Christian Science Monitor's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,690 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 4.2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Child's Pose
Lowest review score: 0 Wild Hogs
Score distribution:
3,690 movie reviews
  1. In short, they don't make 'em like this one anymore. Viewing it is like taking a time machine to a movie age that was more naive than our own in some ways, more sophisticated and ambitious in others.
  2. Smart and sumptuous.
  3. It’s the ultimate time-travel movie into the future, a “flowing time sculpture,” in Linklater’s own words.
  4. One of the great Bertolucci's most acclaimed films...Trintignant gives a legendary performance.
  5. Everyone raves about this 1957 film -- and everyone's right.
  6. This is the only film Laughton ever directed, and he packed it with a mixture of eerie chills, ingenious suspense, and absurdist humor. It's a genuine classic.
  7. The legendary Mifune leads a superb cast, and Kurosawa's kinetic camera keeps the adventure sizzling with energy and wit from start to finish.
  8. Despite its length, it is one of the most consistently engrossing and powerful movies ever made.
  9. This masterpiece of poetic realism features one of Gabin's most renowned performances, a smart subtext about French colonialism, and enough exotic atmosphere to keep your head in the clouds long after the final scene.
  10. In tone, Pan's Labyrinth resembles a cross between "Alice in Wonderland" and H.P. Lovecraft, with some Buñuel thrown in for good measure. It is a tribute to - as well as a prime example of - the disturbing power of imagination.
  11. Metropolis has a place in world history as well as in the annals of fantasy. Adolf Hitler was said to have loved it, and Lang eventually fled Germany for Hollywood when the Third Reich wanted him to run its movie industry. Few movies of any era offer so much varied food for thought, cinematically and politically. Its new restoration is a major motion-picture event.
  12. Among the picture's many surprises is a superb robbery scene filmed in a near-total silence that contrasts exhilaratingly with the noisy flamboyance of more recent films in this venerable genre.
  13. The New Wave of Romanian cinema is the most exciting in the world right now. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days is its latest masterpiece.
  14. I wish the truly searing moments in this film were not continually counterbalanced by an overall historical-reenactment stiffness in the presentation.
  15. It's inexplicable that Wong's early masterpiece has been virtually absent from American screens since he completed it in 1991.
  16. As was also true of Pixar's last movie, "Cars," Ratatouille is better at pleasing the eye than the other senses.
  17. Wit, joy, imagination, and sensational mid-'60s music.
  18. I almost wish Cuarón had cast nonactors, or unknown actors, in the lead roles. It’s jarring having movie stars work up their Hollywood histrionics against such a glorious backdrop. None of these arguments should dissuade you from seeing Gravity, if only because what’s good about it is so much better than what’s bad. Visually, if not imaginatively, it sends you soaring.
  19. 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.
  20. A Separation is not the work of a constrained artist. It's a great movie in which the full range of human interaction seems to play itself out before our eyes.
  21. Before Midnight is the fullest and richest and saddest of the three movies in the trilogy. Make it a quartet, I say.
  22. Too intense for the youngest viewers, but teenagers will enjoy it -- an ill-smelling "stink-god" character is almost worthy of a Kevin Smith gross-out movie -- and grown-ups should find it diverting, if not exactly deep.
  23. Doesn't make it a masterpiece, but it's fun.
  24. A lyrical, yet intensely rooted, tragic vision.
  25. It’s a painfully uneven movie, but its best moments are ravishingly good.
  26. Renner gives a full-bore performance of great individuality and industriousness, but essentially his character is as glamorized as any classic Westerner.
  27. The story line for WALL-E is probably too convoluted for small kids, and sometimes it suffers from techie overload, but it's more heartfelt than anything on the screens these days featuring humans.
  28. Like all masterpieces, it speaks to later ages as powerfully and intelligently as to its own.
  29. Not a masterpiece, but definitely one of the year's most entertaining movies.
  30. There’s real verve in the animation and wit in the byplay.
  31. Because of its subject matter, and because of the actors, it's impossible to watch this film without being moved. But a martinet is running the show.
  32. Movies don't come more original, inventive, or outlandishly entertaining.
  33. Barbet Schroeder directed the ingeniously made film, which weaves fact, hypothesis, and conjecture into a harrowing yet continually gripping and often highly amusing narrative. [12 Oct 1990]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  34. The film may be too talky for action-minded viewers and too fantastic for more serious spectators, but it brings appealing twists - including a feminist sensibility - to the venerable martial-arts genre.
  35. It plays out all the usual tropes of the investigative-journalism genre – the hot tips, the clandestine meetings, the hand-wringing about ethics, etc. – without adding a jot of novelty.
  36. 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
  37. A profound film by a legendary director in the greatest period of his career.
  38. Absorbing but disturbing documentary.
  39. In top form, Joel and Ethan Coen offer up feel-bad experiences that, like fine blues medleys, make you feel good (although with an acidulous aftertaste). Inside Llewyn Davis is one of their best. So many movies are emblazoned with happy faces; this one wears its sadness, and its snarl, proudly.
  40. Yang favors a gentle and introspective style that shows how deep and strong everyday emotions can run. A memorable treat.
  41. In a film that overwhelmingly avoids happy-faced pronouncements, this one sticks out.
  42. Wherever you were schooled, in public schools or private, in the slums or in the suburbs, you will recognize yourself in this film and laugh and beam and cower.
  43. The credo of Italy's fabled neorealist movement was that movies rooted in real, unadorned experience carry more dramatic impact than studio concoctions can dream of, and this 1952 masterpiece exemplifies that argument brilliantly.
  44. Still packs an entertaining punch with its blend of old-movie formulas, new-age philosophies, and video-game visuals. A small amount of new material, added for the 20th-anniversary reissue, is fun to look for but doesn't make much difference to the story or its impact. [Special Edition]
  45. Masterly by any measure.
  46. Sprawling yet cramped, There Will Be Blood may not be the best movie of the year, but it's certainly the strangest. It evokes passing comparisons to everything from "Giant" to "Citizen Kane" but it's impossible to pigeonhole.
  47. The timeless fairy tale about a young woman who agrees to dwell with a mysterious monster, as interpreted in 1946 by one of cinema's most brilliant visual stylists and mythmakers.
  48. A plan for a perfect murder goes wildly wrong in this 1958 melodrama by one of France's great filmmakers.
  49. Far from the movie of the year, the first installment of the long-awaited Lord of the Rings trilogy is an all-around disappointment.
  50. Leviathan is, in the widest sense, a horror film.
  51. This is as challenging as movies come, alluding to everything from philosopher Thomas Hobbes to the history of Western music.
  52. Toy Story 3, has more emotional power than either of its predecessors. Come to think of it, it also has more emotional power than most of the live-action movies out there.
  53. Oppenheimer may have thought that by giving these murderers center stage they would expose their bestiality for all to see (except themselves). But what comes across instead is something far more insidious: a showcase for depravity.
  54. This sometimes harrowing, often delightful drama stands with his (Sembène) most compassionate, colorful, and artfully filmed works.
  55. This is a movie of high innocence, set at a time in life when romantic love is still a frolic and the seaside is a balm that quells all ills.
  56. Its refusal to draw solid lines between "good" and "evil" characters is more sophisticated than the psychology of most current commercial pictures. It's well worth a trek to a theater adventurous enough to show it.
  57. Sissako, a Muslim, frames his story as a cry against religious intolerance. One of the characters, speaking of jihadism, says, “Where is piety? Where is God in all this?” It is the central question of this movie – and of much more now than this movie.
  58. Children may enjoy it, aside from the youngest, who might find it too weird for comfort. Its main audience is adults, though. And not just any adults, but those in the mood for venturesome fare that's both surreal and hilarious.
  59. A glistening gem among caper movies, this impeccably elegant jewel-heist drama takes its title from Buddhist lore, its cast from France's great gallery of leading men, and its style from the unique blend of cinematic savoir-faire and brooding existential angst.
  60. Helen Mirren gives the mostly subtly expressive performance based on a living historical figure that I've ever seen.
  61. The Canadian actress and director Sarah Polley set out to make a straightforward documentary about her mother, Diane, who died when she was 11, but by the time Stories We Tell was finished five years later, it had become unclassifiable.
  62. Waltz With Bashir is a supremely courageous act, not only as a piece of filmmaking, but much more so as a moral testament.
  63. The movie is true to its own fierce vision and it's the better for it. I haven't seen a stronger or better American movie all year.
  64. The pessimism pervading this film is summed up by Shalom, who says, speaking of the decades of occupation: "The future is very dark."
  65. Ida
    What comes through so powerfully in this movie is a portrait of an entire generation making its way from death throes to new beginnings.
  66. Parts of the film are flatly directed...It certainly keeps the audience guessing, though, and few movies explode so many stereotypes. [31 Dec 1992]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  67. The story raises hard moral questions relating to the relative value of human lives and the overwhelming debt that may be felt by those who benefit when others sacrifice. But the movie falls short of excellence because it doesn't so much explore these issues as finesse them in an action-filled climax.
  68. Granik filmed in actual locations and enlisted many locals as actors. They blend unobtrusively with the professionals in the cast.
  69. The story is so complicated that the movie can't quite make it clear, but the picture has impressive energy and high-intensity performances from Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito, and Guy Pearce.
  70. Episodic and uneven, but it has moments of great emotional power.
  71. Her
    The wistfulness in this movie is large-souled. Theodore may worry that his love for Samantha makes him a freak, but Amy knows that “anybody who loves is a freak.” All this may sound touchy-feely in the worst way, but Jonze is trying to get at how we seek romantic connection in this brave (or not so brave) new world. Like Theodore, he risks looking foolish.
  72. Stands with the greatest science-fiction movies ever made.
  73. This poetic and compassionate drama by Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan combines the intricate structure of his earlier movies with an emotional power that raises his remarkable career to a whole new level.
  74. It takes time to grow accustomed to the docu- drama's stylized approach, influenced by Bertolt Brecht and Jean-Luc Godard. But this nearly six-hour movie is generous with time.
  75. The openness of these people is often astonishing – and a sign of hope.
  76. In Panahi's case, he is insuperably handicapped by his current constraints. And yet, despite everything, here is This Is Not a Film, which is emphatically a film – and an extraordinary one.
  77. Brilliantly acted, sumptuously filmed, and overflowing with mellifluous music.
  78. (Jonze and Kaufman's) work is so bold, funny, and original that it's hard to believe they aren't wide-screen veterans.
  79. All told, he's (Linklater) one of today's most versatile American filmmakers, and Before Sunset finds his light shining as brightly as ever.
  80. Sharper and smarter than any animation since "Shrek 2," making it one of the season's supermovies.
  81. Fugit gives a starmaking performance as the teenage reporter, and Crudup and Lee are excellent as the band's lead guitarist and singer, respectively.
  82. Filmed and acted to near perfection, it's one of the year's most innovative and exciting pictures.
  83. This territory is familiar if you remember the great BBC miniseries "Upstairs Downstairs," but Altman gives it a new twist with his restlessly roaming camera and incisively satirical approach. He's still near the peak of his powers.
  84. What United 93 demonstrates, as if we needed proof, is that it is too soon - it may always be too soon - to sort out the feelings from that day.
  85. Weir's offbeat directing makes the most of Andrew Niccol's inventive screenplay, which includes large doses of surprisingly sardonic satire aimed at today's entertainment trends.
  86. A compulsively watchable movie that's also a provocative inquiry into the ability of the criminal-justice system to determine culpability and truth.
  87. The film suffers from late-stage Scorsese-itis – wacky, low-slung, high-octane melodrama with lots of yelling and overacting.
  88. The film's final seven-minute shot is one of the great denouements in film history.
  89. Smart, funny, and splendidly acted.
  90. This is epic filmmaking on a profoundly human scale, directed to perfection and magnificently acted by everyone in sight.
  91. Jesse Moss’s documentary The Overnighters is being hailed as a modern-day “Grapes of Wrath,” which, up to a point, it is. But it’s far more complicated than that.
  92. 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.
  93. The film's approach is highly instructive, deeply moving, and geared to deploring the racism that breeds violence rather than reactivating old hatreds.
  94. It's great, fantastical fun.
  95. Petit, by the way, is still very much alive and spry. I saw him at a screening of the film at the Sundance Film Festival where he spoke to the audience afterwards. On his way up to the podium, he tripped.
  96. The film pays off in the end when, almost imperceptibly, the rush of emotions it stirs in us rises to a soft crescendo.
  97. I hate to sound blurby, but Borat is the funniest comedy I've seen since I don't know when.
  98. This delicate, hand-drawn marvel is lyrical and heartbreaking in ways that most live-action movies never approach.
  99. In a series of deft vignettes, the Dardennes offer up a microcosm of an entire working-class contingent, and each vignette is a universe all to itself.
  100. Frederick Wiseman’s documentary National Gallery is for art lovers, movie lovers – basically for anybody. Ostensibly a film about London’s famous museum, it’s really about the experience of art in all its manifestations.

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