Christmas day movie releases in the US: Sherlock Holmes battles new and old

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The Independent Culture

With steep competition this weekend from new and existing releases, US films aim to attract different types of moviegoers, from kids to women and action-adventure fans. Sherlock Holmes should be strong across the board.

Sherlock Holmes
In this redesign of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's tale, Robert Downey Jr. as the master sleuth uses brains and brawn to save England with his sidekick Dr. Watson, played by Jude Law. Also featuring Rachel McAdams ( The Time Traveler's Wife) and directed by Guy Ritchie ( Snatch, RocknRolla).

Alvin and the Chipmunks: the Squeakquel
Singing critters return to school in this updated computer-generated animation sequel. When they join the talent show, they discover more than competition in a trio of female performers, The Chipettes (Christina Applegate, Amy Poehler, Anna Faris). Also stars Jason Lee ( Clerks II, The Incredibles).

It's Complicated
Middle-age romantic comedy by Nancy Meyers, the writer/director of Something's Gotta Give. This time around, the tale has Meryl Streep in the Diane Keaton role, with Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin (instead of Jack Nicholson and Keanu Reeves). Stellar performances and a clever script have already earned the movie Golden Globe nominations with mainstream audience appeal.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
A fantastical traveling show with a con artist, theatrical performers and crazy characters. Visually stylish with substance by director Terry Gilliam ( Brazil, Monty Python & the Holy Grail). An all-star cast with Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell, Christopher Plummer, and Heath Ledger's final role, will help this eccentric film break through.