Those looking to kill some time at the movies over the holidays have a lot of good (and even some great) options.
Here are a few suggestions for both those shackled to large groups of sugar-buzzed children and those who are not.
Movies to take the kids to
Opening Friday is "Walking with Dinosaurs," the computer-animated, PG-rated trip back to the age of dinosaurs. Basically, a state-of-the-art "Land Before Time" that little ones will eat right up.
And there's also "Frozen," if you haven't got a chance to see that yet.
If you want to keep the kids indoors, there are a handful of decent family movies new to DVD, including "Despicable Me 2" and a snazzy Blu-ray of "Mary Poppins."
Movies to take older kids to
For patient children who aren't overly afraid of dragons, there's "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," which opened last week. And don't forget "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." Expanding wide Friday is "Saving Mr. Banks," which chronicles the adaptation of "Mary Poppins" and the relationship between Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) and the book's prickly author, P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson). That one's a bit over two hours long.
And if you've never made your kids watch "It's a Wonderful Life," 1. You're a bad person and 2. It's not too late! Film Streams is playing screenings of "It's a Wonderful Life" over the next few weeks, including shows on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. See showtime and ticket info here.
There are also a few new-to-DVD summer blockbusters you might have missed, including "Fast Six," "The Wolverine" and "The Lone Ranger," which is actually much better than its reviews and box office floppery would suggest.
Thrills, laughs, action
"Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues," which opens Wednesday, will be a joyful early Christmas gift for devout fans of the 2004 original. And David O. Russell's critically acclaimed latest, "American Hustle," expands wide Friday. The '70s-set con artist comedy "Hustle" stars Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner and is one of the awards season front-runners.
The Sylvester Stallone-Robert De Niro Grumpy Old Boxers comedy "Grudge Match" opens Christmas Day. As does the Ben Stiller-directed "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," in which a boring dreamer sets off on an adventure. "Grudge Match" looks like a likable if hackneyed crowd-pleaser, and "Mitty" at least looks gorgeous, though the early reviews suggest it's pretty empty.
Opening in limited release is the true story-based "Lone Survivor," which stars Mark Wahlberg as part of a SEAL Team who find themselves cut off and outnumbered after a failed mission to capture a Taliban leader. The movie will get a nationwide expansion January 10, according to Box Office Mojo.
The Oscar contenders
There's an almost absurd amount of great movies in theaters right now. If you haven't yet, you must (must!) see "12 Years a Slave," "Gravity" and "Nebraska." I'd also strongly recommend "Dallas Buyers Club," if only for Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, who give two of the year's best performances in what is otherwise just a so-so movie.
And it's even possible the best is yet to come. "Inside Llewyn Davis," the Coen Brothers' ode to the 1960s folk scene, as seen through the eyes of a talented but unsuccessful musician. It was originally set to open at Film Streams this Friday but has been delayed until January 10.
Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" opens Christmas Day. The three-hour epic, which tells the story of a ridiculously corrupt stockbroker's rise and fall, looks like "Wall Street" meets "The Hangover," but, you know, directed by our greatest living filmmaker.
Spike Jonze's acclaimed sci-fi romance "Her" is open in limited release and will get a nationwide expansion January 10, according to Box Office Mojo.
And if you want to avoid the theater crowds, the excellent thriller "Prisoners" is now on DVD. The film, in which two girls are abducted and a father (Hugh Jackman) starts a horrific campaign to get them back, is getting overlooked in the awards season hubbub, but it's among the year's best.
If your holiday vacation extends to January 6, there are a whole lot of good movies coming out on DVD that day, including the comedy "Enough Said" and the dramas "Fruitvale Station," "The Spectacular Now," "Short Term 12," "Blue Caprice" and "Lee Daniels' The Butler."