The absurd thrill of watching people outrun natural disasters and major landmarks crash and burn comes with lame writing and too much running time. Grade: C

"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-

"The Blind Side"

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

"A Christmas Story"

A holiday favorite so delightfully entertaining, we've already forgiven star Peter Billingsley for growing up to direct Couples Retreat. (Studio 35) Grade: A

"Fantastic Mr. Fox"

Working in stop-motion animation for the first time, and from a book by Roald Dahl, 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

"Ninja Assassin"

Fans of the blood-soaked side of the martial arts genre should get a kick out of James McTeigue's well-choreographed action epic, despite its afterthought of a plot. Grade: C

"Old Dogs"

If you snicker at jokes surrounding the excretory systems of humans and animals, then Robin Williams, John Travolta and the director of Wild Hogs have got a movie for you. Grade: C-


Good intentions don't entirely redeem Lee Daniels' blunt-trauma approach to Sapphire's novel about a horribly troubled teen. It's a good thing star Gabourey Sidibe and Oscar nominee-to-be Mo'Nique back him up with genuine performances. Grade: B-

"Shock Around the Clock: Trailers Redux"

As part of the Grandview Theatre's semi-official re-opening weekend, movie marathon producer Bruce Bartoo will offer free late-night screenings Dec. 4-5 of a compilation of vintage trailers from his truly remarkable personal collection. Coming attractions include Invasion of the Flesh Hunters, Girls School Screamers and The Robot Versus the Aztec Mummy. For details, click to grandviewtheatre.net.

"The Twilight Saga: New Moon"

You could open a liquor store with all the six-packs on display, but for those not sent into a prolonged swoon by buff, shirtless supernatural teens, the second part of the Twilight saga is a really long, occasionally laughable night at the movies. Grade: C