Extra Butter: Our December 2013 Movie Guide

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December at the movies means a lot of things: Prestige dramas, big-budget spectacles, family-friendly feelgood stories...and this month has all of them. Here's a quick look at what we'll be making sure we don't miss at the multiplex between now and New Year's Eve.

December 6

Out of the Furnace
Christian Bale is British and Woody Harrelson is a millionaire, so pitting them against each other in a gritty Appalachian backwoods cracker saga doesn't necessarily look like the best move on paper. Once you watch the trailer, though, you might come away feeling differently.

Inside Llewyn Davis (limited)
Two words: Coen brothers.

December 13

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
We thought the first Hobbit movie was good but not great, and we haven't exactly been counting down the days until The Desolation of Smaug arrives in theaters. That said, we'll find it hard to turn away once Peter Jackson delivers Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of that nasty titular dragon -- and if the movie truly delivers as much epic action as the trailer promises, we'll be very pleased indeed.

American Hustle (limited)
David O. Russell might occasionally be a pain in the butt on the set, but Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence sure like him -- and after his Academy Award-winning run with Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle looks like a safe bet for one of the higher-profile prestige pics during December. Of course, any movie with this many wigs runs a risk of running aground on critical barbs, but we're not worried.

December 20

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
Admittedly, sequels that take as long to develop as Anchorman 2 tend to have a fairly spotty track record. But the first Anchorman was the rare comedy that felt like it happened rather than it was written -- and was all the better for it -- and if The Legend Continues can maintain the same laughs-to-absurdity ratio, we'll be rolling in the aisles (again).

December 25

Saving Mr. Banks
It's got Disney on the masthead, Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson in the leads, and it's based on the fascinating true story behind a heartwarming classic book and Disney film. In other words, movies don't come much more "Christmas Day" than Saving Mr. Banks, and even though it's been a good 30 years since we laid eyes on a single frame from Mary Poppins, we think watching its journey to the big screen will make for a perfect family trip to the movies on December 25.

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About Jeff Giles

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Jeff is an entertainment writer and editor whose work currently appears at a variety of sites, including Rotten Tomatoes, Paste, American Songwriter, Popdose, Dadnabbit, Diffuser, and Ultimate Classic Rock.

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