So much for jolly. Most of the movies this holiday season are anything but.
Of course this is the time when Hollywood rolls out its serious stuff. But this year's offerings seem particularly dark, with titles like "Melacholia," "In the Land of Blood and Honey" and "The Darkest Hour," which arrives in theaters Christmas Day.
If the holidays already provide enough drama and escape is more your speed, Hollywood has that covered too.
Tom Cruise is back with another installment of "Mission Impossible." The team of Guy Ritchie, Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law are returning Dec. 16 with a sequel to their hit "Sherlock Holmes." And Garry Marshall is hoping to do for "New Years Eve," which opens Dec. 9, what he did for "Valentine's Day." He has enlisted heavyweights Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Hilary Swank and Halle Berry to help him.
Then there's the usual family fare, including "The Muppets" and "Happy Feet," which opens Friday. And don't miss offerings by two of Hollywood's elite directors. Martin Scorcese makes his first foray into 3D with "Hugo," the story of an orphan boy living a secret life in the walls of a Paris train station, which debuts Nov. 23. And Steven Spielberg makes his animation debut with "The Adventures of TinTin."
Click through to read more about the top ten movies to see this holiday season.
|The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1|
It's the beginning of the end, "Twilight" fans.
Part one of the fourth and final installment of the "Twilight" series officially opens Friday. But if you can't wait till then, you can line up for one of tonight's midnight showings.
Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner reprise their roles. Part 2 will be released next November.
|My Week with Marilyn|
In "My Week with Marilyn," Michelle Williams embodies screen icon Marilyn Monroe in a luminous and layered performance.
The film is based on memoirs by Colin Clark and centers on Monroe's troubles during the production of the 1957 movie "The Prince and the Showgirl." Also starring Kenneth Branagh, Emma Watson, Eddie Redmayne and Judy Dench, the film opens Nov. 23.
Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and the gang are back on the big screen for the first time in 12 years.
Joined by Jason Segal and Amy Adams, they fight to save their muppet theater from a greedy oil tycoon played by Chris Cooper. The movie opens Nov. 23.
|Mission Impossible -- Ghost Protocol|
Tom Cruise once again steps into the role of Ethan Hunt for the fourth installment of "Mission Impossible."
The addition of Jeremy Renner and the lovely Paula Patton should help this aging franchise. The film opens Dec. 16.
|The Iron Lady|
In "The Iron Lady" screen legend Meryl Streep meets her match playing political legend Margaret Thatcher.
Critics are calling her performance "astonishing and all but flawless," but Thatcher allies are slamming it as "half-hysterical" and "over-emotional."
For her part, Streep calls it the biggest role of her career. "It took a lot out of me, but it was a privilege to play her, it really was," she said.
The film opens Dec. 16.
Diablo Cody, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of "Juno," and director Jason Reitman reunite for "Young Adult."
Star Charlize Theron is already winning raves for her performance as a teen lit writer who returns to her hometown to relive her glory days. The movie opens Dec. 16.
|The Adventures of Tintin|
Steven Spielberg makes his animation debut in this film based on the popular Belgium comic series about a boy and his dog who set off on a search for sunken treasure.
Joining forces with Spielberg is "Lord of the Rings" maestro Peter Jackson. The film is set for release Dec. 21.
|The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo|
Just two years ago, a Swedish-language version of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," based on the bestselling trilogy by Stieg Larsson, was released in theaters.
Now, David Fincher ("The Social Network") is coming out with an English-language version starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander. The film hits theaters Dec. 21.
|In the Land of Blood and Honey|
A romance set amid the Bosnian war in the native Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian wouldn't normally draw a lot of attention.
However when it's written by superstar Angelina Jolie, who is making her directorial debut, it's sure to grab the spotlight, particularly from Academy watchers. The movie opens Dec. 23.
In his second offering this holiday season, Steven Spielberg returns to more typical tear-jerker fare.
"War Horse," based on the British children's novel-turned-stage-play, is about a young man in search of his beloved horse during World War I.
Set for release Christmas Day, it's already being touted as a best-picture Oscar contender.