Christian Science Monitor's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,868 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 56% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 42% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Since Otar Left
Lowest review score: 0 Couples Retreat
Score distribution:
3868 movie reviews
  1. The drawn-out, lowbrow humor is either "love it" or "hate it," so it may not be your bag, baby.
  2. Sincere acting lends the film a measure of dramatic dignity.
  3. Heavily influenced by Quentin Tarantino's brand of quirky sensationalism, this high-energy saga by Paul Thomas Anderson goes a long way toward exposing the greed and stupidity of the pornography trade, then loses its moral compass and steers toward a sadly superficial ending.
  4. Isn't terrible exactly, but it's bland, and in some ways that's worse. It's a romance posing as a detective story in which the solution is obvious and not worth the fuss.
  5. This story is powerful enough without our being heavily coaxed all the time how to feel.
  6. Director Susanne Bier and screenwriter Christopher Kyle (no, not the man depicted in “American Sniper”) aim for a tragic monumentality but hit very wide of the mark.
  7. Few movies have sought this particular blend of detective-story melodrama and religious sensitivity.
  8. It delivers all the raunch and ribaldry its designated audience could hope for, but others may find it more deliberately disgusting than effervescently outrageous.
  9. Gene Hackman is excellent when he isn't overdoing his patented nice-guy routine.
  10. Too crisp and calculated to match the moods of its wild and woolly characters, and its interwoven subplots lead to predictable outcomes.
  11. Certainly offbeat, but not on a level with director Kim's previous work about marginalized people.
  12. The primary impression is lots of moping and mooning, plus a song at the beginning with some of the worst lyrics you've ever heard.
  13. It's fun to watch superheroes who aren't quite at ease with their abilities, but "The Incredibles" - last year's similarly themed animated film - is livelier and funnier.
  14. Alexandre Aja directs in full glop mode and the cast includes a few performers, including Ted Levine (from "Monk"), Robert Joy, and Kathleen Quinlan, who probably wish they were elsewhere.
  15. Skip the first hour or so, but grab a seat in time for the surfing contest that climaxes the picture, complete with mile-high waves and the most graceful ocean-gliding this side of "The Endless Summer."
  16. The story gets off to a slow start after its riveting documentary-style introduction, but heartfelt acting and unexpected plot twists eventually give it solid dramatic impact.
  17. In its depiction of the Las Vegas nightclub scene and in its own cinematic strategies, the film is quite instructive about the intersection of sex, money, and entertainment in some areas of popular American culture. [29 Sept 1995]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  18. All this gloomy masochism is made palatable because of the performers. And yet we must ask: Is this any way to show off two of our finest actors?
  19. I doubt The Gunman will do much to advance Penn’s foray into action-hero bankability, and that’s probably a good thing. He’s too fine an actor to be mired in nonstop shootouts while flashing his pecs and looking scowly.
  20. The cast is terrific, the movie isn't... It all plays like the pilot for a series that wasn't picked up.
  21. The movie has plenty of high-tech power, spinning out action so explosive you'll hardly notice how preposterous the story is or how cardboard-thin the characters are.
  22. Newman's magnetic face isn't enough to raise this intermittently amusing thriller above the ordinary caper-comedy crowd.
  23. My worst fears were confirmed almost from the start. In order to inject some pep into the proceedings, Law has been encouraged to play Wolfe as a motormouthed rhapsodist who seems less inspired than unhinged. He’s exhaustingly exuberant.
  24. Plunges energetically into the 16th-century religious rebel's activities and philosophies. It dodges some significant issues in Luther's life, however, reducing its value as an educational film.
  25. Less an American product than an international escapade, it's the kind of pigeonhole-resisting romp that Hollywood too rarely provides.
  26. The idea of a Woody Allen movie about fame is enticing, but a meandering screenplay and uninspired acting make this one of his thinnest, tinniest films.
  27. Paris Hilton also turns up, still trying to be famous for more than being famous. She has a ways to go.
  28. There's good bad taste and then there's just plain bad bad, which is what describes most of Brüno.
  29. Great cast, great atmosphere, little sense or first-rate suspense.
  30. I enjoyed this movie more than the last two films from the Wachowskis, the interminable "Cloud Atlas" and "Speed Racer." On the other hand, "The Matrix" it's not.
  31. Tasty while you take it in, but larded down with empty cinematic calories.
  32. Too many clichés and too much uneven acting dilute its impact.
  33. The flamboyantly filmed story makes some telling points about adolescent life. But despite its oh-so-cynical mannerisms, it falls all over itself to flatter an allegedly self-absorbed and self-pitying teen audience. [7 April 1989]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  34. The meandering story and channel-surfing style prevent it from gathering the emotional momentum it would need to get below the hero's skin and let us know what really makes him tick.
  35. The multicultural cast gives a shred of substance to what's otherwise a standard adolescent gross-out flick.
  36. Energetic acting helps compensate for a contrived script and directing that's sometimes as heavy as its cheerfully rotund characters.
  37. The story is an odd mixture of preachiness and paranoia, but the stars provide sizzling performances and the action moves at a lively clip.
  38. Harrowing and imaginatively made.
  39. The action is dynamically filmed and Willis is at his best. Suspense is soon hijacked by outright gore and grisliness, though.
  40. The film is a so-so slog through a torrent of tired jokes.
  41. The story's emphasis is on action, but there are some sensitive moments and interesting ideas along the way.
  42. Director Claire Kilner and screenwriter Neena Beber don't walk the tightrope between comedy and drama skillfully enough to make either aspect work as well as it should.
  43. Forgettable fun.
  44. Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid, and Bill Murray give riotous performances, but be warned that the comedy is overloaded with gross-out humor from beginning to end.
  45. The movie has almost enough corny appeal to offset its lack of originality, though, and Walken is fun as Cagliostro, the court's great prognosticator and all-around weirdo.
  46. The comedy is appealing as Hollywood's umpteenth variation on the Cinderella story, but think about its patrician views of upper-class privilege and you might find it too simplistic for comfort.
  47. Too bad the acting is uneven. And the ineptly done English subtitles will have you laughing in all the wrong places.
  48. Salomon directed the silly but diverting action yarn, which benefits from the talents of Freeman, Quaid, Driver, and White.
  49. I must report that Reservoir Dogs has little of intelligence to say - except for a few implicit comments on the nature of loyalty and betrayal - and that it's violent to the ponit of sadism. [5 Oct 1992]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  50. More sugary than satisfying.
  51. The story has possibilities, but you'll spot the big plot twists long before they happen, and the acting by Judd and Cavaziel is strictly by the numbers.
  52. There are some novelties, like views of people surfing down sand dunes, but there's also far too much self-congratulation by surfers. Don't step into this not-so-new wave unless you're a die-hard surfing buff.
  53. Informative, but very slow going.
  54. The action is fast, furious, and occasionally quite funny.
  55. There are a few good laughs, but not nearly enough clever ideas to keep things hopping for two hours.
  56. I don't mean to imply that this film is any good or that it contains an ounce of genuine insight. But as a template for the big-baby genre, it's invaluable.
  57. The more the picture reveals, the less interesting it gets, transforming its hero from an intriguing mystery man into a standard-issue screen vigilante -- and steadily upping the violence, complete with harrowing torture scenes, in a lame effort to keep our juices flowing.
  58. Potter's trademark devices are all present, including the way characters burst into songs lip-synced to vintage recordings on the sound track.
  59. Based flimsily on a minor F. Scott Fitzgerald story, it's an anecdote stretched to would-be epic proportions.
  60. There's a little humor, a little suspense, and not a hint of reality. You'll tune out quickly, unless you're 11.
  61. The story's can-do attitude and moments of soaring music make it a must-see for moviegoers seeking positive visions on the screen.
  62. Kevin Kline has some amusing moments, but Meg Ryan's acting runs out of energy, and Lawrence Kasdan's directing is too laid-back to help her out. [7 Jul 1995, p.13]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  63. Less a heart-stirring historical study than a nostalgic fantasy, built on a foundation no firmer than Cruise's superstar persona.
  64. Takes a humane look at an episode in recent history that's received little attention.
  65. I know we’re supposed to think that Besson’s daffy cinematic calisthenics are entertaining because at least they are not boring. But I was bored. It didn’t help that Morgan Freeman shows up as a brainy scientist explaining everything to us in his deepest intonations. When was the last time Freeman, a great actor, really acted?
  66. The message is plain: Men, especially rich men, have all the power. So be sure to do what they tell you, and maybe they'll treat you nicely… It's not one I like to hear. [27 Apr 1990, Arts, p.10]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  67. This exceedingly romantic comedy begins with flair but lapses into clichés long before the sentimental (and predictable) finale.
  68. There's something relentlessly superficial about the movie, and in one area that cries out for sensitivity - the treatment of racial differences among the characters - it falls down badly. [22 Aug 1990, Arts, p.11]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  69. The only real acting in this movie comes from Janet McTeer and Charles Dance as Will’s aggrieved parents. They bring some ballast to this blubberfest.
  70. The dramatic situations aren't intense or knotty enough to match the moral issues behind them, however.
  71. The last scenes etch one of the most revealing depictions of capital punishment ever put on the wide screen.
  72. Ultimately more exasperating than rewarding.
  73. There is nothing magical about seeing one’s umpteenth car chase. Mark Ruffalo plays the weirdly scruffy FBI agent on the case, while Morgan Freeman, in super-slow mode, plays a famous magic debunker. He’d make the ideal critic for this movie.
  74. The meandering story doesn't gather much momentum and Vittorio Storaro's camera work is less awesome than usual.
  75. Nicholson's over-the-top acting gives an entertaining edge to the plot's feel-good manipulations.
  76. Diane Keaton directed this ragged but lively comedy-drama from Richard LaGravenese's imaginative screenplay.
  77. The pace is a little too languid, and the vulgarity a little too frequent, for the movie to work as intended.
  78. For most of its two-hour running time it simply flings a barrage of horrors at the audience, enhanced with the most imaginative science-fiction atmospherics this side of "Dark City," which incidentally was a far more original picture.
  79. The film is almost three hours long and precious little of it feels new – not from Scorsese or from anybody else.
  80. Wants to appear bold and liberated, but it seems awfully solemn about the subculture it explores.
  81. The film would work better if its story unfolded more swiftly and if its twists were more unexpected. The acting is solid, though.
  82. Any resemblance (except qualitatively) to "An Officer and A Gentleman" is strictly unaccidental.
  83. Along with the lapses of taste that have become standard in pictures aimed at teen audiences, filmmaker John Hughes offers moments of wit and warmth.
  84. The writer-director Andrew Niccol is best known for writing "The Truman Show," another movie that got carried away by doomsday deep-think. The deep-think here is even sillier.
  85. The package would be more enticing if it didn't fall so squarely into overused Hollywood formulas.
  86. A creaky and slow-going morality play.
  87. The action, directed by Shane Black, ranges from passable to interminable. The plot goes from clang to bang. Downey Jr. is still the best thing about this series.
  88. This comedy is as down-and-dirty as you'd expect from the Farrelly team...but more than one sequence manages to be hilarious on its own outrageously crass terms.
  89. Polson's well-filmed thriller swims down the usual lanes for this sort of story, and everyone looks way too old for senior year; but many of the suspense scenes work fine, and Bradford is terrific as the endangered hero.
  90. Mostly just another exercise in snappy editing and over-the-top mayhem that will leave most grown-up movie- goers cold.
  91. Moderately amusing sequel, which is best when it relies on dead-pan acting by the stars, worst when it drags in summer-movie stupidities like an incessantly talking dog.
  92. In all, the film is a striking, if flawed, achievement by a talented actor who may become an important director if he sticks to the genre that suits him best.
  93. The story is as simple as the average football cheer, but the dialogue has amusing echoes of "Clueless," and Dunst and Bradford make a mighty cute couple.
  94. It's always hard to predict what Winterbottom will try next, but this experiment isn't worth repeating, the lively concert scenes notwithstanding. Be forewarned that the sexual scenes aren't simulated.
  95. Young viewers may guffaw, but seasoned fans of "There's Something About Mary" will be disappointed.
  96. W.
    Stone may think he's made a movie about the toxicity of the Bush presidency, but what we have instead is a cautionary tale of a decidedly lower order. As far as I can make out, the real message of W. is: Don't vote for anybody who talks with his mouth full of food.
  97. Something happens to Robin Williams in serious roles. He becomes so drab that it's almost as if he's trying to efface himself from the screen.
  98. Director Gavin O’Connor and screenwriter Bill Dubuque have made a textbook example of the "what were they thinking?" movie genre. Judging from the befogged look on some of the actors’ faces, they must have been wondering the same thing.
  99. Is it possible to truly start life all over again? Arthur Newman might have been better if it had not started at all.
  100. The honey runs thick in The Secret Life of Bees, and so does the treacle. The cloying dullness sets in early, although not from the first frame.

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