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
100% 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
56% 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
19% 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
22% 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
60% 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
91% How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) DeBlois's confident, extravagant animation combines muscular force with doodling whimsicality. He conjures intoxicating tableaux out of roaring seas, Northern lights and mists, and ruddy, green-specked mountain isles. - Brooklyn Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
42% The Wedding Guest (2019) Winterbottom's confident technique holds us for only half the running time of The Wedding Guest, a flimsy thriller about a tight-lipped lone wolf possibly named Jay. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
78% Captain Marvel (2019) Lacking a unifying vision and a charismatic star performance, this film is less a big-screen comic than a patchwork quilt. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
94% The Mustang (2019) Schoenaerts's passion and the horse's grace make their dance-of-life-or-death indelible. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
95% Crumb (1995) The movie isn't a testimonial or a valentine. It's unpredictable and galvanizing: an empathetic portrait of the artist that also unveils a trenchant view of an American family's dashed illusions. - New Yorker EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2019
33% Welcome to Marwen (2018) The partnership between Zemeckis and Carell is ... what keeps Welcome to Marwen from falling off its own high wire-and finally brings the movie home. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 11, 2019
79% Buffalo Boys (2019) Set in 1860, it's ... a good-looking, erratic, cartoonish, and ultimately rousing ultraviolent Indonesian Western. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 11, 2019
93% Sicilian Ghost Story (2018) It is by far the best trip the recent cinema has taken 'into the woods.' - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 30, 2018
63% Outlaw King (2018) For all its melodramatic tension and visceral force, the movie lacks the sturdy vision or conviction that would connect the audience to it emotionally. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2018
90% A Private War (2018) Colvin once summarized the ultimate challenge of her missions this way: "The real difficulty is having enough faith in humanity that someone will care." A Private War is such a testament of faith. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 9, 2018
87% First Man (2018) Chazelle and Singer have created a grueling, prosaic, state-of-the-art docudrama (no imagination allowed) with the heart of a male weepie. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 30, 2018
80% Mid90s (2018) The film has a sketchbook quality, but Hill does something very difficult: he sustains the alternation of intense claustrophobia and release. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 30, 2018
97% Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018) I stayed to the final credit, in case there was a clever tag, but I didn't feel cheated when there wasn't one. I needed the time to catch my breath. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2018
72% Christopher Robin (2018) Although it lacks the sustained, crazy logic of a first-rate flight of imagination, it's still witty and affecting. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2018
92% A Prayer Before Dawn (2018) Overloaded with physical peril and over-strategized to convey the jitters of a strung-out junkie, the movie runs a deficit on emotional intelligence and journalistic information. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2018
91% Crazy Rich Asians (2018) A binge-able series might have been a better way to go, since the script squeezes a sprawling supporting cast into boisterous caricatures and transforms an intricate flow chart of status among Singapore's superrich into a flood of affectations. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2018
61% Operation Finale (2018) The film fictionalizes setups and collapses factual details while trying to make Eichmann's extraction play out with conventional suspense; it ends up a poor cousin to Argo. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2018
89% John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection (L'empire de la perfection) (2018) This movie is a complex portrait of the athlete as a young artist in what proved to be his dominant period. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2018
86% The Sisters Brothers (2018) As a novel, The Sisters Brothers was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize. This is not the kind of movie that typically wins awards, but for me it is even better than the book. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2018
93% The Old Man & the Gun (2018) I come to praise Redford, not to bury him. I want to celebrate the groundbreaking performer forgotten in the wake of the ultra-handsome superstar. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2018
58% White Boy Rick (2018) It gives the audience a seriocomic rush. The filmmakers never figure out a full and satisfying ending for a real-life story that culminates in a paralyzing injustice. But if the climactic shocks are just sketched in, the others are vivid and alive. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2018
41% Remo Williams - The Adventure Begins (1985) You can get carried along by the exuberance and likability of Remo: The Adventure Begins, only to have the despair of the pop mythology underneath it catch up with you the morning after. - The Atlantic EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 6, 2018
100% The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) Taps into viewers' paranoia over a decrepit, vulnerable infrastructure and then provides bitter laughs and a harrowing catharsis. - New Yorker EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 27, 2018
86% Tully (2018) Reitman does succeed at showcasing the sympathetic imagination and flesh impact of his two stars in authentic scenes of domestic mess and cleanup. And Cody attains new legitimacy and veracity as a writer. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 28, 2018
94% Incredibles 2 (2018) Incredibles 2 spins like a pop-art pinwheel because [Brad] Bird boasts a coherent and scintillating vision. He turns an action comedy about superhumans into a jamboree of human possibilities. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 28, 2018
63% Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018) The complicated feelings Isabel arouses in Alejandro bring this film some unexpected human dimensions. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 28, 2018
74% Too Big to Fail (2011) You feel all the anguish, desperation, humor, and, yes, gallantry of the moment. - Baltimore Sun EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 25, 2018
57% Hotel Artemis (2018) Pearce's debut as a writer-director is not merely a lemon. It's a lemon mélange pie of contemporary action, futuristic 'world-building,' and high and low cultural references. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 7, 2018
83% Deadpool 2 (2018) Why is Deadpool 2 so bloody winning? Chalk it up to Reynolds's/Deadpool's adherence to his own waggish sensibility. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2018
84% Disobedience (2018) The film is well-groomed and self-contained and limited. It leaves you not with a howl, but with a piercing cri de coeur that fades away a little too soon. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2018
97% Jaws (1975) Jaws is what The French Connection and The Exorcist only posed as -- a horrific action story redeemed by inspired filmmaking. Jaws aims for the gut, but it doesn't insult the intelligence on the few occasions when it is required. - Boston Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2018
91% Big Fish & Begonia (2018) Spinning their own variations on ancient Chinese myths, these directors make a poetic plea to protect actual species-while delighting audiences with transcendent make-believe. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2018
89% Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985) One of the most gorgeous and sophisticated portraits of an artist ever put on film. - New Yorker EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 9, 2018
70% Gemini (2018) It starts suggestively and enigmatically, then straightens-and flattens-everything out, including the emotional and moral landscape of its characters. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2018
80% Unsane (2018) With equal splashes of wit and gore, this cool, nasty little thriller fearlessly exploits up-to-date strains of social and sexual paranoia. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 29, 2018
52% Tomb Raider (2018) But there's little [Roar Uthaug] can do with Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons's script (derived largely from the "third era" of the video game), which functions like a treasure map without resonance or mystery. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 29, 2018
42% A Wrinkle in Time (2018) Unable or unwilling to find unconventional means to tell a very odd story, the filmmakers hack up the book's narrative into slick and simple building blocks, then mortar them together piece by piece. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2018
42% Gold (2017) Gaghan never catches you up in Wells's gold-fever dream, so the movie, like his plan, falls apart. His attempt to impose a mock-heroic template on the material, doesn't fit. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 8, 2018
90% The Lego Batman Movie (2017) The Lego Batman Movie mostly proves that this franchise has already descended into a disappointing formula. These movies flash a subversive hook, then straighten it out as they streak along. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 8, 2018
61% Dark Night (2017) Dark Night is an extraordinarily accomplished mood piece saddled with a shallow condemnation of middle-American culture. The whole movie is like an extended art-house PSA. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 8, 2018
98% My Life as a Zucchini (Ma vie de courgette) (2017) My Life as a Zucchini has grace and charm, but what breaks your heart is its mental toughness. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 8, 2018
82% Lovesong (2017) ...by staying faithful to its characters-women who make, break, and alter an intimate connection-it expresses a refreshing freedom from sexual-identity dogma and narrative formula. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 8, 2018
80% T2 Trainspotting (2017) You don't have to be gloating over a wasted generation to embrace T2 Trainspotting, a confident, quirky comedy-drama that skillfully alternates bangs and whimpers. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 8, 2018