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Must-See Movies for Holiday Vacation

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Us Weekly's senior movie editor, Bradley Jacobs, offers his list of flicks to see on the big screen before year's end!

Ah, the holidays. Martinis. Menorahs. And movies, movies, movies. Between those last-minute releases for Oscar consideration and the big-budget hollywood flicks catered to adults and kids on winter vacation, December always includes debuts of many of the year's top flicks.

Here are four remaining 2009 movies — all with that feel-good holiday vibe — that I'm psyched to see:

Sherlock Holmes
An old detective in thick glasses dusting doorknobs for fingerprints? Forget all that. This Guy Ritchie-directed update features an inspector (Robert Downey, Jr.) who's skilled at martial arts — and when he takes off his shirt, he's got a six-pack instead of a pale paunch. Merry Christmas, indeed! Plus, did I mention his dear Watson is played by Jude Law? Say what you want about his personal life, but the Brit's magic on the big screen.

This musical from director Rob Marshall (he did Chicago — enough said) stars Daniel Day-Lewis and a host of divas we obsess over in the halls of Us. The two-time Oscar winner plays a film director who's got complex feelings toward all the ladies in his life. There's his wife (Marion Cotillard), his mistress (Penelope Cruz), his muse (Nicole Kidman), a journalist (Kate Hudson), a prostitute (Fergie) and his own mom (Sophia Loren)! Fun fact: Javier Bardem was first cast to play the main character. Since he's engaged to Cruz in real life, it might have made for some sizzling onscreen chemistry.

It's Complicated
Here's one I'd see with my mother this season. The film's a fantasy for the over-50 set: Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin get divorced, then ten years later — the weekend their son graduates college — sparks fly again. They start dating each other — only now he's remarried to a younger woman. The romantic comedy comes from the brain of Nancy Meyers, who had ladies of a certain age kvelling a few years ago when Jack Nicholson left perky Amanda Peet for an aged-to-perfection Diane Keaton in Something's Gotta Give.

Up in the Air
Here's an early bet for Best Picture. In the comedy-drama, George Clooney plays a commitment-phobe who spends more than 300 days a year on planes as a corporate downsizing expert, flying from company to company laying off people. That is, until the evening he meets a fellow frequent traveler (Vera Farmiga) who leads him to reconsider his life. The timely feature — which I was fortunate enough to see at the Toronto international Film Fest in September — has Oscar all over it. When the lights came up after my morning screening, I felt the film could also get Clooney his first Best Actor statue. See it as soon as you can. People will talk about it at every holiday party.

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