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 A Decade Under the Influence
Lowest review score: 0 I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry
Score distribution:
3841 movie reviews
  1. The movie makes a commendable effort to celebrate bravery and underscore the terrors of war, but its melodramatic approach is more spectacular than insightful.
  2. The film actually deserves four stars for its imaginative style and astonishing suspense, zero stars for its shameless exploitation of violent shocks and loveless sensuality.
  3. The story is likable if not memorable, and the Chinese settings lend the basically ordinary plot a touch of novelty.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    This is not storytelling by a confident artist. Even Zhang's former mastery of visual form has become shaky, with a pedestrian handling of dramatic scenes and a surfeit of picture-postcard landscape shots.
  4. Disney studios, director Randall Wallace, and his screenwriter Mike Rich, obviously targeting a "faith-based" audience à la "The Blind Side," lard the soundtrack with "Oh Happy Day" and readings from the Book of Job.
  5. Medusa, at least, is fun to watch, and, as a bonus, we in the audience don’t have to worry about turning to stone (although, watching this film, your eyelids do get awfully heavy).
  6. The Muslim women in “SATC2” are props in the froth. Come to think of it, so are Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha, and Miranda.
  7. Burton is an imaginative director with a distinctive artistic vision, but his originality is nowhere to be seen in this by-the-numbers retread.
  8. The story has some chillingly suspenseful episodes, although it's marred by overfamiliar themes and weak dialogue.
  9. While you can't fault The Dancer Upstairs for lack of ambition, its tantalizing ingredients add up to a less impressive package than I'd hoped for. Malkovich should select a more manageable subject the next time he sits in the director's chair.
  10. This romantic farce has a talented cast and energy to spare, but somehow the ingredients don't burn as brightly as one would expect from such promising ingredients.
  11. Animated version of the Rogers & Hammerstein musical.
  12. More concerned with quickening our pulses than broadening our minds.
  13. Ingeniously crafted with flashes of intelligence, if not very memorable.
  14. Gary Sinise is chilling as the villain, and the screenplay by Richard Price and Alexander Ignon shows some interest in class hostility and other social issues, although this doesn't extend far enough to allow the women of the story a chance to shine in their male-dominated surroundings.
  15. The movie isn't boring, exactly. It's too nutty for that.
  16. The facts of this true-life story are highly dramatic, and they'd have much more power without the sappy sentimentality Beresford needlessly adds to the movie.
  17. Hammers home its tragicomic points too heavily for either its humorous or dramatic aspects to gather much emotional steam.
  18. Along with some creaky plot mechanics in the last third of the story, this reduces the film to ordinary dimensions - a sharp but no longer resonant show.
  19. The movie makes up in sincerity and goodwill what it lacks in originality and style.
  20. The movie starts with insights about the need for more humane values in health care, then buries them under an avalanche of frivolities, vulgarities, and clichés.
  21. Blethyn's lively acting and some visually amusing moments lend spice to this minor but engaging comedy.
  22. In the end, however, the story is too contrived and melodramatic to reach its full potential.
  23. There's precious little to think about despite the screenplay's comic-philosophical musings on fate and coincidence.
  24. Paints a sincere and serious portrait of the seductiveness of evil and the self-destructive nature of depravity.
  25. Peregrym is a fresh-faced beauty and Bridges is enjoyably cranky, but the film is as bland as an Afterschool Special.
  26. The overall effect is about the same -- slow start, then escalating suspense and violence. Today's shock-movie fans will enjoy shrieking at it, and others should skip it. In space, no one can hear you ask for your money back.
  27. The acting is endearing and the story has great charm before predictability and sentimentality eventually take over.
  28. Most of the movie is standard action fare, but the political commentary is interesting when it's allowed to surface.
  29. This historical fantasy is too ambitious for its own good, but contains some striking imagery and likable performances.
  30. As the corrupt, populist Louisiana governor Willie Stark, Crawford was such a swaggering behemoth that it would take Godzilla to upstage him. Sean Penn isn't quite that.
  31. Well acted, capably directed, not as substantial as it might have been.
  32. Go
    Although some of the acting is strong, the atmosphere is so relentlessly sleazy that many moviegoers will want to go long before the final credits.
  33. One of those movies designed as an Oscar make-over for its star. It didn’t work in this case. Aniston was not nominated for Best Actress, perhaps because the film is so obvious about what it’s up to.
  34. Plenty of surprises, almost all of them nasty.
  35. Bottom line: Kingdom of Heaven is the most exciting action-adventure yarn so far this year. Just don't expect anything deeper.
  36. Would have benefited from more flamboyant film clips and fewer folksy conversations with the garrulous old-timers it focuses on.
  37. Resembles the yacht where it takes place. Everything is arranged for fun, pleasure, and amusement. But the vehicle itself is heavy and cumbersome, and it takes a tad too long to get us where we're going.
  38. The performances are persuasive but the plot rattles on much too long.
  39. The murder-mystery plot is told in rough-and-tumble style, full of sound and fury but signifying almost nothing in the end.
  40. This well-directed Hong Kong drama is at its best when it captures the casual affection that grows between the main characters. It also touches on important Chinese social and political themes, but Kwan understates these so sketchily that they build little psychological power.
  41. Unabashed "Star Wars" clone.
  42. Overacted, overdirected, and overcooked in the usual Tornatore manner, but sheer energy and enthusiasm keep it watchable and listenable most of the way through.
  43. The main characters are unremarkable, and most of the acting is dull.
  44. I don’t get the enthusiasm for this movie, written and directed by Damien Chazelle, which is such a cooked-up piece of claptrap that I half expected Darth Vader to pick up the baton. We’re supposed to think that Terence’s tough love is more “honest” than the usual pussyfooting tutelage, but in any sane society this guy would have been brought up on charges long ago.
  45. There's a great movie to be made about the survivors of Woodstock Nation and their children. But in order to make that movie, you first have to respect the ideals of that generation enough to at least give them their due.
  46. Although this "Moonstruck" knockoff is diverting to watch, it's basically a low-budget loaf of Italian-American movie clichés.
  47. Gallo's earlier work suggests he has directorial talent, but here it's buried beneath too much ego to be detectible.
  48. In this exquisitely filmed adaptation Pacino is as vivid a Shylock as we're likely to see. Despite all the scholarly excuses for this drama, though, it's shot through with outrageously anti-Semitic attitudes.
  49. The same story was told vastly better in the 1949 melodrama "The Reckless Moment."
  50. Contains extremely graphic sex and many twists that are unpredictable but not very compelling.
  51. Halfway through the movie, I decided a better title for this weepie contraption would be “The Hurt Letter.”
  52. Kline stands out in the dual roles of the heartless tycoon and his playboy son.
  53. The acting is passionate, but the film would be more effective if it presented a more thoroughgoing lesson in the raging horrors that swept through European culture during the era of the French Revolution.
  54. Figgis brings strong visual imagination to the first hour, but he can't rescue Richard Jefferies's screenplay from plot holes bigger than the manor itself.
  55. While the story is sentimental, heartfelt acting makes its impact less manipulative.
  56. Iñárritu does the actor no favors by putting him through the existential wringer every step of the way. Uxbal suffers for all our sins.
  57. What's lacking in The Upside of Anger is a steady sense that we're watching real people cope with real, jolting emotions.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    This feature-length sitcom episode is handsomely filmed, but not as funny as you'd hope with Steve Martin and Diane Keaton in leading roles, and some of the humor has a nasty edge. [8 Dec 1995, p.13]
    • Christian Science Monitor
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The costumes and design are gorgeous enough to distract us from the wildly erratic tone – some of the time.
  58. Bassett and Diggs are appealing as the slightly odd couple, but the movie rambles on too long.
  59. Liam Neeson and Alan Rickman give sturdy performances, but Neil Jordan's historically based drama seems oddly cool and distant with regard to its incendiary subject.
  60. There has to be a good reason to put yourself through yet another junkie odyssey and Candy flunks the test.
  61. This ghastly swatch of pulp horror is compelling at the most basic level, but so little is going on in it that you might as well be watching a sadistic lab experiment performed on mice.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Hollywood is notorious for giving its second-best roles to women, and the situation clearly hasn't changed when a superficial romp like Postcards From the Edge represents the best a major studio can come up with in exploring women's issues. [25 Oct 1990, p.14]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  62. The Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai has an undeservedly high reputation as a master stylist. He's more like a master window dresser.
  63. David O. Russell hasn't yet developed enough filmmaking savvy to juggle so many intellectual, emotional, and narrative elements. He's clever and ambitious, but perhaps too much so.
  64. What begins as a twisted sex romp turns film noir-ish. Guthe is so anxious to show us what a larcenous tramp Mini is that he never shows us any other sides to her.
  65. The best reason to see It Runs in the Family is the sight of unquenchable Kirk.
  66. The story has more violence than brains, but Hong Kong action star Chow makes an interestingly moody impression in his first Hollywood role.
  67. It's as forgettable as they come.
  68. But the drama's attack on racism would be more persuasive if it rejected vigilante justice and recognized that hatred and violence of all kinds must be condemned if evils like bigotry are ever to be eradicated.
  69. The most inventive aspect of the film, aside from a lovely, daffy romantic duet between hypernerds played by Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig, are the promotional tie-ins with which we’ve been inundated -- Ron hawking Dodge Durango trucks, accepting journalism school awards, etc.
  70. Some of the suspense set-pieces are impressive, but the picture would pack a greater wallop if it were stitched together more tightly and consistently.
  71. Allen has fun with all his roles -- The rest of the acting is bland, but the movie's preteen target audience won't mind, and adults will find occasional grown-up jokes to chuckle at.
  72. By making Nacho a do-gooder, Hess defuses Black's subversive energy. You could argue that Black also played a do-gooder in "School of Rock," but the kids in that film were a lot spunkier, and Black wasn't constantly playing for sympathy as he does here.
  73. The fine cast is also misused -- especially Kidman, who looks as unruffled at the end of her torments as before they began, and Zellweger, who does a job of overacting that might have gotten rejected by "The Beverly Hillbillies."
  74. The story is as contrived as it is comical.
  75. The result is a run-of-the-mill fantasy, competently produced but disappointingly familiar, from its "Forbidden Planet" premise to the digital-clock countdown near the end.
  76. Conjures up enough involving moments to create some drama.
  77. The plot, based on a Phillip K. Dick story, is ingenious; and Arnold Schwarzenegger brings an effective blend of machismo and innocence to his role. Too bad director Paul Verhoeven lets brainless violence and tricky special effects swamp the cleverness of the tale itself. [22 June 1990, Arts, p.10]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  78. Spacey is endearing, bringing his shy character to life despite glaring psychological gaps in the screenplay.
  79. There are lots of plot twists and romantic angles. What's lacking is laughs.
  80. The only genuine moments of emotion come not from the lead actresses but from that great trouper Blythe Danner.
  81. Directed by Allen Hughes and written by Brian Tucker, the film is a collection of crime noir oddments that don't add up to a full meal.
  82. Good contributes very little to a conundrum that has occupied historians and psychologists for half a century.
  83. Amiable, though much too long.
  84. Would have more heft if the filmmakers had been supplied with talented stars, original ideas, and a barely adequate budget.
  85. Colorful and cute. It would be better if it weren't quite so sitcommy and if it didn't outlast its ideas.
  86. It's insulting when such savvy filmmakers expect us to laugh automatically at four-letter words, bathroom humor, and caricatures as crude as they are unoriginal. At its best, The Ladykillers soars above its own worst instincts, especially when Hanks and Hall take over the action.
  87. Steven Spielberg's blockbuster whips up superficial sorts of excitement, and unlike the original "Jurassic Park," the picture looks tacky around the edges.
  88. The acting and crooning are sadly uneven, making this a shaky comeback vehicle for the screen musical.
  89. Penn's excellent acting doesn't raise his character above the level of familiar clichés about woman-chasing jazzmen.
  90. Howard spins the story with enough gusto and gumption to make it reasonably entertaining.
  91. Utterly predictable, but pleasant enough for its young target audience.
  92. Details of the 1963 period are weakly handled, though, and the ending is as false as it is sentimental. [21 Aug 1987]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  93. At heart this is a cuteness exploitation flick.
  94. The story isn't nearly as funny or suspenseful as it would like to be, although the solid cast gives it occasional dashes of pizazz.
  95. It’s not that this material is, or should be, off limits in a movie. But The Diary of a Teenage Girl isn’t exactly “Lolita.” Heller must think that taking a moral stance is tantamount to selling out. Commercially, she may be right. In every other respect, she’s wrong.
  96. The topic is thought-provoking, the flashback-based structure is interesting, and there are surprising twists near the end. But there's also an overdose of sentimentality that badly dilutes the picture's impact.

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