The Master: A new movie by Paul Thomas Anderson ( Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood) is always cause for excitement. But this story about a World War II veteran (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls under the sway of the charismatic leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman) of a faith group looks exceptional, even by Anderson’s standards. Frankly, we can’t wait.
Trouble with the Curve: Although he said Gran Torino would be his final screen performance, Clint Eastwood apparently changed his mind to play an aging baseball scout who takes his daughter (Amy Adams) along on his last recruiting trip. Justin Timberlake plays the young ballplayer who just might be good enough for the big leagues. Directed by Robert Lorenz, Eastwood’s longtime assistant director.
Hotel Transylvania: Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Andy Samberg provide the voices for this animated comedy about a boy who discovers Dracula is real — and falls in love with his daughter.
Looper: A time-travel movie like none you’ve seen before. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis play the young and old versions of the same character in writer-director Rian Johnson’s surprising, exciting sci-fi adventure set in the near future.
Won’t Back Down: Frustrated by bureaucracy and politics, two mothers (Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal) decide to do something to save their kids’ failing inner-city school.
Butter: When her husband retires, a woman (Jennifer Garner) decides to keep his 15-year streak as Iowa’s champion butter carver going by entering the annual competition herself. Alicia Silverstone, Rob Corddry and Olivia Wilde are among her rivals trying to outdo her butter skills.
Frankenweenie: Tim Burton returns to his roots with this 3D, black-and-white feature-length adaptation of a famed short he made early in his career, about a boy who manages to bring his beloved pet dog back from the dead, with a few unexpected consequences.
The Paperboy: A camp classic or a misunderstood drama? That was the debate that raged around director Lee Daniels’ adaptation of Pete Dexter’s novel when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. Matthew McConaughey is a Miami journalist who returns to his home turf of the South Florida swamplands to investigate a story. His younger brother (Zak Efron), disgraced after having been kicked out of college, has been reduced to delivering newspapers for a living. Nicole Kidman, John Cusack and Macy Gray play some of the other residents of the town, where everyone is behaving a bit loonily.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower: A shy freshman (Logan Lerman) is adopted by two popular seniors (Emma Watson and Ezra Miller) who help ease him out of his shell.
Pitch Perfect: Anna Kendrick is a college freshman who leads her all-girls singing group in a school competition against the boys’ team. You know, like Glee, but in college.
Sinister: A novelist (Ethan Hawke) discovers a box of creepy videos in his new home that reveal how the previous family died there. Then, strange things start to happen.
Taken 2: Last time, they took Liam Neeson’s daughter hostage. This time, they’ve kidnapped Neeson himself. Are these bad guys trying to get themselves killed or what?
Argo: Director Ben Affleck ( Gone Baby Gone, The Town) continues to stretch as a filmmaker with this fact-based story about an attempt to rescue six Americans during the Iran hostage crisis in 1979.