Michael Phillips

Michael Phillips
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
2.5/4 70% Knives and Skin (2019) Reeder is deadly serious about the film's themes of teenage girls' fears, desires and demons, though there's a fair amount of deadpan black comedy... - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2019
2.5/4 73% Richard Jewell (2019) The actors transcend the simplifications, and make Eastwood's 38th feature behind the camera something worth arguing about. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2019
2.5/4 81% Girl on the Third Floor (2019) 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. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 4, 2019
4/4 97% Little Women (2019) Fresh, sparkling, natural and full of soul. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 2, 2019
3/4 88% The Two Popes (2019) "The Two Popes" works as a film about unlikely friendship between two men of real and intriguing contrasts. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 2, 2019
2/4 50% 21 Bridges (2019) There's strangely little urgency to the internal rhythms and pacing of "21 Bridges." It's not so much a ticking-clock thriller. It's more like: "Is this clock still working? Why didn't I get a digital clock?" - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2019
3.5/4 97% Knives Out (2019) Writer-director Rian Johnson's fizzy Agatha Christie riff "Knives Out" succeeds as a throwback with more than mere nostalgia on its mind. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2019
3.5/4 85% Waves (2019) Shults' third feature, both unpredictable and powerful in its impact, careens steadily toward tragedy and then comes out the other side in a way few modern American movies ever attempt, or manage. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2019
3/4 95% A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) Hanks, especially, keeps the trolley on the rails, and everything Heller is after in this film comes together in a remarkable final shot... - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 18, 2019
65% Lady and the Tramp (2019) The worst of this new Lady and the Tramp comes when the script piles on the strenuous comic action, followed by ill-advised dark shadows. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 14, 2019
3/4 92% Ford v Ferrari (2019) "Ford v Ferrari" works as a stylish, enjoyable mash note to its era, and the need for speed and all that. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2019
2.5/4 52% Charlie's Angels (2019) It's fairly entertaining globe-trotting nonsense for what it is, which isn't much, but there you have it. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 12, 2019
4/4 96% Marriage Story (2019) The performances at the heart and center of it, though, fill it up to the brim. The results are full and lived-in. Johansson and Driver knew what they had to do with this elemental material and its wild mood swings. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 12, 2019
3/4 96% By the Grace of God (Grâce à Dieu) (2019) The film gathers momentum and shading as it goes. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 7, 2019
2/4 47% Last Christmas (2019) Clarke, among others, deserves so much better. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2019
2/4 43% Midway (2019) Emmerich's "Midway" manages to corral a screen full of true-life characters, up and down the chain of command. Yet you can't fully buy even the real, true material here. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2019
2.5/4 70% Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) "Terminator: Dark Fate" rates as a fairly entertaining sequel to James Cameron's low-budget, high-yield "The Terminator" and the hugely expensive and enjoyable "Terminator 2: Judgement Day." - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 30, 2019
3/4 90% Burning Cane (2019) The people in Youmans' film complicate a simple plot summary by presenting more than one face to the world, and to the camera. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2019
3.5/4 96% The Irishman (2019) It moves forward and backward and sideways, getting more unpredictable and compelling as it goes. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2019
2.5/4 60% The Current War: Director's Cut (2019) I never saw the earlier version. This one remains a bit of a mess but a pretty interesting one... - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 22, 2019
4/4 99% Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) "Parasite" expresses consequential ideas that matter to the filmmaker about the way we live today, and the prejudice and malice we create for ourselves and others. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2019
3/4 91% The Lighthouse (2019) At its finest, and creepiest, "The Lighthouse" courts comparison (at least in ambition) to F.W. Murnau's fantasies of temptation, desire and striking imagery. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2019
70% The Cotton Club Encore (2019) Coppola's new version does everyone on screen a favor. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2019
2.5/4 68% Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) Everyone on screen is good enough to do this sort of thing in their sleep, which isn't to say Harrelson, Eisenberg, Stone, Breslin and Deutch laze through the assignment. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2019
No Score Yet Patsy & Loretta (2019) "Patsy & Loretta" compresses 18 months of a tragically brief friendship between two country music legends into one pretty good biopic. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2019
3/4 97% Dolemite Is My Name (2019) By playing a real underdog who became a huge influence on countless rappers and comics coming up behind him, Murphy is once again in comfortable, confident performance territory. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2019
2.5/4 26% Gemini Man (2019) "Gemini Man" isn't bad, but two Will Smiths - when one of them's computer-animated - somehow feels like 66-75 percent of a real movie. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2019
3/4 41% The Laundromat (2019) Soderbergh and Burns remain exceptionally well-matched collaborators. They're after just enough human interest to make us care, and just enough socioeconomic outrage to make us seethe - some of us, anyway. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2019
1.5/4 69% Joker (2019) In a year of mass culture that gave us HBO's excellent "Chernobyl," "Joker" can claim the grimmest depiction of a meltdown. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 2, 2019
2/4 No Score Yet Holy Trinity (2019) Bracingly sex-positive in all directions, if oddly flat as a performance vehicle... - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2019
3/4 65% The Day Shall Come (2019) The laughs are frequent, if despairing. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2019
3/4 83% Judy (2019) The movie's pretty good; though she's hardly alone, Zellweger makes it worth seeing. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 23, 2019
2.5/4 84% Ad Astra (2019) The stakes in "Ad Astra" feel more theoretical than urgent. Pitt, however, manages some genuinely moving revelations of character under duress. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2019
3/4 88% Hustlers (2019) Lopez and company remind us there's more than one kind of story worth telling about money, sex, women and, as Burt Lancaster put it in another New York story, "Sweet Smell of Success," the greedy murmur of little men. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2019
2.5/4 87% Aquarela (2019) It's a pretty interesting nature documentary as far as it goes. But given its globe-trotting scope and the risky location work involved for the filmmakers, it's a tiny bit strange "Aquarela" goes only so far. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2019
3/4 89% Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019) The movie succeeds because Bell succeeds. It's gratifying to see a so-called character actress with reliably deadly comic timing loosen up, stretch out and learn what it means to carry a movie. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2019
3/4 95% The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019) At its best this big-hearted picture recalls the setting, and feeling, of Jeff Nichols' Huck Finn-indebted coming-of-age fable "Mud." - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2019
2/4 48% Where'd You Go, Bernadette (2019) The movie feels a little off from the beginning. The dialogue works less effectively as dialogue, rather than dialogue quoted in various correspondence. It's arch without being especially witty. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 15, 2019
4/4 98% One Child Nation (2019) In a very full and riveting 85 minutes, "One Child Nation" assembles a huge story together from many small, crucial pieces. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 15, 2019
2.5/4 80% Good Boys (2019) The three at the center of what passes for the story find themselves on the cusp of a new, uncertain phase of life. This saves "Good Boys" from its own weaknesses. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 14, 2019
3.5/4 87% The Nightingale (2019) With "The Babadook" and now "The Nightingale," Kent joins the ranks of a few dozen precious filmmakers able to transport us somewhere awful and beautiful, challenging us every step of the way. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 14, 2019
3/4 78% Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) The movie's good even when it goes in too many directions at once, because it gets the kids right. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 8, 2019
3.5/4 100% Angels Are Made of Light (2019) One boy dares to imagine Kabul, and his own life, out from under the presence of both the Americans as well as the Taliban. It's a dream captured in many different shades by a very fine film. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 7, 2019
2/4 22% The Kitchen (2019) Like so many films derived from the pictures and words of a graphic novel, "The Kitchen" feels perfunctory and sterile and under-detailed. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 7, 2019
2.5/4 60% Brian Banks (2019) The story pulls you along, traveling a long, winding path from wrongful conviction to exoneration. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 7, 2019
2.5/4 67% Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) Millions of 10-year-olds will be seeing "Hobbs & Shaw" and most of them (and their parents or adult guardians) will enjoy it, because the franchise delivers the pain as well as the sincere devotion to family ties. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 31, 2019
3/4 85% Luz (2019) The movie knows what it's doing, whatever it's doing. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 31, 2019
3/4 91% Tel Aviv on Fire (2019) [Zoabi's] touch is humane, restrained sometimes to the point of diffidence, but genuinely interested in locating small and large truths within broad comic concepts. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 31, 2019
3/4 85% Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019) More evocative than provocative. But evocative is not nothing. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2019
2.5/4 No Score Yet Werewolf Ninja Philosopher (2019) More than its modestly amusing jokes, the film's chief asset is its intriguing black-and-white footage of New York at night. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2019