Santa's workshop isn't the only production facility where the output is binary: What you get - a lump of coal or a shiny new toy - depends on whether you've been naughty or nice. Hollywood also operates in polarities, a division made more acute this time of year, when movies as entertainment are counterbalanced by Films of Substance - as often as not, ones that are based on true stories.

That doesn't mean that fiction is all fun and games, nor that fact-based films also can't be richly enjoyable. It depends on what you like.

For that reason, this holiday movie guide offers not one but two shopping lists: the first for the moviegoer with a taste for verisimilitude, and the second for anyone looking to get away from all that.

Opening dates and ratings are subject to change.

Eight movies ripped from the headlines (or the history books):

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And eight movies for escapists:

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