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Holiday movie guide 2014: Ticket or skip it?

The holiday season always brings a deluge of films, and it can be easy to get lost in the madness. So which ones are actually worth your time and money during Christmastime 2014? Here's a helpful guide:

"Unbroken" (Dec. 25)


Angelina Jolie's second directorial effort is "Unbroken", an adaptation of Lauren Hillenbrand's book about Olympian and WWII prisoner Louis Zamperini. Consensus: The film is inspiring, though sometimes a little tough to watch.

Verdict: Ticket.

"Annie" (Dec. 19)


Quvenzhane Wallis, Cameron Diaz and Jamie Foxx star in the remixed version of the 1977 play and 1982 movie musical, "Annie." Though the film isn't getting the love from critics, kids will still love it. Plus, it has some new songs from Sia.

Verdict: Skip it, unless you have children.

"Night At The Museum: Secret of The Tomb" (Dec. 19)


The third and final installment in the "Night At The Museum" saga sees Robin Williams in his last role. That's probably the best reason to see it, though just like "Annie," it'll be a hit with the kids regardless.

Verdict: Skip it, unless you have children.

"Into The Woods" (Dec. 25)


Stephen Sondheim's beloved fairytale mash-up musical is getting the big-screen treatment, coming to theaters with stars Meryl Streep, James Corden, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick and Johnny Depp. It looks pretty magical.

Verdict: Ticket.

"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1" (Nov. 21)


The third installment in "The Hunger Games" saga sees Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) leading the growing rebellion against the Capitol.

Verdict: Ticket if you're a fan, but in that case, you've already seen it.

"Top Five" (Dec. 14)


The comedy of the season is Chris Rock's "Top Five", the comedian's crowning achievement thus far. It follows superstar comedian Andre Allen (Rock), who just put out another terrible film and is about to get married to a soulless reality star when Chelsea Brown (a bossy Rosario Dawson) interviews him for The New York Times. It's heartfelt and straight-up hilarious.

Verdict: Ticket.

"The Imitation Game" (Dec. 25)


Based on the true story of cryptanalyst Alan Turing, the film portrays the nail-biting race against time by Turing and his crack team of code-breakers during World War II. Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley star.

Verdict: Ticket.

"Wild" (Dec. 5)


Reese Witherspoon gives the performance of her career as Cheryl Strayed, a woman who, after suffering a devastating loss, departs on a 1,100-mile solo hike.

Verdict: Ticket.

"Exodus: Gods and Kings" (Dec. 12)


If it's big-budget action you want, look no further than "Exodus: Gods and Kings," Ridley Scott's take on the Passover story. Christian Bale and Joel Eggerton star.

Verdict: Skip it, unless you crave big-budget action sequences.

"Inherent Vice" (Dec. 12)


The trippy new film from Paul Thomas Anderson, the man behind "Boogie Nights," follows Joaquin Phoenix as an unlikely detective. If you like slacker-noirs like "The Big Lebowski" or "The Long Goodbye", you'll enjoy this.

Verdict: Ticket, if you like that sort of thing.

"The Gambler" (Dec. 19)


Mark Wahlberg plays a professor with a gambling problem in "The Gambler," which also stars Jon Goodman and Jessica Lange.

Verdict: Ticket, but don't expect an Oscar winner.

"American Sniper" (Dec. 25)


"American Sniper" stars Bradley Cooper as Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the man with the highest number of sniper kills ever in the U.S. military. Clint Eastwood directs.

Verdict: Ticket.

"Big Eyes" (Dec. 25)


Tim Burton directs the tale of Margaret Keane's Big Eyes paintings, and the intense legal battle she gets into with her husband over them. Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz star.

Verdict: Ticket.

"The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies" (Dec. 17)


"The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" ends Peter Jackson's second Middle-Earth trilogy with a booming finale. There are huge, CGI-laden battle sequences, though Bilbo Baggins may be absent from much of the film. Critics say this film will satisfy Tolkien fans looking for closure, but otherwise...

Verdict: Skip it.

"A Most Violent Year" (Dec. 31)


J.C. Chandor's crime film follows an immigrant as he fights to protect his business and family in New York City. Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain star.

Verdict: Ticket.

"Selma" (Jan. 9, limited release Dec. 25)


"Selma" is based on the true story of Martin Luther King and the marches of Selma, Alabama, that changed the course of the civil rights movement. Lot of Oscar talk with this one, and especially given our racially charged year, it's worth watching.

Verdict: Ticket.

Tell us: What movies will you be seeing this holiday season?

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