These movie mentions should be back-dated to late December.
Persepolis is a film adaptation of Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel of the same name, about the author's coming of age during the Iranian Revolution. Though it was a fairly faithful adaptation in style and content, I didn't find the experience to be quite as compelling as that of the book. Perhaps it's just harder to digest the same thing in movie format. Still, Persepolis is quite entertaining and touching.
Avatar is a sight to behold. The world that Cameron has created is gorgeous. (Though I have to admit I couldn't help but feel reminded of the Lord of the Rings movies, especially towards the end.) The story, though, is unremarkable and the characters are one-dimensional. However, the scientist characters are not cast from the usual stereotypes, which is refreshing.
Avatar is an exemplary action movie. James Cameron knows how to put a movie together.
I watched it in 3D—my first 3D movie—and thought that part was good but not great: many of the scenes seemed rather flat, I kept noticing strange and minor artifacts, and the way the focus moves around is a bit disorienting.
(For pure visual stimulation I still recommend Speed Racer.)