Christian Science Monitor's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,841 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 Home of the Brave
Lowest review score: 0 I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry
Score distribution:
3841 movie reviews
  1. Very broad, very brash ''film noir'' satire...The action is fast, flashy, sometimes funny, always loud. [13 June 1986, p.25]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  2. Draggy Italian epic that's big on production values but skimpy on inspiration.
  3. If the movie accomplishes nothing else, though, I hope it inspires the curious to actually sit down and finally read “Moby-Dick.” It’s an extraordinary yarn. Really.
  4. 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.
  5. Whatever brought Greene down was far more complex than this film allows for.
  6. It's a showpiece for that Belgian city's medieval splendor. You may want to book vacation reservations upon leaving the theater, although the memory of this underwhelming movie may tarnish the sightseeing.
  7. Despite its arty veneer and its ostensibly political edge, Circumstance seems more interested in titillation than revelation.
  8. 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.
  9. It’s nice to see oldsters cavorting in kaboom movies, but a little of this stuff goes a long way.
  10. I prefer the goofier approach, which is why, even though Hemsworth isn't going to be cast in "King Lear" anytime soon, he's the best thing about Thor.
  11. De Niro, in what amounts to an extended cameo, is radically miscast. That's still no excuse for his nonperformance, which is beyond lackluster.
  12. The film somehow manages to be both a turn-on and a turnoff.
  13. 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.
  14. The trouble with pet projects is that too often they are unduly do-goody, and so it is here.
  15. For most of the way this ecofriendly fantasy is pleasantly clunky, and Reeves, whose expressive range here is slim to none, is perfectly cast as the alien.
  16. One dramatic ploy that doesn't work is the casting of Demi Moore as Tracy Edward, a homicide detective intent on capturing the Thumbprint Killer. Moore gave a rare good performance as the washed up diva in "Bobby," but her stridency here is grating.
  17. 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.
  18. Even a subpar James Bond movie is worth seeing because, well, it’s James Bond. But if one of the most successful and long-running franchises in movie history wants to keep pumping, it’s once again time to change the formula.
  19. Rudd is amusing enough; Segel, who towers over Rudd, is amusing, too, though the role seems to have been written for Owen Wilson. Maybe Wilson was busy. Lucky him.
  20. If Abrams had stuck with the kids and cut way back on all the sci-fi hoo-ha, his film might have stood a fighting chance of being charming. Big is not always better, even when it comes to fantasies.
  21. Do we really need another Hulk movie? I was one of the few critics who actually liked Ang Lee's 2003 "Hulk," but it didn't exactly ring the cash registers or clamor for a continuation.
  22. Sometimes, oftentimes, trailers showcase only the good stuff. The actual movie is a pale substitute. Such is the case here.
  23. Gyllenhaal is one of the most gifted actors of his generation and, along with Joaquin Phoenix, he takes more chances than just about any of them. He deserves a movie that risks as much as he does.
  24. It’s all meant to be funnier than it is.
  25. Actually, it's hard to have any thoughts while watching Jonah Hex – the cranium-crushing soundtrack takes care of that.
  26. Mostly a snooze. Maybe if Buscemi himself had starred in it things would have turned out better.
  27. True love beckons in the guise of a dingbat played by Julianne Moore and all is right with the world. As Jon’s father, a man whose lifeblood is yelling, Tony Danza is very funny. He makes you understand what his son is escaping from.
  28. Blithely entertaining but almost completely devoid of rigor.
  29. One of the few open-minded Hollywood movies about Christian fundamentalism, but the mind isn't sufficiently exploratory.
  30. Sometimes a film is best utilized as a travelogue. Such is the case with the comedy-drama The Girl From Monaco, which isn't much of a movie but offers scrumptious views.
  31. Gandolfini, though, is a standout as the old-school father who can't abide his new-style son (but loves him anyway).
  32. The bad guys, who specialize in funny beards, funny accents, and shaved heads, would feel right at home in an "Austin Powers" movie.
  33. It must be said that the filmmakers, who profess to be as surprised as we are about how things play out, are being disingenuous at best and underhanded at worst.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 58 Critic Score
    It's technically impressive, but most of the better aspects of Sanctum would be almost – maybe exactly – as effective viewed the old-fashioned way.
  34. Playing a cantankerous, beer-swigging human wreck of a man for the umpteenth time, Nolte is very good but very familiar.
  35. This documentary about the evangelical belief in biblical prophecy is both overly ambitious and skimpy.
  36. It's a rather lifeless re-telling of the Nativity, with greeting-card imagery and stiff performances.
  37. It's difficult to imagine the target audience for this film. Gangbangers, perhaps?
  38. Ultimately, forgettable, but for most of the way it's a pleasant little vacation of a movie.
  39. The sole bright spot is Christopher Walken playing a benevolent Mafia don.
  40. Easy Virtue has aspirations to be much more than a comedy. It wants to flay, if only with a penknife, the entire British class system.
  41. 12
    I haven't heard this much shouting in a movie since the first hour of "Full Metal Jacket."
  42. It's not only Phoebe whose daydreams go out of control. Daniel Barnz, the writer-director, also goes a bit flooey. There's a lot more perspiration than inspiration.
  43. Even the "surprise" appearance of Keith Richards, as the scurvy father of Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow, has already been hyped to death in the advance press.
  44. Even the humor is played too broadly – another notch and we'd be in "Monty Python" territory, though not half as witty.
  45. See the film, if you must, for Mara, who will be starring in the upcoming Hollywood remake of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." She's a sharp, vigilant actress whose career bears watching.
  46. The Iron Lady is too bland to be controversial, too antiquated to speak to the present.
  47. It's a moderately enjoyable escapade that isn't quite clever enough for adults and not quite imaginative enough for children.
  48. There is barely a whiff of genuine transcendence in this grand-scale extravaganza. The special effects are courtesy of Industrial Light and Magic, but the magic here is largely industrial.
  49. When a great movie subject results in a middling movie, the loss is double.
  50. It has its modicum of suspense, and Brendon Fraser, who stars as intrepid professor Trevor Anderson – who does indeed journey to the center of the Earth – is his usual heroically affable self.
  51. Director and co-writer John Krokidas doesn’t have a very fluent gift for period re-creation – everything seems stagy – and most of the actors, playing divas of various stripes, overact.
  52. If writer-director Marc Lawrence had stuck with Alex's faded glory, Music and Lyrics could have been terrific. It could have been about something. Instead, he's confected a curdled valentine.
  53. Despite some occasional moments of real sadness and terror, the turmoil in this movie is decidedly on the upbeat.
  54. Director Chris Wedge falls into the common animator’s trap of making the “human” characters a lot duller than the nonhuman creepy-crawlies.
  55. Beautiful geishas flit and whoosh through the equally beautiful scenery. Their kimonos are artworks-in-motion. So why is the film so boring? It could be because director Rob Marshall is so transfixed by all the ritualistic hoo-ha that he never brings the story down to earth.
  56. It’s not just the technique of this movie that is resolutely old-fashioned. So are its attitudes. The film may feature practically wall-to-wall monster storms but undergirding it all is a cushion of straight-arrow sentimentalism. It harks back to a rosy neverland when men were men and women stood by them.
  57. 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.
  58. Spielberg has filmed Empire of the Sun with great care, paying keen attention to every detail of its time and place. If the film ultimately seems flat and superficial, it's because Spielberg just isn't the right filmmaker for this kind of tough historical subject. [9 Dec 1987, p.21]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  59. This is fire-breathing melodrama masquerading as social commentary.
  60. War Dogs ends up being no better than its protagonists at delivering the goods.
  61. The derby sequences are just OK, and the conflict between Bliss and her uncomprehending parents, played by Marcia Gay Harden and (a fine) Daniel Stern, is so predictable that you wish someone had rolled onto the set to whip it into shape.
  62. Too much of The Names of Love is a joke book posing as a movie.
  63. Director Wladyslaw Pasikowski has made the mistake of going about his business as if he were fashioning a horror film.
  64. Chen Shi-Zheng, well regarded as an opera and theater director, makes his feature film debut.
  65. Watching actors tap out code as big buzzing screens of digital data flash on the screen just doesn’t cut it.
  66. For all the glam and swank, the film is essentially a bright, shiny, empty puzzle. The puzzlemaking by writer-director Tony Gilroy is clever but most frequently an end in itself.
  67. The film has a creepy allure but, as movies featuring full-bore sexual gamesmanship often do, it wears thin.
  68. Departures is sappy and wacky – not the best combination.
  69. The chemistry may be good, the movie isn’t.
  70. It’s all third-rate “Pink Panther” stuff, and Brosnan, eager to play down his 007 bona fides, overcorrects.
  71. Who can really differentiate between these films anyway? In the end, they all devolve (evolve?) into clashing, clanging bots.
  72. Crossing Over is not a success but make no mistake: There is great drama to be found in these streets.
  73. Most of the music is by New Radicals frontman Gregg Alexander, and it’s heartfelt without ever really touching the heart.
  74. The presentation has verve. But the story is confusingly told - everything is NOT illuminated - and, as the seeker, Elijah Wood is a big blank.
  75. Most of the time, however, we are watching pathology without benefit of insight.
  76. When we last see a much older Moses en route to Canaan, we can at least be grateful that this film, unlike so many other movies these days, does not seem primed for a sequel.
  77. If only there was less mush and more meat in this stew.
  78. The movie becomes, perhaps inadvertently, a celebration of selling out.
  79. For an ostensibly soul-deep movie like this to work, we need more than smirks and scowls.
  80. A promising premise and some very good actors are smothered in goo in The Answer Man.
  81. Adam Sandler plays a dual role in Jack and Jill, and he's a lot better as Jill than as Jack.
  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. Blunt and Friend strike a few flinty sparks, and Julian Fellowes’s script has its share of dry-as-dust witticisms. Most of the time, though, it’s a stiff pageant.
  84. By the end, 10 Items Or Less has the obnoxiousness of a vanity project. Freeman is having a better time than we are.
  85. 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.
  86. A little of this movie's preppy, whiny expostulation goes a long way.
  87. Cary Grant, to take the premier example, was a great screwball comic who was, at the same time, intensely romantic. With Grant, funniness and sexiness were twinned. This is an exceedingly difficult combo to bring off, and Duris, though it would be unfair to compare him with Grant, doesn't come close.
  88. As generic as its title.
  89. What Looking For Eric demonstrates is that drama, not comedy, is how Loach makes sense of things. On the other hand, I often find his dramas unremittingly bleak. I guess what I'm really saying is that I'm not a big fan of Ken Loach.
  90. It’s not just Frankie who is putting on a show here. Berry is also overemphatically showing off her chops.
  91. Has some vitality, but it sinks into cliché just the same.
  92. Some of the franchise stalwarts, such as Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique, are given too little to do. Most are given too much.
  93. Shriner's direction has an Afterschool Special blandness, but those mechanical owls are quite realistic. While the film was in production Hiaasen said that he had "nightmare visions of the gopher in 'Caddyshack.' " He needn't have worried.
  94. It’s an M. Night Shyamalan movie with a PhD. Or maybe an MA.
  95. The movie will disappoint people expecting a genuine superhero epic or an over-the-top spoof. But those in the mood for an offbeat satire with a gifted cast will have a surprisingly good time.
  96. The acting is amiable but the story isn't much deeper than the callow main characters.
  97. Many will welcome the movie's interest in spirituality, but some may wonder why it's couched in a celebration of sensual pleasures ranging from sex to cigarette smoking.
  98. Gilliam's visual style has never been more energetic or inventive, and nobody could be attracted to dope after this portrait of drug abuse as a hallucinatory quagmire.
  99. The Normandy locations are evocative, but director Sophie Barthes compresses Emma’s multiyear rise and fall into what seems like a month or so.

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