What's on at the movies?

All About Steve (12A)

Sandra Bullock plays socially inept crossword compiler Mary, who is living with her parents in Phil Traill's quirky romantic comedy. Her folks set her up on a blind date with Steve (Bradley Cooper), a cameraman for a television news channel, and Mary is immediately smitten with Steve and flings herself at him on their date. He is, understandably, terrified of the obsessive oddball and does all he can to escape her clutches.

Rating: Two stars

Up In The Air (15)

George Clooney plays a loveless man who earns his living by flying around America and making total strangers redundant in Jason Reitman's comedy drama. Having no time for family or emotional ties, he finally meets his match in fellow jetsetter Alex (Vera Farmiga). Up In The Air should secure Clooney another Oscar nomination as Best Actor, if not the actual statuette, for his mesmerising portrayal of a corporate middleman, who loathes the prospect of standing still and is now almost numb to the anguish he wreaks.

Rating: Five stars

Did You Hear About The Morgans? (PG)

Hugh Grant, again in bumbling Brit mode, reunites with Sarah Jessica Parker for the first time since the misfiring 1996 thriller Extreme Measures.

They play a troubled couple who have the chance to repair their marriage thanks to a witness relocation scheme. Hiding in a dead-end US town, the New Yorkers are exposed to rural community values before a preposterous finale and schmaltzy epilogue.

Rating: Two stars

Spread (18)

Former model and professional dude Ashton Kutcher stars in David Mackenzie's tawdry account of a hustler's dalliances in the lap of luxury, and his ultimate comeuppance at the hands of Cupid. The 40-year-old Anne Heche is the incredibly fit lawyer who takes him as a toy boy - and fights to keep him from young adversary Margarita Levieva. It's high in sex, but deficient in plot and characterisation.

Rating: Two stars

Sherlock Holmes (12A)

Guy Ritchie's reinvention of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary sleuth should have been a dream new beginning for the director following a series of lacklustre offerings. However, his biggest budget to date, and first film since divorcing Madonna, has produced an entertaining, but ultimately disappointing, minor triumph of style over substance as Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law track a killer who comes back from the dead.

Rating: Three stars

Nine (12A)

Oscar-winning Chicago director Rob Marshall returns to what he knows best after the poor fit of his follow-up Memoirs Of A Geisha, but his second Broadway adaptation fails to win over the heart despite seducing ears and eyes. Daniel Day-Lewis's female co-stars (Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, Sophia Loren, Judi Dench) deliver show-stopping performances but the film does not earn a standing ovation.

Rating: Three stars

Nowhere Boy (15)

Celebrated conceptual artist Sam Taylor-Wood makes her directorial debut with this handsomely-crafted valentine to John Lennon's formative years, based on the memoirs of the assassinated former Beatle's half-sister. Aaron Johnson stars as the pre-Fab Four Liverpudlian torn between his emotionally-repressed aunt and guardian (Kristin Scott Thomas) and unstable biological mother (Anne-Marie Duff).

Rating: Four stars

St Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold (PG)

The naughty minxes from St Trinian's are back to their old tricks in a lacklustre sequel to the rambunctious 2007 comedy, involving a preposterous treasure hunt around London in search of stolen 16th-century booty. Rupert Everett is still a hoot as the toothy headmistress alongside old flame Colin Firth, while Doctor Who David Tennant is the chauvinistic villain. Also stars Sarah Harding of Girls Aloud.

Rating: Two stars

Avatar (12A)

Four years after his underwater IMAX documentary Aliens Of The Deep, director James Cameron (Titanic) unleashes his latest special effects-laden blockbuster, which is rumoured to push the boundaries of big-screen technology. When warmonger Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang), decides to attack an alien race, his methods change the face of warfare and the fate of a planet.

Rating: Four stars

Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: The

Squeakquel (U)

Girl power is alive and well in the Chipmunks sequel as Alvin, Simon and Theodore meet their match in three feisty females (voiced by Christina Applegate, Amy Poehler and Anna Faris), who challenge them for battle-of-the-band honours at their new high school. Director Betty Thomas treads a familiar path, driving a wedge between the tiny animated heroes and then reuniting them for a foot-stomping finale.

Rating: Two stars

Where the Wild Things Are (PG)

Spike Jonze's heartbreaking, visually-stunning adaptation of Maurice Sendak's beloved children's story is not a sentimental coming-of-age story viewed through rose-tinted spectacles. Max Records stars as the boy who feels his single mother and sister don't appreciate him, and escapes into a fantasy world where he is accepted by a race of huge furry creatures called the Wild Things.

Rating: Four stars

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