Christian Science Monitor's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,527 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 The Truman Show
Lowest review score: 0 The Green Hornet
Score distribution:
3,527 movie reviews
  1. Best where it counts the most - in its recognition of how difficult it will be for Dan and Drey to turn their lives around.
  2. Montenegro, the star of "Central Station," and her daughter make a remarkable pair. They hold your attention even when the emptily portentous story does not.
  3. Very difficult to characterize and that's why I like it. The best I can do is to call it a sunny tragedy.
  4. Whitaker is terrifying in a way that we recognize not from old movies but from life.
  5. The passage of time has rarely been more forcefully conveyed in a movie, as we see clips of the interviewees not only from today but also at seven-year intervals from the past.
  6. The movie confirms what most of us have known all along: Electability is all about staying on message.
  7. Destined to become this year's love-it-or-hate-it movie. Is it OK to say I merely liked it a lot?
  8. Eastwood has made an honorable movie about honor, but the naivete of the conception - which some will call purity - keeps "Flags" at arm's length from greatness.
  9. Philip Noyce's anti-apartheid drama is tense and thoughtful, if somewhat marred by Hollywood-style thrills.
  10. This computer-animated feature is consistently inventive, if a bit busy and overlong.
  11. I have always felt that Almodóvar was at his best as an artist when he was at his most playful. Volver is about deadly serious matters of the heart, but it often has a screwball spirit. The darker things are, the funnier.
  12. Craig makes you aware of something that the Bond series, in its pursuit of steamy sex and cartoon action, quickly lost sight of: 007 is a killer. That's what he's licensed to do.
  13. The director is fortunate to have cast actors who fully embody their roles. Muehe, who once played Josef Mengele in Costa-Gavras's "Amen," has the ability to let you see far beneath his masklike countenance. Koch, dashing and intense, is entirely believable as a man of the theater; Gedeck exudes a sensuousness that this covert society cannot abide.
  14. As strong as Blood Diamond is in its best moments, I wish it had been even harder-edged. DiCaprio is remarkable - his work is almost on par with his performance this year in "The Departed."
  15. The screenplay is by Hanif Kureishi, who wrote "The Mother" for Michell and also scripted the classic "My Beautiful Laundrette." He has a feeling for outsiders.
  16. In addition to being a beloved author and illustrator, Beatrix is also presented as an early feminist and environmentalist who took control of her literary empire and saved vast acres of luscious farmland from greedy developers, eventually bequeathing property to Britain's National Trust.
  17. The cast is something of an indie movie hall of fame that includes Giovanni Ribisi, Mary Steenburgen, Brittany Murphy, and Toni Collette. Marcia Gay Harden is particularly fine as the murdered girl's mother.
  18. Burton is extraordinary in one of his rare good movie roles and O'Toole is regally madcap and larger than life. No doubt his Oscar-nominated appearance in "Venus" has prompted this rerelease of Becket. They make a fascinating then-and-now combination.
  19. Without Cooper's performance, Breach would have been a good, workmanlike thriller. His presence lifts it to a whole new level.
  20. Color Me Kubrick is a far more modest movie, but in some ways is more successful than "The Hoax" in conveying how deeply people want to believe something is true against all evidence.
  21. Nobody can play stupid better than Daniels – think "Dumb and Dumber" – and, as it turns out, few can play smarter. He's a sharp asset in a sharp movie.
  22. In all, it's a fun exercise in nostalgia but a three-hour homage to grade Z movies is a long sit. Grunge overload sets in early.
  23. Given the subject, the movie is too romanticized, and Christie's eyes remain too sharp here to convincingly convey someone whose memory is fast slipping away. Much of it is powerful anyway.
  24. The best episodes have the emotional resonance of full-length features, and yet I didn't want them to be a moment longer than they are.
  25. The ending is a set-up for yet another sequel: Can "28 Months Later" be very far away?
  26. Kazi is a bundle of energy, and the film touches on an important and often-overlooked issue: The commercial pressure that is often brought to bear on rappers to be scurrilous and offensive. This project, which was produced by Bruce Willis and Queen Latifah, shows that there is another way.
  27. The film drags a bit and Irglova's inexperience as an actor sometimes leaves her costars in the lurch. But it's a sweet little film just the same.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    Gibson has done a capable job of directing The Man Without a Face, showing little in the way of a personal style, but taking advantage of the skills brought to the project by his collaborators. [27 Aug 1993]
  28. Sweep aside the gross-outs and you've got the family values comedy of the year.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    What makes the movie a superior specimen of traditional screen storytelling is largely the exquisite care director Armstrong has taken to make every shot as radiantly appealing as possible, bathing even the melancholy aspects of the plot in a glow that's as pleasing to the eye as it is warming to the heart. [23 Dec 1994]
  29. Barring a middle-class revolt, it's extremely unlikely that, whatever its virtues, universal healthcare could ever take hold in America. Still, I'm glad Moore made his film.
  30. As was also true of Pixar's last movie, "Cars," Ratatouille is better at pleasing the eye than the other senses.
  31. The back-and-forth between the performers is tensely choreographed, and Buscemi does a good job opening up the action, which mostly takes place in a Manhattan loft.
  32. Danes doesn't quite fit into the mindscape – she's too bland for a human star – but Cox comes of age quite convincingly, De Niro is a hoot, as is Ricky Gervais as a slimy tradesman. Pfeiffer has a field day.
  33. What Alfred Hitchcock once said about thrillers also applies to Westerns: The stronger the bad guy, the better the film. By that measure, 3:10 to Yuma is excellent.
  34. I wish this movie wasn't so purposefully elegiac and attenuated – at times it's like a middling Terrence Malick fantasia – but it's well worth sitting through.
  35. It's awfully difficult at this point in film history to come up with a car chase that's startlingly new, but Gray pulls it off. It's the best of its kind since "The French Connection."
  36. The filmmaking style is annoyingly slick, but the testimonies of these children are excruciatingly moving.
  37. It may sound like faint praise to say that Enchanted is the movie of the year for smart and spirited 11-year-old girls. But a movie that genuinely respects that audience is not to be belittled.
  38. Director Andrew Wagner, adapting a novel by Brian Morton, is sometimes understated to a fault, but his work with the actors, who also include Lili Taylor as Leonard's daughter, is impeccable.
  39. At its best, the movie makes you feel like a kindred spirit.
  40. While this may seem like an apologia for randy older men, it doesn't come off that way, and Cruz gives her best performance to date.
  41. Vanessa Redgrave, as the adult Briony, appears at the very end in a monologue that rounds out the film with heartbreaking force.
  42. Nanking, directed by Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman, does justice to this tragedy even though it makes the mistake of mixing the testimony of actual participants with staged readings from actors subbing for real people.
  43. A considerable achievement even if, on balance, it's more of a Tim Burton phantasmagoria than a Sondheim fantasia.
  44. Based on the 1938 novel by Winifred Watson, it's a deluxe romance that most of the time plays like farce.
  45. Too much of this film is attenuated and vague, but it has moments of deep melancholy.
  46. Shine A Light is essentially just an expertly made concert film. But what a concert! (And what a camera team.)
  47. It radiates intelligence. Of how many historical epics can that be said these days?
  48. The animation is consistently sporty and there are some choice comic riffs on martial arts movies.
  49. As hig concepts go, You Don't Mess With the Zohan" takes the cake.
  50. The film's parallels between Mohmed's travails and the Iraq war are forced, but overall this is a fascinating odyssey that never plays out in ways you would expect.
  51. Family home movies and photos and archival clips round out the film, which holds its hero-worshiping to fairly tolerable levels.
  52. It's a great piece of work in a movie that, whatever its failings, deserves to be seen even if you swear undying allegiance to the BBC mini-series.
  53. Melissa Leo is startlingly good...You feel like you're watching a life, not a performance.
  54. There's something inherently funny about the romantic predicament of Harry and Ron and Hermione. As if it wasn't bad enough having to deal with the Dark Lord and the Death Eaters and all the rest, now they have to square off against... raging hormones.
  55. Wilson is pretty much the whole show. With nobody else around to steal from, he ends up stealing scenes from himself.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    Although the documentary is something of a patchwork affair and lacks the late singer's ineffable smoothness and rhythmic brilliance, it emphatically makes the case that here was one of the four or five all-time great female jazz voices – or "song stylists," as she called herself.
  56. The film suffers at times from biopic-itis – the narrative unfolds with the requisite heartbreak carefully apportioned – but it's always eye-catching.
  57. Although the film, for the most part, is told from the perspective of the IRA, it does not blithely take its side.
  58. Along with its disappointments and its narrowness of intellectual focus, Doubt offers up the crackling pleasures of performance and a narrative that snaps shut like a mousetrap. It's the movie equivalent of a rousing night at the theater.
  59. The overfamiliarity of What Doesn't Kill You is redeemed by a full-scale performance from Mark Ruffalo.
  60. Throughout the film there are small, rapturous moments.
  61. Up
    As a piece of poetic compression, it ranks with the opening of Orson Welles's "The Magnificent Ambersons."
  62. Garrone's messy storytelling compounds an already messy history. He's a powerful filmmaker, though, and a fearless one.
  63. Dews perhaps makes too much of the notion that Allis was a woman out of her time – a feminist precursor. This is too sociological a formulation for such a patently psychological crisis.
  64. The aura of shock-and-awe surrounding this game is laid on a bit thick, and sometimes you feel like you're just watching an ESPN special. Still, it's fun. The interviewees include Harvard's stone-cold-serious Tommy Lee Jones and Brian Dowling, Yale's wonder-boy quarterback who became the model for B.D. in classmate Garry Trudeau's "Doonesbury."
  65. For most of the way this is an eye-popping, not blood-curdling, experience.
  66. Assayas conveys with great understatement an entire constellation of emotions in Summer Hours. I wouldn't have minded a little bit of overstatement.
  67. 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."
  68. There are some great, rapturous moments in Where the Wild Things Are. Jonze is humbled before the wonders of a child's imagination, and so are we.
  69. The sheer sensuousness of all these bric-a-brac memories is sustaining.
  70. Levy-Hinte has said that a great deal more concert footage exists. I can't wait for the expanded version DVD.
  71. Damon is an agile comic performer, and Soderbergh knows how to serve him up without losing sight of the ultimate seriousness behind it all.
  72. It melodramatizes everything and yet its overall effect is something more than melodrama.
  73. Each man has his own distinctive style, and yet when they jam together it sounds like the most natural thing in the world.
  74. A pretty good example of the kind of movie Hollywood used to turn out by the yard.
  75. By Dardenne standards this plot is pretty pulpy and unconvincing, but I rather enjoyed watching them attempt to twist it into an existentialist pretzel.
  76. Devotees of the "Whole Earth Catalogue" may regard this film as a nostalgia trip, but it's much more comprehensive, more forward-looking than that.
  77. The film pays off in the end when, almost imperceptibly, the rush of emotions it stirs in us rises to a soft crescendo.
  78. I wish Fontaine would follow up with a sequel: "Coco After Chanel." Tautou's performance cries out for a second act.
  79. If I never felt entirely transported by Avatar, it's probably because the story thudded just as often as the imagery soared. But Pandora is still a good place to park yourself for three hours.
  80. Has its pleasures, foremost being its look – a sophisticated puppet primitivism backdropped by near-psychedelic colorations.
  81. You could argue, I suppose, that this film, a Sundance hit, is essentially a funny sketch padded out to feature length. And what of it, my man?
  82. It all seems like a stunt, especially since Beaven has also written a just-published book about his experiences, but he and Conlin are an engaging pair who don't let zealotry get in the way of humor.
  83. For a movie so sensuously mounted, it's remarkably grounded.
  84. As fiercely unsentimental as Disgrace is, it offers by the end a measure of hope, and because that hope is so hard-won, it has the ring of truth.
  85. Bong's style is comically tart even in the film's most noirish moments.
  86. Ellsberg, his full-scale personal trajectory laid bare, emerges as a more complex man than both the right and the left have generally given him credit for.
  87. Sheen is startlingly good here, and so is Timothy Spall as Clough's trusted and much abused lieutenant.
  88. Shulman was around so long that he even got to weigh in on Frank Gehry's Disney Hall. He was skeptical once but came to love it.
  89. Captures the fear factor in the lives of these men without turning them into the usual home front head cases.
  90. The best of it has the comradely, free-swinging bawdiness of Robert Altman's "M*A*S*H."
  91. This intermittently terrific cerebral thriller does, indeed, hinge on the proper use of dictionary definitions, but the film is really about the oppressive blahness of small-town, postcommunist Romania. In such surroundings, parsing definitions can almost stand for high drama.
  92. When Kandel revisits his childhood neighborhoods in Vienna and Brooklyn and ruminates in his sprightly way on the past, the full measure of his humanity comes through.
  93. The Ghost Writer is minor Polanski but it’s one of the rare thrillers these days that plays up to you instead of down.
  94. I can agree that the power brokers in this scenario, who effectively broke Barnes's will, have far more interest in tourism than in masterpieces. But casting this story as a battle between the elites and the philistines mischaracterizes the situation.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    While almost entirely family-friendly, the film deserves its PG rating: One plot point near the very end would have totally freaked my tender childhood sensibilities.
  95. Although it’s refreshing to see a movie that stands up for charter schools and takes on teachers unions for their hammerlock on educational oversight, Bowdon overcorrects. His home state of New Jersey may not be an isolated case but neither, with its high level of corruption, should it be seen as altogether representative of all countrywide educational ills.
  96. It has a sweetness all its own.

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