Christian Science Monitor's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,576 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 4.1 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Last Days
Lowest review score: 0 License to Wed
Score distribution:
3,576 movie reviews
  1. These paintings speak to us; they both compress and elongate time. In Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Herzog is reaching for ways to comprehend what he imagines to be the emblems of the birth of the modern soul.
  2. 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.
  3. A semi-improvised, microbudget marvel with a range of feeling that shames most big-budget star-driven movies.
  4. Clooney and Payne are coconspirators, too. They know that the story they are telling is too emotionally complicated to muck up with a lot of preening and artifice. They head right into the sad and crazymaking humor of the situation. This is a modest marvel of a movie.
  5. 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.
  6. The reason we feel so close to Socha, a man who at first seems nothing more than a racist scoundrel, is that his moral odyssey, with its advances and retreats, is so emotionally believable.
  7. A marvelously captivating animated feature.
  8. In Panahi's case, he is insuperably handicapped by his current constraints. And yet, despite everything, here is This Is Not a Film, which is emphatically a film – and an extraordinary one.
  9. By holding the shot, as she so often does in this film, Takesue is encouraging audiences to take a deep, long look at things they might otherwise miss.
  10. The performances by Phoenix and Hoffman are studies in contrast. Phoenix carries himself with a jagged, lurching, simianlike grace while Hoffman gives Dodd a calm deliberateness. Both actors have rarely been better in the movies. The real Master class here is about acting – and that includes just about everybody else in the film, especially Adams, whose twinkly girl-next-door quality is used here to fine subversive effect.
  11. Photographic Memory is about the permanence and impermanence of what we choose to preserve: on film and in our heads (which is often the same thing). I would like to think that one day Adrian might look at this documentary and see it as a supreme act of paternal love.
  12. Before Midnight is the fullest and richest and saddest of the three movies in the trilogy. Make it a quartet, I say.
  13. 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.)
  14. The fierce, questing intelligence of these students and educators is a perfect match for Wiseman’s own.
  15. Her
    The wistfulness in this movie is large-souled. Theodore may worry that his love for Samantha makes him a freak, but Amy knows that “anybody who loves is a freak.” All this may sound touchy-feely in the worst way, but Jonze is trying to get at how we seek romantic connection in this brave (or not so brave) new world. Like Theodore, he risks looking foolish.
  16. 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.
  17. A lousy title for a marvelous movie.
  18. The enchanting French-Belgian animated feature Ernest & Celestine is so liltingly sweet and graceful that, a day or two after I saw it, it seemed almost as if I had dreamed it.
  19. Maier is a great artist who discounted adulation entirely. Her life was a masquerade; her genius, quite literally, was unexposed.
  20. It’s the ultimate time-travel movie into the future, a “flowing time sculpture,” in Linklater’s own words.
  21. The story is so powerfully observed that it does indeed become larger than itself – an American tragedy.
  22. This delicate, hand-drawn marvel is lyrical and heartbreaking in ways that most live-action movies never approach.
  23. Frederick Wiseman’s documentary National Gallery is for art lovers, movie lovers – basically for anybody. Ostensibly a film about London’s famous museum, it’s really about the experience of art in all its manifestations.
  24. Ballard filmed across hundreds of miles of South African desert, and there are times when the whole throbbing universe seems to resound for him.
  25. Essentially two movies for the price of one. But those halves add up to more than most movies right now.
  26. Baumbach captures the ways in which children takes sides in a war they can't even begin to comprehend.
  27. The visuals are irrepressibly witty and so is the script, which morphs from the classic fable into a spoof on "War of the Worlds." I prefer this version to Spielberg's.
  28. There's ample reason to stay with this series. When Harry says "I love magic," you believe it.
  29. The Ice Harvest isn't a subversive piece of work; it's not making some grand statement about the dark side of the holiday spirit. But what it IS saying in its grimly funny way is that we can't always control the timing of our disasters.
  30. Spiritual redemption is a big theme of Narnia, but on a purely entertainment level, the movie also goes a long way in redeeming the current sad state of children's fantasy filmmaking.
  31. Blossoms of Fire fulfills the first criterion of any good ethnographic study: It's about an inherently interesting subject.
  32. The staging of the physical comedy in The Pink Panther is not always adept - director Shawn Levy is no Blake Edwards - but Martin, who co-wrote the screenplay, keeps spinning in his own orbit anyway. And what an orbit it is.
  33. All in all, a visual and musical feast.
  34. As one of Booker's supporters notes, it's a sad day when academic success is used to denigrate an African-American.
  35. All in all, a harrowing, one-of-a-kind movie.
  36. It seems to me that too often in this country, and especially now, science has become politicized to the detriment of those who could be helped by it. Just because truths are inconvenient is no reason to suppose they are not real.
  37. Probably the most faithful to the writer's tortured spirit. It's the kind of movie that gets under your skin - and stays there.
  38. Kenan never loses sight of the wonderment that children (and adults) experience when the inanimate becomes animate. Anthropomorphism is basic to the art of animation. So is a good story, and Kenan has that, too.
  39. Factotum is so sly and low-key hilarious that anybody can be in on the joke.
  40. In Gyllenhaal's all-out performance, it reminded me most of Judy Davis in "High Tide," another movie directed by a woman (Gillian Armstrong) about a misfit mother and her daughter. It has the same fierce honesty.
  41. Nathalie Baye is remarkable in Le Petit Lieutenant where she plays Caroline Vaudieu, a Parisian police inspector who returns to her post after a bout with alcoholism following her child's death.
  42. DiCaprio's performance is a revelation only for those who have underestimated him. In Scorsese's previous films, "The Gangs of New York" and "The Aviator," he seemed callow and miscast, but here he has the presence of a full-bodied adult. He's grown into his emotions.
  43. The film may be subtitled "Shut Up & Sing," but you can't sing with your mouth closed.
  44. Viewers expecting a blistering attack on the fast-food business, or an Altmanesque panorama, will be disappointed, but it's a sensitive and humane piece of work.
  45. It's a sideways view of a national trauma. The large cast includes standout performances from such unlikelies as Demi Moore, playing an alcoholic crooner, and Estevez himself, as her long-suffering husband. Everyone in this film is powerful.
  46. If the literacy of The History Boys is deemed uncinematic, then give me uncinema anytime.
  47. Clint Eastwood's Letters From Iwo Jima is his companion piece to "Flags of Our Fathers" and in almost every way is superior.
  48. It's a marvelous performance in a marvelous movie, one that sneaks up on you while you're watching it.
  49. The rap music we hear, which is produced outside Cuba's state-run music industry, is politically audacious and charged with personal expression and uplift. The film was produced by Charlize Theron's socially conscious company, Denver and Delilah films.
  50. It appears to have been made from the inside, not only of the characters but of the historical situation in which they struggle.
  51. In Zodiac, working from a script by James Vanderbilt, Fincher has decidedly toned down his act. His straight-ahead, methodical direction isn't as flagrantly unsettling as much of his previous work, but it's more psychologically layered. In this film, for the first time, we feel for his characters when they bleed.
  52. In some ways the movie's straightforward style is more appropriate to the horror than a more souped-up approach would have been. With material this strong, sometimes the best thing a filmmaker can do is to stay out of the way.
  53. A cross between "Godzilla" and "Jaws," it manages to be both truly scary and truly funny – sometimes all at once.
  54. The Namesake takes in a lot of territory, and at times is too diffuse, too attenuated. But the actors are so expressive that they provide their own continuity. They transport us to a realm of pure feeling.
  55. The interaction between soldiers and captives becomes a microcosm for an entire culture. It's a wisp of a movie but it has stayed with me longer than much supposedly weightier fare.
  56. In addition to the marvelous lead cast, all sorts of funny performers show up in cameo roles, including Steve Coogan, Bill Nighy, and Timothy Dalton.
  57. The plot's many complications pretty much all add up, which is a rarity these days for a murder mystery. It's possible that audiences don't even care anymore if a film makes sense as long it's entertaining.
  58. The film is laced with lovely moments, from the leads and from Shelly as a waitress friend.
  59. Tim Robbins gives a strong performance in this first-class horror yarn, which has a surprisingly strong political edge.
  60. The most enjoyable thing about the "Ocean's" movies is that nobody involved seems to take them seriously. The star wattage is immense but the stars themselves are refreshingly self-deprecating, almost satirically so.
  61. Dan Klores's astonishing film is about a subject so bizarre it could only work as a documentary – as a drama, it would be dismissed as being too far-fetched.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    This movie doesn't end up taking on all the problems it offers up. Meting out justice to an evil school administrator seems to be enough for now. As an enlightened and energetic film - a voice for the '90s - it is enough. [12 Sep 1990, p.11]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  62. Easily the best in the series since the first one.
  63. The movie is best when it just riffs on our compacted memories of the past 18 years of episodes. Fortunately, that's most of the time.
  64. Considerably less slick than "An Inconvenient Truth," and no less urgent.
  65. After seeing this film, try reading Norman Mailer's "Of A Fire on the Moon," its perfect companion piece.
  66. Smart and charming.
  67. The movie is an idyllic view of life as it ought to be, rather than the way it is.
  68. In a film that overwhelmingly avoids happy-faced pronouncements, this one sticks out.
  69. At its best, Juno is about the messy things in life that are not so easily summarized.
  70. Sprawling yet cramped, There Will Be Blood may not be the best movie of the year, but it's certainly the strangest. It evokes passing comparisons to everything from "Giant" to "Citizen Kane" but it's impossible to pigeonhole.
  71. Director Mark Waters does a fine job meshing the fantastical with the quotidian.
  72. I don't wish to give offense here, but it certainly doesn't hurt that Mary Lou is voiced by that famously small bundle of energy Isla Fisher. (She's 5-foot-2.)
  73. At this late date there is little that is factually revelatory about his film, but as a human document of what people are capable of in wartime, it's indispensable.
  74. The story line for WALL-E is probably too convoluted for small kids, and sometimes it suffers from techie overload, but it's more heartfelt than anything on the screens these days featuring humans.
  75. This comic-book movie is more disturbing, and has more freakish power, than anything else I've seen all year.
  76. Mongol is a throwback to a more respectable tradition. The largeness of its scope arises naturally from the material, not the budget. The movie earns its stature.
  77. Preteen girls – and not just those who are already American Girl fanatics – should be entranced. And why not? Not many movies for that audience are as respectful as is this one.
  78. As an anatomy not only of Polanski's psyche but also of the legal system he confronted, it's as baroquely compelling as "The Dark Knight."
  79. Petit, by the way, is still very much alive and spry. I saw him at a screening of the film at the Sundance Film Festival where he spoke to the audience afterwards. On his way up to the podium, he tripped.
  80. This is the loopiest star vehicle in ages.
  81. In Moving Midway, Cheshire chronicles not only the history of the move but also of the family members, past and present, who occupied the place, and, most pointedly, the slaves who worked its fields, some of whom turn out to be related.
  82. At just over two hours, Stranded is nonstop harrowing. It has cumulative power.
  83. If this were a fictional Hollywood movie, it would be criticized for being too upbeat. But sometimes truth is not only stranger than fiction, it's also a whole lot better.
  84. A young adult romantic comedy with a sweetness and delicacy that lifts it out of its genre.
  85. Renner gives a full-bore performance of great individuality and industriousness, but essentially his character is as glamorized as any classic Westerner.
  86. Despite everything, many of us still think of animation as a kid's genre. $9.99, based on stories by Etgar Keret who also co-wrote the script with the director, is an attempt to use the animation medium to express an entirely adult sensibility.
  87. Judging from this film, a pop cultural resurgence in Afghanistan seems ultimately unstoppable, even with a resurgent Taliban, if for no other reason than that 60 percent of the population is under 21. Also, this is a country, as we see again and again, that loves to sing.
  88. It leaves us with a question that may be unanswerable: How does one extinguish terrorism when its causes are myriad?
  89. This is a movie about, among other things, pain, and it's made by someone who understands its expression.
  90. Bracingly perceptive about the human comedy.
  91. Heartbreaking, exhilarating, baffling. In other words, it expresses the performer's persona in its purest form.
  92. The marvel of Cage's performance is that, somehow, it's all of a piece. That's the marvel of the movie, too. This is one fever dream you'll remember whole.
  93. The Last Station isn’t all that it should be, but whenever these two actors are onscreen, it’s like a great night at the theater.
  94. Bridges draws us deeply inside Blake’s moment-to-moment heartbreaks. He makes us root for him as we would root for a dear friend. Ultimately, his triumphs become our own.
  95. The viciously anti-Semitic 1940 German movie “Jew Süss” is one of the most notorious films ever made...Today it is one of the few Nazi-era films that still cannot legally be shown.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The key to the film’s effectiveness is the casting of Rapace, who, while not mapping quite exactly to the book’s physical descriptions, is riveting.
  96. Like all good noirs, it has an almost comic appreciation for how the best-laid plans can go horribly wrong. No matter how bad things get, they can always get worse. I watched the film in a state of rapt enjoyment.
  97. Whatever it is, Exit Through the Gift Shop is an original.
  98. The Japanese love affair with insects takes many forms, but most of them are, by Western standards, exotic. To Oreck's credit, she doesn't attempt to play down the exoticism by pretending to go native.

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