Christian Science Monitor's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,883 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 3.7 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 67
Highest review score: 100 Blind Spot. Hitler's Secretary
Lowest review score: 0 Gulliver's Travels
Score distribution:
3883 movie reviews
  1. Some will find the movie's sexual antics too explicit and unconventional for comfort.
  2. A thriller so tricky that figuring it out is half the fun.
  3. Most of the acting is as real and warm as the characters themselves. And the streets, shops, and living rooms of Brooklyn have never seemed more inviting. [29 Jan 1988]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  4. As the uptight banker, Robbins does some of his subtlest acting to date. As his hardened but resilient friend, Freeman is simply miraculous, giving the role so much depth, dignity, and good humor that you feel that you've known this man forever. [27 Sept 1994]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  5. Leaves out portions of John Irving's novel that would have given it more balance and perspective, but the acting by Maguire and Caine is first-rate by any standard.
  6. Bird isn't an easy film, and it doesn't always make an effort to be likable. But it's a dazzler - at least as good as "Round Midnight,'' and that's saying a lot.
  7. To say it right out, The Bostonians is the best movie I've seen all year.
  8. The film should captivate anyone with a taste for bold cinematics, unpredictable storytelling, and pitch-black humor aimed at the worthiest of targets: a self-involved and self-congratulatory, industry that often gives lip service to art while worshipping the bottom line. [10 Apr 1992]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  9. Many belly laughs.
  10. A powerful ending lends a strong emotional charge to this prettily filmed drama, but too much of the story is taken up with romantic clichés about the everyday challenges of childhood.
  11. The plot is lively and the dialogue packs many good laughs.
  12. True, traces of his bad habits show through at certain moments, especially near the end, when a long and lachrymose scene plunges into Spielgerian sentimentality of the gooiest kind. But before that unfortunate point, Schinder's List serves up three full hours of brilliant storytelling. That's as humane and compassionate as it is gripping and provocative. [15 Dec 1993]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  13. The movie is artful to a fault, with too many characters sitting in perfectly arranged, immaculately lighted rooms and talking a lot. It contains near-classic sequences, though, and splendid performances. [28 Sept 1990]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  14. The picture has fine ensemble acting and superb Italian scenery. It would have more power if it were shorter and tighter.
  15. JFK
    Controversy and all, JFK is one of the year's most powerful and provocative films.
  16. Splendid acting helps Jordan achieve most of his goals, although some may find the romantic and religious elements an uneasy mixture.
  17. Rhys-Meyers and Johansson work well together - they both know how to project glossiness and guile.
  18. A winning movie about losing. I didn’t always warm to its coy quirkiness, but it’s the rare American movie about contemporary teenagers that rings more true than false.
  19. Vanessa Redgrave, as the adult Briony, appears at the very end in a monologue that rounds out the film with heartbreaking force.
  20. What also comes through is a quietly scathing portrait of a society in which every move, overtly or covertly, is monitored.
  21. As inspirational academic stories go, it doesn't get much better than this.
  22. Although stylistically and conceptually it never lifts itself entirely out of the realm of a made-for-television drama – don't expect "My Left Foot" – The Sessions is bracing. It's also one of the few movies to recognize that people with severe physical disabilities have sexual lives, too.
  23. Without Cooper's performance, Breach would have been a good, workmanlike thriller. His presence lifts it to a whole new level.
  24. The ad campaign for the sci-fi thriller District 9, with mysterious billboards touting aliens among us, is highly creative and amusing. So, in patches, is the movie, which is a thinking man's, or man-boy's, "Transformers."
  25. It may be subtitled, and the faces may be unfamiliar, but District B13 is the best buddy action movie around.
  26. Timeliness is certainly on the side of Mira Nair’s uneven but fascinating The Reluctant Fundamentalist.
  27. Plowright's performance as a genteel widow in Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont is a small-scale gem, deeply felt without being in the least bit showy.
  28. The film stands quite well on its own. The directors have made the right, essential decision to make the movie almost entirely from Maisie’s point of view.
  29. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is an ersatz experience, a commingling of forced uplift and exotica, but it's moving anyway.
  30. The film has a transcendent spookiness.
  31. It’s to Hall’s credit that, in the end, we see Chubbuck as a victim of no one so much as herself.
  32. Wilson is pretty much the whole show. With nobody else around to steal from, he ends up stealing scenes from himself.
  33. The film pays off in the end when, almost imperceptibly, the rush of emotions it stirs in us rises to a soft crescendo.
  34. This is a movie about people trying to make sense out of the senselessness of what happened.
  35. I wish the directors had emphasized more of the players' personal lives apart from the football field. But, in the end, this is a documentary about Courtney and the transformative powers of caring. He works wonders on his players and they reciprocate.
  36. There's an original comic temperament at work here, and that's rare.
  37. Goldfinger happened upon a story far larger than he must have anticipated. The Flat is about the persistence of denial, and of hope.
  38. The film suffers at times from biopic-itis – the narrative unfolds with the requisite heartbreak carefully apportioned – but it's always eye-catching.
  39. The Loneliest Planet is not a perfect work of art, but it gets at something powerful: the way that life can turn us around in a flash, without warning.
  40. I wish that the Mexican drug cartel subplot was not so overwrought and Oliver Stone-ish, and the decision to shoot much of the film "Cops"-style is also problematic. But the film puts you right inside an everyday inferno and, to its credit, doesn't turn down the heat.
  41. I am not a fan of food you need a microscope to see, but if your idea of fine dining is pumpkin meringue sandwiches, bone marrow tartare with oysters, tea shrimp with caviar anemones, and ice vinaigrette with tangerines and green olive, then by all means make haste to El Bulli.
  42. The ending is a set-up for yet another sequel: Can "28 Months Later" be very far away?
  43. I wish this movie wasn't so purposefully elegiac and attenuated – at times it's like a middling Terrence Malick fantasia – but it's well worth sitting through.
  44. The film's parallels between Mohmed's travails and the Iraq war are forced, but overall this is a fascinating odyssey that never plays out in ways you would expect.
  45. Along with its disappointments and its narrowness of intellectual focus, Doubt offers up the crackling pleasures of performance and a narrative that snaps shut like a mousetrap. It's the movie equivalent of a rousing night at the theater.
  46. Shulman was around so long that he even got to weigh in on Frank Gehry's Disney Hall. He was skeptical once but came to love it.
  47. In some ways the movie might have been better if it had been about those two Hollywood guys with only occasional blips from the hostage crisis in Iran.
  48. Levy-Hinte has said that a great deal more concert footage exists. I can't wait for the expanded version DVD.
  49. Despite his street cred, Muniz comes across as way too effete for these laborerers, many of whom have harrowing life stories to tell. But his intention to have them re-create photographic images of themselves out of garbage, while it may not pass muster as high art, has the effect of raising their spirits.
  50. If I never felt entirely transported by Avatar, it's probably because the story thudded just as often as the imagery soared. But Pandora is still a good place to park yourself for three hours.
  51. Philip Noyce's anti-apartheid drama is tense and thoughtful, if somewhat marred by Hollywood-style thrills.
  52. If there is a single image that we take away from Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman," it is of Willy Loman weighted down to his very soul by his suitcases. The image that holds in this modern-day salesman's serenade is Nick the salesman reduced to selling off his own life.
  53. It's as if we were watching one of those buddy-buddy bromances told, this time, from the perspective of the woman who is normally on the sidelines of the men's attentions and affections. It's a welcome angle.
  54. The director is fortunate to have cast actors who fully embody their roles. Muehe, who once played Josef Mengele in Costa-Gavras's "Amen," has the ability to let you see far beneath his masklike countenance. Koch, dashing and intense, is entirely believable as a man of the theater; Gedeck exudes a sensuousness that this covert society cannot abide.
  55. Part 1 of the final installment, 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,' is another scrupulous adaptation of J.K Rowling's books.
  56. This intermittently terrific cerebral thriller does, indeed, hinge on the proper use of dictionary definitions, but the film is really about the oppressive blahness of small-town, postcommunist Romania. In such surroundings, parsing definitions can almost stand for high drama.
  57. Although the film, for the most part, is told from the perspective of the IRA, it does not blithely take its side.
  58. Lola is, in other words, a believable heroine for our times.
  59. This computer-animated feature is consistently inventive, if a bit busy and overlong.
  60. Bong's style is comically tart even in the film's most noirish moments.
  61. I do hope there will be many more future installments. I’d like to spend more time with these folks.
  62. Thankfully, the usual Disney cutesy factor is relatively low, and the script by Justin Marks is more literate than usual for this sort of thing. There are even some end credits that, for a change, are actually funny.
  63. The big news here is not simply that Nim was traumatized, it's that Nim was signing that he was traumatized.
  64. This film would be better if it wasn't so slick. Still, parts of it are enjoyably shaggy, and Hopkins is very endearing.
  65. A slight but winning documentary.
  66. What actors! The great Miriam Margolyes has a wonderful cameo as a scullery maid, and Colin Firth manfully endures a face full of frosting. And then there's Angela Lansbury, playing her first movie role in 20 years as the villainous Aunt Adelaide.
  67. Dews perhaps makes too much of the notion that Allis was a woman out of her time – a feminist precursor. This is too sociological a formulation for such a patently psychological crisis.
  68. For most of the movie, Dheepan, for all its flaws, is hard-hitting in ways that count. It has the intimacy of a personal drama but the amplitude of a much larger immigrant odyssey.
  69. Destined to become this year's love-it-or-hate-it movie. Is it OK to say I merely liked it a lot?
  70. The animation is consistently sporty and there are some choice comic riffs on martial arts movies.
  71. The sources of this happiness become far more complex when Adrien’s revelation is imparted (only to Anna). At this point the movie’s moral compass spins.
  72. It’s always gratifying to see a movie in which an ostensibly closed-off community is depicted humanely rather than voyeuristically.
  73. Devotees of the "Whole Earth Catalogue" may regard this film as a nostalgia trip, but it's much more comprehensive, more forward-looking than that.
  74. The problem is, the geek in question, at least as Jesse Eisenberg plays him, doesn't have the emotional expansiveness to fill out a movie. Perhaps sensing this, the filmmakers play out the story line from multiple points of view and crowd the stage with a pageant of voluble supporting characters.
  75. In all, it's a fun exercise in nostalgia but a three-hour homage to grade Z movies is a long sit. Grunge overload sets in early.
  76. In "Birders," by contrast, nature is one big entrancing show; a world of tweets without "tweets."
  77. You may not feel like dancing after watching Pina – unless you have a thing for earth in your shoes – but you'll certainly know you've seen something.
  78. Huppert never loses sight of the fact that Nathalie’s wounded heart often overrules her steel-trap mind.
  79. His movie is visually as beautiful as anything he’s ever done. Conceptually, it’s muddled. The collision between poetic fancifulness and grim reality, between peace and war, never falls into focus. Miyazaki has seized on a great theme only to soft-pedal it.
  80. Many of the interviews in the film – conducted with everyone from family members to Christopher Hitchens and Tom Hayden – look to be 10, even 20, years old. Together they concoct a complex portrait of an ultimately unknowable man.
  81. Directed by James Ponsoldt from a script by Donald Margulies, the film gets at the wariness and competitiveness inside the journalist-interviewee dynamic and, in Segel’s performance, captures the quandary of an immensely gifted and immensely troubled writer who disdained the celebrity he also, without fully fessing up to it, sought.
  82. Rothemund's use of the recorded testimony, while it gives his film a startling veracity, also limits his imagination. It prevents him from delving too deeply into the psychology of these activists.
  83. Brad Pitt gives one of his best performances as Sgt. Don “Wardaddy” Collier, a tank commander with a passion for killing Nazis.
  84. This film is apolitical in the best sense - it bears witness to a time and a place.
  85. For most of its two hours it’s brainy, high-speed entertainment, but the filmmakers are not quite as smart as they think they are. For all its flash and hypertalk, Steve Jobs is an old-school movie in new-style camouflage.
  86. The dialogue is sharp and so are the performances. Andrew Dominik directed this neo-noir in a low-key comic style that's alternately gritty and fancy. The gritty stuff is best.
  87. The cast is something of an indie movie hall of fame that includes Giovanni Ribisi, Mary Steenburgen, Brittany Murphy, and Toni Collette. Marcia Gay Harden is particularly fine as the murdered girl's mother.
  88. It radiates intelligence. Of how many historical epics can that be said these days?
  89. It has a sweetness all its own.
  90. The openness of these people is often astonishing – and a sign of hope.
  91. As this film demonstrates in so many ways, the intractability of the Arab-Israeli political situation is, to put it mildly, not easily resolved, least of all onscreen.
  92. This rousing documentary directed by Kevin Tancharoen and shot during two live concerts in New Jersey, is a nonstop campy celebration of youthful pizazz.
  93. Based on the 1938 novel by Winifred Watson, it's a deluxe romance that most of the time plays like farce.
  94. Make no mistake: The Michelsons have a lot more going for them than their marital longevity. As the documentary makes clear, both Harold and Lillian made integral contributions to some of the most iconic movies in Hollywood history.
  95. Solid and uplifting, but it doesn’t extend Spielberg’s range. Perhaps one day he will make a movie about a historical character whose complexities are not quite so untainted.
  96. Whitaker is terrifying in a way that we recognize not from old movies but from life.
  97. This is a real-life fairy tale with a remarkably happy ending.
  98. Not only Duvall shines. Murray, in case anybody still doubted it, is one of the finest character actors in America.
  99. A solid achievement, but those in the press who have been trumpeting its greatness may be going in for a bit of self-congratulation. The movie plays very well to the choir.
  100. The title captures the man. He makes no apologies.

Top Trailers