Movie Reviews


The Story: Fact-based story of the 1944 attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler. The Lowdown: Reasonably effective, but not a terribly compelling WWII drama that benefits from a strong supporting cast, despite a miscast lead.

Bedtime Stories

The Story: A hotel maintenance worker attempts to change his lot in life once he realizes the fanciful bedtime stories he has been telling his niece and nephew are coming true in real life. The Lowdown: The usual tired brand of Adam Sandler comedy, but now with the added bonus of being wrapped up in…

The Reader

The Story: A complex story of the impact that a youthful affair with an enigmatic older woman has on a man's entire life -- not so much because of the affair itself, but because of what he later learns about the past of the woman and his reaction to that discovery. The Lowdown: Brilliant and…

Marley & Me

The Story: The tale of a growing family and their unruly dog, and the life lessons that come with both. The Lowdown: A meandering, sloppy affair that’s more concerned with tricking the audience into waterworks than actually creating sympathetic characters or an involving plot.

The Spirit

The Story: Seemingly indestructible crime fighter The Spirit battles with archcriminal The Octopus in an attempt to learn the secret of his origins and bring The Octopus to justice. The Lowdown: Stylized, screwy, silly and deliberately preposterous, The Spirit is a lot of loopy fun -- if you're on its wavelength.

The Tale of Despereaux

The Story: A fearless little mouse sets out to make big changes in the dismal land of Dor in order to please a princess. The Lowdown: A perfectly acceptable, but far from exciting animated film that should be fine for kids and reasonably painless for those accompanying them.

Yes Man

The Story: A sullen man with a penchant for saying “no” to everything decides to do the exact opposite after attending a self-help seminar. He says “yes” to every opportunity that presents itself and goes along with the misadventures that follow. The Lowdown: What could have been another grating Jim Carrey high-concept comedy is surprisingly…


The Story: The head nun at a Catholic school in 1964 harbors suspicions -- that become confirmed in her own mind -- about the relationship of the priest and one of her students. The Lowdown: A wholly intelligent, entertaining and thought-provoking film showcasing a powerhouse of acting talent at their best.

Seven Pounds

The Story: A guilt-ridden IRS agent tries to find salvation for his past by helping others. The Lowdown: A patently ridiculous weepie that constantly mistakes contrivance for profundity and has little connection to even marginal reality.

Synecdoche, New York

The Story: A would-be visionary tries -- for years -- to stage his ever-growing, ever-changing masterpiece. The Lowdown: A singularly strange movie that requires both patience and considerable work from the viewer. Only for those looking for a film that challenges them -- and whether you like it or not, it's hard to deny that…


The Story: Delgo, a teenage lizard-man living in a fantasy realm, tries to save the princess of his people’s mortal enemies, a race of creatures with insect wings. This, in turn, will prevent an oncoming war. The Lowdown: A cheap, shoddy, superfluous animated adventure that had no point in ever being made, let alone shown…

Let the Right One In

The Story: The life of a bullied, put-upon, lonely 12-year-old boy is changed forever when he gets a new neighbor who turns out to be a vampire, more or less his own age. The Lowdown: A brilliant, chilling, often sad and thoughtful horror film that delivers the genre goods, while offering considerably more in the…

Slumdog Millionaire

The Story: A poor young man -- a "slumdog" -- goes on a game show and proceeds to win a fortune, but the question arises as to whether or not he cheated. The Lowdown: A truly magnificent film to be savored -- funny, intense, moving, warmly human and done with enough style for at least…

Nobel Son

The Story: An egomaniacal Nobel Prize winner finds his $2 million in prize money being lost as the ransom for his kidnapped son. The Lowdown: A tragically unhip attempt at hipness that misunderstands everything it tries to copy in terms of quirky dark comedy. Its watchability factor depends entirely on one's fondness for Alan Rickman.


The Story: Biographical film about gay activist Harvey Milk that charts his life from San Francisco camera-store owner through his rise to political office holder to his assassination at the hands of former council member Dan White. The Lowdown: A spectacularly detailed, warmly human and emotionally charged film centered on an astonishing Sean Penn performance…

Punisher: War Zone

The Story: The Punisher goes after master criminal Jigsaw to protect the widow of an FBI agent and prevent an influx of terrorist-ready weapons from entering the hands of New York City's apparently thriving community of Islamic extremists. The Lowdown: Trashy, overstated, witlessly violent, borderline incoherent and predictable to the point of boredom.