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Twentieth Century Fox
Pi (Suraj Sharma) and a Bengal tiger arrive at an uneasy detente in “Life of Pi.”

Plenty of goodies this holiday movie season

New Line Cinema
Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”

This week, we will pass from the fall movie season into the heralded holiday season.

It’s marked by big-budget extravaganzas, Oscar hopefuls and family films suitable for post-Thanksgiving or early Christmas viewing and for filling that luxuriously open week (for some lucky workers and students) before New Year’s Day.

A year ago, the day before Thanksgiving delivered an excellent mix of “Hugo,” “The Muppets,” “Arthur Christmas,” “The Descendants” and “Melancholia.”

Anyone searching for a Santa Claus fix this year will have to look to “Rise of the Guardians,” in which the big guy in the red suit has a “Naughty” tattoo on one arm and “Nice” on the other. He is joined in the animated fantasy by the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman and Jack Frost.

Here’s a glance at much of what’s coming soon. Opening dates are subject to change and will vary from city to city:

Today

“Anna Karenina” – Actress Keira Knightley reunites with director Joe Wright for this theatrical retelling of Tolstoy’s novel tracing the tragic love affair between the unhappily married Anna and Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Jude Law plays Anna’s husband, and the cast also includes Matthew Macfadyen, Kelly Macdonald and Olivia Williams.

“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2” – It ends here, unless novelist Stephenie Meyer and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg have a really big surprise in store. Bella is a full-fledged but freshman vampire, and she, Edward and friends of the vampire and werewolf persuasion have to protect little Renesmee Cullen.

“Lincoln” – Daniel Day-Lewis, whose resemblance to Abraham Lincoln is astonishing, plays the 16th president in his final months. Steven Spielberg directs and Tony Kushner wrote the screenplay, based in part on a Doris Kearns Goodwin book.

“The Sessions” – John Hawkes, an Oscar nominee for his role as Teardrop in “Winter’s Bone,” plays a 38-year-old with polio determined to lose his virginity. He seeks help from a sex surrogate and the guidance of his priest in this tender film based on the autobiographical writings of journalist-poet Mark O’Brien.

Wednesday

“Life of Pi” – Director Ang Lee directs this 3-D adventure about an Indian boy who survives a shipwreck, only to be marooned on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger in the Pacific Ocean. Based on the Yann Martel novel and already generating lots of Oscar talk.

“Red Dawn” – The North Koreans are coming in this remake of the 1984 original about invaders on American soil. Characters played by Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck and Josh Hutcherson seek refuge in the woods near their homes in Washington state, train as guerrilla fighters and call themselves the Wolverines after a high school mascot.

“Rise of the Guardians” – Animated adventure about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman and Jack Frost, all with previously unknown extraordinary abilities. When an evil spirit known as Pitch plots to take over the world, the immortal Guardians must join forces to protect beliefs and imaginations of children everywhere.

“Silver Linings Playbook” – This delightful comedy stars Bradley Cooper as a Philadelphian who has lost his house, job and wife, but finds a silver lining when he meets a young widow (Jennifer Lawrence) with plenty of issues of her own.

Nov. 23

“Keep the Lights On” – Director Ira Sachs, inspired by the dissolution of his own long-term relationship, chronicles an emotionally and sexually charged journey of two men in New York City through love, friendship and addiction. Danish actor Thure Lindhardt and Zachary Booth (“Damages”) star.

Nov. 30

“Hitchcock” – HBO’s “The Girl,” starring Toby Jones and Sienna Miller as Alfred Hitchcock and Tippi Hedren, cast the director as a twisted, lecherous sexual harasser. This Fox Searchlight film, which takes place during the making of “Psycho,” is described as a love story starring Oscar winners Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren as Hitch and his wife, Alma Reville.

“Killing Them Softly” – Three dumb guys who think they’re smart rob a mob-protected card game, sending the local criminal economy into collapse. Brad Pitt is the enforcer hired to track them down and restore order. The cast includes James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins and Ray Liotta.

“The Collection” – A traumatized man is forced to help rescue a woman who has become the latest obsession of a killer who “collects” humans in a booby-trapped house of horrors in this movie from the writing-directing team behind four of the “Saw” sequels.

Dec. 7

“Playing for Keeps” – Rom-com starring Gerard Butler as a charming, down-on-his-luck former soccer star who returns home to put his life back together. He ends up coaching his son’s soccer team and fending off a squad of soccer moms. Also starring Jessica Biel, Uma Thurman, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Dennis Quaid.

“Dino Time” – Animated movie about a daredevil boy, his little sister and best friend who, while playing in an inventor’s workshop, accidentally trip a time machine and are transported back 65 million years. They’re adopted by a doting dinosaur mom (voice of Melanie Griffith) and a rambunctious dino brother.

“Hyde Park on Hudson” – Bill Murray and Laura Linney star, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt and distant cousin and intimate Daisy, in a historical tale about the June 1939 visit of the king and queen of England to the Roosevelt home in upstate New York.

Dec. 14

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” – This release will come five years after Peter Jackson agreed to make J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit,” a prequel to the blockbuster trilogy “The Lord of the Rings.” He eventually stepped into the director’s chair, and two movies have turned into three, with “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” set for Dec. 13, 2013, and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” July 18, 2014.

“Smashed” – A young married couple enjoy a bond built on a mutual love of music, laughter and, especially, drinking, but when she decides to get sober, a new set of complications arises in this release starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Paul, Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally and Octavia Spencer.

Dec. 19

“The Guilt Trip” – Barbra Streisand plays Seth Rogen’s character’s mother in a road-trip comedy in which they attempt to cover 3,000 miles in eight days and, judging from the preview, endure or enjoy enough embarrassing, heartfelt or comic moments to last a couple of lifetimes.

“Monsters, Inc. 3-D” – Moviegoers will get a chance to enter or revisit (this time in 3-D) Monstropolis, a place that must import all of its energy. The source: a kid’s scream. The power company: Monsters, Inc., which sends its hideous employees through closet doors around the world for more of that infinitely renewable resource. At the time of its 2001 release, we said it never quite achieves the depth of emotion of “Toy Story 2” but still delivers the mandatory lump in the throat.

Dec. 21

“Jack Reacher” – Lee Child’s “One Shot” book is about an ex-military investigator who doubts the official version of events surrounding a deadly sniper attack. As the vigilante hero, Tom Cruise stars alongside Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall, Richard Jenkins and Werner Herzog.

“This Is 40” – Comedy from Judd Apatow updating the lives of the married couple, played by Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann, from “Knocked Up.” In addition to featuring the real-life daughters of Apatow and his wife, Mann, the cast features Albert Brooks, Megan Fox, Melissa McCarthy, Robert Smigel and Charlyne Yi.

“Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away” – A young couple must journey through the dreamlike worlds of Cirque du Soleil to reunite as performers leap, soar, swim and dance in this big-screen 3-D version of the stage shows.

Dec. 25

“Les Miserables” – If you cannot find that iPad Mini for your children, show them what real hardship and stirring music are with this adaptation of the stage sensation set against the backdrop of 19th century France. All-star cast includes Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen.

“Django Unchained” – Set in the South two years before the Civil War, this Quentin Tarantino film stars Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave whose brutal history with his former owners brings him face to face with a German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz). He is on the trail of murderous brothers and only Django can lead him to his bounty. Rounding out the cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson and Kerry Washington.

“Parental Guidance” – Billy Crystal and Bette Midler are grandparents called in by their daughter (Marisa Tomei) to help care for their three grandchildren. Their old-school parenting and her modern methods collide, causing chaos inside and outside the household.

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