"An Education"

Star Carey Mulligan earns her Oscar buzz in screenwriter Nick Hornby's excellent adaptation of British journalist Lynn Barber's coming-of-age memoir. Grade: A-

"Avatar"

In his much-hyped new film, writer-director James Cameron once again combines brilliant imagery and grade-school-level storytelling. Grade: B-

"The Blind Side"

An inspirational true story becomes a Sandra Bullock vehicle that's both shamelessly manipulative and disturbingly simplistic in its view of race relations. Grade: D

"Brothers"

Jim Sheridan's drama about the human cost of the Middle East conflict sometimes lays things on a little thick, but it's dead-on emotionally. Grade: B

"Did You Hear About the Morgans?"

A promising idea - Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker play a separated couple trying to rebuild their marriage in a foreign environment - quickly becomes a not-so-funny balance between the absurd and the cliched. Grade: C-

"Everybody's Fine"

This dysfunctional family saga delves into emotional separation, comforting lies and related guilt - experiences that some can get just fine from their own relatives. Grade: C

"Fantastic Mr. Fox"

Working in stop-motion animation, Wes Anderson makes a family-friendly film that's distinctly and beautifully his own, and likely to leave a wide smile on your face. Grade: A

"Invictus"

Clint Eastwood's sports drama about Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) building South African pride through rugby is based in truth, but it lacks authenticity. Grade: C

"Me and Orson Welles"

Though this truth-inspired tale of Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre has a treasure in actor Christian McKay, costar Zac Efron is clearly out of his league. Grade: B-

"Precious"

Good intentions don't entirely redeem Lee Daniels' blunt-trauma approach to the story of a horribly troubled teen, but Gabourey Sidibe and Mo'Nique back him up with genuine performances. Grade: B-

"The Princess and the Frog"

Disney's first hand-drawn animated feature since 2004, a Frog Prince redo set in New Orleans with an African-American princess, is a beautiful, jazzy piece of work. Grade: B

"The Road"

Director John Hillcoat faced unavoidable difficulties in bringing Cormac McCarthy's post-apocalyptic novel to the screen, but his gritty style is a perfect visual match for the material. Grade: B

"Sherlock Holmes"

The newest big-screen incarnation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective is uneven but entertaining, coasting mostly on the charms of a Robert Downey Jr. Grade: B-

"Up in the Air"

Whip-smart, funny and genuinely moving - it's the perfect movie for these unemployed times, but its theme of finding connection in isolation is timeless. Grade: A

"Young Victoria"

If you know the slightest bit about British history, then you know how this love story ends, but it's still fun watching a bashful prince win over a reluctant young Queen Victoria. Grade: B+