December is a big month at the movies: not only do we find plenty of family-friendly holiday season offerings, but it's also when we see the last bout of awards-season contenders hitting theaters. The final month of 2014 brings a ‘Night at the Museum,’ a ‘Hobbit,’ and ‘Annie’ for the whole family to enjoy, as well as much more adult fare like ‘Inherent Vice’ and ‘The Gambler.’ There's no shortage of offerings to help you escape the winter chill, so read on for our guide to December's new movie releases.

 

December 3

‘Zero Motivation’ (New York): Directed by Talya Lavie. Starring Dana Ivgy, Nelly Tagar, and Shani Klein. A darkly comedic portrait of the lives of young, female Israeli soldiers stationed at the Human Resources Office at a remote outpost in the desert. The women spend their days shuffling papers and playing games online, counting the tedious minutes until they can return to civilization.

December 5

The Pyramid: Directed by Gregory Levasseur. Starring Ashley Hinshaw, Denis O'Hare, and James Buckley. An archaeological team attempts to unlock the secrets of a lost pyramid only to find themselves hunted by an insidious creature.

‘Comet’ (Limited): Directed by Sam Esmail. Starring Emmy Rossum, Justin Long, and Eric Winter. Set in a parallel universe, ‘Comet’ bounces back and forth over the course of an unlikely but perfectly paired couple's six-year relationship.

‘Dying of the Light’ (Limited): Directed by Paul Schrader. Starring Nicolas Cage, Anton Yelchin, and Alexander Karim. A CIA agent begins to go blind while on his last-ever assignment.

‘Life Partners’ (Limited): Directed by Susanna Fogel. Starring Gillian Jacobs, Leighton Meester, and Gabourey Sidibe. Two codependent best friends—one straight girl, one lesbian—and the man who comes between them.

‘Murder of a Cat’ (Limited): Directed by Gillian Greene. Starring Nikki Reed, J.K. Simmons, and Fran Kranz. A man investigates the murder of his cat.

‘Pioneer’ (Limited): Directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg. Starring Wes Bentley, Stephen Lang, and Aksel Hennie. Set in the early ‘80s at the start of the Norwegian oil boom, an ambitious young diver aims to reach the bottom of the Norwegian Sea, and uses a recent discovery of oil and gas deposits as an opportunity to fulfill his dreams—until an accident threatens to change everything.

‘Poker Night’ (Limited): Directed by Greg Francis. Starring Beau Mirchoff, Ron Perlman, and Giancarlo Esposito. A detective uses the stories his fellow cop buddies have told him on poker night to buy himself some time when he's kidnapped by a psychopath.

‘Take Care’ (Limited): Directed by Liz Tuccillo. Starring Leslie Bibb, Tracee Chimo, and Kevin Curtis. After being hit by a car, a woman comes home to realize her friends don't really want to take care of her. Desperate for help, she turns to an unlikely source.

Wild’ (Limited): Directed by Jean-Marc Vallee. Starring Reese Witherspoon, Gaby Hoffmann, and Laura Dern. A chronicle of one woman's 1,100-mile solo hike undertaken as a way to recover from a recent catastrophe.

‘Still Alice’ (New York and L.A.; expands January 16): Directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland. Starring Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, and Kate Bosworth. Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children, is a renowned linguistics professor who starts to forget words. When she receives a devastating diagnosis, Alice and her family find their bonds tested.

December 10

‘Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles’ (New York and L.A.): Directed by Chuck Workman. This documentary traces the life and work of the enigmatic filmmaker on the eve of his centenary.

December 12

Exodus: Gods and Kings: Directed by Ridley Scott. Starring Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, and Sigourney Weaver. The defiant leader Moses rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses, setting 600,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues.

Top Five: Directed by Chris Rock. Starring Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, and Tracy Morgan. A comedian tries to make it as a serious actor when his reality-TV star fiancé talks him into broadcasting their wedding on her TV show.

Inherent Vice’ (Limited; expands wide January 9): Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, and Reese Witherspoon. In 1970, drug-fueled Los Angeles detective Larry "Doc" Sportello investigates the disappearance of a former girlfriend.

‘After the Fall’ (New York and L.A.; expands December 19): Directed by Saar Klein. Starring Wes Bentley, Vinessa Shaw, and Haley Bennett. A suburban father embraces a life of crime in order to support his family.

December 17

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ (3D and IMAX 3D): Directed by Peter Jackson. Starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, and Richard Armitage. Bilbo and Company are forced to be embraced in a war against an armed flock of combatants and the terrifying Smaug from acquiring a kingdom of treasure and obliterating all of Middle-Earth.

‘Goodbye to All That’ (Limited): Directed by Angus MacLachlan. Starring Paul Schneider, Melanie Lynskey, and Audrey P. Scott. A recently divorced dad starts a new life with his daughter.

December 19

Annie: Directed by Will Gluck. Starring Quvenzhane Wallis, Jamie Foxx, and Rose Byrne. A relentlessly optimistic foster girl is adopted by a shrewd politician seeking to makeover his image in this update of the classic musical.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb: Directed by Shawn Levy. Starring Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, and Owen Wilson. Larry spans the globe, uniting favorite and new characters while embarking on an epic quest to save the magic before it is gone forever.

The Gambler’ (Limited; expands January 1): Directed by Rupert Wyatt. Starring Mark Wahlberg, Brie Larson, and Jessica Lange. A literature college professor and high stakes gambler runs afoul of a loan shark and his bodyguard-like gangsters while he has an affair with one of his students.

‘Mr. Turner’ (Limited): Directed by Mike Leigh. Starring Timothy Spall, Paul Jesson, and Dorothy Atkinson. An exploration of the last quarter century of the great, if eccentric, British painter J.M.W. Turner's life.

December 24

‘Beloved Sisters’ (New York and L.A.): Directed by Dominik Graf. Starring Henriette Confurius, Florian Stetter, and Hannah Herzsprung. A romantic drama centered on the love triangle between rising poet Friedrich Schiller and two aristocratic sisters.

‘Two Days, One Night’ (New York and L.A.): Directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. Starring Marion Cotillard, Fabrizio Rongione, and Pili Groyne. Sandra, a young Belgian mother, discovers that her workmates have opted for a significant pay bonus, in exchange for her dismissal. She has only one weekend to convince her colleagues to give up their bonuses so that she can keep her job.

December 25

Big Eyes: Directed by Tim Burton. Starring Christoph Waltz, Amy Adams, and Krysten Ritter. A drama centered on the awakening of the painter Margaret Keane, her phenomenal success in the 1950s, and the subsequent legal difficulties she had with her husband, who claimed credit for her works in the 1960s.

The Interview: Directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen. Starring Seth Rogen, James Franco, and Randall Park. Dave Skylark and his producer Aaron Rapoport run the popular celebrity tabloid TV show ‘Skylark Tonight.’ When they discover that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is a fan of the show, they land an interview with him in an attempt to legitimize themselves as journalists. As Dave and Aaron prepare to travel to Pyongyang, their plans change when the CIA recruits them, perhaps the two least-qualified men imaginable, to assassinate Kim Jong-un.

Into the Woods: Directed by Rob Marshall. Starring Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, and Emily Blunt. A witch conspires to teach important lessons to various characters of popular children's stories including Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel.

Unbroken: Directed by Angelina Jolie. Starring Jack O'Connell, Domhnall Gleeson, and Jai Courtney. A chronicle of the life of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who was taken prisoner by Japanese forces during World War II.

American Sniper’ (Limited; expands January 16): Directed by Clint Eastwood. Starring Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, and Luke Grimes. A Navy S.E.A.L. recounts his military career, which includes more than 150 confirmed kills.

Selma’ (Limited; expands January 9): Directed by Ava DuVernay. Starring David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, and Tom Wilkinson. Martin Luther King, Lyndon Baines Johnson and the civil rights marches that changed America.

‘Leviathan’ (New York and L.A.): Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev. Starring Elena Lyadova, Vladimir Vdovichenkov, and Aleksey Serebryakov. In a Russian coastal town, Dmitri is forced to fight the corrupt mayor when he is told that his house will be demolished. He recruits a lawyer friend to help, but the man's arrival brings further misfortune for Dmitri and his family.

December 31

A Most Violent Year’ (New York and L.A.): Directed by J.C. Chandor. Starring Jessica Chastain, Oscar Isaac, and David Oyelowo. In New York City 1981, an ambitious immigrant fights to protect his business and family during the most dangerous year in the city's history.