What shall we see? The Autumn highlights.....
The latest computer animated adventure from the whizzes at Pixar (Finding Nemo, Toy Story etc) is more grown up than their previous movies, and probably more enjoyable for older kids and grown-ups (some of the jokes are deliciously sly) than for little ones. Country rat Remy has always dreamed of being a chef, so when he accidentally ends up in the gastronomic paradise that is Paris, he manages to secretly work in a top restaurant (the owners think a young garbage boy, Linguini, whose hat Remy hides in, is actually the one creating amazing dishes). Brad Garrett, Ian Holm and the wonderful Peter O'Toole (as acerbic food critic Anton Ego) are among those providing the voices.
Many pre-teen girls have read and loved the Nancy Drew mysteries, while the older among us may also remember The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries TV series with Shaun Cassidy and Pamela Sue Martin as Nancy Drew, in the seventies. Now the classic young detective has been given a 21st century makeover. Julia Roberts' niece, Emma, stars as the titular character (now looking like a Hilary Duff/Olsen Twins clone), who accompanies her dad on a business trip to LA only to become involved in a movie star murder mystery. Watch out for Bruce Willis in an uncredited and very brief cameo appearance.
If you and your young ones liked The Princess Bride (and if you haven't seen that classic, rent it now!), you'll enjoy this fantasy adventure directed by Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake).
Young Tristan (Charlie Cox) has grown up in a sleepy English village, unaware that the wall which surrounds it is actually the border to a magical land. Chasing a falling star for his rather annoying beloved (Sienna Miller), he crosses the wall and finds himself caught up in an adventure featuring a group of princes fighting for a kingdom (Rupert Everett, Jason Flemyng and Mark Strong among them), a witch in search of eternal youth (Michelle Pfeiffer), a pirate with a secret (Robert De Niro), and a beautiful woman (Claire Danes) who is being hunted. The all-star cast also includes David Walliams, Ricky Gervais and Peter O'Toole.
The Magic Flute
Want to introduce your family to some culture this winter? Then look no further than director Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of Mozart's classic 18th century opera. He's translated (with the help of co-writer Stephen Fry) the action to World War I, telling the story of young Tamino as he is discovered on the battlefield by three young nuns. Fainting in their arms, he then passes into another universe where they ask him to rescue Pamina, daughter of the Queen Of The Night, who has been kidnapped by the evil Sarastro. Tamino's only aid is a sidekick, Papageno, and a magic flute...
The Golden Compass
A blockbuster budget was spent adapting the first book of Philip Pullman's novel series His Dark Materials for the big screen. Already tipped as a must-see for fans of Harry Potter and Lemony Snicket, this dark tale follows 12-year-old Lyra (Dakota Blue Richards) on an epic journey through a parallel universe packed with computer generated creatures in order to rescue children kidnapped by nasty monsters and search for the mythical golden compass. Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Eva Green and Tom Courtenay costar.
You may have seen the photos of comedian Jerry Seinfeld, in bee costume, abseiling into the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. He was there to promote his role, as bee Barry B Benson, in this animated family comedy. It's about a bee who decides to sue the human race over the profits he and his fellow bees haven't been paid by humans, after he discovers we have been enjoying their honey. With Chris Rock (voicing a mosquito) and Renee Zellweger (as a florist who comes to Barry's aid), plus a script co-written by Seinfeld, this is bound to be a buzzy blast.
Girls who love princesses and romance will enjoy this Disney musical comedy, while mums won't mind it either thanks to the presence of Grey's Anatomy hunk Patrick Dempsey. It's the story of a cartoon princess named Giselle who is suddenly transported from the land of animated make believe (only the first ten minutes or so are animated) to real-life Manhattan, where she transforms into human form (as played by Amy Adams). There she meets a single dad named Robert (Dempsey), who helps her come to terms with life in the scary big city. But will she get a fairytale ending when her Prince (James Marsden) and his evil stepmum (Susan Sarandon) show up?
Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium
Fans of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory should check out this adventure about a 243-year-old toy store owner (Dustin Hoffman) who is searching for his successor. He picks his young store manager Molly (Natalie Portman) to look after the magical shop, but a dark and sinister change begins to take over the once fantastical, happy emporium when a serious-minded accountant (Arrested Development's Jason Bateman) comes in to check the books.
Alvin And The Chipmunks
An animated US TV series in the 1980s, Alvin and the Chipmunks are a singing group of – surprise! – chipmunks led by cheeky Alvin, and his mates chubby Theodore and quiet Simon. Never heard of them? Well, these US equivalents of Pinky and Perky have sold over 43 million albums and won a handful of Grammys over the years. Here, the toothy creatures are back, hipper than ever (they sing songs like seventies classic 'Funkytown') in a movie that links live action and animation (My Name Is Earl's Jason Lee stars as their human pal Dave).
The naughty schoolgirls of St Trinian's first came to the big screen in 1954's The Belles Of St Trinian's, but this modern update promises to be even more raucous. The 'school for young ladies' is under threat and the girls have to band together to save it from bankruptcy. Rupert Everett takes on the dual role of Miss Fritton and her brother Carnaby, while the starry cast also includes Colin Firth, The OC's Mischa Barton, Stephen Fry, model Lily Cole, comedian/presenter Russell Brand and, erm, Girls Aloud. As yet unshown to the press, this will either be terrific fun or as eye-wincingly bad as Spiceworld: The Movie.