Christian Science Monitor's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,983 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 3.5 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 67
Highest review score: 100 Afterimage
Lowest review score: 0 Bio-Dome
Score distribution:
3983 movie reviews
  1. The movie has homophobic touches, though, and with so many Asian characters, some viewers may wonder why every single one is portrayed as either a hapless victim or a wicked villain.
  2. Shyamalan remains a stilted screenwriter, but Roger Deakins's cinematography is spooky, creepy, eerie all the way.
  3. An unconvincing talkathon that might have worked better on the stage as a two-man showpiece.
  4. The premise is promising, but Herzfeld cares more about sensationalism than substance, and portions of the picture are far nastier than they had to be.
  5. Matt Damon and Robin Williams give touching performances, but Gus Van Sant's filmmaking is surprisingly ordinary.
  6. True-blue golf buffs should find it a treat. For others it's no deeper than a tin cup on a putting green.
  7. Bernardo Bertolucci's romantic drama has great visual beauty but little new to say about life or love.
  8. The whole enterprise comes across like a first draft.
  9. This throwback to the outmoded blaxploitation genre is skillfully filmed by Dickerson, but has little else to offer besides cheap, violent thrills.
  10. The story is a retread of the old "Exorcist" and "Omen" formats, but it delivers as much action and spectacle as fans of the genre could want.
  11. Could we please declare a moratorium on funny-sad movies about dysfunctional families, especially families that come together for the holidays?
  12. Take the Lead mixes classical dance with hip-hop gyrations and features perhaps the most scrubbed set of delinquents since "West Side Story."
  13. Provides a compassionate look at problems of old age that Hollywood rarely bothers to treat seriously.
  14. Too bad the action scenes rarely rise above standard kung-fu comedy, diluting the film's otherwise considerable entertainment value.
  15. The action is as grisly as it is surrealistic.
  16. The mood is often more coarse, crude, and nasty than needed to make his cautionary points and also by that "distancing effect," which diminishes whatever feelings of empathy or sympathy the story might otherwise inspire in its audience.
  17. The plot is familiar from decades of earlier bank-robbing sagas - the classic "Bonnie and Clyde" seems to have been a particular inspiration for its overall tone - and neither the action nor the dialogue rings meaningful changes on the genre.
  18. Just sweet enough to avoid being negligible.
  19. It's a pity that such vital, thought-provoking material has been rendered so lifeless and inauthentic on the screen.
  20. The material is familiar and the ending is corny, but Huston's acting and directing keep the comedy-drama likable if not very imaginative.
  21. The movie tries to outdo "Thelma and Louise" by upping the number of heroines, but it lacks the moral seriousness to tackle its sensitive material.
  22. George Clooney looks great in a cape, but this fourth installment in the series has invested so much capital in razzle-dazzle special effects that it hardly matters whose head is under the pointy-eared helmet.
  23. Its screenplay veers in highly questionable directions before reaching a mean-spirited climax that outweighs Ron Howard's workmanlike filmmaking and the contributions of a star-powered cast.
  24. All of the actresses are fun to watch, and as much attention appears to have been lavished on their outfits and hairdos as on their high-flying fight scenes.
  25. Uneven but always energetic and sometimes very funny.
  26. Director Marc Forster and screenwriter Jason Keller take the easy way out by turning Childers into a Bible-thumping Rambo. Just because the Childers of this movie is not, to put it mildly, introspective, is no reason why the filmmakers had to be equally dense.
  27. Wong Kar-Wai, whose energetic and inventive style isn't enough to give the shallow story the substance and resonance it needs.
  28. If the picture is often less spellbinding than it wants to be, it's partly Hoffman's fault for creating fantasy moods through traditional stage devices -- lavish props, cute makeup, peek-a-boo costumes -- that seem rather tame for this age of morphed-up visual surprises.
  29. Well acted and ably directed, if not very probing about its subject of underclass youth.
  30. The plot is sordid and predictable -- indiscriminate nightclubbing leads to escalating drugs, promiscuity, and violence. Things perk up cinematically in the last few scenes, but by then it's almost too late.
  31. Home of the Brave is a milestone of sorts. But it's a formulaic, overacted piece of work that rarely delves deep.
  32. Foster is fine, but the story's outcome would seem a tad more uncertain if another actress had the part. How scary are three New York tough guys when you've handled Hannibal Lecter in your time?
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Schnabel and his collaborators get points for taking on a crucial and underrepresented viewpoint. If only the result were more compelling.
  33. The trite story has plenty of distasteful moments, but Wahlberg and Yun-Fat justify their growing reputations as capable Hollywood actors.
  34. Some of the material is dramatic, other bits are dull.
  35. Energetic acting and directing make it a less exasperating experience than it might have been.
  36. The humor is more childish than raunchy, but it's interesting to see that becoming a big-time Broadway impresario hasn't led Waters to sell out his affection for gross-out gags.
  37. Araki graduates from his usual obsession with teenage angst in this neon-lighted comedy, but fails to hit the visual and verbal high notes he strains so hard to reach.
  38. Hackman gives a powerful performance as the killer, and the storytelling is often gripping. But the film contains much extremely offensive language and gratuitous depictions of violence, some of it aimed at children, not needed to get the plot across.
  39. Its main value is the prolonged look it gives of the late artist Basquiat.
  40. Hopkins has been fitted out prosthetically to resemble Hitchcock and he does a reasonably good job of impersonating him, but it's a foredoomed effort.
  41. They should call this overloud, underwhelming movie "Real Steal."
  42. Loses its way in a crime-movie subplot and a less-than-believable love affair.
  43. Is this misogyny, as some insist, or a critique of misogyny, as others say? Many moviegoers, grossed out by the film's gothic approach to medical matters, won't watch long enough to find out which is the answer. [30 Sept 1988]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  44. It comes on strong, but in its bloody heart of hearts it’s no more resonant than one of those old Vincent Price-Edgar Allan Poe contraptions – and less entertaining, too.
  45. It starts with a promising angle, portraying the perennial conflict between the Federation and the Klingons as an allegory for real East-West relations. But the screenplay does little to capitalize on this. The result is an ordinary science-fiction adventure. [12 Dec. 1991, p.14]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  46. You meet some fascinating personalities during this uncomfortable voyage.
  47. Films borrow tricks from pictures made years ago -- try to watch Bourne without thinking of "The Manchurian Candidate."
  48. A spicy critique of tabloid TV is buried in romantic-comedy material that strains too hard for cuteness. Ditto for Murphy's acting.
  49. This isn't a Ferrara classic like "King of New York," but even his less- memorable pictures carry an eccentric kick no other director could duplicate.
  50. This is standard plot material in most respects, and Kasdan has done little to make it seem new. Fans of time-tested formulas may applaud his fidelity to the genre, but others will wish he'd come up with a few original notions to energize this very long picture.
  51. Frivolous but fun, somewhere between a comic "French Connection" and the craziest Nascar race you never saw.
  52. Oliver Stone's imaginative style runs rings around John Ridley's idiotic screenplay.
  53. The movie has a broader range of emotions and visual effects than any "Star Wars" installment since "The Empire Strikes Back," but the writing and acting are as stiff as R2-D2's metal torso.
  54. David Mamet and jujitsu come together in Redbelt, and the result is a draw.
  55. A sad experience, but the sadness has no emotional heft because its people have none. This movie hasn't earned its funk.
  56. The story is hardly original, but this well-directed Taiwanese drama paints an intermittently vivid portrait of life on the Chinese mainland in the 1930s era.
  57. The trouble lies in its stereotypical style, its schmaltzy emotionalism.
  58. Most of the time we see her through Hal's idealizing eyes, though -- no surprise, since Hollywood won't let glittery stars like Paltrow play down their sex appeal for long.
  59. Livelier, more absorbing, and generally better acted than "Dangerous Liaisons," which arrived a year ago. But it runs out of inspiration long before it runs out of plot twists, and we've seen the twists too many times before.
  60. A movie that has more sap than a pine forest.
  61. Ramis doesn't reach the comic heights of his "Groundhog Day," but the acting is excellent and the screenplay offers some hearty laughs if you can stand bursts of violence and language as foul as a Mafioso's business agenda.
  62. Plays like a warmed-over "Last Tango in Paris," with more explicit sex but a lower level of originality and acting skill.
  63. Danny Boyle's dark comedy has stylishly filmed moments, but overall it's a queasy blend of amusing, pointless, and sometimes quite nasty material.
  64. Too much repetition and an unconvincing finale take a toll on the film's overall effectiveness.
  65. More emphasis on computer-generated gimmickry than on persuasive acting and ideas.
  66. McClelland is a joy to watch, even when the story strains too hard for lovable whimsy, which happens much too often.
  67. Good acting and an effectively claustrophobic mood compensate for a story that doesn't add up to much in the long run.
  68. Egoyan is one of Canada's most ambitious and original filmmakers, but the power of this intricate drama falls short of its aspirations, despite his personal investment in the subject, since he is of Armenian ancestry himself.
  69. The film includes graphic omnisexual and incestuous couplings and has an air of free-floating dread but, especially given its subject matter, it's oddly vacuous – it rarely takes hold emotionally even when its people hit bottom with a resounding thud.
  70. The first hour is eloquent and true. Once the story takes its big turn toward tragedy, though, it becomes predictable and sentimental.
  71. Some scenes of Ulrich Seidl's first fiction feature (he's already a respected documentary maker) are so brutal and degrading that they're hard to watch. Others are highly atmospheric and sometimes quite funny.
  72. Delivers enough action to please Saturday-night crowds, if not the surreal wit that made the first two "Batman" movies, directed by Tim Burton, so entertaining.
  73. All the old Disney trademarks are here, except the wit and surprise that were once the studio's stock in trade. There's little appeal to grownups, but kids should enjoy it.
  74. This tragicomic tale doesn't have the supercharged brilliance of "Run Lola Run," which it occasionally resembles, but it's certainly fast-moving and action fans should enjoy it.
  75. There are a few hilarious moments, and a few more that are foolish and even disgusting. [15 July 1988, Art and Leisure, p.21]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  76. Pat O'Connor directed this likable but unmemorable comedy-drama, which creates some vivid moments without quite managing to flesh out its commonplace characters.
  77. Sir Walter Scott's novel is turned inside-out by Michael Caton-Jones's movie, which transforms the title character from an elusive rogue into a conventional hero who swaggers across the screen from beginning to end.
  78. Best viewed as an oddball career move rather than as a successful movie.
  79. Makes up in solid acting what it lacks in Hollywood-type frills.
  80. Unless you are a Dante scholar, and perhaps not even then, following Inferno is a wild goose chase – without the goose.
  81. The story is unmemorable, but the characters are engaging and their predicaments are all too recognizable.
  82. The psychology of the story is shallow, but the action scenes pack a good visual punch.
  83. Wildly irreverent fantasy.
  84. It exploits post-9/11 anxieties as fodder for goofball gooniness. "Dr. Strangelove" it's not.
  85. For a while, it's like really cool, with lots of energy and stuff, but then it gets like major repetitious, and you wish it was like over, y'know? As if!
  86. It's all energetically filmed, but I miss the cool, modest clarity of the first version. Bigger isn't always better, even at the movies.
  87. With the exception of a few laughs - including a hysterical footsie scene and another that involves Saran Wrap - this one's a no-brainer.
  88. A genuine PG, gentle and wholesome almost all the way through. It's not a great movie, but it should attract family audiences.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    This is "high concept" moviemaking at its most relentless, but it has a few chuckles, and Linda Hunt pulls off some fine moments in a small role. Ivan Reitman directed, by the numbers. [15 Mar 1991]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  89. What damps down the psychological power of One Hour Photo is director Mark Romanek's reluctance to let the film become as idiosyncratically unnerving as its main character.
  90. Documentary about stock trading, with some vivid images but no clear perspectives or opinions on the material it presents.
  91. As a zoological spectacle the movie is riveting. But the narration tries to make us think of these adorable animals as if they saw the world in human terms.
  92. Virtually every person in the story is fabulously cute, picturesquely forlorn, adorably ditzy, or winsomely philosophical. In short, there's plenty of smooth storytelling but not a hint of reality here.
  93. The comically tinged action is as lively as it is brainless, and it revels in violence a bit less eagerly than many thrillers of its ilk.
  94. The movie paints a vivid portrait of a time and place, but falls back on familiar formulas that diminish its value as both emotional drama and slice-of-life realism.
  95. Konchalovsky keeps the action reasonably quick, but sentimental storytelling eventually swamps the picture.
  96. It's all rather exhausting, as opposed to exhilirating.
  97. The story wants to be a sort of "Last Tango in Paris" redux, but it falls into mere melodrama after a brilliant beginning.
  98. What would you do if you could take a pill and suddenly access 100 percent of your brain power? This is the premise behind Limitless, a sci-fi thriller that looks as if its makers utilized around 30 percent of theirs.

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