A Perfect Getaway: Great B-grade stylings. A psychopath runs around the backwaters of Hawaii, killing couples, to the dismay of some newlyweds. The clichéd gory ending is preceded by some unexpected twists and good characterisation. ★★★
Planet 51: Well-crafted with lashings of colour, slapstick jokes and plastic people just ripe for toy tie-ins to amuse children. But the lack of plot or good characterisation leaves it floating around in space. ★★★
September Issue: Behind-the-scenes documentary on the processes behind the publication of Vogue’s most important annual issue, which also offers an insider look at the magazine’s famous (or infamous) Editor-in-Chief,
Anna Wintour. ★★★
Where the Wild Things Are: Weirdly wonderful, magically evocative and uncompromising in expressing Spike Jonze’s vision, this is a film about remembered childhood and overwhelming emotion. ★★★★
2012: John Cusack runs through a sfx-laden film, trying to save his family. Roland Emmerich concentrates on special visual effects to the detriment of plot and script. ★★
(500) Days of Summer: Bittersweet take on Hollywood romantic comedies. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel star as two people in a complicated relationship. ★★★
50 Dead Men Walking: We’re taken into the heart of an informant during the heat of the struggles in Northern Ireland back in the day and yet the emotional heft of the tale is sadly missing. ★★★ Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel: If the screech of chipmunk voices doesn’t grate, this is innocuous fun for kids. Otherwise, avoid like the plague. ★★★
Avatar: Visually arresting, Avatar takes you on an spectacularly seductive cinematic ride into another world. A love story set on another planet featuring totally believable alien characters. ★★★★
Cheri: A film about an aged courtesan who falls for a spoilt young man. Cinematic yet lacking substance.
Couples Retreat: Silly fun in a mostly non-cringeworthy way, undemanding holiday viewing. You will laugh when you watch it and then totally forget about it. ★★★
Departures: Elegant, quiet study on how the highly symbolic death rituals of Japan help a cellist come to terms with grief, loss and death and learns to live life to the full. ★★★★
Every Little Step: Emotional peek behind the scenes of the auditioning
process for a big Broadway musical.
Invictus: Stirring Hollywood retelling of South Africa’s 1995 Rugby World Cup campaign. Clint Eastwood does a great job of directing Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. ★★★★
Julie and Julia: Meryl Streep brilliantly captures the spirit of Julia Child, the chef who introduced French cooking to America. ★★★★
Law Abiding Citizen: Needlessly violent and rather absurd. Jamie Foxx looks bored and Gerard Butler doesn’t
fare better. ★★
Last Chance Harvey: A gentle romantic drama brings together Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson. ★★★
New Moon: The Twilight sequel gives fans exactly what we want, vampires, werewolves, unrequited love and cool sfx. ★★★
Old Dogs: A failed attempt at a family comedy starring John Travolta and Robin Williams. Clichéd and
Rainbow Skellums: South African candid camera, but without Leon Schuster’s OTT factor. The emphasis is on making people angry, rather than scaring them. ★★
Sherlock Holmes: Guy Ritchie has updated the quintessential detective story into a bromance with a dark Victorian twist. Plenty of modernly choreographed action sequences and a grimy London dominates the spectacle. ★★★
The Rebound: Catherine Zeta-Jones and The Hangover’s Justin Barth are the older-woman/younger-man combo in this predictable romcom which holds few surprises. ★★★
The Stepfather: This remake turns a fondly remembered horror/thriller into a mild and tedious suspense film.
Velveteen Rabbit: Live action drama meets old-fashioned animation in this loose adaptation of the classic children’s tale. (Not reviewed)
Waltz with Bashir: A powerful animated Israeli documentary in which the filmmaker attempts to recollect memories of the 1982 war in Lebanon. A haunting, original, genre-defying piece of cinema. ★★★★
Whip It! Drew Barrymore directs a strong female cast in a charmer which manages to transcend its clichéd material with verve and good-natured wit. ★★★
OUT OF THIS WORLD: The visually arresting
Avatar takes you on a spectacular cinematic ride to an alien planet.