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Published: Thursday, December 5, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Your guide to holiday movie season

  • "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," Christmas Day: Idris Elba (left) plays the South African hero in this biopic based on his autobiography.

    The Weinstein Company

    "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," Christmas Day: Idris Elba (left) plays the South African hero in this biopic based on his autobiography.

  • "August: Osage County," Christmas Day: Dermot Mulroney co-stars in the movie version of a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Tracy Letts. Also in the cast...

    The Weinstein Company

    "August: Osage County," Christmas Day: Dermot Mulroney co-stars in the movie version of a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Tracy Letts. Also in the cast: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor and Benedict Cumberbatch.

  • "Inside Llewyn Davis," Dec. 20: Justin Timberlake (right) as a early 1960s Greenwich Village folkie? The Coen brothers think so. Oscar Isaac (left) pl...

    CBS Films

    "Inside Llewyn Davis," Dec. 20: Justin Timberlake (right) as a early 1960s Greenwich Village folkie? The Coen brothers think so. Oscar Isaac (left) plays the title character, whose abrasive personality keeps him mired in failure.

  • "American Hustle," Dec. 18: From left, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence star in David O. Russell's Marti...

    Sony Pictures

    "American Hustle," Dec. 18: From left, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence star in David O. Russell's Martin Scorsese-style fictionalization of the late-1970s Abscam investigation.

With the turkey leftovers dispatched and some of us already sick of Christmas carols in public places, the holiday season is well upon us. But at the movies, a whole lot of shiny, wrapped presents are still to be dropped from the sleigh.
We've already seen holiday films whoosh down the chimney, including the franchise powerhouse "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" and Disney's "Frozen." Those will be expected to play through December.
Also in theaters: a handful of non-blockbusters angling for awards consideration, such as "Nebraska," "Philomena," and "Dallas Buyers Club." You'll be hearing about those kinds of prestige pictures in the weeks to come, though they may not open hereabouts in December.
Some films, including the Mark Wahlberg vehicle "Lone Survivor" and "The Invisible Woman" (with Ralph Fiennes as Charles Dickens) will play in New York and L.A. to qualify for awards consideration, but open around the country in January.
So what have we got? A couple of sure-fire sequels, involving Will Ferrell's newscaster alter ego Ron Burgundy and a bunch of hobbits. A few Oscar-favorite actors arrive with their big projects, including Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson.
Big-name directors bring big-canvas sagas as well: Martin Scorsese with "The Wolf of Wall Street" (so sprawling it needed to be delayed at the last minute from its long-held November opening date) and David O. Russell with "American Hustle."
On a smaller scale, the Coen brothers offer "Inside Llewyn Davis," the kind of gorgeous but quizzical offering only they could dream up.
Toss in a big animated movie for the kids and at least one counter-programming action flick, and you've got the usual something-for-everyone. So leave the cookies and milk on the table, and let's go out to the movies.
Click here to see what movies are coming for the holiday season.
Story tags » MoviesHolidays

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