Christian Science Monitor

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
4/5 MLK/FBI (2020) Peter Rainer Seeing it so graphically laid out gives the whole sordid history a cumulative intensity. EDIT
Posted Jan 14, 2021
4.5/5 Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Peter Rainer If the drama is galvanizing enough, that's all you need. And what we have here is more than enough: Viola Davis in one of her greatest performances, and the late Chadwick Boseman in his final and most powerful appearance. EDIT
Posted Dec 18, 2020
The Joy Luck Club (1993) David Sterritt Talky, episodic, and ripely sentimental, it invites us to understand its characters more through our emotions than our intellects. EDIT
Posted Dec 16, 2020
3.5/5 Mank (2020) Peter Rainer Dor all its skill and scrupulousness, I found the film a strangely remote emotional experience -- a slice of black and white that never quite bursts into living color. EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2020
4.5/5 Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds (2020) Peter Rainer Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds is an awestruck movie about awe. EDIT
Posted Nov 13, 2020
4/5 The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) Peter Rainer It represents the sanctification of a time and a people whose spirit Sorkin sees as our salvation. EDIT
Posted Oct 16, 2020
3/5 Cloud 9 (2008) David Sterritt "Cloud 9" offers the welcome spectacle of two oldsters discovering romantic bliss, even though that bliss ultimately comes at the expense of others. EDIT
Posted Sep 23, 2020
Bob Roberts (1992) David Sterritt "Bob Roberts" is a bold and often hilarious movie that cares enough about politics to take actual stands on real issues. EDIT
Posted Sep 15, 2020
Buoyancy (2019) Peter Rainer It's quite powerful. An inexorable journey into the destruction of this young boy's innocence. EDIT
Posted Sep 14, 2020
I Am Woman (2019) Peter Rainer I Am Woman all too conveniently hauls out the usual biopic tropes but, as is true of so many other films in this genre, including much better ones, it's worth experiencing for its star performance. EDIT
Posted Sep 14, 2020
4/5 Mulan (2020) Lindsey McGinnis The film is a visual masterpiece. Shot in New Zealand, it is full of rich colors and textures from start to finish. Every costume, set, and even prop is beautifully crafted, transporting viewers into a highly saturated version of sixth-century China. EDIT
Posted Sep 14, 2020
Married to the Mob (1988) David Sterritt "Married to the Mob'' isn't for all tastes. But for cinematic thrills and spills, it's quite a ride. EDIT
Posted Jul 18, 2020
Absolute Power (1997) David Sterritt It's more effective than expected - aside from the scenes of excessive sex and violence, that is - mainly because Eastwood gives one of the most deeply felt performances of his career. EDIT
Posted Jun 25, 2020
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) David Sterritt You can't help being impressed, even as you feel like ducking under your seat for a moment's relief from the relentlessness of it all. EDIT
Posted Jun 23, 2020
Reversal of Fortune (1990) David Sterritt Barbet Schroeder directed the ingeniously made film, which weaves fact, hypothesis, and conjecture into a harrowing yet continually gripping and often highly amusing narrative. EDIT
Posted Jun 17, 2020
My Left Foot (1989) David Sterritt It's Day-Lewis who lights up the screen most brilliantly. EDIT
Posted Jun 12, 2020
3/4 Family Fundamentals (2002) David Sterritt The film discusses important social and personal issues, although the interview subjects don't always have enlightening things to say. EDIT
Posted Jun 9, 2020
Paris Is Burning (1990) David Sterritt The film is rude, colorful, and bursting with questions about American culture, subculture, and society. EDIT
Posted May 18, 2020
Chan Is Missing (1982) David Sterritt A wry variation on old detective movies. EDIT
Posted May 12, 2020
James Dean (2001) M.S. Mason James Franco is so Deansian, it's scary. The life story of the rebel without a cause has been shaped by fact and presumption into a startlingly enthralling drama. EDIT
Posted May 11, 2020
The River (1984) David Sterritt Most of The River is dry and familiar. EDIT
Posted Apr 17, 2020
Clockers (1995) David Sterritt ''Clockers'' remains a major work by a major film artist, but its cinematic achievements are diminished by its narrative and psychological shortcomings. EDIT
Posted Apr 9, 2020
1/4 The Story of Us (1999) David Sterritt Audiences may want their own speedy divorce from this irritating collection of stale jokes, pointless vulgarities, and warmed-over cliches. EDIT
Posted Apr 7, 2020
2.5/5 Leap Year (2010) Peter Rainer Amy Adams is such a likable actress that she makes the romantic comedy "Leap Year" worth watching even though we've seen it all before. EDIT
Posted Apr 3, 2020
The Journey of Natty Gann (1985) David Sterritt The performances are uneven, the story is rigged, and the ending -- which tries sincerely to be inspirational -- is just corny. EDIT
Posted Mar 30, 2020
1/4 Prefontaine (1997) David Sterritt Prefontaine is a fascinating hero, but his experiences become a string of sports-movie clichs in the hands of filmmaker Steve James. EDIT
Posted Mar 24, 2020
La Bamba (1987) David Sterritt It's easy to forgive the thudding omens and ironies, since they appear in such a life-affirming context. The purpose of La Bamba is not to mourn Valens's death but to celebrate his life, with special attention to the great joy he found in music. EDIT
Posted Mar 24, 2020
A Love in Germany (1983) David Sterritt Directed by Polish filmmaker Andrzej Wajda with a rather heavy touch leavened by strokes of nightmarish humor. EDIT
Posted Mar 24, 2020
4/5 The Booksellers (2019) Peter Rainer The Booksellers is a documentary for people who treasure the sheer look and feel of books... As a proud member of this diminishing tribe of obsessives, I am grateful there exists a film featuring my spiritual kinfolk. EDIT
Posted Mar 4, 2020
4/5 EMMA. (2020) Peter Rainer Jane Austen speaks to us as clearly now as she did some 200 years ago. Maybe what is retro isn't so retro after all. EDIT
Posted Feb 13, 2020
4/5 The Woman Who Loves Giraffes (2018) Peter Rainer Dagg is the focus of Alison Reid's The Woman Who Loves Giraffes, and it confirms a long-held tenet of mine: If the subject of a documentary is fascinating, it doesn't much matter if the filmmaking is workmanlike. EDIT
Posted Jan 15, 2020
3.5/5 Fiddlin' (2018) Danny Jin Fiddlin', though not a work of history, is lively, with its share of touching moments. It should be entertaining enough for most Americana fans, and offers a glimpse of how Appalachia grounds its identity in its music. EDIT
Posted Jan 2, 2020
4/5 A Hidden Life (2019) Peter Rainer Despite its faults, the film does indeed succeed in being a species of religious experience. It has a powerful sense of the immanence of life. EDIT
Posted Dec 31, 2019
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) Peter Rainer This is a film I admired more than I liked... I just found the film to be too hyper-staged and too artfully constructed to make an emotional connection. EDIT
Posted Dec 6, 2019
4/5 Knives Out (2019) Kim Campbell Shedding his James Bond intensity, Craig plays Blanc with well-timed goofiness, talking in circles and leaving the audience wondering (in a good way) if he is solving anything, or just likes to listen to himself. EDIT
Posted Nov 27, 2019
4.5/5 A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) Peter Rainer If nothing is more difficult in the movies than convincingly portraying authentic goodness, then A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood can be counted near-perfect. EDIT
Posted Nov 21, 2019
4/5 Harriet (2019) Candace McDuffie For two hours, we are enveloped in the greatness and valiance of black womanhood -- something we hope to see again soon on the big screen. EDIT
Posted Nov 4, 2019
3.5/5 The Irishman (2019) Peter Rainer I do like it more than anything he's directed in a long time... But here's an aspect of the movie, common to all of Scorsese's organized crime films, that I find troubling. To wit: Just how sentimental should we be about coldblooded killers? EDIT
Posted Oct 31, 2019
4.5/5 The Cave (2019) Peter Rainer The primary focus, drawn from hundreds of hours of footage shot between 2016 and 2018, is on the physician Amani Ballour. I've rarely seen a more inspiring figure in a movie. EDIT
Posted Oct 23, 2019
Help Wanted: Kids (1986) Arthur Unger "Help Wanted'' could use a little help -- from a scriptwriter, a casting director, and from a knowledgeable psychologist. EDIT
Posted Sep 27, 2019
C+ Jojo Rabbit (2019) Peter Rainer Waititi wanted to light a bonfire but, at best, what we get is a sputtering candle. EDIT
Posted Sep 16, 2019
B High School Musical 2 (2007) Gloria Goodale The kids are just as photogenic and the songs are just as hummable. It won't launch any more careers, but it's a good family film for a warm Friday night EDIT
Posted Sep 10, 2019
B Blinded by the Light (2019) Peter Rainer Despite its predictability, it conveys what it's like to be enraptured by a rock idol. EDIT
Posted Aug 23, 2019
School Ties (1992) David Sterritt But why did the filmmakers relegate their story to the 1950s, as if such attitudes weren't still alive and dangerous? EDIT
Posted Aug 21, 2019
5/5 One Child Nation (2019) Peter Rainer [Nanfu] Wang began this film as a way to rediscover her own past. It does far more than that. It will help ensure that the full tragedy of those years is not forgotten. Anyone who sees this film is not likely to forget. EDIT
Posted Aug 16, 2019
3.5/5 Where'd You Go, Bernadette (2019) Peter Rainer It's a safe movie about people who don't feel safe in this world. EDIT
Posted Aug 9, 2019
2/5 The Original Kings of Comedy (2000) David Sterritt Sometimes they're truly hilarious; sometimes they're lazy enough to milk laughs from scattershot vulgarity; and sometimes they try to pummel the audience into submission with humor... EDIT
Posted Aug 7, 2019
A Honeyland (2019) Peter Rainer It's the best kind of documentary -- an eye-opener and a mind-opener. EDIT
Posted Aug 1, 2019
Lewis Black: Black on Broadway (2004) M.S. Mason Black's masterly comic rage explodes on stage in dynamic stories, but the strong language is not for everyone. EDIT
Posted Aug 1, 2019
B+ The Farewell (2019) April Austin The real star is Shuzhen Zhao, who plays the grandmother. Her Nai Nai is a blend of indomitability, charm, shrewdness, and puckish delight. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2019