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The Watch List: 10 Irresistible December Movies

Can you hear the people sing? Singing a song of angry men? It’s the sound of Les Misérables facing off against The Hobbit, just two of the monster movies slated for this holiday season.

1 / 10

1. Return of the Ring

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The first instalment in the Lord of the Rings prequel trilogy sees Peter Jackson back in Middle Earth. Martin Freeman (of Sherlock and the British version of The Office) stars as homebody hobbit Bilbo Baggins, reluctantly tugged out of his hole by a baker’s dozen of adventurous dwarves. In theatres Dec. 14.

2 / 10

2. Secret Cinema

Stories We Tell

Sarah Polley’s latest film is a stunner. The actress-turned-filmmaker turns the camera on herself and her family as she rattles a few of the skeletons in the Polley closet. To say too much is to spoil its surprise-just know that Stories We Tell is a powerful look at the ties that bind and the expanded possibilities of the documentary form. Bridgewater Studio 7, Bridgewater, N.S., Dec. 5.

3 / 10

3. In-office Romance

Hyde Park on Hudson

Playing off the interest inspired by The King’s Speech in the life of stuttering King George and the Queen Mum, Hyde Park follows the same royals to upstate New York for their historic 1939 meeting with President Roosevelt (a cigarette-chomping Bill Murray). The film pays special attention to Roosevelt’s many trysts, including one with his distant cousin Daisy (Laura Linney). In theatres Dec. 7.

4 / 10

4. Canuck Caper

Inescapable

In what seems like a self-conscious riff on the Taken franchise, Toronto director Ruba Nadda (Cairo Time) breaks into the action genre with this story of a Canadian businessman (Alexander Siddig) who returns to Syria to track down his missing daughter. Vernon Towne Theatre, Vernon, B.C., Dec. 10.

5 / 10

5. Black Gets Dark

Bernie

Bernie reunites Jack Black with director Richard Linklater (School of Rock) for a crazy-interesting docudrama about a likeable small-town mortician (Black) who barely ruffled feathers when he murdered a cranky Texan widow (Shirley MacLaine). Easily one of the best releases of 2012. Festival Theatre, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., Dec. 15.

6 / 10

6. Pixar Plus

Monsters Inc., 3D

John Goodman and Billy Crystal are back as Pixar’s scariest (cutest!) monsters in the closet. And this time they’re in three dimensions. In theatres Dec. 19.

7 / 10

7. Imperfect Getaway

The Impossible

Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts star in this wrenching drama about a family whose Christmas holiday in Thailand turns into a total nightmare during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. In theatres Dec. 21.

8 / 10

8. Cruise Control

Jack Reacher

The 50-year-old Tom Cruise continues to insist he’s a viable action hero. In this particular instance, he plays a former military policeman on the trail of a deadly sniper in a story adapted from Lee Child’s novel One Shot. In theatres Dec. 21.

9 / 10

9. Hell Is Other People

This Is 40

Writer and director Judd Apatow returns to the world of Knocked Up with this “sort-of sequel” focusing on the midlife malaise of Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann’s bickering marrieds. Albert Brooks and Melissa McCarthy costar. In theatres Dec. 21.

10 / 10

10. Barricade Blues

Les Misérables

This film adaptation of the musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel about a (not the) French revolution features an all-star singing and dancing cast that includes Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried and Russell Crowe. In theatres Dec. 25.