Christian Science Monitor's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,541 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 4.2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 The Return
Lowest review score: 0 The Green Hornet
Score distribution:
3,541 movie reviews
  1. Director and co-writer Emmanuelle Bercot doesn’t go in for a lot of plot, and the film’s one-thing-after-another trajectory, at least for a while, is engagingly shaggy.
  2. One of those stranger-than-fiction documentaries that just gets weirder and weirder as you’re watching it.
  3. Puenzo may have started out to make something more ambitious than an intelligent, real-world horror thriller, but what she did achieve is still commendable. The melodramatics in this movie may be cooked up, but the fears it conjures are very real.
  4. Alarmist to an almost apocalyptic degree, the film is nevertheless packed with enough basic facts and figures to give any eater serious pause. Or at least any eater who indulges in sugar.
  5. The Immigrant is reaching for the same thing that Fellini achieved in “La Strada” – the state of grace that arises between people who at first would seem to have nothing in common but desolation.
  6. I couldn’t follow many of the ins and outs of the time-travel scenario, and I’m not altogether sure that the filmmakers could, either. It doesn’t really matter. It’s enough that the movie is fun. We shouldn’t also expect it to make sense.
  7. It’s a big movie, but in an emotional, not a historical, sense. Oftentimes it has the hushness of a chamber drama even when the world is its stage.
  8. His greatest legacy, however, as this film documents, was his courage in the endgame of his life.
  9. What’s striking about this new film is that it lays out the message-mongering in such a way that you can enjoy the movie equally well on a purely action level.
  10. Berlinger is after more than a true crime recounting here – the film attempts to explain, often lucidly, sometimes laboriously, how deeply entrenched Bulger was with the FBI and the police.
  11. The documentary includes peerless clips of Billie Holiday and Lester Young from a TV show Hentoff coproduced as well as snatches of an interview with a young Bob Dylan, a clip of Hentoff on William Buckley’s “Firing Line” TV show, and lots more worth your time.
  12. Brit Marling, who starred in and co-wrote Cahill’s debut feature, “Another Earth,” is very good as Ian’s lab assistant and eventual wife, and a young Indian girl named Kashish, a nonactress I would guess, is unforgettable.
  13. This is a movie of high innocence, set at a time in life when romantic love is still a frolic and the seaside is a balm that quells all ills.
  14. Cameron, tall and lanky, fitted himself into the podlike chamber and dropped seven miles to the ocean floor. Although he didn’t encounter anything other than barrenness, he did bring back to the surface 100 new species of microorganisms. I hope National Geographic appreciates the effort.
  15. The living-apart scenario is contrived – there was no way for these men to share a space somewhere? – but the two actors are so good that it doesn’t much matter.
  16. Michael Winterbottom, who also directed “The Trip,” is known for his avant-garde cinematic ways, but with these films he wisely sets down the camera and for the most part lets the actors play out their improvs.
  17. The film has a transcendent spookiness.
  18. The result is fine fantasy fun.
  19. Debrauwer brings crisp conviction to what might have been an overly sentimental tale, filming it with a straightforward style and good-natured sincerity that ring consistently true.
  20. Jeffs is an unusually gifted director, but her screenplay (based on Kirsty Gunn's novel) never quite gets a firm grip or a fresh perspective on its coming-of-age subject matter.
  21. Davison gives one of his many bravura performances in this 1977 adaptation of Miguel Pinero's hard-hitting play.
  22. The picture has enough assets to please moviegoers willing to put up with its many four-letter words and the bursts of violence that spring from nowhere at unexpected moments. [27 October 1995, Arts Film, p.12]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  23. Who would have guessed a documentary about Derrida, the great French philosopher of deconstruction and "différence," would be so entertaining?
  24. It's an impressive movie, pointing to Howard as a promising new director.
  25. Hodges and screenwriter Paul Mayersberg fill the British production with Dostoevskian ironies, and Owen is perfect as the antihero.
  26. The acting is excellent and Penn reconfirms his remarkable talent for muted, understated filmmaking that focuses on character and dialogue rather than spectacle and sensationalism.
  27. Good acting and pungent dialogue.
  28. This unusual romantic drama is sensitively acted by a well-chosen cast and subtly directed by Cox.
  29. Excellent acting and a finely tuned screenplay spark this genuinely offbeat melodrama.
  30. The acting is uneven, but Huston's performance gains eerie intensity as the tale moves from sensationalistic melodrama to humanistic tragedy.
  31. Some will dislike its shaggy-dog screenplay and restless camera work, and others may find its finale too postfeminist for comfort.
  32. The acting is amiable and the story is crisply told.
  33. While this slightly edgy comedy has moments of offbeat charm, it would carry more conviction if the acting were richer and the characters focused on more sophisticated attitudes and ambitions.
  34. Its ethical and intellectual insights wane when the love story kicks in, weakening what might have been a much deeper movie. Still, its performances are wonderful to watch.
  35. One of the season's most watchable treats.
  36. Ali
    What keeps the movie from championship status is a sense that the filmmakers see Ali's social and political contributions as extra added attractions, ultimately less important than his greatness in the ring.
  37. There's some very funny dialogue, but the picture falls apart when it tries to think real thoughts about celebrity, publicity, and the media.
  38. The acting and screenplay are amusing, but director Sitch might have taken a more adventurous approach to a tale with such an adventurous subject.
  39. Carrey is excellent, making the most of his comic gifts even in a cumbersome Grinch outfit, and the eye-spinning color scheme is dazzling to behold.
  40. The comedy is frantic and tasteless in the usual Waters mode, but it takes telling potshots at the Hollywood establishment, which isn't nearly so open about the tackiness of its products.
  41. The movie is more a family album than a historical study, but you'll learn a lot and your toe will tap, tap, tap.
  42. The characters are hardly original...but Stone puts them into play with his usual fever-pitch gusto, producing what's probably the most heart-pounding gridiron movie ever made.
  43. Dench and Winslet give strong and creative performances, and Broadbent is positively brilliant as old Bayley.
  44. Generous doses of bright-sounding music add to the movie's appeal.
  45. Sometimes disturbing but consistently fascinating.
  46. The first half of this freewheeling comedy-drama finds Toback at his imaginative best. The second half sinks into silliness.
  47. The movie's TV-style production values are a little too slick, but the real-life stories are fascinating to watch.
  48. If you can handle its horror-comic grotesquerie, you'll find an enormous amount of cinematic imagination at work.
  49. It packs an emotional punch despite shortcomings of story and style.
  50. Logue's magnetic performance is the movie's main virtue, supported by a good secondary cast and a sharply written screenplay.
  51. Gilliam's first solo flight as a director is more notable for its inspired visual ideas than for the frequency of its laughs, but Python devotees will have fun.
  52. A few miscalculated scenes aside, this low-budget drama is stunningly smart and powerful, with real-as-life lead performances and a style as gripping as it is unpretentious.
  53. The ending is especially inventive, managing to be sour, cynical, sentimental, and upbeat at the same time. [22 Dec 1989]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  54. Although it's less novel and feisty than the original "Fantasia" of 1940, this collection of music-filled animations is highly entertaining at times.
  55. Solondz is a courageous social commentator and a canny provocateur at the same time. He'll never get to Hollywood if he stays on this track, but cinema will be a lot duller if he ever mends his incendiary ways.
  56. While the movie is well acted and creative, its story and style are too self-consciously clever to build a high degree of emotional power.
  57. Loses much of the book's complexity but gains dramatic power from a cleverly streamlined screenplay... and several persuasive performances. No previous movie has made Austen's vision seem so vivid and alive for contemporary times.
  58. Norton gives the comedy unexpected sparkle in his directorial debut.
  59. Riveting stuff.
  60. The story gains most of its dramatic impact from superbly understated acting and Christopher Doyle's atmospheric camera work.
  61. Why does affection sometimes grow between people who seem to have little or nothing in common? That's the tantalizing question running through this capably acted comedy-drama
  62. The story is a sort of "Stella Dallas Meets Slums of Beverly Hills," helped by heartfelt acting from its talented stars.
  63. Quite a time capsule, sampling various mid-century entertainment forms.
  64. Emmerich's screenplay gains emotional punch from its sincere concern for family values, but science-fiction fans may be disappointed by the limited exploration of its fascinating time-travel premise.
  65. De Felitta dodges the temptations of sentiment and preachiness.
  66. This is only Ustaoglu's second film, but smart performances and expressive camera work mark her as a talent to watch in the future.
  67. The evocative visual style -- is the main reason to watch this whimsical comedy-drama.
  68. The story is as rambling as the characters, but superb acting by McTeer and Brown goes a long way toward redeeming it.
  69. Buscemi's directing blends hard-hitting visual qualities with great emotional energy.
  70. Finkiel's filmmaking is so careful and cautious that it becomes plodding at times. The theme is powerful, though, and the movie's sincerity overrides its heavy-handed tendencies.
  71. Offbeat tale, which tackles weighty themes. But sentimentality overtakes intelligence.
  72. This energetically acted, creatively directed comedy-drama has every ingredient for success except a satisfying finale.
  73. Directors as different as Otto Preminger and Jean-Luc Godard have taken a crack at "Carmen" and Ramaka's version is a colorful addition to the list.
  74. The movie doesn't have much more get-up-and-go than the characters, but solid performances and richly textured camera work keep it involving most of the way through.
  75. The movie is well acted, deeply moving, and unlike some love stories, it doesn't feel forced or contrived.
  76. It's so clean a film, you could bring your grandmother.
  77. Ferocious satire.
  78. Trumpets the worthwhile message that ballet is just as manly and athletic as any other masculine activity - and maybe a touch more so, if you have to defy an uncomprehending community in order to pursue it.
  79. Manages to seem fresh, funny, and original from start to finish.
  80. A startling, suspenseful ride few will forget in a hurry.
  81. Harris and Heche make an interesting team--- and the picture reaps the benefit of their creative performances
  82. Baye gives a stunning performance in the central role, backed by a first-rate supporting cast.
  83. The plot isn't very original, but the acting and dialogue have a low-key realism that packs more emotional punch than a dozen of the standard-issue romantic dramas crowding the independent-film scene.
  84. Victimization of homosexuals during the Holocaust era has often been overlooked. Epstein and Friedman lucidly recount this woeful history, with help from Everett's articulate narration.
  85. Michell treats the Irish troubles of the 1970s with clear-eyed compassion, and Walters's performance ranks with her best.
  86. The fine cast helps an old-fashioned screenplay seem reasonably fresh most of the time.
  87. Carries a strong emotional charge along with its valuable reminder of the suffering that youngsters may undergo when a heedless society overlooks their needs.
  88. The result would be an important drama if the screenplay (based on an early Arthur Miller novel) didn't lapse into preachiness and imprecision at times.
  89. Splendid acting, a screenplay as likable as it is unpredictable, and an undercurrent of deep human generosity make this a particularly engaging comic-dramatic experience.
  90. Lacks the subtle sense of mystery that distinguished E.B. White's lovely novel, but nicely conveys its playful spirit and amiable tone.
  91. The filmmaking is uninspired and Fiennes inexplicably plays three different characters with exactly the same acting style.
  92. Must-see viewing if you're not quite sure the sun really set over the British Empire.
  93. Merchant brings keen insight and rich humanity to this culturally revealing tale of psychological unease in a tense postcolonial world.
  94. The movie is longer and slower than necessary, but it explores interesting questions of wartime violence, personal integrity, and what it means to come of age in a society ripping apart at the seams.
  95. Baye and Lopez are excellent, as always.
  96. Liu is dazzling as the heroine, and the movie as a whole strikes a lovely balance between comedy and compassion.
  97. Politics and humanism find an engrossing balance in this ambitious drama based on the life of Reinaldo Arenas, a gay Cuban poet who was persecuted by the homophobic Castro regime.
  98. A wide range of concert and media clips lend vigor and variety to the documentary.
  99. An intense, claustrophobic drama of love and infidelity.
  100. Although the story slips into clichés despite its offbeat subject, Leconte's cinematic style is fresh and vigorous, and Auteuil remains one of France's most engaging actors.

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