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See it or skip it: 6 movies opening on Christmas Day

A rush of big movies open Christmas Day. All of them are worth seeing, but some more than others. Here’s a quick rundown, alphabetically:

“American Sniper”

Clint Eastwood directs Bradley Cooper in a film based on the life of the best military marksman in U.S. history, Chris Kyle. Dramatically flat, this movie falls into some pretty familiar ruts. A man has to choose between his love of country and his love of family, and he keeps going back and forth.

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“Big Eyes”

Tim Burton directs Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in a film based on the husband and wife team behind those phenomenally successful and cheesy paintings of kids with great big eyes. Reminiscent of his “Ed Wood,” Burton’s newest movie explores fraudulence not only in personal relations but in art as well. One of Burton’s all-time best.

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“The Gambler”

Mark Wahlberg stars in this remake of a 70’s minor cult film that originally starred James Caan. It’s competent enough but adds nothing to the original.

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“The Imitation Game”

Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Alan Turing, the man who, for all intents and purposes, invented the computer while successfully cracking Hitler’s Enigma Code during World War Two. One of the Oscar frontrunners this year, “The Imitation Game” puts a very unconventional character into a surprisingly conventional movie. But Turing’s story is well worth telling.

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“Into The Woods”

Stephen Sondheim’s brilliant musical mash-up of fairytales gets the Hollywood treatment and survives mostly intact. The movie is dramatically clunky at times but the cast, for the most part, does Sondheim proud, especially Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep, and Anna Kendrick.

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Angelina Jolie directs the incredible life story of a one-time Olympic athlete who as a bombardier in World War Two survived being shot down, being lost at sea for weeks, and being brutalized in a Japanese POW camp. Like “The Imitation Game,” “Unbroken” is a little too conventional to be truly insightful, but what a tale to tell!

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