Movie Reviews

Sherlock Holmes

The Story: Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson pit their skills against a criminal mastermind who has apparently risen from the grave. The Lowdown: One of the most enjoyable and beautifully crafted films of the year -- and built around an interpretation of Holmes and Watson that's more than a worthy addition to their cinematic predecessors.

It’s Complicated

The Story: A divorcée begins having an affair with her ex-husband, a man she hasn't been married to for a decade. The Lowdown: A professionally made film with a good central performance by Meryl Streep that's still never good enough to overcome its inability to create likable, believable characters.


The Story: Italian filmmaker Guido Contini tries to bluff his way through making a film he can't seem to write, while sorting out his personal life. The Lowdown: It's big, lively and has a distinctive driving force, but this film of the Broadway show never quite scales the heights it might have. Still, it gets…

Me and Orson Welles

The Story: A young man finds himself a part of Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre and their modern-dress production of Julius Caesar. The Lowdown: A wildly entertaining, beautifully crafted film that captures the excitement of the theater -- and something of the genius that was Orson Welles.

Up in the Air

The Story: A man whose job is to fly around the country and fire people finds his way of life -- and his perceptions of life -- changing. The Lowdown: Bitterly funny on the one hand and heartbreaking on the other, Up in the Air is a film of surprising depth and humanity.

The Road

The Story: A man and his son attempt to survive in a hopeless, post-apocalyptic world beset with myriad dangers. The Lowdown: A stark, unrelentingly grim film that works due to strong performances and an underlying sense of humanity that occasionally peaks through.

The Young Victoria

The Story: The story of Queen Victoria's early years and her romance with Prince Albert. The Lowdown: Much more entertaining, lively and human than the subject matter probably suggests, this lovely film benefits from literate writing, stylish direction and strong performances.

The Damned United

The Story: In order to get even with an old nemesis football (soccer) manager, Brian Clough accepts the job of handling a team he utterly despises. The Lowdown: A fact-based drama -- with comedy overtones -- that turns out to be one of the year's most entertaining films, thanks in no small part to the…


The Story: Two brothers -- one a war hero and the other an ex-con -- must deal with the after-effects of one being a prisoner of war in Afghanistan. The Lowdown: A very human, occasionally warm film about family that, unfortunately, too often feels uneven and lacks the appropriate emotional punch it's looking for.


The Story: A group of armored-car security guards decide to partake in the perfect crime; something goes awry and it's up to one of them to save the day. The Lowdown: A perfectly adequate heist movie that's sufficiently entertaining, even if it adds nothing new to anything.


The Story: The story of Nelson Mandela helping to unite South Africa through a rugby team and a sense of national pride. The Lowdown: A very good, interestingly made film that gets close to greatness without quite making it. There are, however, sufficient compensations to make it worthwhile.