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Holiday Movie Guide

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  • holiday movie guide
    Holiday Movie Guide

    Now is the time when the studios roll out the films, both big-budget and indie, that they think we will attract attention from Academy Award voters. A slew of Oscar nominations won’t make much difference for movies like “Skyfall” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” a couple of high-profile films that have been batted around as contenders. But for small movies like “Smashed” or “Not Fade Away,” a nod from the Academy could make the difference between pay-per-view obscurity and breakout success. And January, usually seen as the dregs for new movies, has started to grow hotter in recent years with quirky releases. Here is the outlook for the holiday film season, and a look ahead at movies that will get pushed into January, outside Los Angeles and New York, at least. Release dates are subject to change.

  • hobbit

    Opens this weekend.

    ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’

    Director Peter Jackson and his Kiwi counterparts reunite more than a decade after the first “Lord of the Rings” film for a prequel, based on author J.R.R. Tolkien’s book “The Hobbit.” Like “LoTR,” it’s being split up into three epic movies — which might be ambitious, considering the fantasy book is only 300 pages long.

  • hm guilt trip

    Opens Dec. 19.

    ‘The Guilt Trip’

    Barbra Streisand plays helicopter mom to inventor Seth Rogen as they go on a wacky road trip to hock his latest gadget in this familial comedy.

  • hm this is 40

    Opens Dec. 21.

    'This Is 40'

    Comedy mogul Judd Apatow is back with this raunchy comedy that’s been described as an unofficial sequel to “Knocked Up.” Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann play a married couple facing a double mid-life crisis.

  • hm jack reacher

    Opens Dec. 21.

    'Jack Reacher'

    Tom Cruise tries to keep his career revitalization going with this adaptation of the book series about a former military badass who roams the country looking for justice to dish out with a backhand.

  • hm on the road

    Opens Dec. 21.

    'On The Road'

    It took more than 50 years to get a film based on the Jack Kerouac Beat novel, and it may take until 2013 before it finds its way to local theaters. Kristen Stewart’s steamy scenes caused a sensation overseas.

  • NAOMI WATTS and TOM HOLLAND star in THE IMPOSSIBLE

    Opens Dec. 21.

    'The Impossible'

    There’s lots of solid buzz for this drama based on the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, especially for stars Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor. You may have to wait to January to see it.

  • DJANGO UNCHAINED

    Opens Dec. 25.

    'Django Unchained'

    Quentin Tarantino is at it again with his latest mashup of pulp-y fiction and classical settings. This time it’s a runaway slave (Jamie Foxx) who returns to the plantation to mete out some revenge on slavemaster Leonardo DiCaprio.

  • Film Title: Les MisÈrables

    Opens Dec. 25.

    'Les Miserables'

    Many high hopes for Oscar gold rest on this adaptation of the beloved Broadway musical version of the Victor Hugo novel. Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Russell Crowe and Sacha Baron Cohen star.

  • Parental Guidance

    Opens Dec. 25.

    'Parental Guidance'

    After a long layoff, Billy Crystal and Bette Midler are back in this comedy starring as overburdened grandparents — now doesn’t that just make you feel old?

  • Promised Land

    Opens Jan. 4.

    'Promised Land'

    This earnest drama from director Gus Van Sant stars Matt Damon as a natural gas company exec who comes to have qualms about the environmental impact of drilling in a small farming community.

  • hm texas chainsaw 3d

    Opens Jan. 4.

    'Texas Chainsaw 3D'

    Set decades after the grindhouse original, a young woman learns she has inherited the estate where grisly murders occurred.

  • hm not fade away

    Opens Jan. 4.

    'Not Fade Away'

    Set in 1960s New Jersey, this drama looks at a group of friends trying to start a rock band and getting pushback from their family, including James Gandolfini.

  • hm zero dark thirty

    Opens Jan. 11.

    'Zero Dark Thirty'

    Kathryn Bigelow’s drama about the decade-long search for Osama bin Laden managed to become controversial before production even began. It opens in New York and L.A. briefly in December, then wide in January for the rest of us. It’s a proven rollout strategy for the shortened Oscar season.

  • hm gangster squad

    Opens Jan. 11.

    'Gangster Squad'

    Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Emma Stone and Sean Penn star in this chronicle of the all-out war between the L.A.P.D. and the mafia during the 1940s and ’50s. Think “L.A. Confidential” meets Warren Beatty’s “Dick Tracy.”

  • SmartAss - 1781.NEF

    Opens Jan. 11.

    'Haunted House'

    Marlon Wayans heads up the cast of this Amityville/Blair Witch spoof.

  • hm last stand

    Opens Jan. 18.

    'The Last Stand'

    An apropos title for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first starring role since 2003, playing a small-town sheriff up against a drug cartel. Recent PR troubles could doom his comeback before the first Arnie-ism is quipped.

  • hm movie 43

    Opens Jan. 25.

    'Movie 43'

    A whole lot of buzz, much of it agape, about this intertwining comedy featuring lots of Hollywood stars saying and doing very nasty things.

  • hm hansel and gretel

    Opens Jan. 25.

    'Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters'

    Between this and “The Bourne Legacy,” whoever’s giving Jeremy Renner career advice should really get the boot.

  • hm parker

    Opens Jan. 25.

    'Parker'

    Action star Jason Statham teams up with Jennifer Lopez for a sexy crime thriller set in Palm Beach.

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