12 Movies to Watch This December

Ah, the holidays. Snow. Warm fires. Family. Presents. Parties. Food. Skiing. Christmas. Hanukkah. Candy canes. Movies. And not only movies, but many of the best movies of the year. December offers the release of several highly anticipated movies that not only will be massive hits but critical darlings, with awards to come. Here are 12 movies to watch this holiday season.

No. 12. The Impossible

December 21, 2012 (limited)

There is nothing quite like the feel-good death and destruction movie. Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts star as a couple whose family is separated by the tragic tsunami that struck Thailand in 2004. From the director of The Orphanage, the movie looks like it will offer plenty of spectacle and drama – if not an overload of melodrama. The entire movie appears to be shown in the previews, which is unfortunate, but The Impossible has the strong possibility of resonating with end-of-year audiences.

No. 11. Killing Them Softly

November 30, 2012

After a couple of idiots rob a high-stakes poker game protected by the mob, an enforcer – played by Brad Pitt – is dispatched to revolve the situation. People die. Currently in theaters, Killing Them Softly is currently in theaters, with the consensus on RottenTomatoes.com describing it as “a darkly comic, visceral thriller that doubles as a cautionary tale on capitalism, whose message is delivered with sledgehammer force.”

No. 10. Rust & Bone

November 23, 2012 (limited)

In 2009, Jacques Audiard wrote and directed A Prophet, which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Picture at the Academy Awards. His follow-up is Rust & Bone, which, if the trailer is any indication, will be an emotional rollercoaster. In the movie, Marion Cotillard – who is already receiving rave reviews for her performance – plays an Orca whale trainer loses her legs in a freak accident. At the hospital, she crosses paths with a knuckle fighter (Matthias Schoenarts). Things progress from there.

No. 9. Rise of the Guardians

November 21, 2012

This DreamWorks animated movie is already in theaters, but considering it features Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and others, it’s the only new family-friendly release between now and the end of the year. It also helps that the movie is pretty entertaining, even if it might be a little scary for young children (the villain is, literally, the boogeyman).

No. 8. This is 40

December 21, 2012

Knocked Up was a hilarious romantic comedy that cemented Judd Apatow as a comedy stalwart, gave Seth Rogen his big break and for a moment made audiences like Katherine Heigl. Apatow is back to direct the quasi-sequel, which stars Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann as parents who are forced to acknowledge they aren’t as young as they used to be. Apatow’s last directorial effort was 2009’s box office dud Funny People, so he’s looking for a comeback with this one.

No. 7. Jack Reacher

December 21, 2012

Tom Cruise is one of the most famous actors in the world. Also, due to a variety of circumstances including a certain church and a couch-jumping episode, he doesn’t get the respect he deserves. Cruise has 35 movies to his credit, and I can count the number of critical misses on one hand. For that reason, Jack Reacher – an action-thriller about an ex-military investigator who hunts down a trainer killer – should not be overlooked. Oh – it’s also written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, the writer of The Usual Suspects.

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By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Top 10 Movie Lists