HOLIDAY movie previews usually have a sameness to them - musicals, epics, biopics, Oscar bait - but this year is different.
For the first time, the calendar features a movie that's caused an international incident.
A foreign government has purportedly launched a hacker assault on Hollywood, this in retaliation for a "blatant act of terrorism" a/k/a "The Interview," a Christmas-day movie featuring Seth Rogen and James Franco as hosts of an idiotic American TV show who somehow secure an interview wih the leader of North Korea, and are assigned to assassinate him.
North Korea has promised to "mercilessly destroy" anyone involved in the production, including Rogen and Franco, but it seems unlikely that even a heavily armed rogue state could accomplish anything that "Your Highness" or "The Guilt Trip" could not.
Here are the rest of the year in movies, with an early peek at 2015.
EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS. "Gladiator" director Ridley Scott brings his epic sweep to the Old Testament, casting Christian Bale as Moses, who leads his people out of Egypt and away from the pharaoh (Joel Edgerton). Dec. 12.
TOP FIVE. Chris Rock got tired of appearing in movies as an actor for hire, so he wrote one, directed it and hired himself. His movie is a show-business comedy featuring Rock as a stand-up whose wife wants them to appear in a reality TV show. Dec. 12.
WILD. Cheryl Strayed's best-selling memoir about a trans-California hike that helped her deal with grief and loss becomes a vehicle for Reese Witherspoon. From the director of "Dallas Buyers Club." Dec. 12.
DIPLOMACY. Volker Schlondorff's two-character WWII period piece about high-stakes negotiations between the German officer in control of (tenuously) occupied Paris and the French diplomat who wants the city turned over to advancing allies without being destroyed. Dec. 12.
THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES. Peter Jackson's epic conclusion to the journey he started more than a decade ago with the release of J.R.R. Tolkein's "Lord of the Rings." Dec. 17.
ANNIE. New version of the classic Broadway musical features Jamie Foxx as the Daddy Warbucks-ish Benjamin Stacks, and Quevenzhane Wallis as Little Orphan Annie. Dec. 19.
NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB. Popular fantasy series becomes a trilogy; new cast members include Ben Kingsley, Dan Stevens. The late Robin Williams returns as Teddy Roosevelt in one of his final roles. Dec. 19.
THE GAMBLER. Remake of obscure but well-regarded '70s James Caan movie, this time with Mark Wahlberg as a literature professor whose life unravels due to his apparent gambling addiction. Dec. 25.
UNBROKEN. Directed by Angelina Jolie, this movie tells the incredible life story of Louis Zamperini (Jack O'Connell), an Olympic runner turned shot-down bomber pilot turned life-raft survivor turned tortured POW - a triumph of of the human spirit in several iterations. Dec. 25.
THE INTERVIEW. James Franco and Seth Rogen in a purported comedy about doofus American TV journalists sent into North Korea to interview and assassinate its dictator. Dec. 25.
INTO THE WOODS. Adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical, an amalgamation of fairy tales, featuring Meryl Streep as a witch, Anna Kendrick as Cinderella and Johnny Depp as a biggish, baddish wolf. Dec. 25.
THE IMITATION GAME. Examines the life of British scientist Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), who perfected an early computing machine in order to decode Nazi messages and shorten WWII, only to be persecuted by his government for being homosexual. Dec. 25.
BIG EYES. Tim Burton's look at Walter and Margaret Keane, who created and marketed the popular Big Eye paintings in the 1960s. She painted them, he took credit, and when they split, she challenged him to a paint-off to prove true authorship. Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz. Dec. 25.
* Buzzed about movies that we don't get until January:
INHERENT VICE. Paul Thomas Anderson's trippy comedy about a stoner detective (Joaquin Phoenix) trying to solve an absurdly complex missing-persons case in 1970s Los Angeles. Based on the Thomas Pynchon novel. With Josh Brolin, Reese Witherspoon. Jan. 9.
MR. TURNER. Mike Leigh and Timothy Spall (he won best actor at Cannes) combine for a portrait of painter J.M.W. Turner, whose art was extraordinary but whose personal life was problematic. Jan. 9.
SELMA. Ava DuVernay's examination of Martin Luther King's fitful efforts to organize a galvanizing civil-rights march in Alabama, after less successful efforts to do so elsewhere. Jan. 9.
AMERICAN SNIPER. Clint Eastwood directs Bradley Cooper in this biography of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, fearsomely efficient Iraq War sharpshooter whose later efforts to help maladjusted veterans back home cost him his life. Jan. 16.
A MOST VIOLENT YEAR. J.C. Chandor's Lumet-ish look at a New York businessman (Oscar Isaac) trying to build a relatively clean business in corrupt NYC. With Jessica Chastain. Jan. 16.