Christian Science Monitor's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,515 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 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Love Liza
Lowest review score: 0 Half Baked
Score distribution:
3,515 movie reviews
  1. The acting is sincere and the camera work is pretty, but this art-movie variation on "The Sixth Sense" doesn't have enough energy to fulfill the high promise of Berliner's previous picture, the enchanting "Ma vie en rose."
  2. In all, it's “Diner,'' female style. Directed by Donald Petrie from a blatantly manipulative screenplay that took four people to cook up. [24 Oct 1988]
  3. The message of the film is that life isn't neat and predictable like a well-arranged business trip; yet everything in the picture is so calculated that there's no life to it. [23 Dec 1988, A& L, p.19]
  4. Armageddon may sell tickets, thanks largely to a high-powered marketing machine that's been conducting its own countdown for the past several months. But it's not a pretty picture.
  5. The Abyss' isn't abysmal, but it's a replay of hits we've already seen - a recycled "close encounters of the wet kind'' with far too few ideas of its own. [18 Aug 1989, Arts, p.10]
  6. Verhoeven's lurid thriller has moments of welcome self-parody, but most of the action manages to be sensationalistic, homophobic, and tedious at the same time. [20 Mar 1992, Arts, p.12]
  7. John Hughes pours his usual slickness and sentimentality all over everything. [27 Feb 1987]
  8. Judged by the standards of ordinary filmmaking, it's as strange, suggestive, and surreal as other Lynch pictures have been. Judged by the standards of Lynch's own career, however, it's amazingly stale and second-hand… [and] contains not a single moment of genuinely felt emotion. [1 Sept 1992]
  9. The main performances are generally weak, although the smaller ones are sometimes brilliant, and the yarn never builds much momentum as it leapfrogs from one subplot to another. [28 Dec 1990, Arts, p.14]
  10. A second-rate adaptation of the second-rate Choderlos de Laclos novel: two hours of pretty people sitting in pretty rooms and talking about sex. [23 Dec 1988, A& L, p.19]
  11. As before, the movie is more impressive for its finely detailed vision of Los Angeles as a futuristic slum than for its story, acting, or message. It's all downhill after the first few eye-dazzling minutes. [2 Oct 1992]
  12. The director, Taylor Hackford, doesn't have the cinematic savvy to sustain so many tensions in a meaningful way; and the screenplay strays far over the line between incisive political comment and heavy-handed Red-baiting.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 38 Critic Score
    Punchy, cleverly stylized, but utterly empty yarn about a feisty young woman who welds by day, disco-dances by night, and dreams of the day when she can devote her life to her art.
    • 23 Metascore
    • 38 Critic Score
    The story is mostly a rehash of the original "48 Hrs.," with the same hard-boiled mixture of violence and wisecracks. Directed by Walter Hill, who specializes in this kind of thing and gives it a certain conviction, if little else. [13 Jul 1990, p.10]
  13. Blending animation and live action, this ferocious fantasy is hopelessly vulgar in ways never dreamed of by "Who Framed Roger Rabbit."
  14. While the production is attractive in a calendar-photo sort of way, there's not a speck of genuine feeling in its glossy images.
  15. The stagebound setting gets boring; the action doesn't build a steady momentum; and the characters do far too much hanging around until the camera's ready to point at them again.
  16. The combination of caveman dialogue, overcooked action, and anything-for-an-effect performances is maddeningly crude even by cop-movie standards. [22 May 1987, p.23]
  17. The Witches of Eastwick, based on John Updike's novel, takes just about every wrong turn it can find. Perhaps this was predictable, with a wild-driving director like George Miller at the wheel. What's surprising is how many opportunities for vulgarity and stupidity the film invents for itself, even beyond the book's built-in temptations to excess. [12 June 1987, p.21]
  18. Parker is bland throughout. Maybe all those episodes of "Sex and the City" have soured her on this sort of thing.
  19. If, as the ads would lead you to believe, you go to see The Break-Up expecting a romantic comedy, you will be severely disappointed. If you go to it expecting a good movie, you will also be severely disappointed.
  20. Its wasted cast includes Dyan Cannon, Sally Kellerman, Len Cariou, and Brenda Vaccaro, who miraculously manages to give a fine performance in this malarkey.
  21. Just because The Fountain is different doesn't mean it's good. In fact, it's borderline unwatchable, though this hasn't prevented the Oscar buzz from buzzing.
  22. The movie often seems glib in the face of tragedy. And when, near the end, Shepard tries to pour on the hearts and flowers by showing us just what made Simon crack up on camera, the bathos is icky. The whole movie is icky.
  23. The end result, at best, is high-toned pulp.
  24. Even by Farrelly standards, the film is a washout.
  25. Few things are more dispiriting than a holiday movie straining to become a perennial. Such is the case with Fred Claus, an insipid Christmas comedy.
  26. Poetic conceits only work if they're poetic.
  27. The Bucket List is a movie for oldsters that, paradoxically, looks as if it was made for 15-year-olds. If this is what is meant in Hollywood as "thinking outside the box," then it's time to get a new box.
  28. The best thing you can say about Mad Money is that it has a good cast. The worst thing you can say about it is that the cast is extremely ill-used.
  29. This business of the 88 minutes ticking away is a pale imitation of the old "High Noon" ploy of playing out suspense in real time. After a while, though, I began to take a perverse pleasure in wallowing in the awfulness of it all.
  30. Everywhere he goes he asks if anybody knows bin Laden's whereabouts – as if anybody is going to tell him! Why should we accompany him on his self-aggrandizing trip?
  31. What Happens in Vegas is not only annoying, it's also incompetent – a bad mix.
  32. The animated characters in "Clone Wars" are about as lively as the actors in the live-action movies, so I guess Lucas has achieved his goal of eliminating humans from his movies altogether.
  33. I don't mind a movie where people spend a lot of time jawboning, but what they say had better be interesting. In Spinning into Butter we are spoon-fed the deep dark revelation that racism can exist as virulently in liberal environs as in reactionary ones. Alert the media.
  34. I guarantee you, if Charles Dickens were alive today, he might well be writing movies but he sure as shootin' wouldn't have written "Ghosts."
  35. The people who made Year One seem to think that all you have to do to make a hit comedy is get a bunch of jokesters together. But where are the jokes?
  36. It's all so resolutely uninspired that even the kids in the audience may want to duck out.
  37. Allegorical in the worst ways, Antichrist is about as profound as a slasher movie.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 33 Critic Score
    The Wolfman isn’t scary. In fact, it isn’t much of anything.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 33 Critic Score
    There are a few hilarious bits, but even those are drowned out by constant gunfire and Morgan’s motormouthing. Willis is going through the motions; Scott is funny, if irritating; Morgan is irritating and not so funny.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 33 Critic Score
    Whitaker and Schreiber, both of whom are capable of brilliance, are stuck in one-dimensional roles. It’s not only the characters who have mechanical organs; the film itself is equally lifeless and cold.
  38. Critics who come out against Kick-Ass are leaving themselves open to that worst of contemporary accusations: a failure to be cool. But pretending that Kick-Ass is just another good-time comic book blowout is the greater failure.
  39. Notable only for being a catalog of just about every kid-pic cliché ever committed to film.
  40. A movie that at best is irrelevant and at worst is unwatchable.
  41. Maybe Hackford, and his screenwriter Mark Jacobson, were attempting to convey the dullness of vice. If so, they vastly overcorrected. But what about the dullness of the performances?
  42. To see Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in The Tourist is like watching a chemistry experiment gone horribly wrong.
  43. The script by Allan Loeb careens all over the place without ever coming to rest on anything interesting.
  44. It's as if the filmmakers were hungover from the first film and wanted to make a violent action movie instead.
  45. The coarseness wouldn't be so bad if at least the steady stream of obscenities were funny.
  46. Dislikable movie characters don't always result in dislikable movies but that's certainly the case with Sam Levinson's Another Happy Day, a dysfunctional family meltdown movie about an impending wedding that only grows more aggravating as it unwinds.
  47. Sit this one out.
  48. The script is replete with howlers. My favorite, from Kitsch, after the aliens strike: "I've got a bad feeling about this." Indeed.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 25 Critic Score
    David Chappelle's performance as a cabbie is amusing, but the film should have been packaged with a Surgeon General's Warning - "Cigarettes is bad for you."
  49. Rarely have Gibson's tears seemed more fictional than in this supposedly authentic account of a historical event that's far too tragic to merit such superficial treatment.
  50. Stoner jokes, awful gags, and just stupid stuff equate to one bad movie.
  51. For a movie about people with hugely complicated inner lives, this sadly unconvincing drama stays resolutely on the surface, rarely hinting at anything like an insight or idea.
  52. In short, this movie is exactly the kind of starry-eyed escapist fantasy that Dr. Powell suspects Prot of having. It's harmless enough, since we can be cured just by leaving the theater.
  53. Action freaks may enjoy the chasing and chomping, but there's no hint of human interest or moviemaking imagination.
  54. Khouri's new picture takes all this talent and turns it into the kind of manipulative mush that Hollywood used to market under the condescending label "woman's picture" years ago.
  55. The plot is a shameless plea for vigilante violence, and the dignity of the black hero is outweighed by the ethnically marked evil of his Hispanic antagonist. Beneath its crisp veneer, much of the movie is a high-energy hymn to hate.
  56. Fans of unregenerate underground moviemaking will have a ball.
  57. There's nothing special about this movie -- it's just business as usual for today's debased action-movie genre.
  58. Audiences may want their own speedy divorce from this irritating collection of stale jokes, pointless vulgarities, and warmed-over clichés.
  59. Has amusing bits of social satire, but they're crowded out of the stable by lots of bathroom and barnyard humor.
  60. Add a megadose of bombastic James Horner music and a perfunctory love-affair subplot and you have a movie that's its own worst enemy.
  61. So vulgar and incoherent that even Hackman's gifts can't score a touchdown.
  62. The star's over-the-top energy isn't enough to make this hopelessly vulgar, numbingly repetitious farce worth watching.
  63. Creepy.
  64. It has a degree of sociological interest, but it would be more effective if the material were shaped into a more coherent form.
  65. The story is irresponsible and the filmmaking is awful.
  66. Everyone tries very hard to make the story sweet and funny, but the soggy screenplay defeats them every time.
  67. Lachow goes for cuteness and whimsy every chance he gets, missing a lot more often than he hits.
  68. Not even veteran talents like Dukakis and Scheider can surmount the artificial dialogue, arbitrary plot twists, and wan humor of this disappointing comedy-drama.
  69. Strains to be shockingly original but winds up as cheap and cheesy as its characters.
  70. A few mildly amusing gags don't outweigh the trite situations and mean-spirited attitude of this comedy.
  71. This sexually explicit South Korean drama aims more to jolt than to illuminate, but it illustrates an aspect of Asian cinema that globally minded moviegoers should know about as films from that region take on more international prominence.
  72. Tries to be daring and iconoclastic but winds up seeming as spoiled and childish as its main characters.
  73. Too bad (Arnold) can't save the movie from it's superstitious clap-trap, sadistic violence, and sheer silliness.
  74. The filmmakers seem well in control of their chaotic material, but what can be said when the movie features wall-to-wall teenage alcohol abuse.
  75. The satire is intermittently amusing, but Arcand adds little to the arsenal of standard mockumentary tricks, and the interesting cast doesn't get many interesting things to do.
  76. Shallow and sentimental in the sappiest Hollywood tradition.
  77. If a mildly magical story is what you're after, it'll be worth the price of admission. Otherwise save your milk money for something more substantial.
  78. The results are unbelievably tedious, but Mansfield buffs may find it intermittently worthwhile.
  79. The acting is solid and the heroine's quirky dialogue is amusing for a while. But repetitious writing and a weakly constructed story turn the promising premise into a disappointing mishmash of crime, politics, and show business.
  80. The story is inspirational in a superficial way, but the filmmakers focus so exclusively on their attractive heroine that the picture loses any real connection with Africa.
  81. As dopey as its heroes, and the cast's admirable energy isn't enough to keep the story punching through the final round.
  82. The comedy isn't quite as crude as it sounds, but there's not much of value here beyond a little lively acting.
  83. Spoiled by its simplistic portrait of people from the Mideast as incorrigibly violent and untrustworthy.
  84. If you want a movie time trip, the 1960 version is a far smoother ride.
  85. There are a few clever lines and Cleese has some sensational moments, but that's not enough to make the farce seem fresh.
  86. The picture goes for sentimentality rather than substance every chance it gets, and the cast falls right into its syrupy trap.
  87. The movie means well, but neither its emotions nor its performances ring very true.
  88. Everyone works hard, but the results are sadly short of style and personality or irony and intelligence.
  89. This is a great subject for a movie, but Hollywood has squandered the opportunity, using it as a prop for warmed-over melodrama and the kind of choreographed mayhem that director John Woo has built his career on.
  90. Most of the characters are one-dimensional, and Avary's over-the-top directing doesn't make them interesting for more than a few isolated moments.
  91. This low-budget drama tries very hard to convey messages of tolerance and compassion, but it's too weakly acted and directed to have much impact.
  92. The story is a string of sub-Scorsese clichés, and if engaging actors like Malkovich and Hopper seem to be sleepwalking through their roles, imagine how unwatchable Diesel manages to be.
  93. Perhaps they truly believe war is an inescapable aspect of human life. If so, why make movies that rub our faces in its horror? If artists have no antidote to war's evil or insight into the suffering it brings, their motive in depicting it must be merely to sensationalize its terrors and make money from the morbid fascination it holds for audiences. We deserve better.
  94. The kind of comedy that aims at "edginess" and "sassiness" without managing to be edgy or sassy for a second.

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