Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa ( PG): Even better than the original 2005 animated film, this sequel features the same animals, refugees from a New York zoo, who find themselves stranded in Lion King country. The voice cast ( Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Sacha Baron Cohen) is strong, the dialogue is witty and knowing, and the animation is state of the art. Fun for all the family. — David Stratton
Four Holidays ( M): Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon play an ill-matched couple whose rules for domestic happiness ( no marriage, no kids, no family gatherings at Christmas) go astray in this predictable farce from director Seth Gordon. The fine supporting cast ( including Robert Duvall and Sissy Spacek) is no match for the intractable material and Vaughn’s charmless performance. — Evan Williams
Predictable farce: Four Holidays
( G): A tall tale, based on Jeanne Duprau’s 2003 novel, aimed at teenagers, about a futuristic city in which the inhabitants struggle against failing power and invasions of nasty creatures. It’s a very handsome production that doesn’t quite manage to sustain the tension until a rather predictable conclusion. — D. S.
( M): An elegantly made film of the best-selling novel by Stephenie Meyer in which a teenager, well played by Kristen Stewart, falls in love with a handsome young vampire ( Robert Pattinson). This improbable scenario plays out in a compellingly real setting, and director Catherine Hardwicke extracts maximum impact from the story. — D. S.
( G): French wildlife photographer Laurent Charbonnier spent two years filming in 14 countries, including Australia, to produce this engaging documentary about the mating habits of animals in the wild. Crammed with charming images and informed by a poet’s reverence for the natural world, it avoids excessive cuteness. — E. W.
( M): This sequel to is the shortest of the 22 James Bond films but suffers from sketchy plotting and characterisation, combined with over-edited, although unquestionably well-staged, action sequences. Daniel Craig is steelier and Judi Dench’s M has the best lines, but everyone else gets short shrift. — D. S.
( M): Baz Luhrmann’s sprawling outback epic is a magic pudding of a film: an inexhaustible supply of kitsch, sumptuous landscapes, stirring romance and wartime spectacle wrapped in a soft-hearted story about the Stolen Generations. It’s too much, too silly and too long, but Nicole Kidman has rarely looked lovelier. The film’s passion and grandeur are hard to resist. — E. W.
( M): This extraordinary film by Nanette Burstein, with a cast of teenagers, explores the lives of unhappy youngsters at a school in Indiana. It spares us nothing of adolescent phobias and frustrations, but the final message is hopeful. — E. W.