"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


Jim Sheridan's drama about the human cost of the current Middle East conflicts sometimes lays things on a little thick, but it's dead-on emotionally and takes the acting of co-stars Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal to a new level. Grade: B

"The Damned United"

This fictionalized and wholly fun account of British soccer manager Brian Clough's brief, tumultuous tenure with Leeds United is less a sports film, and more a fascinating character piece that allows Michael Sheen's lead performance to shine. Grade: B

"Everybody's Fine"

In this dysfunctional family saga disingenuously marketed as a holiday movie, Robert De Niro and an all-star supporting cast go through a cycle of 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 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


Veteran filmmaker Clint Eastwood's sports drama about Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) building South African pride through rugby is based in truth, but it lacks authenticity, as well as a needed explanation of a game unfamiliar to most in the U.S. 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-

"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 the Tiger Beat soft-core of shirtless supernatural teens, the second part of the Twilight saga is a really long, occasionally laughable night at the movies. Grade: C