Holiday Movie Guide 2011: 20 Movies to Watch

No. 5. The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn

December 21, 2011 | Adventure | Rated PG

Just when you thought motion capture was dead (see Mars Needs Moms. Or, better, don’t), Steven Spielberg breathes new life into the filmmaking technique with the first in a planned series. This first entry is about the intrepid young reporter Tintin who, always seeking a good story, is thrust into a world of high adventure.

Why see it?
Already a critical and box office hit overseas where Tintin is a known commodity, Secret of the Unicorn bears much resemblance to Spielberg’s Indiana Jones movies (the first three) in tone, even if the film is animated.

No. 4. The Descendants

Now in theaters | Drama, Comedy| Rated R

A husband and father (George Clooney) must re-examine his life when his wife suffers a boating accident off of Waikiki, as well as reconnect with his young daughters and consider selling his family’s land, which used to belong to Hawaiian royalty.

Why see it?
The last feature-length movie director Alexander Payne made was the Oscar-winning film Sideways.

No. 3. The Muppets

November 23, 2011 | Family, Comedy | Rated PG

Jason Segel and Amy Adams star as small town friends who visit Los Angeles for the first time and discover that a Texas oilman (Chris Cooper) plans to raze the Muppet Theater to drill for oil. They help Kermit, Miss Piggy and the rest of the gang save their home.

Why see it?
Jason Segel has proven himself a worthy comedic writer, and… it’s the Muppets.

No. 2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

December 21, 2011 | Thriller | Not yet rated

In this big budget, English-language remake, a disgraced journalist (Daniel Craig) agrees to investigate the disappearance of a teenager that occurred decades earlier. Aided by a strange but extremely intelligent hacker named Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), he uncovers a dark and dangerous secret.

Why see it?
Following three perfectly good Swedish-language films, this remake may seem unnecessary. But David Fincher, hot off the success of The Social Network, has the potential to take the source material to new heights.

No. 1. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy

December 9, 2011 | Thriller | Rated R

Set in the aftermath of the Cold War, this thriller, based on the novel by John Le Carre, is about the search for a mole within the highest echelons of the British Secret Intelligence Service.

Why see it?
Everything about this movie, from the cast (featuring always-good Gary Oldman) to the story to the spot-on movie trailers – oh, and great early reviews – indicates Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy is one film that should not be missed this holiday season.

See our full movie release calendar for November 2011 movies and December 2011 movies.

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By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Awards & Oscars, Movies, Top 10 Movie Lists