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5 must-see movies this holiday season

Joel Edgerton, left, and Christian Bale in a scene from 'Exodus: Gods and Kings.'. Handout

TORONTO — The holiday season is a frenzy of shopping, decorating, traveling — and big-budget, big-buzz movies.

With so many people taking a break from school and work — and looking for an escape from the Christmas madness — studios roll out flicks that are packed with stars, special effects and familiar stories.

Here’s a look at five big movies coming out before the end of the year. Two are based on classic books, one is based on a Broadway musical, and two have solid Canadian roots. Two of them are the final chapters in movie trilogies and one of them showcases the final performances of two beloved actors.

Exodus: Gods and Kings (Dec. 12)

Director Ridley Scott (Black Hawk Down, Prometheus) delivers this testosterone-packed biblical epic starring Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, John Turturro, Aaron Paul and Ben Kingsley. (There are a handful of females in the movie, including Sigourney Weaver.) Exodus is already controversial — mainly due to the casting of white actors to play the non-white roles of Moses, Ramses II, Queen Tuya and Joshua — but its all-star cast and spectacular action is sure to make it a hit.

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

The first two instalments in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy grossed a combined $1.96 billion worldwide so the final chapter is sure to dominate the box office. Stick around for the closing credits: Billy Boyd (Peregrin in The Lord of the Rings) wrote and recorded “The Last Goodbye.”

 

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Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (Dec. 19)

Directed by Montreal-born Shawn Levy, the third film in the Night at the Museum series marks the final big screen appearance of Mickey Rooney (who died in April) and one of the last roles for Robin Williams (who died in August). The family comedy was almost entirely shot in B.C.

 

Into the Woods (Dec. 25)

This highly-anticipated musical fantasy, directed by Rob Marshall (Chicago), is based on the Broadway musical by James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim. Characters are taken from fairy tales like Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel and Cinderella and played by stars like Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Chris Pine, Johnny Depp and Anna Kendrick.

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The Interview (Dec. 25)

Vancouver natives Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg returned to their hometown last year to co-direct this hilarious comedy about an entertainment show host (James Franco) and his producer (Rogen) who land an interview with the leader of North Korea — and are asked by the CIA to assassinate him. The film generated buzz long before its release when it was denounced by the North Korean regime.

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