Underrated / Overrated

UNDERRATED

Delroy Lindo: With a voice like tumbled gravel and a face with the severity of a clenched fist, this British character actor was a scene-stealer in '90s films such as "Get Shorty" and "Clockers." Though he drifted off Hollywood's radar in recent years, it's a pleasure to see him again in Fox's "The Chicago Code," where it seems he's up to his old tricks as a powerful politico. TV wasn't hurting for another cop show, but Lindo makes at least one character worth watching.

PJ Harvey's 'Let England Shake': Early reviews for the latest from this shape-shifting British singer-songwriter may be mixed, but there's something in this album's politically charged, sonically unpredictable mix that's bewitching. Singing in the same high register as in 2007's grim "White Chalk" and framed at various points by woozy horns and jangly autoharp, Harvey doesn't sound like the feral force of nature of her early work, but she still sounds like nobody else.

OVERRATED

The restraint of 'The Illusionist' (2010): Not to be confused with the 2006 drama starring Ed Norton, this Oscar-nominated animated film by "The Triplets of Belleville's" Sylvain Chomet is visually stunning, but such a relentless downer it borders on audience cruelty. It's not that the story of a struggling magician and his paternal relationship with a young girl needs a happy ending, but allowing for a sliver of hope somewhere — anywhere — would've been welcome.

'The Real Housewives' of anywhere: As easy as it would be to simply keep ignoring this Bravo series, how is it possible that it's now entering a seventh season? While you have to appreciate its geographic diversity in finding a wealthy and campy cast every year (this season goes to Miami), it's puzzling how its train-wreck appeal endures. Is it the reassurance that money doesn't buy happiness? Do all other channels stop working at that hour? The mind reels.

— Chris Barton

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