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The holiday movie season generally is a strange one. You get a bunch of big-budget crowd-pleasing blockbusters sharing the megaplex with serious, high-brow, award-friendly films. This year, sparkling vampires, tattooed Swedes, Muppets, and Steven Spielberg all look poised to make a big splash. The top 10 picks to see in the coming months are:

J. Edgar
Release date: November 9
J. Edgar Hoover, the first director of the FBI, was the most feared man in Washington. He kept tabs on the private lives of reporters, politicians, and movie stars, but his own rumored personal life would have ruined his career. Leonardo DiCaprio stars in one of the riskiest roles of his life. Not only does he age 50 years over the course of the movie, but he also heats up the screen with his co-star, Armie Hammer. It's the sort of role that the academy loves. Ask Sean Penn. This movie is directed by Clint Eastwood and written by Dustin Lance Black, who won the best-screenplay Oscar for "Milk."

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1
Release date: November 18
William and Kate's royal wedding is about to be the second biggest marriage ceremony of the year. Bella and Edward are tying the knot in the first half of the last "Twilight" tale. But their nuptials will have severe repercussions for themselves and everyone they love. From Jacob's broken heart to a honeymoon in Rio to an inexplicable and life-threatening pregnancy, the movie is packed with the gripping moments that Twi-hards have been dying to see onscreen. And look for "Breaking Dawn - Part 2" to be on many fans' list of most anticipated movies of fall 2012.

The Artist
Release date: November 23
It seems unlikely that a black-and-white silent movie from an almost entirely unknown French director would be front-runner for Oscar nominations and possibly be a breakout sleeper hit this holiday season, but that seems to be the case for "The Artist," by director Michel Hazanavicius. The movie was a surprise hit at Cannes and Toronto, and the critical reviews have been absolutely glowing. "The Artist" might be this year's "The King's Speech."

The Muppets
Release date: November 23
Jim Henson's creations are back on the big screen for the first time in 12 years. Jason Segel ("Forgetting Sarah Marshall") cowrote and stars as a small-town guy who comes to L.A. to rally the Muppets together to save their beloved theater. Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and the whole gang are back, along with human co-stars Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, and a huge array of celebrity cameos.

Release date: December 2
"Shame" has received publicity as of late for getting slapped with an NC-17 rating. The rating is deserved, but don't let that scare you off. The movie is brilliant. Michael Fassbender plays a sex-addicted office worker whose life gets turned upside down when his needy sister (Carey Mulligan) decides to stay at his apartment for an indefinite period of time. Director Steve McQueen (no, not that one) has created a memorable, visually stunning portrait of a man ripped apart by his compulsions. Fassbender's performance is raw, naked (literally), and utterly heartbreaking. Given the early critical raves, he is likely to get an Oscar nomination for his efforts, which, like that NC-17 rating, would also be entirely deserved.
Warning: Might be not appropriate for some viewers:

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Release date: December 9
If you want to know what being a spy is really like, forget James Bond and look to John le Carré. He actually worked for MI5 and has written some of the best works out there on the paranoid world of espionage. This adaptation of his novel "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," which is considered one of the best of his works, opened earlier this year in the U.K. and has already raked in accolades and award nominations. Gary Oldman, who reportedly gives one of the best performances of his career, tops a dream cast of British actors like Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, and Benedict Cumberbatch. The movie is directed by Tomas Alfredson, the man behind the creepy vampire flick "Let the Right One In."

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Release date: December 21
Though the '09 European cinematic adaptation of Steig Larsson's hugely popular book is not bad, David Fincher is really the only director out there who could do "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" justice. Go back and watch "Zodiac" and "Se7en" if you don't believe me. Rooney Mara, who was last seen as Mark Zuckerberg's ex in "The Social Network," is unrecognizable as the pierced and tattooed computer savant Lisabeth Sanders. The teaser for this flick was one of the best of the year. Hopefully, the movie will be just as awesome.

Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol
Release date: December 21
In this fourth installment of the "Mission: Impossible" franchise, Ethan Hunt and company find themselves blamed for a terrorist attack on the Kremlin. Brad Bird, who previously directed such Pixar hits as "The Incredibles" and "Ratatouille, " brings his animator's eye to the action flick, and according to some early accounts, it's fantastic. Watch for a showstopping fight in the middle of a dust storm, and, of course, there's also Tom Cruise dangling from the world's tallest building, the 181-story Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Catch this flick in IMAX if you can to experience the full vertigo-inducing effect.

The Adventures of Tintin
Release date: December 21
In 1994, Steven Spielberg directed both "Jurassic Park" and "Schindler's List." One was the obvious crowd pleaser, the other was a critically lauded film that won a bunch of Oscars. This year, Spielberg looks like he's using the same playbook, only this time the period of time between the release of his fun movie and his serious one is not several months, but less than a week. Tintin might not be that well known here, but he's a cultural icon in Europe. Spielberg, along with Peter Jackson, uses his considerable talents to bring the comic book character to life using motion capture and a great deal of special effects. The movie has already opened on the Continent, and it's being hailed as the most entertaining Spielberg flick since, yes, "Jurassic Park."

War Horse
Release date: December 25
And this is Spielberg's serious movie for the year. Based on the popular children's book, "War Horse" details the horrors of the First World War through the eyes of a horse sold into military service. A far number of famous, non-equine actors also star in the flick, including David Thewlis, Emma Watson, and Benedict Cumberbatch (who is clearly having a good year). Paramount has eschewed the usual film festival routine and, thus far, has had a handful of screenings to the general public -- and not to critics -- hoping to build word of mouth. Reactions have been extremely positive.

Tags: holiday, movie, new, releases, synopsis

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Replies to This Discussion

I'm quite surprised by how few kids movies there are this holiday season.

Hi Brusier! (I love calling you that!)


This is just the top 10 movies people are talking about or waiting to see this season. There are quite a few movies for the kiddies! If you'd like I will add a list! Just for you!!



That won't be necessary E. I didn't quite catch the top ten theme (duh.)




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