Critics gripe about formulas, but give credit where credit is due: If ever there were a formula that has proven its durability, it's the odd-couple road comedy. Director Todd Phillips brings us the story of Type-A architect Peter (Robert Downey Jr.) and spacey, would-be actor Ethan (Zach Galifianakis) forced by improbable circumstances to share a car ride from Atlanta to Los Angeles in time for the scheduled C-section birth of Peter's first child. Grade: B.
Director Jon Favreau and writer Justin Theroux deserve credit for trying to infuse the sequel to 2008's 'Iron Man' with equal parts pleasure, wit, intelligence, silliness, self-awareness and steely action-movie grit. In other words, Favreau tries to make it a worthwhile vehicle for the acting ability of his star, Robert Downey Jr., succeeding enough to make this enjoyable by the standards of summer-movie comic-book adaptations/sequels. Grade: B-.
Bromance is alive and well in Guy Ritchie's rather popular adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's beloved detective Sherlock Holmes. Robert Downey Jr. trades quips and quibbles with an astute and reliable Jude Law as Dr. Watson, so there are levels of intrigue beyond the shiny surface. Grade: B-.
Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez’s best-seller about how he befriended and tried to help a talented but mentally ill homeless man who loves to play classical music on the streets isn't an easy book to film. But the film, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx, surprisingly gets a fair portion of it right. Grade: B.