Before the Devil Knows You're Dead – *** – A conventional crime drama: mismatched bros jack up their parents' jewelry store. Fine actors & workman Lumet execute the flick's zigzag structure & family dynamics w/ professionalism but not insight.
Tropic Thunder – *** – Stiller & co. sic the sacred cow of celluloid heroism. I only wish the plot (ego actors stumble into "real" Vietnam warfare) was as subversive as the approach. But blackfaced Downey is genius.
The Wire: season 5 – ***** – When a show is this superb, the occasional bum note is jarring but forgivable (ex.: the unsubtle newsroom subplot). It's a brilliant finale, bringing 5 seasons to a satisfying but downbeat conclusion.