Christian Science Monitor's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,653 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 25th Hour
Lowest review score: 0 I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry
Score distribution:
3,653 movie reviews
  1. Supercharged with an energy and ingenuity that "Run Lola Run" once had a patent on.
  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. What counts isn't the convoluted plot or exotic characters -- it's the brilliance of Suzuki's cinematic style, articulating the action with eye-boggling color and split-second editing effects.
  4. In tone, Pan's Labyrinth resembles a cross between "Alice in Wonderland" and H.P. Lovecraft, with some Buñuel thrown in for good measure. It is a tribute to - as well as a prime example of - the disturbing power of imagination.
  5. A compulsively watchable movie that's also a provocative inquiry into the ability of the criminal-justice system to determine culpability and truth.
  6. Payami's gentle comedy captures a subtle range of human feelings through a quietly inventive visual style that embodies the best life-affirming tendencies of modern Iranian film.
  7. One of the great Bertolucci's most acclaimed films...Trintignant gives a legendary performance.
  8. A skeptical view of George W. Bush's chief political strategist, Karl Rove, using argumentative strategies common to agenda-driven documentaries.
  9. Filmed to perfection by the great Christopher Doyle and others.
  10. Brokeback Mountain is a tragedy because these men have found something that many people, of whatever sexual persuasion, never find - true love. And they can't do anything about it.
  11. In short, they don't make 'em like this one anymore. Viewing it is like taking a time machine to a movie age that was more naive than our own in some ways, more sophisticated and ambitious in others.
  12. The movie is flawed by implausible psychology and moments of weak acting. But it's more than redeemed by Lee's passionate ideas about America today.
  13. The visual style is at once deliberately archaic and slyly postmodernist, slinky and sensuous from first frame to last.
  14. Understated acting and brilliant use of wide-screen black-and-white cinematography.
  15. A feel-good musical that, for a change, actually makes you feel good.
  16. 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.
  17. Tsai's cinematic style is unique: He unfolds his stories in long, static shots that let you discover their surprises and mysteries on your own. And that's great fun. What Time Is It There? is perky, entertaining, and one of a kind.
  18. Suspenseful, surprising, and psychologically rich.
  19. A plan for a perfect murder goes wildly wrong in this 1958 melodrama by one of France's great filmmakers.
  20. I hate to sound blurby, but Borat is the funniest comedy I've seen since I don't know when.
  21. In the Mirror of Maya Deren, creatively written and directed by Martina Kudlacek, is an eloquent memorial to her unique accomplishments -- and an excellent introduction for those who have yet to discover them.
  22. Kidman, Moore, and Streep do some of their best work, backed by a first-rank supporting cast.
  23. It's a giddy nightmare. Nothing is quite what it seems in I Served the King of England, and this is poetically appropriate. The world it depicts is too dangerous and too lovely to classify.
  24. 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.
  25. The acting is superb, the filmmaking is imaginative, and the story never goes quite where you expect.
  26. You may become a cinemaniac yourself after sitting through this beauty.
  27. There's plenty for us to feast on in Under the Sea 3D without drawing a single drop of blood. If you have small children, you'd be crazy not to take them to this film.
  28. A riveting re-creation of three world-changing collapses: those of the Nazi party, of militarized Germany as a whole, and of the Führer who guided them into self-destructive ruin.
  29. In a series of deft vignettes, the Dardennes offer up a microcosm of an entire working-class contingent, and each vignette is a universe all to itself.
  30. Her film is closer to Truffaut's "The 400 Blows" in the way it gets inside the gumption and desperation of childhood lived on the edge. It's a terrific, bracingly sad movie.
  31. 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.
  32. The plot may be a bit too busy, but a great wash of transcendent imagery floods the screen. If I had to recommend the best children’s film out there for all ages, this one, and “The Tale of Princess Kaguya,” would easily top the charts.
  33. Leon has a marvelous and rare eye for blending staged dramatic sequences into documentary settings, from barrio bodegas to high-rise penthouses. He often films in extended, unbroken takes, and this gives the actors a chance to work up their own distinctive rhythms.
  34. Implicit in this film is a simple truth: The sheer force of artistry has the power to convert outsiders into insiders. I left Fill the Void feeling privileged, however briefly, to have been brought into this world.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. It's an inescapable fact that Gould's singular musical insights – the way he brought out in Bach a mesmeric unity of sound – could only have arisen from a singular personality.
  38. What gives the series its force is not just its universality but also its particularity. These grown-ups may be Everyman, but they are also singular.
  39. 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.
  40. I've become weary of documentaries about winning prizes, but this one is special because the kids are.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. This comic-book movie is more disturbing, and has more freakish power, than anything else I've seen all year.
  45. 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.
  46. Begins frighteningly and gets progressively more so.
  47. Whatever the case, the film resounds with hyperbolic passion. Hot bubbling currents flow through this film’s constricted veins.
  48. 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.
  49. Force Majeure is ultimately about something not often explored in film: the consequences of male weakness in a world in which men are expected to be strong at all times.
  50. Smart and charming.
  51. The larger point in Citizenfour is that dictatorships have always relied on the massive gathering of information in order to control their populations. In this brave new cyber world, it is all too easy for democracies to cross the line, too.
  52. On its own conventional terms, the film succeeds – maybe not as a "Coen Brothers" movie, but as a tall tale well told.
  53. Director Mark Waters does a fine job meshing the fantastical with the quotidian.
  54. He's 9Mendes) discovered his stride here, a blend of thrills and sabotage and deep-dish emotionalism. The powerful performances by Craig and Dench surely owe a great deal to his indulgences.
  55. The ferocity of the performances is inextricable from the men’s real-life criminality. We are baffled, moved, and repulsed – often at the same time – by the elemental spectacle before us. In this metaprison drama, the prison bars are both illusory and unbreakable. Caesar Must Die chronicles an exalted entrapment.
  56. It's a deliciously perverse melodrama.
  57. One of the most dreamily unsettling documentaries ever made.
  58. Jesse Moss’s documentary The Overnighters is being hailed as a modern-day “Grapes of Wrath,” which, up to a point, it is. But it’s far more complicated than that.
  59. 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.
  60. Despite never having made a movie before, and utilizing comparatively primitive camera and recording equipment, Kurt and his son Ian crafted a movie unlike any other in the rock-doc genre.
  61. This movie is a one-of-a-kind experience – blarney carried to rhapsodic heights.
  62. 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.
  63. 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.
  64. One of the funniest and happiest movies I’ve ever seen about early adolescent girls and their wayward, fitful joyousness.
  65. Essentially two movies for the price of one. But those halves add up to more than most movies right now.
  66. All in all, a harrowing, one-of-a-kind movie.
  67. 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.
  68. Since we all know that Paris wasn’t blown to smithereens, the tension here is not in the outcome but in how it was achieved. The meeting between these two men is largely fictional, but the stakes could not have been more real.
  69. This is the loopiest star vehicle in ages.
  70. Edet Belzberg’s documentary Watchers of the Sky, which was a decade in the making, reclaims the reputation of Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Holocaust refugee who not only coined the term “genocide” but also invented the concept of categorizing mass murder as an international crime.
  71. 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.
  72. There's ample reason to stay with this series. When Harry says "I love magic," you believe it.
  73. Renner gives a full-bore performance of great individuality and industriousness, but essentially his character is as glamorized as any classic Westerner.
  74. Night Moves may have a soft, almost dreamy feel, but at the core it’s crucially hard-headed. In its own quiet way, in how it pulls together our utopian ideals and home-grown fears, it’s the zeitgeist movie of the moment.
  75. 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.
  76. 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.
  77. 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.
  78. The action is swift and witty, and the 3-D effects are imaginative and not simply tacked on as with so many animated movies these days.
  79. It gives ample play to all sides of the argument. Herzog allows us to think things through on our own.
  80. 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.
  81. It's really about the ways in which Chinese westernization clashes with the traditionalism of Confucian teachings. It's about competition versus piety.
  82. All in all, a visual and musical feast.
  83. This is a movie about, among other things, pain, and it's made by someone who understands its expression.
  84. The innocence of the townspeople is weirdly uplifting. They love their Bernie so much that they seem even more blinkered than he is.
  85. A cross between "Godzilla" and "Jaws," it manages to be both truly scary and truly funny – sometimes all at once.
  86. By the film’s end, the main protagonists have become more philosophical, if no less ardent, about the future of Egypt. “We are not looking for a leader,” Hassan declares. “We are looking for a conscience.” He has only to look in the mirror.
  87. What we do see, among much else that is damning, are archival NYPD videotapes of the boys being interrogated by detectives who press them to implicate one another in exchange for a leniency that never materialized.
  88. Particle Fever doesn’t prompt us to say: “Gee, these superbrains are just like us, except for the brains.” The film allows for our awe. It also demonstrates that science is the most human of activities, with all that that implies.
  89. His (Lindholm) steadfast, unvarying gaze has its own authenticity. He’s made a thriller that thrills while also respecting our intelligence.
  90. Probably the most faithful to the writer's tortured spirit. It's the kind of movie that gets under your skin - and stays there.
  91. Bracingly perceptive about the human comedy.
  92. The riders who appear in Buck seem almost uniformly exalted by their contact with Brannaman and his methods.
  93. At just over two hours, Stranded is nonstop harrowing. It has cumulative power.
  94. I wish Rowley didn’t so often dabble in standard movie-thriller-style stylistics, but his film is an exposé of practices that need – demand – exposing.
  95. It leaves us with a question that may be unanswerable: How does one extinguish terrorism when its causes are myriad?
  96. It's a sweet and disquieting excursion made by filmmakers whose eyes and ears and imaginations are in marvelous sync.
  97. Ballard filmed across hundreds of miles of South African desert, and there are times when the whole throbbing universe seems to resound for him.
  98. Baumbach captures the ways in which children takes sides in a war they can't even begin to comprehend.
    • 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
  99. Factotum is so sly and low-key hilarious that anybody can be in on the joke.

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