For families, two titles with more of a Halloween than a Christmas vibe arrive: Frankenweenie and Hotel Transylvania. The former is director Tim Burton's feature-length animated version of one of his earliest live-action shorts, about a schoolboy who brings his beloved pet dog back from the dead. The latter casts Adam Sandler as Dracula, running a getaway for monsters while also dealing with an adolescent daughter yearning for more freedom. Aim for the more creative lunacy in Frankenweenie, rather than Transylvania's warmed-over plot threads.
For the teen audience, Stephen Chbosky's adaptation of his own young-adult novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower effectively tells the story of a withdrawn teen (Logan Lerman) whose two new friends (Ezra Miller and Emma Watson) help him come out of his shell. Opt for its smart, sincere realism over the oddball mashup of sports-movie cliches and inspirational-teacher-movie cliches that make up Kevin James' mixed-martial-arts comedy Here Comes the Boom
Two very different takes on action are also available to you. End of Watch, from writer/director David Ayer, finds great material in the relationship between a pair of cops (Jake Gyllenhall and Michael Pena) on the beat in South Central Los Angeles, but gets distracted when the plot turns to the actual action involving a drug cartel. It's still a huge step up from Taken 2, the painfully stupid sequel in which Liam Neeson continues to make people pay for messing with his family. But that doesn't mean your family needs to pay to see it -- even if it's only a dollar.