Los Angeles Times

Michael Phillips

Columnist Chicago Tribune

Michael Phillips is the Chicago Tribune's film critic, covering everything from “Godzilla” to the latest in Turkish cinema. He has appeared on Turner Classic Movies, “CBS Saturday Morning,” “Charlie Rose” and the long-running nationally syndicated program “At the Movies.” He joined the Tribune in 2002 as theater critic, a post he previously held at the Los Angeles Times; the San Diego Union-Tribune; the St. Paul Pioneer Press; and the Dallas Times-Herald. He appears regularly on the Chicago Public Radio show “Filmspotting,” and lives in Logan Square on Chicago's Northwest Side with his wife, Heidi Stevens, and their three children.

Recent Articles

  • Astute performances and fine direction move 'Queen of Katwe' to the fore of chess movies

    Astute performances and fine direction move 'Queen of Katwe' to the fore of chess movies

    A lot of Disney’s fact-based sports movies stir the blood or, at the very least, satisfy our need for rousing underdog stories. Often the stories can be shaped so that a white protagonist runs the show, even if it’s not really their show. “Million Dollar Arm” was like that; so was “McFarland, USA,”...

  • Lightweight boxing biopic 'Hands of Stone' hits the wall

    Lightweight boxing biopic 'Hands of Stone' hits the wall

    With “Hands of Stone,” Robert De Niro officially enters his Burgess Meredith-in-“Rocky” phase, bringing the ringside grizzle and rumpled gravitas by the pound. In writer-director Jonathan Jakubowicz’s peppy, none-too-probing biopic of Panamanian champion Roberto Duran, played by Édgar Ramírez,...

  • 2016 in movies: It's not been a very good year (so far)

    I’m here for the defense as well as the prosecution. The charge: So far, by and large, 2016 at the movies has failed. The movie year has failed to produce anything as culturally urgent asESPN's "O.J.: Made in America." It has failed to produce a confessional as sleek and imposing as theBeyonce video...

  • 2016 in movies: It's not been a very good year (so far)

    I’m here for the defense as well as the prosecution. The charge: So far, by and large, 2016 at the movies has failed. The movie year has failed to produce anything as culturally urgent as ESPN's "O.J.: Made in America." It has failed to produce a confessional as sleek and imposing as the Beyoncé video...

  • Matthew McConaughey has the look, but 'Free State of Jones' lacks the grit to be good

    Matthew McConaughey has the look, but 'Free State of Jones' lacks the grit to be good

    In so many Civil War-era photographs, a bone-weariness of spirit, coupled with a kind of faraway intensity, lurks in the soldiers' eyes. Plenty of actors can fake that sort of thing, but Matthew McConaughey really does have it. He looks right and convincing in a period drama such as "Free State...

  • 'Now You See Me 2' is more slight than sleight of hand

    'Now You See Me 2' is more slight than sleight of hand

    “Now You See Me 2" is more fun than "Now You See Me," which says something, I guess. It fits snugly in the long list of easygoing nothings, the narrative equivalent of a Fruit Roll-Up, designed to be forgotten in as many minutes as it took to watch. The cast remains the chief reason it squeaks...

  • 'Me Before You' puts emoting before acting

    'Me Before You' puts emoting before acting

    In many cases there's no sound defense for works of fiction that make millions weep. If there were, "The Bridges of Madison County" and "Miss Saigon" would be, in some way, defensible. This brings us to "Me Before You," written by ex-journalist Jojo Moyes. Moyes came to her 2012 romance between...

  • 'Keanu' will be catnip for 'Key & Peele' fans, but for the rest of the world... meh

    'Keanu' will be catnip for 'Key & Peele' fans, but for the rest of the world... meh

    We expect our comedies to be hit-and-miss. They're different from action movies, which in recent years have become numbingly relentless — hit-and-never-miss, unless you're third thug from the left and swarthy, and your job is to shoot and then die. Now we have the strange case of "Keanu," starring...

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