Ratings on the UK system – U=universal, PG=parental guidance, 12, 15 and 18 are self-explanatory, E=Excempt
Celia (Second Run, cert 15)
Oz director Ann Turner’s classic debut, about one girl’s amply furnished fantasy childhood, set in 1950s Australia overrun by rabbits and the Red menace.
Of Time and the City (BFI, cert 12)
Grumpy, poetic old man Terence Davies’s elegy to his lost, native Liverpool, composed almost entirely of archive footage, brilliantly welded together by a master.
Blindsight (Revelation, cert E)
Six blind Tibetan kids head into the Himalayas in Lucy Walker’s doc starting trad and feelgood but building to a compelling examination of culture-clash.
Splinter (Icon, cert 18)
Grimly effective and dark as arterial blood, a horror thriller about nobodies being menaced by zombies that’s sensibly spent most of its slim budget on the SFX.
The Children (Contender, cert 18)
The Innocents and Midwich Cuckoos provide inspiration for a Brit horror about starey evil kids. Works very nicely as an indictment of liberal parenting too.
Changeling (Universal, cert 15)
1920s mum Angelina Jolie is convinced the son who’s been returned to her is a ringer. Anger, tears, mood swings aplenty in a show-off piece for a precious star.
Waltz With Bashir (Artificial Eye, cert 18)
Ari Folman lays bleak animation over mea culpa interviews with old Israeli army buddies, complicity in the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacres his chief concern.
Lakeview Terrace (Sony, cert 15)
A great writer but a so-so director, Neil LaBute’s drama about an interracial couple menaced by Samuel L. Jackson is neighbour-from-hell horror with pretensions.
The Secret Life of Bees (Fox, cert 12)
Nearly adult Dakota Fanning in a star-filled drama about a southern gal dealing with parental abuse and segregation in 1960s USA. Amazingly sweet, considering.
Body of Lies (Warner, cert 15)
Leo DiCaprio is the field operative, Russell Crowe his boss in Ridley Scott’s entertaining, slick updating of the old spy thriller – Iraq, Al-Qaeda and all that.
Derek (BFI, cert 18)
Isaac Julien’s tender, surprisingly conventional homage to his old mentor, queercore maverick Derek Jarman, written and narrated by muse Tilda Swinton.
My Best Friend’s Girl (Lionsgate, cert 18)
Dane Cook as a sleazeball hired to make crap boyfriends look good. Zinging one-liners but the rom-com chemistry with co-star Kate Hudson stinks.
© Steve Morrissey 2009