodramatist, the experience of watching "Life and Nothing More" becomes truth, and nothing less. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 18, 2019
2/4 38% Glass (2019) "Glass" ranks as one of the more laborious trilogy cappers in recent years, forcibly entwining two narratives that don't really feel like natural fits with each other. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2019
3.5/4 95% If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) That's pure cinema. What Baldwin does with words, Mr. Jenkins does visually. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 11, 2019
1/4 57% The House That Jack Built (2018) It may be the dullest film about serial killing in the history of dull movies about serial killers. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2019
2/4 73% El Angel (El ángel) (2018) Too little of "El Angel" escapes a second-hand, been-there, killed-that feeling. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2019