Christian Science Monitor's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,662 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 4.3 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 The Night of the Hunter (re-release)
Lowest review score: 0 Wild Hogs
Score distribution:
3,662 movie reviews
  1. Factotum is so sly and low-key hilarious that anybody can be in on the joke.
  2. In a film that overwhelmingly avoids happy-faced pronouncements, this one sticks out.
  3. The pessimism pervading this film is summed up by Shalom, who says, speaking of the decades of occupation: "The future is very dark."
    • 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.
  4. 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.
  5. It appears to have been made from the inside, not only of the characters but of the historical situation in which they struggle.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. With scrupulous fairness, Ferguson meticulously lays out for us the whole sordid mess.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Since music is so much more than music between these two, their filmed sessions resemble not so much rehearsals as communions.
  12. His (Hamer) new film, 1001 Grams, is almost as good as “Kitchen Stories,” with a story equally unpromising – but only in theory.
  13. 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.
  14. A young adult romantic comedy with a sweetness and delicacy that lifts it out of its genre.
  15. Above all, literally, are the kites. When a character says, "You fly these kites and feel the joy," we know just what he means.
  16. Because the war in Afghanistan is so much in the news now – it should always have been so – a movie like Restrepo is both a bracing document and, in a larger sense, a disappointment.
  17. 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.
    • 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.
  18. The film may be subtitled "Shut Up & Sing," but you can't sing with your mouth closed.
  19. 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.
  20. The best of Rango is a lot like the best of the first "Pirates" movie – crazily funny and rambunctious.
  21. 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.
  22. 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."
    • 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Tim Robbins gives a strong performance in this first-class horror yarn, which has a surprisingly strong political edge.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. Considerably less slick than "An Inconvenient Truth," and no less urgent.
  28. 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.)
  29. In Michael Winterbottom's Trishna, Thomas Hardy's Victorian romantic tragedy "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" proves surprisingly adaptable to contemporary India.
  30. A feast for Neil Young lovers and initiates alike.
  31. 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.
  32. Lena Dunham, the writer-director-star of the microbudget Tiny Furniture, has a distinctive comedic take on the world – a kind of haggard spiritedness.
  33. Pianomania is the thoroughly apt title for a thoroughly enjoyable documentary.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. The results are far more exciting than most Hollywood espionage thrillers.
  38. 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.
  39. Whatever it is, Exit Through the Gift Shop is an original.
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. What Tim’s Vermeer is really about is two geniuses, of very different sorts, communing across time and space.
  43. A very good thrill ride and Cruise is better than he's been in a long time.
  44. At its best, Juno is about the messy things in life that are not so easily summarized.
  45. 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.
  46. Pacino still gets a blast out of acting. His performance in this film about a blocked performer is gloriously unblocked – a valentine to vanity.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    A fine example of a director bringing just enough of his style to revitalize possibly dated material.
  47. As one of Booker's supporters notes, it's a sad day when academic success is used to denigrate an African-American.
  48. Easily the best in the series since the first one.
  49. Heartbreaking, exhilarating, baffling. In other words, it expresses the performer's persona in its purest form.
  50. Clint Eastwood's Letters From Iwo Jima is his companion piece to "Flags of Our Fathers" and in almost every way is superior.
  51. The film is laced with lovely moments, from the leads and from Shelly as a waitress friend.
  52. Most of the photographs on view in The Salt of the Earth bear witness to great suffering, and what they exalt is not the photographer’s eye but the fearful humanity that binds us all.
  53. Blossoms of Fire fulfills the first criterion of any good ethnographic study: It's about an inherently interesting subject.
  54. 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.
  55. It's a marvelous performance in a marvelous movie, one that sneaks up on you while you're watching it.
  56. 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.
  57. If the literacy of The History Boys is deemed uncinematic, then give me uncinema anytime.
  58. Sissako, a Muslim, frames his story as a cry against religious intolerance. One of the characters, speaking of jihadism, says, “Where is piety? Where is God in all this?” It is the central question of this movie – and of much more now than this movie.
  59. After seeing this film, try reading Norman Mailer's "Of A Fire on the Moon," its perfect companion piece.
  60. The result is doubly satisfying: We get not only a trenchant political drama but a bang-up concert film as well.
  61. The movie is an idyllic view of life as it ought to be, rather than the way it is.
  62. 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.”
  63. 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.
  64. In the end, the power poetry workshops, as the teachers are first to admit, are not about creating Shakespeares. They are about survival.
  65. 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
  66. 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.
  67. The story is slender, but the Brazilian settings are exquisite and lilting tunes by Antonio Carlos Jobim cast a spell over the entire enterprise.
  68. 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.
  69. Some will find the movie's sexual antics too explicit and unconventional for comfort.
  70. A thriller so tricky that figuring it out is half the fun.
  71. 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
  72. 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
  73. 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.
  74. 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.
  75. To say it right out, The Bostonians is the best movie I've seen all year.
  76. 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
  77. Many belly laughs.
  78. 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.
  79. The plot is lively and the dialogue packs many good laughs.
  80. 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
  81. 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
  82. The picture has fine ensemble acting and superb Italian scenery. It would have more power if it were shorter and tighter.
  83. JFK
    Controversy and all, JFK is one of the year's most powerful and provocative films.
  84. Splendid acting helps Jordan achieve most of his goals, although some may find the romantic and religious elements an uneasy mixture.
  85. Rhys-Meyers and Johansson work well together - they both know how to project glossiness and guile.
  86. A winning movie about losing. I didn’t always warm to its coy quirkiness, but it’s the rare American movie about contemporary teenagers that rings more true than false.
  87. Vanessa Redgrave, as the adult Briony, appears at the very end in a monologue that rounds out the film with heartbreaking force.
  88. As inspirational academic stories go, it doesn't get much better than this.
  89. Although stylistically and conceptually it never lifts itself entirely out of the realm of a made-for-television drama – don't expect "My Left Foot" – The Sessions is bracing. It's also one of the few movies to recognize that people with severe physical disabilities have sexual lives, too.
  90. Without Cooper's performance, Breach would have been a good, workmanlike thriller. His presence lifts it to a whole new level.
  91. The ad campaign for the sci-fi thriller District 9, with mysterious billboards touting aliens among us, is highly creative and amusing. So, in patches, is the movie, which is a thinking man's, or man-boy's, "Transformers."
  92. It may be subtitled, and the faces may be unfamiliar, but District B13 is the best buddy action movie around.
  93. Timeliness is certainly on the side of Mira Nair’s uneven but fascinating The Reluctant Fundamentalist.
  94. 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.
  95. The film stands quite well on its own. The directors have made the right, essential decision to make the movie almost entirely from Maisie’s point of view.
  96. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is an ersatz experience, a commingling of forced uplift and exotica, but it's moving anyway.

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