New Releases:

Courageous: From the makers of Fireproof, this Christian-based drama zones in on the realities of fatherhood and the lack thereof. *** TG

J Edgar: Leonardo diCaprio is commanding, but the make-up is bad and the storyline is convoluted. ** TS

Seeking Justice: Well-crafted foray starring a subdued Nicolas Cage, which lightly delves into the question of just how far the breakdown of law and order after Hurricane Katrina may have prejudiced ordinary people against the authorities. *** DM

The Darkest Hour: Wanna-be sci-fi horror with lots of green screen work. The clichéd script cannot overcome the lack of cool characterisation. ** TS

The Muppets: Strictly for fans. ** DdB

We Need to Talk About Kevin: Tilda Swinton is mesmerising as the mother of a child who went on a killing spree. It’s a taut, harrowing and disturbing psychological thriller. **** TS

On Circuit:

A Little Bit of Heaven: In this rom-com, Kate Hudson stars as a cute but terminally ill party animal who dies and goes to heaven only to be returned to Earth to live out some wishes. And Whoopi Goldberg plays God. ** HH

Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn: Gorgeously rendered motion capture animation brings the world’s most famous cartoon journalist to life. Exotic locations and lots of swashbuckling adventure. *** TS

Alvin & the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked: The third film about the animated chipmunks sees the little critters go on a cruise and get shipwrecked with the Chipettes. (Not reviewed)

Dolphin Tale: Keeping the saccharine to a minimum, this is a sweet story about a dolphin and a boy that the whole family can enjoy. Based on a true story, if you can believe that. *** HR

Drive: Menace-laden and moody, this is an arthouse action flick about a stunt-driver who moonlights as a getaway car driver. Steeped in neondrenched 1980s action flicks and alternating between hypnotic slow takes and hyper-kinetic violence. Not for the faint-hearted. **** TS

Footloose: A remake of the 1984 film which starred Kevin Bacon puts Kenny Wormald in the lead in a film about a young man who fights for his right - and that of other young people who live in a small town – to dance. ** WP

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: David Fincher stays in Sweden and doesn’t compromise the story’s Scandinavian roots or its top-of-the-world, Seasonal Affective Disorder sense of barrenness, even hopelessness. **** AP

Hoofmeisie: Afrikaans comedy set at a primary school where the fight among parents is fierce to see who will be the next headgirl. *** TS

Italy: Love it, or Leave It: Documentary of two young Italians who take a hard look at the country of their birth as they try to decide whether to leave it or not. **** TS

Machine Gun Preacher: The teaming of director Marc Forster and Scottish actor Gerard Butler isn’t enough to salvage this biopic about a reformed drug addict who, in finding God, tries to save the orphaned children of war-torn Sudan. This is one of those instances where truth is stranger than fiction. ** DT

Margin Call: While most of us don’t even begin to understand the financial markets, this is a smart story combined with the sassiest cast to unpack the 2008 Wall Street free fall. It plays like a thriller which tells a story that impacts all our lives. **** DdB

Martha Marcy May Marlene: A strong debut performance from lead Elizabeth Olsen creates a haunting psychological drama of a woman trying to get away from the influence of a cult. **** WP

Midnight in Paris: Woody Allen has fallen in love with a new city, Paris. Not exactly his most challenging film, but it’s sweetly sentimental and charming. *** TS

Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol: This film is a fun reboot of the action adventure series featuring nifty gadgets, exotic locations and impossible stunts courtesy of a relaxed Tom Cruise in great form. **** TS

Sherlock Holmes 2: Game of Shadows: The follow-up to Guy Ritchie’s 2009 blockbuster starring Robert Downey jr as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson. *** WP

The Beginners: Melancholic, but sweet character study about a guy who learns about different kinds of love while sorting out his feelings for his dead father. Low-key, but really good acting from Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer and Melanie Laurent. **** TS

The Ides of March: George Clooney stars in and directs Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti in this political thriller about how a campaign manager learns to take his gloves off to play the politics game. *** HH

The Music Never Stopped: A drama that wears its love for 60s music on its sleeve as the power of music guides a son and father through a tumultuous time in their lives. *** TG

The Skin I Live In: Dark, twisted and melodramatic as only Pedro Almodovar can do. **** TS

The Thing: Though technically solid and with good effects, this thing is killed off by a very lame ending. *** HR

Tower Heist: Brett Ratner’s comic caper about coworkers who turn the tables on a Bernie Madoff type is a smoothly engineered crowd pleaser. *** HR

Underworld: Awakening 3D: Kate Beckinsale in leather and assorted vampires and lycans run around the screen biting each other and discharging weapons. ** TS

We Bought a Zoo: Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson star in a film about a widower who uproots his two children from the city and tries to raise them in a house on a struggling zoo. ** HH


DT: Debahine Thangevelo

DdB: Diane de Beer

DM: Daily Mail

HH: Helen Herimbi

HR: Hollywood Reporter

KM: Kgomotso Moncho

TG: Tina George

TS: Theresa Smith

WP: Washington Post