Christian Science Monitor's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,865 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 The Orphanage
Lowest review score: 0 The Green Hornet
Score distribution:
3865 movie reviews
  1. The trouble with Chicago is the sense it conveys that nothing is really at stake -- there's no moral or ethical question that can't be turned into toe-tapping fun.
  2. Wesley Snipes is terrific as the hero.
  3. The comedy as a whole is very slight.
  4. The movie wastes a good opportunity to look at important questions, such as who's responsible for American policy when the president is busy killing terrorists.
  5. An odd amalgam of soap opera and street-level realism, with, alas, the former trumping the latter.
  6. Based on a novel by French provocateur Georges Bataille, an important thinker whose fiction rarely translates into good cinema.
  7. Campion is an imaginative filmmaker, but here she reduces a fascinating subject to a two-character soap opera that often seems contrived on both spiritual and psychological levels.
  8. Seems more clever than heartfelt, and whether you enjoy it may depend on how much you like Robert Altman's eccentric western "McCabe and Mrs. Miller," which it uncannily resembles.
  9. The subject is crucially important, but the movie dilutes its impact with by-the-numbers filmmaking, and Cheadle's one-note performance displays few of his acting gifts.
  10. Like its predecessor, it's a hugely ambitious picture...But also like its predecessor, it cares far more about action, adventure, and violence than feelings, relationships, and ideas.
  11. It's a serviceable picture, but hardly a top-notch vehicle for Washington's remarkable gifts.
  12. Some touching moments, but too blandly inspirational.
  13. The story meanders, but the subject is timely and important.
  14. Alas, the movie isn't nearly as amusing as its premise, but it's refreshingly different from most run-of-the-mill teenage fare.
  15. The story is so important and compelling that you wish Jewison had treated it more as an urgent wake-up call than a by-the-numbers morality play.
  16. It may not be much of a movie, but it's a terrific concert.
  17. Nicely acted and capably directed, but hardly memorable.
  18. The acting is solid, but Tony Pierce-Roberts's unimaginative camera work falls short of his highest standard.
  19. As featherweight as its title, but Lyonne gives a winning performance and the mischievous story packs a few good laughs.
  20. The plot is promising and the acting is earnest, but in the end the movie doesn't quite work.
  21. Denis's pungent images create a nightmarish mood but don't bring full artistic coherence to her odd mix of gothic horror and postmodern reverie.
  22. It's campy fun, but if you've seen the previous sequels, the plot grows tiresome and lacks shock value.
  23. There are a few amusing moments, helped by subdued performances from Affleck and Gandolfini, but this is no "Bad Santa" despite its obvious ambition to play similar holiday tricks.
  24. If the heroine really had seven days left, she wouldn't waste it watching stuff like this.
  25. My main complaint -- there's too much emphasis on action -- will strike the film's young target audience as a see-worthy virtue rather than a fault.
  26. Intended as a parody of B-movie fantasies from the '50s, this satire more directly lampoons kiddie thrillers like "Captain Video," putting it perilously close to the pop-culture trash it aims to mock.
  27. The acting is solid, but the story builds less drama and suspense than its high-stakes subject might lead you to expect.
  28. The story is stylishly filmed and acted with high spirits, but there's not much going on in many of its colorful shots.
  29. The result can be viewed as an uproarious satire of science fiction in the "Independence Day" mold, or as a rehash of "Gremlins" without the novelty of the original.
  30. McDonald and Montgomery are fun to watch in this mildly amusing Irish romantic comedy.
  31. This delirious film is overflowing with energy and effects, but it lacks the heart and soul that would have made it important as well as impressive.
  32. Sensitive acting by Morgan Freeman and stylish directing by Gary Fleder can't overcome the bottom-line pointlessness of the movie's melodramatic material, which never achieves the dark resonance that helped "The Silence of the Lambs" get under the skin of many moviegoers.
  33. There's too much hokum and too little suspense in the screenplay by Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson.
  34. Robin Williams is no Fred MacMurray, but he plays the hero with his customary energy.
  35. Quite funny and eye-catching.
  36. There's lots of atmosphere and information to be gained, but stay away unless you can tolerate graphic plunges into the wildest kinds of youthful excess.
  37. A lot more violent and a tad less creepy than the 1974 original, the much-changed remake delivers enough gory, belligerent mayhem to keep horror fans screaming.
  38. The only performance worth watching is Costner's. Now that he seems resigned to being something less than an A-list luminary, he is often modest and affecting.
  39. Coogan and Broadbent are agile and expressive, but too much time goes to Chan's silly stunts. A colorful disappointment.
  40. Runs out of good ideas long before it's over, falling below "Prizzi's Honor" and "The Freshman" in the dubious genre of contract-killer comedies.
  41. The acting is capable and the suspense is effective at times, but the gore is grisly and the climax is surprisingly hokey.
  42. Acute sense of color and offbeat storytelling style aren't enough to make this sometimes sensual fantasy more than a whimsical trifle.
  43. The first half is a well-acted psychological drama, but the second half is standard thriller fare with more action than insight.
  44. Kenneth Branagh overplays his portrayal of Neville, but most of the other characters are skillfully acted by a solid cast, including the great Aborigine actor David Gulpilil as the tracker. In all, this is a watchable movie that's not quite the memorable experience it might have been.
  45. May find some fans among female teens. But even they may decide the project cares more about quick profits than real entertainment value, since the signs are hard to miss.
  46. Hansen-Løve wants us to experience all this as a kind of amour fou, but all I kept thinking was that Sullivan was a prize jerk and Camille would be well rid of him.
  47. Russell's stylish and imaginative filmmaking wages its own war against lunkheaded and sometimes offensive material.
  48. Never quite jells into a coherent statement. Or a coherent film.
  49. The first hour is sharply directed, character-driven drama that ranks with Scott's best work. Then he lapses into his usual mode - more a bombardier than an entertainer, filling the screen with sadistic violence and arbitrary plot twists. In all, a wasted opportunity.
  50. The title refers to the commercialization of just about everything in modern society, and Ferrara brings touches of his ornery filmmaking imagination to bear on the pessimistic parable.
  51. Its ambitious aims are commendable in themselves, but regrettable since they overinflate what might have been a simpler and better film.
  52. The suspenseful set-up never pays off, but Rampling continues the impressive collaboration with Ozon that began with "Under the Sand."
  53. As the murderer, Stanley Tucci is intensely creepy but, like almost everybody else in this movie, he’s more gothic figment than flesh and blood.
  54. While the story takes some clever turns, its psychology is far from convincing and its momentum flags long before the finale.
  55. Levinson made a great political comedy once, "Wag the Dog," but that had a script by David Mamet. Here, Levinson seems to be torn between making a political jest and a suspense thriller. Neither works.
  56. The satire is crammed with sexual and scatological humor; some may find this Rabelaisian and refreshing, while others will detect the end of civilization as we know it.
  57. This uneven drama might have been more effective if someone with more on-screen charisma than writer-director Elster had played the main character.
  58. All this amounts to a badly wasted opportunity, since global warming is a serious issue that deserves thoughtful treatment. So stay home and read a scientific journal instead. This is a disaster movie that lives up to its label.
  59. Only part of it is in 3-D, but youngsters should enjoy pulling their special specs on and off at appropriate moments.
  60. It's regrettable that director Costa-Gavras puts more of his storytelling energy into simplistic psychology and suspense-movie action than historical depth and philosophical insight. This prevents Amen. from becoming a Holocaust drama for the ages.
  61. You might expect "Seabiscuit" meets "Lawrence of Arabia," but overall, it's a big, beautiful bore.
  62. It's a soggy farce that not even its top-notch cast can rescue – though not for want of trying.
  63. Many moviegoers may find its colors and effects delightful enough to make the experience a thrill. Look beyond the tinsel, though, and you may be disappointed.
  64. Directed by Joel Schumacher with occasional gestures toward social commentary, and enough spectacle to mask the movie's deep down emptiness.
  65. Junger spins hilariously written scenes with split-second timing, although the story sags during its long middle portion.
  66. Peter Greenaway's unorthodox drama treats the movie screen less as an entertainment device than a postmodern canvas upon which he writes, photographs, and records an intricate multicultural collage. [06 Jun 1997]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  67. Costner is convincing as the hero, ably supported by Joe Morton as a short-tempered supervisor and Kathy Bates as a feisty neighbor. Dragonfly has little chance of "Ghost"-like popularity, though.
  68. All so fast and frenetic.
  69. Moretti's acting skills aren't up to the demands of the main role, and his portrait of family life is too simplistic to be credible.
  70. Black and Kyle Gass started their acoustic/heavy metal rock music comedy act back in the late 1980s. Gold albums and HBO shorts followed, now this. Still, any movie featuring Jack Black with an appearance by Sasquatch is not a total loss, and, for those who care, we learn the origin of the group's name.
  71. The adventure is well-acted by Mira Sorvino and Giancarlo Giannini, among others, and imaginatively directed by Guillermo Del Toro, who gives a new twist to old science-fiction effects.
  72. Rodriguez's acting almost scores a knockout even though the movie's directing and dialogue are fairly routine.
  73. The movie takes fascinating material and transforms it into a routine soap opera.
  74. Few of its loosely linked vignettes have enough visual or emotional power to be very memorable.
  75. Poehler is the life of the party and steals just about every scene, although there's not much to steal.
  76. This is a subdued and sometimes subtle exercise in ghostly doings, going against the horror-movie grain by relying on quietude and understatement.
  77. What a waste of a fine cast.
  78. Unnecessary profanity for PG, a little slow for grown-ups, but good for laughs and promoting sibling peace.
  79. The plot is predictable, and the humor is uncreative and often crude. The heroine, however, is endearing in her quirkiness.
  80. Has touches of quirky style to match its slightly edgy content.
  81. The story has inherent emotional power, but Jeremy Brock's formula-bound screenplay rarely soars beyond cliches.
  82. The action is mild enough for fairly young children, and grownups may enjoy its old-fashioned spirit.
  83. About the only thing I like about this movie is its shaggy, relatively apolitical stance. Instead of setting itself up as a brief for or against the Iraq war, it just moseys along without much on its mind except how to connect the dots in the plot.
  84. The filmmakers can't decide what sort of picture they're trying to cook up, so they keep oscillating among shallow psychological drama, high-tech action sequences, and comedy scenes that are themselves an uneasy mixture of sitcom-style dialogue and self-mocking campiness.
  85. The movie has moments of breathtaking suspense, at least until it lapses into cartoonish implausibility in the second half. With good acting and good dialogue it might actually have been a good picture.
  86. Tsotsi never comes across as anything but a brutal cipher, and serious issues such as black-on-black crime in the townships are left unexplored.
  87. You'll enjoy this sentimental drama if you feel good intentions are their own reward, at least where movies are concerned; but it'll exasperate you if you want your entertainment to have some connection with the world we actually live in.
  88. It's interesting to see a movie of this kind based on a single gospel, with no additions or interpolations from other sources. But except for a few scenes that evoke the reverent beauty of Renaissance painting, the filmmaking and acting are awfully stiff -- certainly not worthy of the timeless story being told.
  89. A promising feature-film debut.
  90. Laurence Fishburne and Tim Roth play the main characters with conviction, but Bill Duke's punchy filmmaking style banishes any hope of storytelling subtlety or psychological nuance.
  91. Desplechin wants to film an adventure of the human spirit in the manner of a Hitchcockian drama, but he doesn't have a solid enough grasp of English culture to equal the complexity of his French productions like "The Sentinel" and "The Life of the Dead."
  92. The end result smacks more of Hollywood melodrama than true compassion for the suffering poor.
  93. Add a lot of dull acting -- except Sir Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis -- and you have an uneven movie with yawns aplenty.
    • 29 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The astonishingly inept finish could serve as a primer in screenwriting classes on how not to wind up a family drama.
  94. If there is to be a sequel to this thudding slab of cacophony, why not just go all the way and make John McClane a superhero?
  95. Bland, amiable, innocuous.
  96. The story often seems unfocused, and the talented cast doesn't appear to be fully in synch with its heart-wrenching material.
  97. The only aspect that emerges a winner is the gorgeous Mediterranean scenery.
  98. It's so slavishly similar to its predecessor - right down to the symbolic lettering on Marion's license plates - that there's little to spark fresh discussion except the acting.
  99. The violence is cartoonishly garish and the yuks are few. Crowe, looking (deliberately I presume) flabby and somnolent, is more dead than deadpan, and Gosling, who appears at times to be doing a Lou Costello impression, is, to put it mildly, not in his element.

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