Ah, family. So much to say and yet ... so maddeningly little. But even grandma catches “Access Hollywood” once in a while. That’s why talking about hot December movie releases is the best way to go when an awkward silence hits the dinner table. Here’s what you need to know about the flicks everyone’s excited to see.
Who to chat about it with: Dads, uncles, grandpas and your little brother
Why: Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale are practically daring the Academy of Motion Pictures not to nominate them for their roles as boxing brothers in this 1980s biopic about Micky Ward (Wahlberg) and his junkie brother (Bale) who trained him.
Who to chat about it with: Your Goth niece
Why: Darren Aronofsky knocked one out of the park with 2008’s gritty “The Wrestler.” His latest, about a ballerina (Natalie Portman) whose mental state deteriorates under the pressure of her starring role in “Swan Lake,” looks to be a return to the creepier, intensely paranoid world that the director famously visited with “Requiem for a Dream.” And your arty niece will be so into that.
‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’
Who to chat about it with: The kids’ table
Why: While not likely to knock Potter and the gang from being closest to their hearts, the third Narnia installment is about Prince Caspian’s epic sea voyage.
‘How Do You Know’
Who to chat about it with: Your single sister, cousin, aunt
Why: Reese Witherspoon is hard to beat when it comes to likeable female leads, and with this romantic comedy about a love triangle that pits her between a current, baseball-playing boyfriend (Owen Wilson) and a failed finance man (Paul Rudd), it’s pretty certain her latest will be a home run.
Who to chat about it with: Moms, aunts, younger cousins
Why: Gwyneth Paltrow plays a fallen country music star struggling to make a comeback alongside her manager husband (Tim McGraw) and up-and-coming beauty queen turned rival Leighton Meester. It’s the perfect sensitive weeper for all.