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Picks for winter flicks

As the semester comes to an end, students may find themselves with more free time on their hands. Luckily, the movie industry continually churns out great ways to kill 90 to 120 minutes during the break. The Oracle offers a sneak peak at some winter blockbusters.

“My Week with Marilyn”

Wednesday

This British drama tells the true story of a man who spent a week with the most famous person on Earth. Colin Clark wrote two books about his experience working as an assistant for the 1957 film “The Prince and the Showgirl,” starring Marilyn Monroe.

At the time, Monroe had just married playwright Arthur Miller. When Miller leaves the country, Clark takes Monroe to England to introduce her to the British lifestyle and offer her a break from her bustling career.

“New Year’s Eve”

Dec. 9

Hollywood is known for sticking to time-tested formulas. The holiday-themed romantic comedy, cast with a litany of recognizable stars, has become somewhat of a movie trend. This year’s “New Year’s Eve” boasts a more notable cast than its predecessor, “Valentine’s Day,” with the likes of Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Biel, Jon Bon Jovi, Zac Efron, Ashton Kutcher and more.

“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

Dec. 9

Among the five most-senior members of British intelligence, one has been deemed a Soviet double agent. An agent is tasked with identifying which of these men has infiltrated the British secret service and now poses as one of its most powerful leaders.

This critically acclaimed film feels like a much classier, British version of “Reservoir Dogs.” A star-studded cast is led by Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and Tom Hardy.

“Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows”

Dec. 16

Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law return as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson in the sequel to the 2009 blockbuster. After saving a tarot-card reading psychic from assassination, Holmes and Watson attempt to foil an evil plot by Professor Moriarty.

Though the books mainly detail the detective duo’s brilliance, the trailer for this film is riddled with explosions, bullets and fistfights. One can only hope the filmmakers saved the intellectually stimulating scenes for those who purchase tickets.

“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”

Dec. 21

Filmmakers pulled out all the stops to ensure success for the fourth film in this series. Instead of calling this one “Mission: Impossible 4,” they went with the much sleeker “Ghost Protocol.” They’ve enlisted the help of J.J. Abrams-owned production company Bad Robot, which has mastered dramatic cinema and revamped the iconic theme song with dubstep sounds.

Tom Cruise plays the leader of the Impossible Mission Force as they attempt to foil an international terror plot while maintaining their cover. Simon Pegg co-stars, most likely to provide comic relief.

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

Dec. 21

Based on the best-selling crime novel by Swedish author Stieg Larsson, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” tells the story of a former journalist and a mysterious woman who team up to solve a murder. A retired industrialist suspects someone in his family killed his great-niece.

Daniel Craig stars and David Fincher directs in this dark thriller remake that revolves around themes of sexual violence.

“We Bought a Zoo”

Dec. 23

Some movie titles are cryptic in their meaning. This is not one of those movies. Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson star in this story of a single suburban dad who moves his family to the countryside to own and operate a zoo. The film is based on the memoirs of a man who did the same thing in England.

For those hoping the movie ends with the father being eaten by a bear, don’t count on it. The PG rating indicates a feel-good family feature of a man who defies all the odds.

“The Darkest Hour”

Dec. 25

A sci-fi thriller that shows how dependent society is on electricity might spark an interesting debate among moviegoers, but add invisible aliens who disintegrate humans and the lines of social commentary start to blur.

Olivia Thirlby and Emile Hirsch star in a film about an alien attack that takes out all the power in the world. Invisible beings sap the energy out of anything and everything, forcing humankind to fight back in the dark.

“War Horse”

Dec. 25

Joining Black Beauty, Seabiscuit and Mr. Ed is Joey, a horse that served in the World War One. Steven Spielberg directs this equestrian feature that tells the story of a horse that’s sold into the cavalry in WWI and the boy who works to find him.