Christian Science Monitor's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,959 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 3.3 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 67
Highest review score: 100 The Weather Underground
Lowest review score: 0 Vegas Vacation
Score distribution:
3959 movie reviews
  1. It’s a good bet that the director had “High Noon” in mind when he made this film, but the comparison ends there. As a compact study of wartime guilt, the film has the look and feel of a waking nightmare.
  2. Janney knows how to nail a line like few others in the business. It helps that, in this film, she has most of the best ones.
  3. Movies don’t become great by association, and Wonder Wheel is a far cry from “Streetcar.” There are ample flaws in this film, but they certainly don’t rise to the level of tragic.
  4. The best parts of The Shape of Water, a fantasy fairy tale set in 1962 in a top-secret aerospace research center, are marvelously rhapsodic in ways that recall films like Jean Cocteau’s “Beauty and the Beast” without ever seeming slavish.
  5. The sensuous atmosphere often preempts the drama. Neither Elio nor (especially) Oliver are quite rich enough as characters to outshine their surroundings, and, although it’s rare to see a movie of this sort that is so markedly nonjudgmental, the lack of sharp conflict doesn’t make for a terribly invigorating experience.
  6. It lacks the delirious inventiveness and irreverence of the best Pixar movies (which for me would be the “Toy Story” trilogy, “The Incredibles,” and the first 10 minutes of “Up”), but there’s always something spacious to look at, and the songs, mostly by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, aren’t bad either.
  7. This is pretty standard-issue Great Man of History psychobabble, and it’s insufficient, though somewhat satisfyingly so. The clichés go down easy.
  8. The movie is admirable in its ambitions; in its execution, less so. The difficulty in making an “intimate” epic is that the characters have to fill out the frame in ways that are both highly individualized and symbolic. They have to be both lifelike and larger-than-life. In Mudbound, this combination works only fitfully.
  9. McDormand is a bit too spartan and sealed off in the role. Her steeliness doesn’t have enough emotional levels.
  10. The bromance often seems generic, too. Fishburne gives a highly nuanced performance, one of his best, as he allows us to see in this man of God flashes of the rogue he once was. But the movie ultimately must be defined by Doc, and we never really get inside his head.
  11. Frisky and oddball in ways that are sometimes annoying and more often ingratiating.
  12. It’s the sort of poetic conceit that needs a filmmaker far more rapt and intuitive than Haynes, whose jeweler’s precision keeps everything at an emotional remove.
  13. Suburbicon, directed by George Clooney, grafts two distinctly different types of genres: the socially conscious race relations movie and grisly film noir. It’s an uneasy combo made even more so by the fact that the film noir stuff has all the juices.
  14. The film does drag on, though, without a great deal of visual distinction, and as the familial complications pile up, the movie seems less like a full-scale dramatic rendering and more like a smartypants comic contraption.
  15. Brett Morgen’s documentary Jane brings Goodall’s ineffable and incredible story to vivid life, starting with the aforementioned anecdotes as, now in her 80s and still seraphically beautiful, she recalls with an almost ethereal calm the extraordinariness of her days.
  16. Ultimately “Ex Libris” demonstrates that libraries are about people, and what gives the film its great and accumulating force is that people are infinitely complex.
  17. An astonishingly fine movie about the vagaries and frolics of childhood as seen largely through the eyes of its pint-sized protagonists.
  18. There are flashes of visual grandeur in Blade Runner 2049, which was shot by the always-inventive Roger Deakins, but there’s not much reason for this film to exist outside of its fan base.
  19. Camping it up, Jackson is hilarious.
  20. The movie is a straightforward nuts-and-bolts affair of no particular consequence, except for Neeson’s performance, which rightly does not resolve the question: Was Felt acting nobly or vengefully?
  21. The fact that this movie, with its 65,000 painted frames, was even attempted, is daunting. It’s the kind of folly that demands a measure of respect, for the effort, if not altogether for the result.
  22. Cruise gives his energetic all to the role, but he, too, doesn’t seem to be quite aware that Seal was morally compromised far beyond the shallow confines of this film.
  23. Too much of this movie is a conventionally rendered gloss that, in its own way, also attempts to cast Bauman as an inspirational icon. He is, but we can see in Gyllenhaal’s looks of grief and panic the makings of the more complex movie this might have been.
  24. Best not when it is preaching to us but, rather, in those moments when both King and Riggs drop their public faces and reveal the roiling underneath.
  25. Her social activism often left her children, some of whom are interviewed, in the lurch. It’s a contradiction the film could have more sharply explored.
  26. Trophy is a documentary that can make the stomach turn and the head spin. It’s about the big-stakes world of hunting and conservationism, and what’s surprising is how morally intertwined the two activities are.
  27. Both as a writer and as a man, Salinger was nothing if not unconventional. Rebel in the Rye is so tasteful that it practically slides off the screen.
  28. The movie often seems on the verge of being interesting but repeatedly retreats into a formless vapidity.
  29. Barely engaging spy thriller.
  30. Marjorie Prime, which has a soulful score by Mica Levi, is essentially a chamber drama, and yet it rarely feels stifled or stagey.

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