Christian Science Monitor's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,854 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 3.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Florence Foster Jenkins
Lowest review score: 0 Wild Hogs
Score distribution:
3854 movie reviews
  1. The Good German is a prime example of a movie made by highly skilled and intelligent filmmakers that nevertheless seems misguided from the get-go.
  2. Haskins comes across as too pure. When he plays only his black athletes in the championship finals, his monomania is presented as a good thing. After all, he won, didn't he?
  3. The fact remains that some Treks are better than others, and ''The Final Frontier'' doesn't have the surprising warmth of the very best. It's diverting, but forgettable. [19 June 1989, p.15]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  4. Jarecki's thesis is that law enforcement targets minority communities, but his analysis is far too simplistic. Since when did pushers become victims?
  5. It’s fun for a while to see Kurt Russell hamming it up behind his voluminous mustache or Samuel L. Jackson once again raising rafters by laying down the law. But the film is pointless, even as entertainment, because it builds to nothing more than a comic book blood bath.
  6. If Concussion really stuck its neck out, it would have been the better for it. The film comes on as hard-hitting, but it’s weighted down with protective gear.
  7. The movie, at its best, is compellingly odd, which is also the most accurate description of Carrey's performance.
  8. There is no law requiring a biopic to make “nice” with its subject, but Get On Up, which presents Brown almost entirely unflatteringly except as a performer, makes you wonder why the filmmakers (including Mick Jagger, one of its producers) took the trouble.
  9. One thought that occurred to me while pacing myself through Flypaper: With the economy being what it is, will there be a rash of bank robbery movies?
  10. I'll say this much for Jumper – it's got a great premise. Or at least the beginnings of a premise.
  11. If nothing else, I hope that The Comedian signals an attempt by De Niro to once again take acting seriously. Without much supporting evidence, he’s still routinely called our greatest living actor. There’s still time to make good on that.
  12. As any kind of introduction to Ibsen, this film is more a turnoff than a turn-on.
  13. Green Zone wraps up with a wish-fulfillment fantasy that is about as believable as watching reinforcements riding in to save Custer.
  14. Simon Pegg, of "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz," is onscreen almost constantly in Run Fatboy Run, and his mugging and smirking and preening wear out their welcome fast.
  15. The Da Vinci Code is so transparently pitched as pulp entertainment that, in the end, it's about as subversive as "Starsky and Hutch."
  16. It seems less irreverent than self-congratulatory.
  17. When the military brass warns that "we're about to be colonized," you wonder if they mean to shut down the borders. It's probably not coincidental that the film is replete with Latino actors, or that one of the prime subplots involves a Hispanic father trapped behind enemy lines with his young son.
  18. The latest cinematic adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's novel, is like "Masterpiece Theater" without the masterpiece.
  19. Rappoport is a powerhouse performer but the movie is an unstable concoction of political melodrama, film noir, and weepie.
  20. Although Casanova is far from a stinker, I can't join in the chorus of praise for what is essentially a coy farce replete with arch performances and even archer dialogue.
  21. The film is a dutiful attempt to convey some of the vehemence of the novel – of the counterculture of the 1960s and early ’70s especially – but McGregor, making his directorial debut, lacks the temperament to do this era justice. He’s an innocent bystander in the melee.
  22. Laggies itself isn’t exactly slow – its pace is pleasantly meandering – and it’s far from aimless, although what it’s aiming for isn’t always clear.
  23. A more contrived and tenuous premise you would be hard-pressed to find, although, since this is a romantic comedy, suspension of disbelief comes with the territory.
  24. Laura Poitras’s Oscar-winning 2014 Snowden documentary “Citizenfour” is, almost inevitably, a stronger experience. That, too, was a species of political thriller but, unlike Stone’s film, it’s actually thrilling.
  25. There is nothing surprising about the way this overlong movie, written and directed by David Dobkin, plays itself out.
  26. A movie with ambitions as high-flying as its superhero but a success rate decidedly lower to the ground.
  27. The film is best when it focuses on Barnabas's culture shocks in this brave new world. Depp has fun with the character's bafflements without camping it up. What's missing overall is the sense of fun Burton once evinced in films like "Beetlejuice."
  28. The plot, as it unwinds, is increasingly eye-poppingly preposterous, but it holds you anyway, not only because of its outlandishness but because Plummer, against all odds, brings pathos and dignity to a role that doesn’t deserve him.
  29. I suppose it's a good thing that this movie has so many crisscrossing subplots. If one gaggle of whiners gets on your nerves, rest assured the scenery will soon change and another will take center stage.
  30. Schmaltz this thick requires a director who can at least make us feel that our tears are not being shamelessly jerked. But St. Vincent is too clunky to hide its tear-slicked tracks. Maybe that’s a good thing. At least that’s more endearing than being worked over by a smooth operator who knows exactly which buttons to press.
  31. Framed as a cautionary thriller about the perils of high-stakes terrorism, but I took away a different message from it: Don't forget your briefcase at the airport.
  32. A sloggy, heartfelt piece of quasi-magical realist storytelling.
  33. Reilly is a good foil for Ferrell, but too many of their scenes together have the effect of improv night at the comedy club.
  34. My favorite moment in the movie: Astrophysicist Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) insisting on wearing only his underwear because he says he thinks better that way. Hey, whatever works.
  35. Unless there’s something truly momentous going on, I prefer my sci-fi to be a lot more weightless than weighty.
  36. If you are not already familiar with Williams’s best plays and film adaptations, this musty magnolia of a movie won’t encourage you to seek them out.
  37. I'd be more inclined to call this French dysfunctional family epic gabby and preeningly self-indulgent – in a word, annoying.
  38. Some of the fairy tale effects are marvelous; but the odyssey from darkness to light is unduly long and sloggy, and Stewart, with her contemporary edge, seems to be acting in the wrong era.
  39. Strutting around for most of the film in her leather rocker duds, Streep’s Ricki Rendazzo is almost as much of a concoction as her witch in Into the Woods. She wears her uniform as a taunt and also as a way of defining herself. She’s a woman out of time – a superannuated hippie.
  40. 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.
  41. The Bhutto family is often referred to as the "Pakistani Kennedys." After seeing this film, that designation doesn't sound so glib anymore.
  42. If this film turns out to be a big success, malls everywhere may want to hire more security.
  43. 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.
  44. It’s not really such a great achievement to have women cops in the movies acting as boorish and rowdy as their male counterparts, especially since the movie seems designed for a sequel. But then again, what movie these days – or at least this summer – isn’t?
  45. Tatum muscles his way through the role with panache, while Foxx never gets a chance to break loose.
  46. Director Robert Stromberg, making his debut as a director after supervising the visual effects for movies like “Alice in Wonderland” and “Avatar,” lacks the transcendent touch.
  47. Crowe is deft at keeping the various plots spinning, but there are too many of them, and they don’t intersect pleasingly.
  48. Blomkamp overdoes even his best effects. (I would have welcomed more vistas of Elysium to break up the grungefest.) If Elysium is an example of how recession-era Hollywood intends to dramatize the rift between the haves and the have-nots, let’s hope the studios don’t also bring back Smell-O-Rama.
  49. Nolan tries to pair the cosmic esoterica with this father-daughter tussle, but the mix doesn't jell. Visionary movies require a bigger vision.
  50. The movie is a decidedly mixed bag, in part, because of the equally pronounced disparities between Burton and Carroll – and between Burton and Disney, for that matter.
  51. So why is everything so thuddingly fun-free?
  52. It's the kind of cutesy idea that doesn't ring remotely true.
  53. At times, Pride and Glory seems to be about a war between actors, not cops. Nobody comes off well.
  54. Freeheld is certainly timely, though, given its ponderous approach, less than invigorating.
  55. 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.
  56. As Disney animated features go, Tangled is middling.
  57. It's enough that these two castaways are friends, but I guess friendship doesn't cut it when you're trying to create a star-driven hit. It should, though. Better a believable friendship than an unbelievable love affair.
  58. This movie might have been better if it hadn't fashioned itself as a cross between "Citizen Kane" and "Chinatown," and instead had used Reeves's story to dramatize the transitional state of 1950s Hollywood.
  59. It's a powerful subject, but director McG and screenwriter Jamie Linden haul out every cliché in the playbook.
  60. Polley has a sometimes graceful understanding of emotional temperate zones and Williams, when she isn't being zombielike, is touching. But Margot comes across as such an elusive and unsympathetic twit that you wonder why we should care about her.
  61. Even though none of these guys is ready to kick the bucket, The Big Year has an unmistakable affinity with "The Bucket List."
  62. Too much of this movie, directed by Peter Ramsey, is more clamorous than inspired, and little kids might find parts of it too scarily intense.
  63. Considering this musical has its roots in Depression-era American, Gluck’s contemporary take on the material is eerily lacking in observations about the rich/poor divide in this country.
  64. This is the kind of movie where we’re not supposed to know at any time who is playing whom, but since the characterizations are glossy and paper-thin, it’s difficult to get worked up about who gets fleeced.
  65. It’s still a bit early in the long careers of these actors, especially Kline, to be playing creaky codgers. It’s bad enough when Hollywood casts women over the age of 30 as grandmothers-in-waiting. Now we have to endure an onslaught of famous veteran actors complaining about their hips.
  66. 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.
  67. There’s a creepy subtext to all this, especially when Tim uses his time-travel gifts to woo an American girl without her assent.
  68. Raimi’s film is supposed to be about magic, but magic is in scant supply.
  69. There’s something off-putting about this film’s optimism: After all, how many people can afford to do what Crowley did?
  70. This latest whiffle ball from Team Apatow is a mildly amusing comedy.
  71. However you slice it, The Eagle is hokum, but modern-day Scots may get a kick out of the film's depiction of their ancestors as mud-caked hellions. Modern-day Romans will have to settle for less.
  72. My first thought in watching The Hobbit was: Do we really need this movie? It was my last thought, too.
  73. The slapstick is often clunky, but Robinson has a sweet jester’s disposition that keeps many of the gags from collapsing.
  74. Allow me a quick lament: Do we really want to see a great actor like Cumberbatch, not to mention Chiwetel Ejiofor and Tilda Swinton, entombed in yet another superhero franchise?
  75. Needless to say, everybody comes equipped with their very own overweight baggage; old grudges are revived, new ones are invented; and big personal revelations – most of which you can see coming a mile away – arrive on cue.
  76. By bringing the story into Iraq, Grant Heslov courts tastelessness. Gooniness and Gitmo don't mix.
  77. It’s essentially a buddy-cop romp with the usual assortment pack of graphic gruesomeness.
  78. Not infrequently the movie is as mediocre as its target. The great Steve Coogan movie has yet to be made.
  79. Amy Adams is such a likable actress that she makes the romantic comedy Leap Year worth watching even though we’ve seen it all before.
  80. Patrice Leconte has directed excellent serious films such as "Monsieur Hire" and "Man on the Train," but when it comes to humor he loses his bearings. His latest attempt at seriocomedy, My Best Friend, is a premise in search of a film.
  81. The only grace note in this otherwise determinedly graceless movie is the classy way Walker’s exit is handled.
  82. Overall, Diggers is like an Ed Burns movie -- but with fishing gear.
  83. The law of diminishing returns is no more apparent than in the movie world. A sequel, with rare exceptions, is worse than the film it follows, and sequels of sequels fare even worse. Such is the case with Shrek the Third.
  84. Once around the block with these folks is more than enough.
  85. He's a mishmash of cultural opposites, and his motormouth swagger is fitfully amusing. So is his backhand.
  86. Most of it plays out as sub-medium-grade farce, but Carrey has some funny calisthenic bits where he appears to have the pliability of a rubber toy.
  87. Compared with, say, Mel Gibson's "Apocalypto," which featured this sort of stuff in practically every frame, Marshall's film is downright Disneyish.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 58 Critic Score
    The film benefits greatly from Rahim's subtle, effective performance.
  88. The romantic comedy 27 Dresses will work best for people who have never seen a romantic comedy. If you have, you might find it amusing to tally up the steals – I mean, homages.
  89. Che
    Although Steven Soderbergh's two-part Che may have an epic running time of almost 4-1/2 hours, its scope is surprisingly narrow.
  90. The best I can say is that it’s another tour de force for Gyllenhaal, although his intensity isn’t matched by the movie itself, which sacrifices much of its power by too often settling for easy, nut-brain effects.
  91. It’s an only-in-America success story worth recounting.
  92. Lee is very good at creating a sense of free-floating dread, but he, and his screenwriter Mark Protosevich, don’t have a real flair for pulp.
  93. 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.
  94. The overlong Trainwreck would have been better if it had derailed more often.
  95. Safe Haven is a species of Gothic chick flick.
  96. Their 40-year marriage seems like more of a trial than this overweening, lightly likable movie acknowledges.
  97. Not awful, not wonderful, Jack the Giant Slayer is a midrange fairy tale epic that’s a lot more ho-hum than fee-fi-fo-fum.
  98. An actor making his directorial debut, Parker, who plays Turner and also co-wrote the script with Jean McGianni Celestin, has taken hold of an incendiary subject and coarsened its complexities into agitprop.
  99. A dash – only a dash – of Tim Burton ghoulishness might have helped.

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