Christian Science Monitor

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
Real Women Have Curves (2002) David Sterritt The story is trite, but the acting is lively and the music is delightful. EDIT
Posted Sep 9, 2021
On Broadway (2019) Peter Rainer Despite all the glitz and money talk, what the film unequivocally conveys is the elemental reason we are drawn to the theater in the first place. EDIT
Posted Sep 3, 2021
My Family/Mi Familia (1995) Terri Theiss Thoughtful performances and a strong sense of family love and moral values make it an enjoyable work. EDIT
Posted Aug 26, 2021
4/5 The Lost Leonardo (2021) Peter Rainer What stayed with me after I left the movie was a reaffirmation of how great art, in all its many manifestations, has the power to move us and change our way of seeing, even our lives. EDIT
Posted Aug 12, 2021
Mr. Quilp (1975) David Sterritt Mr. Quilp is neither as charming or as exciting as it would like to be; yet it emerges a partial winner by remaining true to its own darkly Dickensian inclinations. EDIT
Posted Aug 6, 2021
Rosebud (1975) David Sterritt Rosebud should have been a surefire winner. EDIT
Posted Aug 6, 2021
Stavisky (1974) David Sterritt Rarely are style and content so consciously, and thoroughly, mixed. And rarely does a film so sparkle with dreams of decades past. EDIT
Posted Aug 6, 2021
In Celebration (1974) David Sterritt The performances are knowing and assured, helping to restore the drama's low-key urgency. EDIT
Posted Aug 6, 2021
The Front Page (1974) David Sterritt True, there's some verbal crudity that's a disservice to everyone, especially the audience. But watching Lemmon and Matthau match wits can make up for a lot. EDIT
Posted Aug 6, 2021
Hester Street (1975) David Sterritt Joan Micklin Silver, who wrote and directed Hester Street, takes an affectionate attitude to all these people arid their sometimes touching, sometimes humorous problems. EDIT
Posted Aug 6, 2021
Rooster Cogburn (1975) David Sterritt Universal Pictures has taken two of the great old American stars, turned them loose in the Wild West, and come up a genuine old-fashioned horse opera. EDIT
Posted Aug 6, 2021
Lisztomania (1975) David Sterritt I await the day when Russell forgets about drawing crowds, and settles down to serious visualizations of the serious music that has meant so much to his life and career. EDIT
Posted Aug 6, 2021
Jabberwocky (1977) David Sterritt Apart from some isolated funny one-liners, Jabberwocky accomplished nothing more than make me wish for a return engagement of the far more clever Monty Python and the Holy Grail. EDIT
Posted Aug 6, 2021
Animal Crackers (1930) David Sterritt Flaws, miscalculations, and songs notwithstanding, Animal Crackers is a peach. EDIT
Posted Aug 6, 2021
S.P.Y.S (1974) David Sterritt Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould made a finely antic pair in MASH, but their bizarre comradeship alone does not a movie make. You also need plot, comic dialogue, sturdy characterization, and lots of other things you just won't find In SPYS. EDIT
Posted Aug 6, 2021
Rollerball (1975) David Sterritt It is a story of several layers, none very complicated but all absorbing to watch. EDIT
Posted Aug 6, 2021
Small Change (1976) David Sterritt [Small Change] is a romance, a satire, a farce, a lament, and a lecture. If it seems a minor work from such stature, it is no less fetching for all that. EDIT
Posted Aug 6, 2021
Stardust (1974) David Sterritt There's lots to enjoy during the hour or so that shows the Stray Cats riding high -- before the message turns dark and warning, and that coveted "stardust" turns to deadly fallout. EDIT
Posted Aug 6, 2021
Funny Lady (1975) David Sterritt The Funny Lady filmmakers weren't satisfied to churn out a swell old musical with lotsa sight gags and a few neat tunes. They've turned their airy bubble into an oversized balloon of a movie, pumping it full of hot air... until it seems fit to burst. EDIT
Posted Aug 6, 2021
3.5/5 Jungle Cruise (2021) Stephen Humphries Acting in franchise blockbusters often amounts to get-the-job-done professionalism. In Jungle Cruise, however, the actors approach the material as if they're enjoying a day out at Disneyland. EDIT
Posted Jul 30, 2021
4/5 The Green Knight (2021) Tyler Bey Lowery never needed to convince audiences that Gawain was worthy; Patel did all that himself, extracting the dignity that was within Gawain from the beginning. EDIT
Posted Jul 30, 2021
4.5/5 Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain (2021) Peter Rainer Neville isn't trying to "solve" Bourdain, and so, in his own way, he proves himself as open to the vast complexities of experience as his subject was. EDIT
Posted Jul 16, 2021
5/5 Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (2021) Peter Rainer The movie, edited by Joshua Pearson, should take its rightful place among such classic live performance documentaries as Woodstock, Amazing Grace, Monterey Pop, Gospel, T.A.M.I. Show, and Wattstax. EDIT
Posted Jul 2, 2021
Simon (1980) David Sterritt There are enough ingenious gags and plot twists in "Simon" to keep you laughing for more than 90 minutes, and that's more than most movies can offer. EDIT
Posted Jun 23, 2021
4/5 City of Ali (2021) Peter Rainer The film is decidedly hagiographic but, in a time of heightened racial unrest, it's worth being reminded of the fighter Ali's origins. EDIT
Posted Jun 21, 2021
4/5 Sisters on Track (2021) Peter Rainer Sisters on Track starts out as a flashy success story about headline-making kids but turns into something much more meaningful: a tribute to the value of being strong in spirit. EDIT
Posted Jun 21, 2021
3/5 Luca (2021) Stephen Humphries A summer vacation in one's living room, it will leave you smiling from gill to gill. EDIT
Posted Jun 21, 2021
5/5 In the Heights (2021) Stephen Humphries After a pandemic in which viewers have become so accustomed to the small screen, Chu's inventive, energetic, and joyous motion picture is a timely reminder of what "cinematic" truly means. EDIT
Posted Jun 11, 2021
5/5 In the Heights (2021) Tyler Bey In a country struggling with economic and social blackout, In the Heights shines light. EDIT
Posted Jun 11, 2021
4.5/5 The Disciple (2020) Peter Rainer Does a movie about a devoted modern-day practitioner of Hindustani classical music sound overly esoteric? The Disciple, written and directed by Chaitanya Tamhane, is anything but. What it's really about is the spiritual balm that great art can provide. EDIT
Posted May 14, 2021
4.5/5 Quo Vadis, Aida? (2020) Peter Rainer [Writer-Director Jasmila banić] has said in interviews that her purpose here is to invite people to come together. In its own fervent and sorrowful way, I think her film succeeds in that improbable mission EDIT
Posted Apr 23, 2021
The Apple (1998) David Sterritt Makhmalbaf was only 17 when she started work on this project (with the help of her father, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, himself a renowned filmmaker). Her understanding of all members of the family is one of the movie's most remarkable qualities. EDIT
Posted Mar 30, 2021
2/4 Girlfight (2000) David Sterritt Rodriguez's acting almost scores a knockout even though the movie's directing and dialogue are fairly routine. EDIT
Posted Mar 24, 2021
Committed (1984) David Sterritt The result is less neatly packaged, and truer to its troubling subject, than its commercial counterpart. EDIT
Posted Mar 19, 2021
Born in Flames (1983) David Sterritt Borden artfully combines social and political commentary with story elements, character development, and enough ideological savvy to poke intelligent fun at dogmas of every stripe. EDIT
Posted Mar 19, 2021
The Ballad of Little Jo (1993) David Sterritt The narrative is unfolded in straightforward western-movie fashion, and on this level it isn't quite credible enough to compel belief in the protagonist or her cause. EDIT
Posted Mar 17, 2021
2/4 Face (2002) David Sterritt Well made, nice performances, very slowly paced. EDIT
Posted Mar 12, 2021
4.5/5 Raya and the Last Dragon (2021) Lindsey McGinnis Raya isn't groundbreaking; she's even better. Raya is the new norm. EDIT
Posted Mar 12, 2021
4.5/5 The Truffle Hunters (2020) Peter Rainer What we are presented with is essentially a boisterous gallery of aging oddballs. But to their credit the filmmakers never make fun of them. Their eccentricity, because it is rooted in a passion for the natural world, has an innate dignity. EDIT
Posted Mar 5, 2021
4/5 Nomadland (2020) Peter Rainer The affecting, uneven Nomadland, set early in 2011 in the wake of the Great Recession but equally pertinent today, is a road movie of a very special sort. EDIT
Posted Feb 19, 2021
3.5/5 The Mauritanian (2021) Peter Rainer What pulls the movie out of its stylistic complacency is Rahim's performance as Slahi. EDIT
Posted Feb 13, 2021
4.5/5 The White Tiger (2021) Peter Rainer The caste system has figured in a lot of movies about India but I've never seen one quite like The White Tiger, which explores with devastating effect how such a system can distend the souls of both servants and their masters. EDIT
Posted Jan 28, 2021
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