Christian Science Monitor's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,556 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 Shoah (re-release)
Lowest review score: 0 Head Over Heels
Score distribution:
3,556 movie reviews
  1. With scrupulous fairness, Ferguson meticulously lays out for us the whole sordid mess.
  2. He is the least intrusive of great directors, and Boxing Gym, which is about a gym in Austin, Texas, is so offhandedly observant that, for a while, you may wonder if much of anything is really going on.
  3. Lena Dunham, the writer-director-star of the microbudget Tiny Furniture, has a distinctive comedic take on the world – a kind of haggard spiritedness.
  4. On its own conventional terms, the film succeeds – maybe not as a "Coen Brothers" movie, but as a tall tale well told.
  5. It's a deliciously perverse melodrama.
  6. The best of Rango is a lot like the best of the first "Pirates" movie – crazily funny and rambunctious.
  7. The riders who appear in Buck seem almost uniformly exalted by their contact with Brannaman and his methods.
  8. Begins frighteningly and gets progressively more so.
  9. In the end, the power poetry workshops, as the teachers are first to admit, are not about creating Shakespeares. They are about survival.
  10. Pianomania is the thoroughly apt title for a thoroughly enjoyable documentary.
  11. 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.
  12. It gives ample play to all sides of the argument. Herzog allows us to think things through on our own.
  13. A very good thrill ride and Cruise is better than he's been in a long time.
  14. 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.
  15. The sometimes agonizingly powerful documentary Under Fire: Journalists in Combat is built around some staggering statistics: Only two journalists were killed in World War I. Sixty-three lost their lives in World War II. And in the past two decades, almost one journalist per week has been killed.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    A fine example of a director bringing just enough of his style to revitalize possibly dated material.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Extraordinary stunt and fight work and nonstop excitement, but a warning to those who are at all squeamish: this may be the most violent movie I've ever seen.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The mystery of the dual plot line is also a trick – a very cleverly executed one, which baffles the audience by exploiting their ingrained responses to certain cinematic conventions. I didn't figure it out until moments before the big reveal.
  16. The innocence of the townspeople is weirdly uplifting. They love their Bernie so much that they seem even more blinkered than he is.
  17. I've become weary of documentaries about winning prizes, but this one is special because the kids are.
  18. The result is doubly satisfying: We get not only a trenchant political drama but a bang-up concert film as well.
  19. It's a sweet and disquieting excursion made by filmmakers whose eyes and ears and imaginations are in marvelous sync.
  20. A feast for Neil Young lovers and initiates alike.
  21. It's really about the ways in which Chinese westernization clashes with the traditionalism of Confucian teachings. It's about competition versus piety.
  22. In Michael Winterbottom's Trishna, Thomas Hardy's Victorian romantic tragedy "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" proves surprisingly adaptable to contemporary India.
  23. Above all, literally, are the kites. When a character says, "You fly these kites and feel the joy," we know just what he means.
  24. This may sound like a dry subject, but, as presented here, it's anything but – especially if you have more than a passing interest in the art and science of what gets projected onto our movie screens these days.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. The pessimism pervading this film is summed up by Shalom, who says, speaking of the decades of occupation: "The future is very dark."
  30. Back to the Future doesn't exactly leap out of the starting gate, and some scenes are strung out by gimmicky editing. But the story picks up steam as it goes along, and the last third is especially full of speedy surprises. [3 July 1985, p.23]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. The results are far more exciting than most Hollywood espionage thrillers.
  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. 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.
  36. His (Lindholm) steadfast, unvarying gaze has its own authenticity. He’s made a thriller that thrills while also respecting our intelligence.
  37. 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.
  38. In top form, Joel and Ethan Coen offer up feel-bad experiences that, like fine blues medleys, make you feel good (although with an acidulous aftertaste). Inside Llewyn Davis is one of their best. So many movies are emblazoned with happy faces; this one wears its sadness, and its snarl, proudly.
  39. What Tim’s Vermeer is really about is two geniuses, of very different sorts, communing across time and space.
  40. Interviewed in the film, Juárez journalist Sandra Rodriguez offers up this grim summation: “That these people represent the ideal of success, impunity, and limitless power is symptomatic of how defeated we are as a society.”
  41. One of the most dreamily unsettling documentaries ever made.
  42. 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.
  43. Ida
    What comes through so powerfully in this movie is a portrait of an entire generation making its way from death throes to new beginnings.
  44. One of the funniest and happiest movies I’ve ever seen about early adolescent girls and their wayward, fitful joyousness.
  45. 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.
  46. Whatever the case, the film resounds with hyperbolic passion. Hot bubbling currents flow through this film’s constricted veins.
  47. Since music is so much more than music between these two, their filmed sessions resemble not so much rehearsals as communions.
  48. 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.
  49. 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.
  50. The movie is artful to a fault, with too many characters sitting in perfectly arranged, immaculately lighted rooms and talking a lot. It contains near-classic sequences, though, and splendid performances. [28 Sept 1990]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  51. The story is slender, but the Brazilian settings are exquisite and lilting tunes by Antonio Carlos Jobim cast a spell over the entire enterprise.
  52. Leaves out portions of John Irving's novel that would have given it more balance and perspective, but the acting by Maguire and Caine is first-rate by any standard.
  53. Splendid acting helps Jordan achieve most of his goals, although some may find the romantic and religious elements an uneasy mixture.
  54. A powerful ending lends a strong emotional charge to this prettily filmed drama, but too much of the story is taken up with romantic clichés about the everyday challenges of childhood.
  55. Has a mixture of strengths and limitations often found in historical epics: lots of eye-filling action and spectacle, little in the way of psychology or human interest.
  56. Many belly laughs.
  57. Some will find the movie's sexual antics too explicit and unconventional for comfort.
  58. The plot is lively and the dialogue packs many good laughs.
  59. The picture has fine ensemble acting and superb Italian scenery. It would have more power if it were shorter and tighter.
  60. As the uptight banker, Robbins does some of his subtlest acting to date. As his hardened but resilient friend, Freeman is simply miraculous, giving the role so much depth, dignity, and good humor that you feel that you've known this man forever. [27 Sept 1994]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  61. The film should captivate anyone with a taste for bold cinematics, unpredictable storytelling, and pitch-black humor aimed at the worthiest of targets: a self-involved and self-congratulatory, industry that often gives lip service to art while worshipping the bottom line. [10 Apr 1992]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  62. Most of the acting is as real and warm as the characters themselves. And the streets, shops, and living rooms of Brooklyn have never seemed more inviting. [29 Jan 1988]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  63. True, traces of his bad habits show through at certain moments, especially near the end, when a long and lachrymose scene plunges into Spielgerian sentimentality of the gooiest kind. But before that unfortunate point, Schinder's List serves up three full hours of brilliant storytelling. That's as humane and compassionate as it is gripping and provocative. [15 Dec 1993]
    • Christian Science Monitor
  64. A thriller so tricky that figuring it out is half the fun.
  65. Bird isn't an easy film, and it doesn't always make an effort to be likable. But it's a dazzler - at least as good as "Round Midnight,'' and that's saying a lot.
  66. To say it right out, The Bostonians is the best movie I've seen all year.
  67. JFK
    Controversy and all, JFK is one of the year's most powerful and provocative films.
  68. It ranks high on the Cronenberg scale as one of his more disturbing forays into depravity.
  69. A solid achievement, but those in the press who have been trumpeting its greatness may be going in for a bit of self-congratulation. The movie plays very well to the choir.
  70. No great claims should be made for In Her Shoes. If the aim here was to show how chick lit can become just plain lit, the effort failed. But there is something to be said for froth when it's expertly whipped.
  71. Black, who wrote "Lethal Weapon," makes his directorial debut, and he puts a fresh spin not only on that film but also on a whole slew of films noirs.
  72. The film is better than the recent "The War Within," which tried for the same things, but ultimately, and perhaps unavoidably, we are left face to face with the unknowable.
  73. Pound for pound, Ami is a heavyweight.
  74. Plowright's performance as a genteel widow in Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont is a small-scale gem, deeply felt without being in the least bit showy.
  75. The scenes between Kong and Ann are much more than a goof: They're the soul of the movie.
  76. Rhys-Meyers and Johansson work well together - they both know how to project glossiness and guile.
  77. This film would be better if it wasn't so slick. Still, parts of it are enjoyably shaggy, and Hopkins is very endearing.
  78. This is the most Hitchcockian of Haneke's films. A seemingly well-adjusted man in a well ordered universe is brought to the brink.
  79. It's a classic example of how a movie can be great without, strictly speaking, being good. But when something is this funny, who wants to speak strictly?
  80. Soderbergh does overemphasize the "little-people" dreariness of it all. But there is much low-key humor here, too, albeit on the dark side.
  81. What actors! The great Miriam Margolyes has a wonderful cameo as a scullery maid, and Colin Firth manfully endures a face full of frosting. And then there's Angela Lansbury, playing her first movie role in 20 years as the villainous Aunt Adelaide.
  82. Rothemund's use of the recorded testimony, while it gives his film a startling veracity, also limits his imagination. It prevents him from delving too deeply into the psychology of these activists.
  83. Rapp has clearly been influenced by such lyrically disaffected '70s movies as "Five Easy Pieces." He brings out in Deschanel a sense of yearning, an avidity, that hits home.
  84. While I don't entirely rule out the possibility that Bruce is a hoaxster, it seems more likely that his story is one of those weird scientific anomalies that more frequently turn up as an Oliver Sacks case history.
  85. Sonia may seem happy-go-lucky at the start, but grief steels her. It makes her grow up very fast. She becomes a kind of heroine in the course of the film, which ultimately owes its stature to her presence.
  86. So many movies these days are being linked, often quite tenuously, to current politics. Let this new film be no exception. I am happy to say that Ice Age: The Meltdown points up for toddlers the dangers of global warming.
  87. It's reminiscent of David Lynch, who is a master at mixing the ghastly and the risible. Brick would be better with a bit more Lynch in its soul, but Johnson is his own man, and I look forward to what he comes up with next.
  88. Chronicles the eerie and oddly inspiring story of Johnston's ongoing battles to survive - both as artist and human being.
  89. Hartnett has been stuck in the young-adult heartthrob mode for some time now, but this comic thriller may launch him into meatier fare.
  90. It's an expertly engineered popcorn movie - hold the butter substitute - but it also tries (and fails) to be a love story for the ages.
  91. Beyond being a showplace for crash-and-burn effects, Poseidon seems to be stumping for togetherness.
  92. This enjoyable Dreamworks animated comedy is well timed.
  93. Streep and Tomlin are so attuned to each other that it's as if they had worked together all of their lives. In fact, it's their first time. Streep has become a wonderfully soulful comedian; Tomlin always was one.
  94. It's all something of a stunt - "Speed" on a shoestring - but very well done.
  95. It may be subtitled, and the faces may be unfamiliar, but District B13 is the best buddy action movie around.
  96. This film is apolitical in the best sense - it bears witness to a time and a place.
  97. At times the film resembles a promo for Shortz and the Times, and the celebrity puzzlers, who include filmmaker Ken Burns, Bill Clinton, and the Indigo Girls, have an unfortunate tendency to bloviate. Not so Jon Stewart, who seems to regard each Times puzzle as an opportunity to go mano a mano with Shortz.

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