Christian Science Monitor's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,601 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 Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus
Lowest review score: 0 Head Over Heels
Score distribution:
3,601 movie reviews
  1. 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]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  2. 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."
  3. Blending animation and live action, this ferocious fantasy is hopelessly vulgar in ways never dreamed of by "Who Framed Roger Rabbit."
  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. 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]
    • Christian Science Monitor
    • 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.
  6. John Hughes pours his usual slickness and sentimentality all over everything. [27 Feb 1987]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  7. 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]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  8. 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.
  9. 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]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  10. 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]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  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]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  12. 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]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  13. 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]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  14. 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.
    • 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]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  15. 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]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  16. While the production is attractive in a calendar-photo sort of way, there's not a speck of genuine feeling in its glossy images.
  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]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  18. 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."
  19. 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.
  20. 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?
  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.
    • 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.
  22. Notable only for being a catalog of just about every kid-pic cliché ever committed to film.
  23. 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.
  24. The coarseness wouldn't be so bad if at least the steady stream of obscenities were funny.
  25. It's all so resolutely uninspired that even the kids in the audience may want to duck out.
  26. 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.
  27. The script by Allan Loeb careens all over the place without ever coming to rest on anything interesting.
    • 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.
  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. Its wasted cast includes Dyan Cannon, Sally Kellerman, Len Cariou, and Brenda Vaccaro, who miraculously manages to give a fine performance in this malarkey.
  30. Poetic conceits only work if they're poetic.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. Even by Farrelly standards, the film is a washout.
  36. The end result, at best, is high-toned pulp.
  37. It's as if the filmmakers were hungover from the first film and wanted to make a violent action movie instead.
  38. Allegorical in the worst ways, Antichrist is about as profound as a slasher movie.
  39. To see Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in The Tourist is like watching a chemistry experiment gone horribly wrong.
  40. Sit this one out.
  41. What Happens in Vegas is not only annoying, it's also incompetent – a bad mix.
  42. 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.
  43. The script is replete with howlers. My favorite, from Kitsch, after the aliens strike: "I've got a bad feeling about this." Indeed.
  44. Parker is bland throughout. Maybe all those episodes of "Sex and the City" have soured her on this sort of thing.
  45. 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.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 33 Critic Score
    The Wolfman isn’t scary. In fact, it isn’t much of anything.
  46. 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?
  47. 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?
  48. A movie that at best is irrelevant and at worst is unwatchable.
  49. Amiably bland actors can be fun to watch, as Tom Hanks has proved. Freeman is no Hanks, though, and The Hitchhiker's Guide won't boost anyone's career into hyperspace. Or give your mind a workout.
  50. The movie is a mish-mash of action-adventure clichés, book-ended with lame attempts at psychological interest. Written, directed, and acted with ham-fisted heaviness.
  51. Like the recent "Mona Lisa Smile," this tale could have been an effective feminist fable if it weren't so calculated.
  52. Bataille was a serious philosopher as well as a sensation-seeking writer, but you'd never guess his provocative ideas from this updated version.
  53. By the time it ended, I'd stopped caring. I suspect most moviegoers will do the same. Here's hoping Shelton scurries back to the athletic world in a hurry.
  54. At 225 minutes long, it feels like a trilogy in itself. That wouldn't be a problem if it had energy and imagination, but those qualities are missing, as is any sense of historical or philosophical context.
  55. The consequences aren't remotely as comic as they're meant to be.
  56. The story takes place in 2013, but you'd hardly know it from the age-old clichés Kevin Costner purloins to tell this overblown action yarn, which relies so heavily on ideas borrowed from John Ford westerns that the Hollywood giant should have been credited as codirector; too bad Costner can't invest them with Ford's kind of life and originality, though.
  57. Graham was good in films such as "Boogie Nights" and "Bowfinger" where her apparent innocence was a smoke screen for her lustful connivance. To be effective in the movies, she needs something to counteract her wholesomeness.
  58. xXx
    The infuriating thing about XXX isn't that it delivers thrills and spills to moviegoers who don't know any better, but that its Hollywood hype reinforces the notion that brain-dead entertainment is what movies are all about.
  59. It's picaresque, all right, but full of ethnic stereotypes, and filmed much too blandly to compete with the superb ''Black Stallion'' of a few years ago.
  60. Full disclosure: I have to say I did laugh during Your Highness. Twice, I think.
  61. De Niro and Hoffman almost give comic life to this brainless, vulgar farce.
  62. Sometimes, dear reader, there's no place like home, and that's just where you should be when this gorefest opens at a theater near you.
  63. 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.
  64. Was this spiritless stuff really directed by Paul and Chris Weitz of "American Pie" fame? How the rebels have mellowed!
  65. 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.
  66. Lachow goes for cuteness and whimsy every chance he gets, missing a lot more often than he hits.
  67. The picture goes for sentimentality rather than substance every chance it gets, and the cast falls right into its syrupy trap.
  68. Stoner jokes, awful gags, and just stupid stuff equate to one bad movie.
  69. The movie means well, but neither its emotions nor its performances ring very true.
  70. Fans of unregenerate underground moviemaking will have a ball.
  71. The acting ranges from adequate (Jared Leto, R. Lee Ermey) to awful (Lindsay Crouse and everyone else).
  72. Everyone tries very hard to make the story sweet and funny, but the soggy screenplay defeats them every time.
  73. Falls flat on screen, weighed down by far-fetched plot twists.
  74. 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.
  75. 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.
  76. The picture's real interest lies in detailing the villain's sadistic crimes, though, and this is rarely fun or edifying to watch.
  77. The Last Airbender is like a Care Bears movie that got waylaid in the fourth dimension. It's insufferably silly.
  78. As soon as I finish writing this review, I'm going to try traveling a few hours in the past. That way, I can improve my life by skipping this movie!
  79. The movie is gorgeously filmed and contains some fascinating lore about life in northern climes. But the plot is tritely predictable and far-fetched. Julia Ormond, Gabriel Byrne, and Vanessa Redgrave are among the performers who deliver less than their best.
    • 18 Metascore
    • 25 Critic Score
    Lange and Paltrow give it their all, but they can't save this one from plot holes, continuity mistakes, and heartlessness.
  80. The acting is uneven and most of the romancing seems so mismatched.
  81. Labors mightily to be a frolicsome entertainment, but the results are - well, labored. The dialogue isn't snappy, the story isn't surprising, there's little chemistry between the stars.
  82. Larry and Andy Wachowski directed this lurid, sexually explicit thriller.
  83. Luc Besson's screenplay is dumb, but has just enough weird touches to give occasional glimmers of interest.
  84. What really hurts is the movie's shallow screenwriting, self-indulgent acting, and woozy camerawork.
  85. If you want a movie time trip, the 1960 version is a far smoother ride.
  86. Tennant's featherweight comedy is clearly pitched at the date-movie crowd, and couples may enjoy it if they can get past the picture's simplistic ethnic stereotypes and its willingness to wish away every real-life family problem the characters will surely face after the feel-good finale.
  87. The suspense sequences are straight from the standard Hollywood blueprint, and the movie as a whole is so sloppily assembled that it's almost incoherent at times.
  88. Movie stars have tamed sassy kids in movies from "The Blackboard Jungle" to "Stand and Deliver," but it's hard to remember an example more patronizing or sentimentalized than this one.
  89. This woozily uplifting saga is big on homilies and deficient in just about everything else.
  90. 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.
  91. Unoriginal.
  92. Dull despite its suspense-driven story.
  93. Four chuckles and a lively final-credits sequence are a mighty poor score for 99 minutes of alleged comedy, and the sentimental stuff is even worse.
  94. How could such a high-octane cast produce such low-octane horror?

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