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.
The Story: Everyone's favorite singing chipmunks are back -- whether you like it or not. This time, starting off at high school. The Lowdown: Manages to be both bottom-of-the-barrel and incredibly grating. This might be the first time I've watched a movie that's completely made up of filler.
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 near enough that it's certainly worth your while.
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.
The Story: After witnessing a murder, two married New Yorkers on the outs are sent to a small town in Wyoming by the witness relocation program. The Lowdown: A harmless romantic comedy that fails due to a lack of chemistry between its leads and a complete lack of originality.
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 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 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 Story: In the future, an ex-Marine inflitrates the
Classic Cinema From Around the World will present Cría Cuervos at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18, at Courtyard Gallery, 9 Walnut St., in downtown Asheville. Info: 273-3332.
The Story: A prince gets turned into a frog, and in turn, accidentally turns a serving girl into one when he mistakes her for a princess. The Lowdown: Beautiful to look at, but so determinedly old-fashioned that it feels slightly processed and formula-driven.
The Story: A grimly realistic look at the life of a largely illiterate Harlem teen, the circumstances that created her, and the people who try to help her. The Lowdown: Maybe not quite the brilliant film it's been touted to be; nevertheless, this often brutal -- and always brutally frank -- movie is a strong, must-see work.
The Room will be shown Monday, Dec. 21, at 9 p.m. at BoBo Gallery, 22 Lexington Ave., Asheville.
Classic Cinema From Around the World will present Munyurangabo at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, at Courtyard Gallery, 9 Walnut St., in downtown Asheville. Info: 273-3332.
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.
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.
The Story: A lonely widower decides to drop in on his children. Revelations ensue. The Lowdown: A pretty drippy family drama that wallows in its obviousness and never achieves the emotional kick it's after.
The Story: Horny college students spend a semester at a vampire-infested castle in Transylvania. The Lowdown: It's a movie that could make you appreciate the subtle charms of Old Dogs.