- - Thursday, December 18, 2014

Yes, Virginia (Maryland, D.C. and elsewhere, too), Christmas Day 2014 will feature plenty of movie openings.

True, Sony Pictures issued a release reported by NBC News that it cancelled any release of the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy “The Interview,” due to security concerns (heightened, of course, when major theater chains declined to show it).

But fear not, movie lovers who long for your annual trek to the cinema to round out your holiday experience. There are plenty of films opening around the holidays.

Here are some of the best:

Leviathan: If it’s controversy you want, consider “Leviathan.” Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev’s tale of a man who risks everything he loves to prevent corrupt politicians from taking his land in Northern Russia won the director many enemies in his country for its criticism of President Vladimir Putin’s authoritarianism. The film is a Golden Globe nominee, won a screenplay award at Cannes Film Festival, and is awash in Oscar buzz. Rated R.

Unbroken: Anyone who tunes into pop culture news has likely read or heard director Angelina Jolie outline the true story of Olympian Louis Zamperini who spent 47 days adrift at sea during World War II only to be captured by the Japanese navy and spend 2½ years in a prisoner of war camp. Washington, D.C.-based author Laura Hillenbrand wrote the book upon which the movie is based. Rated: PG-13

Into the Woods: Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden (the British comedian we told you will replace Craig Ferguson on CBS’ ‘Late, Late Show”) Johnny Depp and Anna Kendrick star in this musical fantasy retelling of classic Grimm Fairy Tales, including “Jack in the Beanstalk,” “Cinderella,” and “Little Red Riding Hood.” Rob Marshall directed this Walt Disney Pictures release based on the James Lapine-Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical. Rated: PG.

American Sniper: Bradley Cooper is generating early Oscar buzz for his portrayal of U.S. Navy Seal Chris Kyle, who faced a difficult transition home after saving countless lives as the most dangerous sniper in U.S. military history. Clint Eastwood directed the film. Rated: R

Big Eyes: Amy Adams stars as Margaret Keane. The American artist fought to receive rightful credit for the much-lauded 1950s-era paintings of children with “big eyes,” which were credited to her husband Walter Keane. Tim Burton directed the film. Rated: PG-13.

Selma: British actor David Oyelowo (last seen in ‘The Butler’) portrays slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., whose historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, resulted in President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Producer Oprah Winfrey also portrays civil rights hero Annie Lee Cooper, who was among those gassed and beaten as they followed King as he crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge on “Bloody Sunday,” March 7, 1965, on his way to Montgomery. No rating at press time.

The Gambler: Mark Wahlberg, Jessica Lange and John Goodman star in this remake of the 1974 film that tells the story of a Literature professor and ardent gambler who places a once-in-a-lifetime bet that could make or break his and others’ lives. Rated: R.

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies: True, this film opened December 17, but it wouldn’t be right to forget the latest installment of the much-loved J.R.R. Tolkein tale in which Bilbo Baggins and his merry band of elves, men, orcs, and dwarves seek further adventure. Rated: PG-13.

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