Monsieur Lazhar: This good-natured comedy-drama centers on a kindly Algerian man (Mohamed Fellag) who steps in as a replacement when a Montreal schoolteacher dies suddenly. The story is appealing and the child actors are cute, but what really sets this film apart is the way it gently satirizes contemporary education in North America.
- Kenneth Burns
The Pirates! Band of Misfits: In this clever, rollicking animated tale from Britain's Aardman Animations, a pirate captain (Hugh Grant) tries to win the Pirate of the Year award that has long eluded him. The jokes are plentiful and sneaky-smart.
- Scott Renshaw