Christian Science Monitor's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,907 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 Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War
Lowest review score: 0 The Bounty Hunter
Score distribution:
3907 movie reviews
  1. Pop-music biopics have a great history, but 8 Mile is for Eminem fans only. They're sure to make it a huge, huge hit.
  2. While it may supply giggles and shivers to preteens, grownups should think twice before entering this all-too-haunted house.
  3. The film's time structure is splintered into shards of past and present, which is probably just as well – a strictly narrative chronology would make this wallow seem even sloggier.
  4. Lively acting and an amiable comic atmosphere offer partial compensation for generally lackluster filmmaking.
  5. As clumsy as its title.
  6. This sort of cinema is as dehumanizing as the aliens who serve as its intergalactic bad guys.
  7. The mixture of humor, suspense, and ominous undertones is effective but rarely inspired.
  8. Olyphant steals the show as a cheeky porn producer. The rest is gimmicky and predictable, except for a clever surprise near the end.
  9. Effective at times, and Gyllenhaal shows a new side of her talent, but the main impression is of first-rate performers doing second-rate work.
  10. The movie works hard to be naughty, but its sub-David Lynch style doesn't quite click. Gyllenhaal is excellent and Spader effectively adds to his roster of creepy characters.
  11. Gosling, as the Durst-like David Marks, is scarily effective before his performance turns opaque and horror-movie-ish.
  12. Has moments of real visual creativity.
  13. Warning: If you have an allergic reaction to songs like "Take Me Home Tonight" and "I Want to Know What Love Is," do not venture within 10 miles of this movie.
  14. Moviegoers deserve more than the racism, sexism, and all-purpose mayhem on view here - failings that offset the razor-sharp action and technical brilliance also visible.
  15. The most interesting plot development – Frankie starts falling for Sam – is nipped in the bud. Some things even a soap opera won't stoop to.
  16. The overall effect is too self-worshipping to be of lasting interest. The guy sure isn't shy!
  17. The picture has more charm than credibility, and its conquistador-like attitude toward women is mighty questionable; but the story becomes resonant if you see it as a fable about Brando vicariously regaining his youth by teaming with Depp in this all-stops-out movie fantasy.
  18. While it roots the heroine's compassion in her Christian beliefs, it suggests Indian occultism is equally powerful. And the last third is a lackluster barrage of stalking, shooting, and fighting. Too bad the movie doesn't ride into its own sunset about an hour earlier.
  19. If moviegoers really thought about the violence, sexism, and materialism at the core of the series, the whole shebang might vanish overnight.
  20. The endangered swampland dwellers are supposed to be an indigenous pastoral community threatened by eco-unfriendly oil refineries. I kept rooting for Hushpuppy and Co. to leave behind their squalor and relocate. This is not the politically correct response.
  21. Tamer than tame in every respect, which makes it great for little kids, if not for the grownups who bring them.
  22. The first half is full of verbal and visual surprises, but the later scenes are talky and dull, as if filmmaker Steven Soderbergh had lost interest in his subject and his characters. Which would be understandable, since the story often seems more calculated than heartfelt. [4 Aug 1989, Arts, p.10]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  23. The subject is intriguing even if the dialogue is stilted and the acting is uneven.
  24. The adventure is vulgar and violent, although the special effects are impressive.
  25. The film's touches of unconventional style interfere with its emotional effectiveness at times.
  26. A highly calculated attempt to recalibrate with raunch the family entertainment template and cash in.
  27. What's missing from this Vanity Fair is the sense of plucky, anything-goes adventurousness that abounds in Thackeray's novel.
  28. Cube is cute and Long is lovely, but the youngsters are too brash and smug to bear. At least there's a heartwarming end to the excursion.
  29. You don't see such feisty acting very often.
  30. This situation hardly provides a clever or original metaphor for the failures of communication that perennially plague the human race, but the drama's heart is in the right place.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Steve Martin is amusing as a gangster transplanted to the suburbs, but the movie is a mess, and too jammed with ethnic stereotypes for "just kidding" to be an excuse. [5 Oct 1990, p.12]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  31. Woo's customary action-film pyrotechnics gather more substance than usual from the implausible but inventive plot, drawn from a Philip K. Dick story.
  32. 300
    Just about everything in this pea-brained epic is overscaled and overwrought – it's a cartoon trying to be a towering triptych.
  33. I'd like Head of State better if it had less cartoonish violence, and if its gags weren't so predictable. Rock is in fine comic form, though, and his directing debut shows real promise.
  34. Fails to score a checkmate.
  35. Its most impressive aspect is its visual style, patterned to some degree on Sergio Leone westerns. A picture this long and dense should work harder to be cogent and coherent, though.
  36. Awash in spurious sentimentality and sniping.
  37. The most entertaining scenes focus on the lovable louts and losers who share the boardinghouse where the protagonist - based on a comic-book character billed as a superhero without superpowers - prepares his grisly exploits. The rest is mayhem.
  38. It's fun to watch for a while. But the movie runs much too long, and a few funny bits aside, most of the comedy writing is lame.
  39. Kitano's first major comedy is loose and likable.
  40. Long, bombastic, and violent, but fantasy fans may enjoy its fast-moving energy.
  41. In sum, it's a quintessential summer film, especially if you're 8 years old and in the mood for a quick dose of mindless fun.
  42. It's a standard science-fantasy fable, but the visual effects are mighty impressive.
  43. A pleasant experience, if not the dazzling entertainment Lopez fans were hoping for.
  44. Fans of Jacquelyn Mitchard's novel may find enough echoes of the book to justify the price of admission. But others can see this sort of thinly crafted melodrama in TV movies every week. For free.
  45. This is the kind of movie where a character can't just say "the fire's not out yet," they have to say "the fire still lives in these stones." It made me yearn to see "Caveman" again. At least that was INTENTIONALLY funny.
  46. As a story, Wild at Heart is even less coherent than “Blue Velvet,'' to the point where whole characters and subplots disappear into a murky haze at the end. [17 Aug 1990, Arts, p.11]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  47. Broderick and Witherspoon give perfectly matched performances at the head of a first-rate cast.
  48. The pop-music star Prince makes his movie debut in this bizarre drama about a rock singer with a troubled career and a miserable home life.
  49. The story never gathers much dramatic momentum despite an impressive cast and a lot of dank Middle Ages atmosphere.
  50. The movie's moral messages are all on target. Too bad the movie is much, much too long and Jackson gives one of his dullest performances ever.
  51. The screenplay is foolish and Michael Keaton overplays the title role badly, but director Tim Burton gives the comedy a heap of visual imagination. [22 Apr 1988]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  52. It works better as a nature and historical study than as a drama, though.
  53. Knight of Cups isn’t quite as fancy-flimsy as “To the Wonder,” which, as I remember it, consisted mostly of Ben Affleck gazing dazedly at wave formations, but it’s close enough.
  54. Dark, eccentric, silly.
  55. Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez provide the star power, but what's missing is script power.
  56. Keaton doesn't have quite enough filmmaking savvy to balance the story's heart-wrenching and smile-coaxing aspects.
  57. The end product is so clunky, scattered, and all-around soggy that sometimes you can't help laughing. At least Connelly and Reilly give their all, and Tim Roth is terrific as a weird lawyer.
  58. No amount of technical skill can substitute for genuine shivers, and in the fright department this picture rarely lives up to its hype.
  59. This is a half-baked movie about a half-baked person, but it has a fine, melancholic afterglow.
  60. Auteuil is a superb actor. Still, the real-life Sade would be dismayed to see himself portrayed more as an eccentric old codger than the world-changing firebrand he worked hard to be.
  61. This variation on the "Rear Window" format works best when director Noyce gives free rein to Washington's thoughtful charm.
  62. May not always make sense, but it's crammed with flamboyant images and frisky cinematic pranks -- It's far from a great movie, but there's nothing like it on the current scene.
  63. The movie is visually impressive, but Ishii's virtuoso style can't overcome the flatness of the comic-book story he's telling.
  64. The stars are appealing and the filmmaking is imaginative at times, but the picture never builds much dramatic momentum.
    • Christian Science Monitor
  65. Sometimes they're truly hilarious; sometimes they're lazy enough to milk laughs from scattershot vulgarity.
  66. Undermines its serious undertones with an avalanche of smirky cynicism designed to flatter the hipper-than-thou fantasies of adolescent moviegoers.
  67. Resembles a fast-and-flashy variation on "The Sixth Sense," with touches of "The Matrix" as a bonus.
  68. The humor is as crude as the characters, but the picture has energy.
  69. Interesting as anthropology, although the subject won't appeal to many people.
  70. The movie has promise as a psychological thriller, but the filmmakers show far more interest in chases and shoot-outs than characters and ideas.
  71. Although it has a good heart and a warm spirit, this prettily filmed drama is more sentimental and manipulative than earlier Iranian films on youth-related subjects.
  72. It's all very colorful, but the movie's diverse elements clash as often as they cooperate.
  73. The acting is weak, largely because many of the performers seem uncomfortable speaking English. The last half-hour works up a fair amount of action and suspense, though.
  74. The cast works hard, but Jordan's directing is too ponderous and slow to build dramatic energy.
  75. Nora Ephron's comedy tries to be sweet, hip, innocent, and sophisticated all at the same time, and it doesn't take long for these contradictory goals to cancel one another out.
  76. Any highfalutin interpretations of his new film only serve to camouflage what is, in essence, a scam about a scam.
  77. Woo's patented pyrotechnics - intricate editing, acrobatic camera movements, slow-motion mayhem - lend intermittent sparks to the violent action sequences, but the two-dimensional characters have little personality.
  78. The pace of this Bolivia/US coproduction is slower than that of a snail, but it gathers some interest as the themes of the vignettes dovetail near the end.
  79. The characters of this Dutch comedy aren't very interesting or original, but it has a stylish look and spirited performances.
  80. Every single frame of this film is as cute, slick, and snappy as the adorable little mice who end the movie with a gag right out of "Babe: Pig in the City."
  81. It's all idiotic but energetic, directed by Jan De Bont in his usual techno-action style.
  82. The story is lively and energetic, if you can take its raunchy jokes and rowdy behavior.
  83. Slow, beautifully filmed, Nolte's Jefferson implausible.
  84. There are lots of lively tunes in an excellent cause, but in the end you wish you'd either probed more deeply into historical events or heard more uninterrupted minutes of inspired performing.
  85. Daum travels to Poland with his wife and their skeptical sons in this documentary, hoping to prove that people who are not Orthodox Jews like them are worthy of attention and compassion.
  86. With all the money expended on this movie, couldn’t anybody come up with a few good lines in between all the kabooms?
  87. The story is so calculated that it ultimately bears little relation to the real world.
  88. The characters are stereotypes and the psychology is simplistic, but the movie builds an effective sense of claustrophobic menace that thriller fans may enjoy.
  89. As dull as it is to watch, "Star Trek" at least possesses a measure of intellectual pizzazz: not enough to provoke thought and discussion, exactly, but more than many "Star Wars" imitators have bothered to give us. [4 Jan. 1980, p.15]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  90. Much of the movie seems wired and overeager when it ought to be refreshing and relaxed. Everybody sweats and strains to be magical, and while they often succeed, the onslaught of so much aggressive charm is exhausting.
  91. The drama has compelling moments and touches of imagination, but it relies more on sentiment than sense in conveying its messages about faith, family, and tradition.
  92. The story is less original than its setting - it knocks off everything from "Lord of the Flies" to "The Blair Witch Project" -and its unromantic moods may make DiCaprio's countless "Titanic" fans want to swim in the opposite direction.
  93. The sweetest thing about Sweet November (a remake of the 1968 movie) is the on-screen magic between Charlize Theron and Keanu Reeves. But that's pretty much where the magic ends.
  94. The first hour is excellent, spinning an ethically and emotionally compelling tale. Narrative logic fades during the second half, though, reducing the movie's impact on every level.
  95. It's slobby, goony, and gross, also occasionally funny, but not occasionally enough.
  96. Goodman's comic delivery gets maximum mileage from a few amusing situations, though.
  97. Robert Towne's screenplay is less opportunistic than many of his efforts in recent years, although it still contains moments designed merely to shock or titillate.
  98. This well-meaning drama was made with obvious passion.
  99. Hamilton is played, blandly, by Anna Sophia Robb, and her devoted parents, less bland, are played by Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt. The surfing footage, much of it shot off the coast of Kauai, is not bland at all.

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