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.

Nine


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 near enough that it's certainly worth your while.

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 performances of Michael Sheen and Timothy Spall.

Brothers


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.

Armored


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.

Invictus


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.