Holiday Movie Guide

by Ann Hornaday

Everyone can find a favorite flick this season

Photo of Ann Hornaday

Without "Avatar" around to tell us, how will we know when the holidays start?
Theater owners and film bookers are at sixes and sevens this year, searching for the kind of event movie that packs in audiences and defines a movie season, if not entire year. In 2009, that movie was "Avatar," which transported viewers to the distant planet of Pandora and kept the movie business alive on a cloud of box office business and attendant good feeling.

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Ann's holiday highlights

Dec. 3 Black Swan

R  |  View trailer

Darren Aronofsky blends the best of "The Red Shoes" with "Rosemary's Baby" in this alternately lyrical and terrifying thriller. More »

Dec. 3 Waste Land

Not rated  |  View trailer

Lucy Walker made this year's "Countdown to Zero," and this was one of the hottest tickets at this summer's Silverdocs documentary festival. More »

Dec. 3 Tiny Furniture

Not rated  |  View trailer

Lena Dunham has earned comparisons to Woody Allen for this semi-autobiographical coming-of-age debut. More »

Dec. 10 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

PG  |  View trailer

This continues the beloved series based on C.S. Lewis's novels—a franchise some viewers prefer (cover your ears, Hogwarts fans) to the Harry Potter pictures.
| In 3-D | More »

Dec. 10 All Good Things

R  |  View trailer

A terrific cast directed by Andrew Jarecki ("Capturing the Friedmans"), who knows his way around family secrets. More »

Dec. 10 I Love You Phillip Morris

R  |  View trailer

Oddly absent on the festival circuit since premiering at Sundance, this comedy succeeds or fails on Jim Carrey's ability to tamp down the mannerisms and play it straight. And gay. More »

Dec. 10 The Tourist

PG-13  |  View trailer

Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, in their wheelhouse (and a gondola). We're there! More »

Dec. 10 Marwencol

Not rated

Not to be missed, and brace yourself for a story that just gets weirder—and more genuinely touching. More »

Dec. 10 The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector

Not rated

Rare interviews with the enigmatic Phil Spector make this imperative for pop culture mavens and music fans. More »

Dec. 17 Tron: Legacy

Not rated  |  View trailer

Hyped as this year's "Avatar"-esque 3-D extravaganza, but the jury's still out. | In Imax | More »

Dec. 17 How Do You Know


Directed by rom-com maestro James L. Brooks ("Broadcast News," "As Good As it Gets"); reportedly Paul Rudd is fabulous—totes magotes!
More »

Dec. 17 The Tempest

PG-13  |  View trailer

Julie Taymor is a true visionary, and her last Shakespeare adaptation ("Titus") was terrific. More »

Dec. 17 Yogi Bear

PG  |  View trailer

Hollywood is officially out of ideas. Just sayin'. | In 3-D | More »

Dec. 17 The King's Speech

R  |  View trailer

A crowd favorite at this year's Toronto International Film Festival, and a guaranteed holiday hit and Oscar nominee this year. More »

Dec. 17 The Fighter

Not rated  |  View trailer

Mark Wahlberg plus David O. Russell equals Yes. More »

Dec. 22 Little Fockers

Not rated  |  View trailer

Reportedly Dustin Hoffman was in and then out and then in again; that does not bode well for this now-creaking franchise. More »

Dec. 22 True Grit

Not rated  |  View trailer

Should be interesting to see what the always inventive Coens do with a genre they've never worked in. More »

Dec. 22 Casino Jack

R  |  View trailer

Well received in Toronto this year, but Abramoff already looks tame in a post-Citizens United world. More »

Dec. 22 Somewhere

R  |  View trailer

Sofia Coppola's drama earned this year's Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival. More »

Dec. 25 Gulliver's Travels

Not rated  |  View trailer

Swift, bloated. | In 3-D | More »

Dec. 25 Rabbit Hole

Not rated  |  View trailer

Nicole Kidman delivers one of her best performances in this restrained, well-calibrated domestic drama. More »