Michael Sragow

Michael Sragow
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Michael Sragow saw the greatest movie ever made, <em>The Wild Bunch</em>, six times in two weeks in 1969 and has been arguing about it and other movies ever since. He has been a movie critic for The Baltimore Sun since 2001 and a regular contributor to The New Yorker since 1989. Prior to writing for The Sun, he was a film critic for Rolling Stone and The San Francisco Examiner, among other publications. He is the author of Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master (Pantheon, 2008).

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
93% L.A. Story (1991) A romantic Hellzapoppin' in a cushy milieu, this movie rivals prime Preston Sturges: "L.A. Story" is Martin's "Palm Beach Story." - San Francisco Examiner EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 20, 2021
3.5/4 70% The Bedroom Window (1987) In this age of the non-thrilling thriller, "The Bedroom Window" is a surprise and a relief. It's one suspense movie that really is suspenseful. - San Francisco Examiner EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 14, 2021
91% High Tide (1987) It depicts the ties that bind -- and strangle -- with humor and compassion. - NPR's Fresh Air EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2021
39% Tough Guys Don't Dance (1987) Turgidly awful. - NPR's Fresh Air EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2021
80% Colors (1988) The depiction of gangs in Colors doesn't go deep enough to arouse any passions. The movie makers are more interested in the cops, and they seem to think that we are too. - NPR's Fresh Air EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2021
59% The Pick-Up Artist (1987) The Pick-Up Artist has wit, sweetness, and exuberance. - NPR's Fresh Air EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2021
2/4 62% Out of Africa (1985) Though it has many engaging moments (mostly in its first 40 minutes, out of 150), producer/director Sydney Pollack's attempt to dramatize Isak Dinesen's years as a pioneer farmer in Kenya ultimately fails as drama and as romance. - San Francisco Examiner EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 12, 2021
51% Willow (1988) Willow mostly calls to mind dozens of other, better movies, ranging from Lucas's own Star wars to the Ten Commandments and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It's a malformed Tolkien-type fantasy. - NPR's Fresh Air EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2020
57% The Hunt (2020) After a shocking 'gotcha' prologue, we're simply dumped with human targets on a killing field, as the hidden left-wing cadre picks them off with bullets, arrows, and grenades. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 18, 2020
5/10 83% The Way Back (2020) The Way Back wants to be Manchester by the Sea on the hardwood, but it's more like Hoosiers with a hangover. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 9, 2020
C+ 62% The Call of the Wild (2020) This film clocks in at a mere 100 minutes, but, except for a race between a dog sled and an avalanche, it lacks crispness as well as elan. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2020
38% Downhill (2020) For all its faults, Downhill is a gutsy little 'serious farce.' We've got to admire the chutzpah of a Valentine Day's opening that boldly proclaims, 'Love means having to say you're sorry.' - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2020
2/10 28% The Rhythm Section (2020) This movie (The Rhythm Section) is devoid of thrills and personality and short on incident and local color. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 3, 2020
D- 13% The Turning (2020) Sigismondi stumbles her way toward a bombastic, pseudo-psychological ending that undercuts her own terrible ideas and leaves audiences bemoaning their wasted time and money. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2020
C- 86% Color Out of Space (2020) Lovecraft provides Stanley with a sturdy frame: When you make a film called Color Out of Space, you don't have to color between the lines. The director throws everything into it, including a kitchen sink, and then fills the sink with blood. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2020
A- 91% Weathering with You (2020) Makoto Shinkai's sixth feature-length cartoon, Weathering with You, oozes visual lyricism and primal yearning. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2020
3/10 21% Like a Boss (2020) The movie (Like A Boss) isn't about sisterhood being powerful... It's about sisterhood being packageable. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 13, 2020
51% Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) J.J. Abrams's mechanical, nonsensical Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker contains so many resurrections it's a wonder Disney and Lucasfilm didn't push back the release date from Christmas to Easter. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2019
77% Richard Jewell (2019) But the artist...who keeps this film from collapsing into pandering mediocrity after it devolves into anti-media and anti-FBI caricatures-is Paul Walter Hauser as Jewell. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2019
83% Daniel Isn't Real (2019) What connects us to the movie is curiosity rather than suspense...At its most likable, this film is very Jung at heart. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2019
8/10 97% Knives Out (2019) "Like a clever piece of stage conjuring, Knives Out is slight but hugely enjoyable. " - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 25, 2019
95% A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) The movie enables us to glimpse something great or near-great: Hanks's profoundly instinctive portrait of a preternaturally tolerant and rational man. But this trumped-up story keeps getting in the way. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 22, 2019
94% Honey Boy (2019) Har'el and Braier bring a gnarly shimmer to poolside dreams and roadside pipe-dreams. Along with LaBeouf, they bequeath the roughest characters with the tenderest mercies. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2019
2/4 64% Love Actually (2003) If you feel yourself glowing after Love Actually, you might be suffering from sugar shock. - Baltimore Sun EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 5, 2019
4/10 26% Gemini Man (2019) The real mystery here: How did Lee and such a gifted cast and crew end up with such a vacuum? The plot bumps along from one ludicrous turn or gaping hole to the next. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 28, 2019
70% The Kill Team (2019) "The movie aims for eloquence...and it hits the mark. In its finest moments, performance, writing, and direction come together with chilling limpidity." - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2019
71% The King (2019) "The King"'s attempt to de-mythify patriarchal aristocracy and medieval war is so blunt and single-minded that it revises the underlying history and legend out of existence. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2019
100% Nightjohn (1996) Carl Lumbly brings bedrock conviction to Nightjohn. - Baltimore Sun EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2019
84% Downton Abbey (2019) "In "Downton Abbey", series creator Julian Fellowes, as sole writer and co-producer, gracefully recreates the sweet and savory, upstairs-downstairs charms." - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 20, 2019
25% The Goldfinch (2019) "Unfortunately, in "The Goldfinch", a barrelful of cinematic filigree adorns an empty antique memory box." - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2019
5/10 88% Ready or Not (2019) "-the makers of the killingly clumsy horror comedy "Ready or Not" aim to take all those games from Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, swap sexual for homicidal content." - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2019
80% Good Boys (2019) "Profanity and banality make for a joy-killing combination in this fourth-rate farce "Good Boys." - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 16, 2019
78% Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) "This adaptation of the popular children's series recreates the visceral impact of the original, but tames its absurdity - carrying over the flaws of some Amblin films. The craftsmanship is here, but the heart is artificial." - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 9, 2019
60% Piranhas (La paranza dei bambini) (2019) This is a softened down, slicked up, rags-to-glad-rags movie, and its wispiness is maddening. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 5, 2019
41% The Operative (2019) With a clumsy flashback structure, The Operative never quite reaches a full boil, coming off - like its heroine - as an entity without a country - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 5, 2019
52% The Lion King (2019) The weight of the production and the hubris of its technological aspirations accent the story flaws that were always part of The Lion King. This is one Disney fable that should have stayed a handmade tale. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 22, 2019
90% Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) Spider-Man: Far from Home takes a huge leap upward for director Jon Watts after the overstuffed Homecoming, delivering a consistently entertaining blend of action and comedy. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 8, 2019
2.5/4 49% Jurassic Park III (2001) Despite all its talk of genetic engineering and its deliberately stupid characters, the unintended message of Jurassic Park III is that when it comes to art and entertainment, you can't beat human DNA. - Baltimore Sun EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 26, 2019
97% Toy Story 4 (2019) Toy Story 4 is a must-see for its beauty, drollery, and charm. But when it comes to the story, the boomerang maneuver is all it's got. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 24, 2019
22% Dark Phoenix (2019) It's as if the writer-director [Simon Kinberg] is using a superhero movie to rediscover the roots of soap opera. His emphasis on everything Young about the franchise swamps everything that's Adult. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 17, 2019
34% Domino (2019) In Domino, De Palma's virtuoso gifts are at odds with Petter Skavlan's rudimentary scenario... its current form, it fails to generate the dense, volatile atmosphere needed to bring Skavlan's pulp fiction to life. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 5, 2019
89% John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019) Buying a ticket to a John Wick movie is like signing control of your lizard brain away to the director, Chad Stahelski, for 130 minutes. Luckily, he knows what to do with it. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 5, 2019
57% Aladdin (2019) Disney's remake of Aladdin features human actors and digital creatures, but don't call it "live-action." Maladroit and overlong, its resting state is moribund. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 5, 2019
89% Christ Stopped at Eboli (Cristo si è Fermato a Eboli) (2019) Forty years after its premiere, American audiences can savor its earthy and transcendent glory in its full 220-minute running time... - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted May 10, 2019
90% Shazam! (2019) ...[T]his film melds the unpretentious, dreamy joys of old-time comic books with the sly, rambunctious humor of Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon featurettes... - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted May 10, 2019
57% Marie Antoinette (2006) It's high-caloric art-house moviemaking, full of pastry-coated, sugar-swirled ideas and historical moments dipped in candy. - Baltimore Sun EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 1, 2019
20% Serenity (2019) A crackpot suspense film about a fishing boat captain who veers into perilous existential waters, Serenity tries to pull off a "bait-and-switch" times two. But will anyone take the bait either time? - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
21% Miss Bala (2019) Miss Bala provides the first feasible argument for our southern neighbor to pay for building a wall: to keep Hollywood hacks out of the country. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
No Score Yet The Lincoln Cycle (1917) Its combination of popular myth-making and eccentric innovation held me rapt for 215 minutes straight. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
61% Alita: Battle Angel (2019) As spectacle, the film is aces. It welds Rodriguez's eccentric touch with action and special effects to Cameron's mastery of world-building. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019