Top 10 Movies to See Before the Year Ends

By Matt Dougherty,

Believe it or not, 2012 is already coming to a close. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it is the season of family films and award seeking filmmakers. From Turkey Day to the New Year, we will likely get some of the best films 2012 has to offer. But how do you sift through the madness? Reading a top ten list of course!

10. This is 40

Judd Apatow is back in the director’s seat for what the trailer describes as a “sort-of sequel to Knocked Up." It stars Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann, reprising their roles from the 2007 comedy as a couple who cannot stop fighting. The trailer has quite a few laughs and you really cannot go wrong with Apatow.

9. Hitchcock

This is the Biopic of All Biopics for cinema lovers. Following Alfred Hitchcock and his wife, played by Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren respectively, the film shows the story behind the production of what many argue to be the filmmaker’s best movie, Psycho. Expect this to get at least some Oscar attention come February.

8. The Impossible

I have a rule when it comes to this type of movie: if the trailer makes you cry, go see it alone at 11 a.m. on a Tuesday. Based on the trailer, The Impossible definitely falls into that category. Starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, the story follows a family on vacation in Thailand, caught in the 2004 tsunami. The disaster separates them and their children and they all must somehow find each other again.

7. Rise of the Guardians

Now how about something a bit lighter, huh? When Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman and the Tooth Fairy face a threat like no other, the Boogeyman, they enlist the help of Jack Frost. From the makers of How to Train Your Dragon comes this delightful animated film that just looks like a whole lot of fun.

6. Silver Linings Playbook

Everyone who has seen this film cannot stop talking about Jennifer Lawrence’s performance. The Hunger Games star is opposite Bradley Cooper, a struggling man who lost his job and is forced to move back in with his parents, played by Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver. With an all-star cast and hugely positive reactions from just about every film festival, Silver Linings Playbook is not one to miss.

5. Zero Dark Thirty

Kathryn Bigelow is heading back to the Middle East after her 2009 Best Picture winner The Hurt Locker for the first fictionalized rendition of the death of Osama bin Laden. Starring Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt, James Gandolfini, Mark Strong and Kyle Chandler, Bigelow could strike lightning twice. The trailer is intense but reveals little, saving all the surprises for the theater.

4. Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino is back with a new historical fantasy about a freed slave turned bounty hunter out for revenge on a plantation owner. Starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson and Leonardo DiCaprio (who looks to be having a ball in the trailer), this new film looks like a combination of Kill Bill and Inglourious Basterds. How can you go wrong with that?

3. Les Miserables

A musical starring Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway directed by the guy behind The King’s Speech? Count me in. One of the most celebrated musicals of all time is coming to the big screen in a big way. There is no doubt that this will be one of the most talked about films of the year and a huge contender come awards season.

2. Life of Pi

The trailer alone is visually stunning. Ang Lee is adapting the beloved novel with a mostly no name cast and tons of animals. The plot follows a boy and a tiger stranded in the middle of the ocean after their boat, transporting tons of zoo animals, does not make it out of a storm. Early reviews have been more than positive. With only a PG rating, it could be the surprise family film of the year.

1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

We get to go back! After ten long years of anticipation we get to return to Middle Earth! The first film based on the Lord of the Rings prequel has been long coming with multiple director changes and production troubles. But most of the cast is back, along with some new members. It looks to be perfectly in tone with the book and the previous films. Is there any more you can ask for?

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