Dec. 24, 2012 at 11:39 PM ET
Is a trip to the theater part of your holiday tradition? If so, Hollywood's delivered a sackful of presents this time around. Here's our guide to what to see when the gifts are opened and the egg nog's been chugged.
Have little kids?
Pixar's beloved "Monsters Inc." is being re-released in 3-D, but if your kids refuse to wear the clunky glasses, you can also find it in 2-D. It's a marvelous and funny way to help kids lose their fear of the monsters under the bed, since monsters Mike and Sulley are themselves terrified of children. See it now on the big screen, because the prequel, "Monsters University," is coming in 2013.
Have older kids?
Take bathroom breaks early and often, because it's a long one, but kids of a slightly older age will fall under the spell of "The Hobbit." (Warning for sensitive kids: There are battle scenes, but our heroes make it through.) This is just the beginning of course -- two more "Hobbit" movies are on the way. J.R.R. Tolkien wrote this book for children, and it's a lot less dark than "Lord of the Rings." If you like it, pick up the book and read a chapter together each night before bed.
Is 'Pulp Fiction' your favorite movie ever?
Then you'll love Quentin Tarantino's return in "Django Unchained." Jamie Foxx plays a slave who teams up with bounty hunter Christoph Waltz to save his wife (Kerry Washington) from creepy plantation owner Leonardo DiCaprio. Yes, there's blood. Geysers and gushers of it. There's also witty dialogue and drama. Tarantino's not for everyone.
Love Broadway musicals?
So you live 3,000 miles from The Great White Way? You only need to get to your nearest cineplex to see that Broadway classic "Les Miserables" in all its stunning, song-studded glory. Anne Hathaway will make you cry as the desperate Fantine, forced to sell herself to save her child, and the battle between Hugh Jackman's Jean Valjean and Russell Crowe's Inspector Javert is one of literature's most epic. If you don't leave humming "Master of the House," you should probably get your hearing checked.
Need to laugh?
There are new comedies in all the major ratings groups, from raunchy to mild. "This is 40" follows the supporting characters Pete and Debbie from the comedy classic "Knocked Up" as they battle with turning 40 and struggling with kids and finances. Note: It's rated R for adult content, so don't take the kids to this one. If you're looking for laughs that are a little more PG rated, try Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen taking a road trip in "The Guilt Trip" (PG-13) or Billy Crystal and Bette Midler as hapless grandparents getting old school on the new generation in "Parental Guidance" (PG).
Love Tom Cruise?
The handsome star continues to burnish his action hero cred, portraying "Jack Reacher," the drifter investigator from Lee Child's engrossing novels. The film won't stick in your head, but it's a solid evening's entertainment. Be warned, though, it opens with a sniper scene that puts a child in danger, and may be too much for some in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shootings.
Haven't seen a movie in months?
Many top-rated films are still hanging around the theaters, and since they've been out for a while, the crowds for these older releases won't be as bad. Try "Argo," "Skyfall" or "Lincoln" if you want to know what Entertainment Weekly's been yapping about for a month or so now. You'll probably see "Argo" and "Lincoln" turn up once the Academy Award nominations come out in January.