Pompeii: Although aesthetically beautiful, director Paul W S Anderson’s shortcoming is in his telling of a love story against the adventurous backdrop of an erupting Mount Vesuvius. Big on the gladiator action but pitiable on the overall execution. A box-office disaster in the making. ** DT

Ride Along: Ice Cube plays the straight man to Kevin Hart’s crazy little fellow in a funny buddy cop movie. Clichéd plot, but amusing in the moment thanks to Hart’s schtick. ** TS

Saving Mr Banks: When Disney Productions do a good job, they go all out. Here’s their version how Walt Disney persuaded PL Travers to let him make their seminal movie, Mary Poppins. Touching performance from Emma Thompson. **** TS

The Nut Job: Bland animation forcibly mixes a human bank caper with an animal nut heist job. ** TS

12 Years a Slave: Steve McQueen’s searing adaptation of the true-life account of a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the pre-Civil War South. Difficult to watch, but essential viewing. **** WP

Anchorman 2: Not a must-see film but a good laugh and a lesson in editorial independence. Watch if you like formula and catch-phrase gags. Don’t expect a deep storyline. Look out for thick furs and burgundy suits. *** WM

Blue Jasmine: Cate Blanchett gives a stunning performance in director Woody Allen’s film about the vagaries of rich people. **** DdB

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2: Bright and cheerful family-oriented animation with food puns that range from screamingly funny to utterly dire. *** TS

Delivery Man: Vince Vaughn makes for a likeable lead, but this almost-charming comedy suffers in comparison to its Canadian source material. *** WP

Elelwani: Ntshavheni wa Luruli’s slow-burning meditation on Venda culture shows one woman trying to straddle the line between being stifled by tradition and bringing an old culture into modern times. **** TS

Faan se Trein: Willie Esterhuysen delivers a pitch-perfect performance, supported by a sympathetic cast, in Koos Roets’ excellent folk tale set in 1950s Karoo. **** DdB

Fire With Fire: A strong cast is wasted on clichéd plot, no characterisation and bad special effects. ** TS

Her: Spike Jonze’s wistful romance features a strongly nuanced performance from Joaquin Phoenix as a guy who falls in love with an artificial intelligence. **** TS

Inside Llewyn Davies: Melancholy week in the life of an uncompromising Greenwich Village folk artist in 1961. Meandering story, eccentric ensemble cast and great T Bone Burnett soundtrack from the Coen brothers. **** TS

Labor Day: A poignant tale – as told from the perspective of her son – of a single mother (Kate Winslet) who’s shut herself off from the world, and her chance encounter with a softhearted escaped convict (Josh Brolin) that forever alters all their lives. *** LdM

Last Vegas: Goofy adventure about four friends who go on a wild holiday. Unoriginal, the film mines more laughs than it should. *** WP

Monuments Men: Noble intention, but strangely slowly paced and it just hits you over the head with the message that art is important. Yes, it is but show us why, don’t tell us. ** TS

Pad Na Jou Hart: Strongly scripted and well paced, this is a sweet road trip movie with a heavy rom-com leaning. *** TS

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones: The fifth instalment marks a change in setting, but there aren’t enough thrills to justify this sequel. ** WP

Robocop: Surprisingly ok reboot of a very smart 80s sci fi flick. This one emphasises action and cool tech over surreal commentary on the media and authoritarianism. Robocop on his bike looks cool, though. *** TS

Schuks! Your Country Needs You: Critic-proof candid camera from Leon Schuster with help and a bit of a storyline from Rob van Vuuren. ** WM

The Best Man Holiday: Malcolm D Lee rekindles the charm of The Best Man in this sequel over a decade later. His conflicted characters are united by their friendship, which sees them survive the troubles in their relationships. This is a film about friendships, faith and family and is laden with comic and bittersweet moments. *** DT

The Book Thief: Great casting but so many of the book’s myriad storylines are frittered away to dilute the story’s impact, so the rushed conclusion tempers the tear-jerking ending. *** WP

The Wolf of Wall Street: Martin Scorsese’s film is centred on Jordan Belfort, a real-life swindler and penny-stock conman.**** WP

Vampire Academy: Badly paced, featuring acting of the Hannah Montana school and poorly choreographed action sequences, this latest teen urban fantasy adaptation is hopefully the nail in the genre’s coffin. ** TS