Previewing the Holiday Movies

As we move into the year’s final stages, we look forward to many things: Thanksgiving dinners, Black Friday, school breaks. And of course, there are always the multiple pilgrimages to the movie theater. Indeed, there are many reasons why people value the last month and a half of any given year.

However, not all looks fine and dandy, Anteaters. Though this time of year has seen the release of terrific films like “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and “True Grit,” we’ve also seen the release of such abominations as “Gulliver’s Travels” and “Little Fockers.” I don’t know what’s the bigger travesty: the fact that such reprehensible films are released, or the fact that some of you watch them. This explains why I have so little faith in humanity.

That said, I am here to help. In this column, I am going to preview some of the more significant films that will be released from now until December’s end — specifically, which ones you should check out (these are the ones which I believe will exceed expectations), and which ones you should avoid like the bubonic plague.

So, here are the films that you should definitely watch.

The family film: “The Adventures of Tintin.” My personally second-most anticipated film, this adaptation of Hergé’s classic comic book series appears to have the same adventurous spirit as the “Indiana Jones” films. Honestly, with Steven Spielberg directing and Peter Jackson producing, what can go wrong? Plus, there’s also the involvement of multiple Spielberg collaborators, like composer John Williams. People of all ages should find this film appropriate and irresistible.

The hangout film: “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.” Think what you may about Tom Cruise, but the next installment of the “M:I” franchise appears to kick up the thrill factor by multiple notches. Brad Bird, best known for his work with Pixar, is directing his first live-action film, and the result looks pretty damn fun. Apparently, this is the film in which the extra moolah for IMAX is justified. Watch it with your friends and enjoy the ride.

The drama/hardcore film: “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” Remember the intensity of “Fight Club”? Its director, David Fincher, is at the helm of this mystery-thriller adaptation of the bestselling novel by Stieg Larsson. It sure as hell won’t be pretty (expect some really dark material, specifically rape scenes), but it will fulfill your feel-bad needs around Christmastime.

The 3-D film: “Hugo.” Director Martin Scorsese may be well known for killing people in his films, but expect none of that in this adventure drama tailor-made for children. Normally, I like deaths in the films I watch (I promise I’m not a morbid guy), but hey, why not see what the cinema maestro has in store? Expect him to use 3-D in innovative ways.

The art films: “The Artist” and “Shame.” Remember the silent, black-and-white films of old? Relive the experience in the former, which has met considerable critical acclaim since its Cannes debut. If you’re of age, be a boss and watch the NC-17-rated latter, which is an erotic drama about sexual addiction and is also my most anticipated film. If you’re in love with Michael Fassbender, prepare to swoon.

Just because: “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.” Are you a fan of anything British? Then this is the one for you. Featuring a bunch of recognizable and talented British actors, this espionage film will have you gripping your seat in sheer anxiety and joy as you watch the likes of Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and Tom Hardy onscreen.

So, those are the films which you should definitely watch. Now, on to …

What’s that? I forgot some? Let’s see here: “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” “We Bought a Zoo” and “War Horse.” Well, these certainly look as though they warrant a viewing. However, I suggest that you consider these films with a grain of salt. The second “Sherlock Holmes” film appears to place a greater emphasis on action than mystery, which is the problem I had with its predecessor. “We Bought a Zoo” acts way too cute and optimistic for its own good. As for “War Horse,” it has the potential to fall too deeply into war film clichés.

Finally, here’s the blacklist in all its glory.

Meaningless: “New Year’s Eve.” Seriously, I declare that if you’ve seen the trailer for “Valentine’s Day,” then there’s no need to see this. Also, how much farther can they go? Can you imagine if they make a film called “Veterans Day” or “Arbor Day”? What’s worse is that even respectable, veteran actors and actresses are starring in these films; why, why, why, Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer? Please, let this madness stop before it’s too late!

Moronic: “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked.” I don’t care if you have a cute little sibling who wants to watch this. It’s not that hard to say no, people. You may make them cry, but at least you’ll maintain your sanity and self-esteem. As for the chipmunks, I hope they never find a way off this island.

That’s all there is on the blacklist. You may be surprised, but expect there to be another stinker or two during the holidays. Remember: where there’s one, many more are nearby.

Of course, I am no oracle. For all I know, my recommendations may turn out to be flops (I doubt they will), while the ones I lambast can become hits (they won’t, though). That’s why you should place your faith in Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, as they have proven to be quite reliable. Whatever you do, though, don’t trust the troll-inhabited IMDb. In any case, I encourage all of you to make the right decision over the remainder of the year when it comes to watching movies in the theater.