Cousin Ben (Jason Schwartzman), Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) show that nothing can stand in the way of young love in Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom. Niko Tavernise/Focus Features hide caption

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Monkey See

Bob Mondello's Best Movies Of 2012

NPR's movie critic looks back on 2012 and his picks for the year's best movies.

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CIA operative Joseph Bradley (Kyle Chandler) discusses a sensitive operation with Dan (Jason Clarke). Jonathan Olley/Sony Pictures hide caption

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Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) takes a fantastic adventure across Middle-earth in Peter Jackson's prequel to his Lord of the Rings trilogy. James Fisher/Warner Bros. Pictures hide caption

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Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise at the Writer's Guild Awards in Beverly Hills in 1998. Ron Wolfson/Landov hide caption

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Peter O'Toole was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as the titular Lawrence of Arabia. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment hide caption

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Pi takes in the bioluminescent wonders of the sea. Twentieth Century Fox hide caption

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Leo Tolstoy's Countess Vronsky (Olivia Williams) and Anna (Keira Knightley) come to life in Joe Wright's adaptation of the classic Russian novel Anna Karenina. Laurie Sparham/Focus Features hide caption

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Daniel Craig returns for a third outing as James Bond in Skyfall, the 23rd installment in the spy movie franchise, and its 50th-anniversary release. Francois Duhamel/Sony Pictures hide caption

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Lincoln's life has been adapted for the screen so often that there's room for the artistic liberties of films like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Twentieth Century Fox hide caption

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Halle Berry's characters in Cloud Atlas crisscross time and space. The actress plays six roles, including German intellectual Jocasta Ayrs (above) and an Asian man. Reiner Bajo/Warner Bros. hide caption

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1954's Creature from the Black Lagoon is featured in the new release of Universal's classic monster movies. Universal Pictures hide caption

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Monkey See

Home Video Review: Universal's 'Classic Monsters' Collection

Bob Mondello looks at a new eight-disc collection that revisits classic creepy characters from Frankenstein's monster to Dracula.

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Vice President Biden and Republican Paul Ryan at Thursday night's debate. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Pop Culture

How Reality TV Turns Debates Into 'White House Idol'

The first two debates of the 2012 election cycle have had stratospheric viewership on TV.

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John Chambers (John Goodman) serves as a guide to the ins and outs of the movie business for CIA agent Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck). Claire Folger/Warner Bros. Pictures hide caption

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In animated family films like ParaNorman, ghosts are more likely to cause laughter than shivers. Critic Bob Mondello explores how we got here from the Hollywood fright fests of the '30s. Focus Features hide caption

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