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 3.5 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 67
Highest review score: 100 Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire
Lowest review score: 0 Final Destination 3
Score distribution:
3883 movie reviews
  1. By showing scenes of torture without taking any kind of moral (as opposed to tactical) stand on what we are seeing, Bigelow has made an amoral movie – which is, I would argue, an unconscionable approach to this material.
  2. Add a lot of dull acting -- except Sir Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis -- and you have an uneven movie with yawns aplenty.
  3. Too much repetition and an unconvincing finale take a toll on the film's overall effectiveness.
  4. I don’t get the enthusiasm for this movie, written and directed by Damien Chazelle, which is such a cooked-up piece of claptrap that I half expected Darth Vader to pick up the baton. We’re supposed to think that Terence’s tough love is more “honest” than the usual pussyfooting tutelage, but in any sane society this guy would have been brought up on charges long ago.
  5. A movie with ambitions as high-flying as its superhero but a success rate decidedly lower to the ground.
  6. This romantic farce has a talented cast and energy to spare, but somehow the ingredients don't burn as brightly as one would expect from such promising ingredients.
  7. It’s not that this material is, or should be, off limits in a movie. But The Diary of a Teenage Girl isn’t exactly “Lolita.” Heller must think that taking a moral stance is tantamount to selling out. Commercially, she may be right. In every other respect, she’s wrong.
  8. The first half is full of verbal and visual surprises, but the later scenes are talky and dull, as if filmmaker Steven Soderbergh had lost interest in his subject and his characters. Which would be understandable, since the story often seems more calculated than heartfelt. [4 Aug 1989, Arts, p.10]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  9. Is this misogyny, as some insist, or a critique of misogyny, as others say? Many moviegoers, grossed out by the film's gothic approach to medical matters, won't watch long enough to find out which is the answer. [30 Sept 1988]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  10. The melancholy in this film is just as trumped up as the frenzy.
  11. The endangered swampland dwellers are supposed to be an indigenous pastoral community threatened by eco-unfriendly oil refineries. I kept rooting for Hushpuppy and Co. to leave behind their squalor and relocate. This is not the politically correct response.
  12. 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.
  13. Much of the action seems more like warmed-over Quentin Tarantino than first-rate Steven Soderbergh.
  14. I'd be more inclined to call this French dysfunctional family epic gabby and preeningly self-indulgent – in a word, annoying.
  15. Ballast lacks ballast. Much praised by aficionados of minimalist indie cinema – hey, who needs a plot when you've got mood? – it's a wearying slog through anomie in a Mississippi Delta township.
  16. The overall effect is about the same -- slow start, then escalating suspense and violence. Today's shock-movie fans will enjoy shrieking at it, and others should skip it. In space, no one can hear you ask for your money back.
  17. Their 40-year marriage seems like more of a trial than this overweening, lightly likable movie acknowledges.
  18. Broderick and Witherspoon give perfectly matched performances at the head of a first-rate cast.
  19. This is the ultimate Woo movie, but while his fans will enjoy every minute, others will find it too long, repetitive, and violent.
  20. Lanthimos doesn’t have the directorial energy to stir this thick allegorical stew. Lacking any of the conventional action-thriller movie skills, his deadpan style may be the only one available to him.
  21. This hugely popular horror yarn is less a cleverly spun story than a disjointed collection of shockeroos, surrounding a few ghoulishly effective moments with overcooked plot twists and in-your-face vulgarity.
  22. As gorgeous as it is to watch, Winged Migration suffers from a lack of organization.
  23. It’s an M. Night Shyamalan movie with a PhD. Or maybe an MA.
  24. Russell's stylish and imaginative filmmaking wages its own war against lunkheaded and sometimes offensive material.
  25. The trouble with Chicago is the sense it conveys that nothing is really at stake -- there's no moral or ethical question that can't be turned into toe-tapping fun.
  26. The first half is a well-acted psychological drama, but the second half is standard thriller fare with more action than insight.
  27. Unless there’s something truly momentous going on, I prefer my sci-fi to be a lot more weightless than weighty.
  28. The film's time structure is splintered into shards of past and present, which is probably just as well – a strictly narrative chronology would make this wallow seem even sloggier.
  29. For an ostensibly soul-deep movie like this to work, we need more than smirks and scowls.
  30. This meta-biopic is more about Jackie Kennedy as perceived in the popular imagination than it is about the woman herself. And what Larraín has to offer on this score is not terribly enlightening.
  31. The movie would be better as a 30-minute short, though, since its shaky camera work and fuzzy images get monotonous after a while, and there's not much room for character development within the very limited plot.
  32. Although it has a good heart and a warm spirit, this prettily filmed drama is more sentimental and manipulative than earlier Iranian films on youth-related subjects.
  33. There are a few hilarious moments, and a few more that are foolish and even disgusting. [15 July 1988, Art and Leisure, p.21]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  34. Kenneth Branagh overplays his portrayal of Neville, but most of the other characters are skillfully acted by a solid cast, including the great Aborigine actor David Gulpilil as the tracker. In all, this is a watchable movie that's not quite the memorable experience it might have been.
  35. Hansen-Løve wants us to experience all this as a kind of amour fou, but all I kept thinking was that Sullivan was a prize jerk and Camille would be well rid of him.
  36. As a zoological spectacle the movie is riveting. But the narration tries to make us think of these adorable animals as if they saw the world in human terms.
  37. In its cinematic approach, though, the film is as slick as any Hollywood thriller, directed by Fernando Meirelles with visual flourishes - jazzy editing, lurid colors, crackling sound effects - that dilute the impact of what might have been an indelible cautionary tale.
  38. The subject is crucially important, but the movie dilutes its impact with by-the-numbers filmmaking, and Cheadle's one-note performance displays few of his acting gifts.
  39. 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.
  40. A few of the supporting players, including Kim Dickens, as a suspicious local cop, and Carrie Coon, as Nick’s twin sister, move beyond the formulaic, which is more than can be said for the movie.
  41. McCarthy is so careful not to take a political stand that his film seems neutered by good intentions. In the spirit of squishy humanism, he soft-pedals a hard-hitting topic.
  42. I suppose it's asking too much for a great actor to be matched up with a great director on a project like this. On the other hand, there's always the sequel.
  43. There's not enough substance to support the sentiment of this longish comedy-drama.
  44. A love-it-or-hate-it movie. Put me in the (sort of) hate-it column. My slight qualification here is because Darren Aronofsky's movie starring Natalie Portman as an increasingly unhinged ballerina gets points for being unlike anything else that's out there.
  45. The same story was told vastly better in the 1949 melodrama "The Reckless Moment."
  46. Only Rebecca Hall comes through with a genuineness that rises above Holofcener’s doodlings. Her scenes with Guilbert resonate because, in the end, Rebecca is the only character in the movie who seems to care about anything other than his or her own – take your pick – bank account, complexion, weight, guilt. In this company, she’s practically a saint.
  47. 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
  48. Loses its way in a crime-movie subplot and a less-than-believable love affair.
  49. There are lots of lively tunes in an excellent cause, but in the end you wish you'd either probed more deeply into historical events or heard more uninterrupted minutes of inspired performing.
  50. Were it not for Anne Hathaway's Catwoman-ish Selina Kyle, there wouldn't be a single character in "Rises" who cracks a smile. I'm not arguing that "Rises" should be "Singin' in the Rain." But its Wagnerian ambitions are not matched by its material. It hasn't earned its darkness.
  51. The story soon lapses into familiar private-eye formulas, though, and the characters aren't interesting enough to hold much attention on their own.
  52. Slaboshpytskiy doesn’t attempt to get inside the psychology of these people, or expand the meanings, political or otherwise, of their descent. There’s a stolidity to the filmmaking, with lots of overlong takes, that is meant to be ruminative but often just seems negligent.
  53. In the end, however, the story is too contrived and melodramatic to reach its full potential.
  54. Good performances by a distinguished cast don't quite overcome the weaknesses of the disappointing screenplay.
  55. The Emily of this movie seems to survive primarily to take everyone in her orbit to task. Davies is holding her up as the indomitable spirit of genius – a woman who suffers fools not at all.
  56. The atmosphere is more compelling than the plot, but the story does pack a surprise or two.
  57. Howard spins the story with enough gusto and gumption to make it reasonably entertaining.
  58. Pop-music biopics have a great history, but 8 Mile is for Eminem fans only. They're sure to make it a huge, huge hit.
  59. There's lots of atmosphere and information to be gained, but stay away unless you can tolerate graphic plunges into the wildest kinds of youthful excess.
  60. There's precious little to think about despite the screenplay's comic-philosophical musings on fate and coincidence.
  61. Jarecki's thesis is that law enforcement targets minority communities, but his analysis is far too simplistic. Since when did pushers become victims?
  62. The movie makes up in sincerity and goodwill what it lacks in originality and style.
  63. The story has too many trite moments, but strong acting and a goodhearted attitude keep it afloat.
  64. The latest cinematic adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's novel, is like "Masterpiece Theater" without the masterpiece.
  65. The performances are persuasive but the plot rattles on much too long.
  66. Wordy, wearying drama.
  67. Sometimes they're truly hilarious; sometimes they're lazy enough to milk laughs from scattershot vulgarity.
  68. Along with some creaky plot mechanics in the last third of the story, this reduces the film to ordinary dimensions - a sharp but no longer resonant show.
  69. By turning the loner Louis into a nutcase – if he blinked at all during the movie, I missed it – the movie becomes a species of horror film.
  70. Director Azazel Jacobs knows what he has in Winger, but her intensity is too much for this goofy grab bag of a movie.
  71. The title means "The Swamp," and you may feel you're in one after 103 minutes with such a generally unlikable gang.
  72. Pedro Almodovar's Spanish drama is his most involving work since the comedy "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown," but its mood of ironic melancholy doesn't hold up enough to make the picture a full success.
  73. By turns jokey, portentous, and pretentious, the movie immediately sizes up each of its protagonists and never budges from that assessment.
  74. The film is almost three hours long and precious little of it feels new – not from Scorsese or from anybody else.
  75. The overall effect is too self-worshipping to be of lasting interest. The guy sure isn't shy!
  76. The overlong Trainwreck would have been better if it had derailed more often.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 42 Critic Score
    The irony of the picture is the fact that Stone's visual imagination is tremendously impressive here. It is one of Hollywood's most stylistically adventurous films ever. What a pity its brilliant ideas are expended on a failed satire with little but rage on its agenda. [26 Aug 1994]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  77. This is a subdued and sometimes subtle exercise in ghostly doings, going against the horror-movie grain by relying on quietude and understatement.
  78. One of the few open-minded Hollywood movies about Christian fundamentalism, but the mind isn't sufficiently exploratory.
  79. Draggy Italian epic that's big on production values but skimpy on inspiration.
  80. Nolan tries to pair the cosmic esoterica with this father-daughter tussle, but the mix doesn't jell. Visionary movies require a bigger vision.
  81. The story is so important and compelling that you wish Jewison had treated it more as an urgent wake-up call than a by-the-numbers morality play.
  82. I suppose the relationship is Oedipal or primal or something or other, but mostly it’s just an excuse for Dolan to stage a series of gaudy shout-fests.
  83. The quartet appears to be mightily lacking in the brains and judgment departments, but at least it tries to do something about its failings, employing a traveling psychotherapist whose interventions and ruminations provide some of the film's most unwittingly amusing moments.
  84. Labors mightily to be as offensive and obnoxious as possible. It's inventive in an idiotic sort of way, though, and pauses occasionally to make serious points about movie violence and censorship.
  85. This time it's just chasing, fistfighting, and shooting. A disappointment from the director of "Bloody Sunday."
  86. It's as elegant as any movie around, though, and boasts strong acting by a distinguished cast.
  87. The story evokes a lot of varied emotions, but none runs more than an inch below skin deep.
  88. Their shenanigans rarely run short of explosive energy.
  89. Tasty while you take it in, but larded down with empty cinematic calories.
  90. The fine cast is also misused -- especially Kidman, who looks as unruffled at the end of her torments as before they began, and Zellweger, who does a job of overacting that might have gotten rejected by "The Beverly Hillbillies."
  91. Use of a loosely written screenplay and a nonprofessional cast in this picture weakens its dramatic appeal even as it lends authenticity and local color.
  92. While the story takes some clever turns, its psychology is far from convincing and its momentum flags long before the finale.
  93. Paints a sincere and serious portrait of the seductiveness of evil and the self-destructive nature of depravity.
  94. Moretti's acting skills aren't up to the demands of the main role, and his portrait of family life is too simplistic to be credible.
  95. 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
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    This is not storytelling by a confident artist. Even Zhang's former mastery of visual form has become shaky, with a pedestrian handling of dramatic scenes and a surfeit of picture-postcard landscape shots.
  96. This delirious film is overflowing with energy and effects, but it lacks the heart and soul that would have made it important as well as impressive.
  97. Amalric throws in flashbacks and flash-forwards between bedroom and courthouse (yes, there’s a murder), and I was reminded again why I prefer my noirs in the hardboiled American style rather than tricked up with all this faux Alain Resnais-style filigree.
  98. Go
    Although some of the acting is strong, the atmosphere is so relentlessly sleazy that many moviegoers will want to go long before the final credits.

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