"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 sports story becomes a Sandra Bullock vehicle that's both manipulative and 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

"Daybreakers"

Not vampired out yet? Then check out this sci-fi flick, in which star Ethan Hawke's working on a synthetic blood substitute for the undead.

"Fantastic Mr. Fox"

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

"The Horse Boy"

Based-on-a-true-story account of a father who takes his horse-loving autistic son to Mongolia in an effort to connect with him.

"Invictus"

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

"It's Complicated"

The latest in a line of amusing, innocuous rom-coms from Nancy Meyers is a light and breezy escape that never panders to the audience. Grade: B+

"Liverpool"

Kicking off the Cinema Latino series at the Wex, rising Argentine director Lisandro Alonso's minimal portrait of a sailor returning home after years at sea has great film-fest buzz.

"Nine"

Somehow, Rob Marshall found a way to make his star-studded musical adaptation of Fellini's masterful 8 1/2 boring. Grade: C

"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 detective is uneven but entertaining, coasting mostly on the charms of 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

"The Young Victoria"

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