December isn't just about tree lightings, holiday feasts and shopping.
It also marks the high point in Oscar season, the time of year when studios release their prestige pictures to garner the buzz they'll need to get nominated for the awards ceremony in early 2013.
In Patch's Holiday Movie Guide, we'll focus on a few of these films opening along the North Shore. Which should you see? Which should you skip? Which should you bring your kids to? Keep reading to find out.
Most Fun: Hitchcock
Hitchcock gets this week's Most Fun pick mostly on the basis of how eerily accurate Anthony Hopkins' performance is. As the acclaimed horror director, Hopkins hams his way through a movie that follows the making of Psycho, one of the most renowned horror movies ever made. Also featuring great performances by Helen Mirren and Boardwalk Empire's Michael Stuhlbarg.
Playing at Landmark Renaissance in Highland Park
Most Oscar Buzz: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Peter Jackson returns to the J.R.R. Tolkien's world that made him famous with The Lord of the Rings trilogy. This new film focuses on Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who gets swept up into a quest with 13 dwarves and the legendary Gandalf the Grey. If none of that means anything to you: this is a fantasy film that's nearly three hours long with colorful visuals, outstanding effects and a story beloved by nerds and non-nerds alike.
Playing at AMC Northbrook Court in Northbrook
Most Family Friendly: Rise of the Guardians
This film is also a fantasy, but the similarities between this and The Hobbit end there. Rise of the Guardians looks like your standard animated fare, with celebrity voices (Alec Baldwin voices Santa Claus with a Russian accent, Jude Law voices the villain and Hugh Jackman voices the Easter Bunny), some jokes and just the right amount of epic good vs. evil fighting to make for a forgettable but entertaining movie.
Playing at Century 12 in Evanston