Christian Science Monitor's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,626 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 Trials of Henry Kissinger
Lowest review score: 0 Bio-Dome
Score distribution:
3,626 movie reviews
  1. Riveting and revealing whatever views you have on the partisan issues involved.
  2. Rohmer's films are renowned for their beauty, so it's surprising that he made a picture using digital video rather than film. But this was the right choice.
  3. Soldier's Daughter thrives less on Hollywood-style drama than on nuances of personality, details of everyday life, and emotions so commonplace that conventional movies rarely take the time to acknowledge them, much less explore them with loving care.
  4. Like all masterpieces, it speaks to later ages as powerfully and intelligently as to its own.
  5. Iwai's ambitious drama is strikingly shot, poignantly acted by a splendid young cast, and enriched by surprising use of Debussy classics on the soundtrack.
  6. One of a kind, turning Foreman trademarks such as self-satirical acting and out-of-nowhere music into powerful elements of an outlandish story.
  7. A marvelous documentary that brings home the terror and heroism brought forth by the Katrina debacle.
  8. Before Midnight is the fullest and richest and saddest of the three movies in the trilogy. Make it a quartet, I say.
  9. Kaurismaki is Finland's greatest filmmaker, and never has he more artfully balanced his patented blend of deadpan humor, low-key melodrama, and toe-tapping music.
  10. It's a transcendently uplifting tragedy.
  11. This is as challenging as movies come, alluding to everything from philosopher Thomas Hobbes to the history of Western music.
  12. It's no accident that this movie is named after both the filmmaker and his subject. It stands with the most thoughtful releases of recent months, and will linger in memory.
  13. A Separation is not the work of a constrained artist. It's a great movie in which the full range of human interaction seems to play itself out before our eyes.
  14. I have rarely seen a movie that better expressed the revivifying nature of music. (Many of the women, not surprisingly, grew up singing gospel in church choirs and had preachers for parents.)
  15. Such understated storytelling, sensitive directing, and avoidance of easy filmmaking tricks are all too rare in American movies. This is truly one from the heart.
  16. This is a startlingly funny portrait of Gothic Americana.
  17. Van Sant gives no pat or easy answers. Instead he makes us squirm, worry, and think. That's why Elephant is a must-see movie.
  18. Improbably, it's one of the most affecting films of the year, which once again demonstrates that all you need to make a good movie is talent.
  19. Superbly acted.
  20. Among the picture's many surprises is a superb robbery scene filmed in a near-total silence that contrasts exhilaratingly with the noisy flamboyance of more recent films in this venerable genre.
  21. Pinter's screenplay offers an exciting mixture of psychological suspense and storytelling surprise, and the lead performances are close to flawless.
  22. This documentary strives to fill the gap, and the result is memorable; viewing is mandatory.
  23. Less a biography than an essay on theatrical illusion and the changing nature of comedy. Love it or hate it, you've never seen anything quite like it.
  24. Riveting documentary about the early California cable outlet and its ingenious programmer, Jerry Harvey, whose unsettled life and tragic death provide a dramatic framework for the account.
  25. On the screen, Burton turns out to BE the ideal filmmaker for this deliciously bizarre yarn. He's given free rein to his fantasies in past movies, but rarely as wittily and consistently as he does here.
  26. The suspense isn't exactly breathtaking, but there are some mighty fine laughs in this clever Claymation cartoon.Family fun for all.
  27. While this isn't a masterpiece on the level of his great "Chunhyang," it packs a sophisticated cinematic punch.
  28. Like most of Sokurov's movies, this oblique parable is mysterious, elliptical, irresistible.
  29. Morris's unique blend of realism and surrealism gives the film great resonance as a portrait of one eccentric individual and, more important, a study of the morbid proclivities that run beneath the surface of our supposedly civilized society.
  30. Perhaps the most cogent and straightforward dissection of the Bush Administration missteps leading up to the current Iraq nightmare.
  31. Excellent acting, intelligent screenwriting, and dynamic filmmaking give this Mexican production a forceful emotional and intellectual charge.
  32. Chilling and instructive.
  33. Contains amazingly candid views of warriors behind the scenes of battle.
  34. Troell, at 78, continues to turn out films that will last for as long as there are movies. No wonder he feels such a deep connection to Maria in Everlasting Moments. The film is one hero's salute to another.
  35. Three short documentaries about photography made by one of France's finest directors.
  36. This masterpiece of poetic realism features one of Gabin's most renowned performances, a smart subtext about French colonialism, and enough exotic atmosphere to keep your head in the clouds long after the final scene.
  37. The movie should fascinate anyone interested in politics, publishing, and the uneasy marriage between big money and mass communication.
  38. It's dark, funny, ferocious, and vintage Wilder all the way.
  39. Avoiding the clichés and condescension that characterize many films on religious figures, the movie is at once a compelling drama and a thoughtful look at faith-related issues on personal, social, and cultural levels.
  40. Directed by Ulu Grosbard, who has never done a better job of filling the screen with superb acting, and shows great ingenuity at interweaving music with other aspects of the story.
  41. At its best, A Home at the End of the World has great emotional strength. But it's not the towering achievement it might have been if Cunningham had stayed truer to his original inspiration.
  42. Visually ravishing -- an exquisite movie.
  43. Subtle filmmaking and true-as-life acting make this an acute psychological drama with an engrossing sociological subtext. It stands with Doillon's best work.
  44. A fact-filled study that's also a full-fledged work of cinema art. [2 Sept 1988]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  45. Provides an intelligent, deeply personal view of social and political issues that are longstanding and complex but not, she insists, intractable.
  46. Revealing and harrowing.
  47. The legendary Mifune leads a superb cast, and Kurosawa's kinetic camera keeps the adventure sizzling with energy and wit from start to finish.
  48. It’s the ultimate time-travel movie into the future, a “flowing time sculpture,” in Linklater’s own words.
  49. Movies don't come more original, inventive, or outlandishly entertaining.
  50. Writer/director Peter Duncan's first film is darkly humorous, with dashes of slapstick, brilliant, and original material.
  51. It's great, fantastical fun.
  52. Blurring all the lines between fiction and documentary, this gentle and amusing movie blends real, unrehearsed material with delightful storytelling scenes.
  53. Junge's testimony is a salutary reminder that Hitler was like other people in ways, and that the evil he manifested could visit us again if more civilized humans don't remain watchful.
  54. Thai filmmaking continues its renaissance with this moody, offbeat drama.
  55. Fascinating.
  56. Dumont's cinematic style is aggressively physical and philosophical at the same time. It irritates as many viewers as it inspires, but it prompts more thought than ordinary movies ever do.
  57. Filmed and acted to near perfection, it's one of the year's most innovative and exciting pictures.
  58. John Schlesinger's rollicking version of Stella Gibbons's novel is acted with the highest of spirits by Kate Beckinsale, Joanna Lumley, Eileen Atkins, Ian McKellen, Freddie Jones, and many others.
  59. It takes time to grow accustomed to the docu- drama's stylized approach, influenced by Bertolt Brecht and Jean-Luc Godard. But this nearly six-hour movie is generous with time.
  60. This superbly acted, expressively filmed story offers a rare blend of compelling drama, ethical awareness, and sheer human emotion.
  61. One of the best pictures so far this year, marking a high point of Rudolph's career and reconfirming the extraordinary talent Mr. Campbell has shown in earlier films. Dentistry will never seem the same.
  62. Rollicking documentary that will have your toes tapping and your ears sizzling whether you're a die-hard Motown fan or not.
  63. The result is a lively, insightful look at multiple levels of self-delusion among people who truly believe their Halloween funhouse is making our fallen world a better place.
  64. Pungent, opinionated, outspoken.
  65. Bruce Willis is bruisingly good as the hero and Brad Pitt is suitably zany as the activist who dogs his trail.
  66. His readings of his own work are especially thoughtful, moving, and provocative in the best possible ways.
  67. Frequently funny, sometimes sad, often electrifying.
  68. Deeply personal, morally alert, and highly entertaining.
  69. Miller shows terrific talent as a director with a sharp eye for images, a keen ear for dialogue, and a refreshing willingness to take storytelling risks.
  70. Chabrol's filmmaking has rarely seemed more assured, elegant, and intelligent.
  71. Scott has the courage to let the imaginative story unfold at its own leisurely pace, and it's not surprising that the acting is excellent, considering that he's among the very best American screen actors.
  72. Stunningly smart, genuinely disturbing film.
  73. When he's good, Mr. Mamet is very good indeed, and Spartan stands with the best work he's done. It's fast-moving, unpredictable, and as tautly, tightly wound as thrillers get.
  74. Leaving aside Huston's bland acting and a few other flaws, Sayles's politically charged drama raises a rousing number of issues and ideas, inviting us to ponder them and draw our own conclusions.
  75. Illuminating and alarming.
  76. The film's approach is highly instructive, deeply moving, and geared to deploring the racism that breeds violence rather than reactivating old hatreds.
  77. There is no need for Murmelstein to break down here. In The Last of the Unjust, it’s as if the whole world is weeping.
  78. Traveling from the tragic to the comic, this multifaceted film is richly acted and imaginatively directed.
  79. The movie is woven with care and complexity, again confirming von Trotta's place as one of the world's greatest female filmmakers.
  80. Dustin Hoffman gives the inspired performance that launched his movie career, and director Mike Nichols shows a gift for social satire that has never glistened quite so brightly since. [Review of re-release]
  81. Faucher's filmmaking is exquisite, Naymark's acting is luminous, and superb use of music lends a crowning touch.
  82. At once dreamily surreal, acutely intelligent, and strikingly tough-minded, this pitch-dark dramatic comedy recalls David Lynch and "Donnie Darko" while remaining fresh and original to its core. A stunning directorial debut.
  83. A deliciously weirded-out picture by Guy Maddin, a deliciously weirded-out Canadian filmmaker.
  84. Wit, joy, imagination, and sensational mid-'60s music.
  85. Fan's camera moves sinuously through these people's lives and gives a human face to a national panorama.
  86. This movie equivalent of Robert Rauschenberg's artwork "Erased de Kooning" is funny, ornery, and ultimately inspiring.
  87. As a nonagenarian, de Oliveira is the world's oldest working filmmaker, and still one of the best. This is a lovely, lively, timely treat for the eyes and mind.
  88. One thing few will disagree on is the quality of the film's acting, especially by Gael García Bernal as Guevara and Rodrigo de la Serna as his friend. Both effortlessly embody the footloose, sometimes feckless quality of this "On the Road"-style adventure.
  89. A first-rate crime thriller from 1960.
  90. Witty, contemplative, and sublimely beautiful.
  91. Like many Altman movies, this is less a dramatic story to follow than an atmospheric environment to visit.
  92. Gilliam has rarely been more inventive, energetic, or just plain funny.
  93. Leviathan is, in the widest sense, a horror film.
  94. As the film plays out its melancholy story, we realize that what we are watching is far rarer than the usual sports flick.
  95. Indelible images and brilliant use of unconventional music make this a nonfiction film that must be seen – and heard – to be believed.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    When class conflict stirs the viewer's attention as much as a canine hero's homecoming, it's clear that this isn't the usual (read: mindless) family entertainment.
  96. A riveting new documentary about the Arab-run Al Jazeera network, reminds us that news programming can vary so widely from place to place that journalistic myths of "objectivity" and "impartiality" seem more naive than ever.
  97. This is a rip-roaring adventure combining edge-of-your-seat battle scenes with vivid historical details and more fascinating characters than most action movies dream of. Add heartfelt acting and Russell Boyd's atmospheric camera work, and you have the adventure movie of the year.
  98. Supercharged with an energy and ingenuity that "Run Lola Run" once had a patent on.
  99. Says Lauro: "This is about as close as you can get to the way it sounded during slavery days." Lauro and McGlynn understand, too, that these clips must be experienced whole. They let the music unfold in real time, not snippets.

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