As the year winds down, critics are making lists and checking them twice to decide which filmmakers have been naughty or nice. Top 10s are appearing everywhere, along with awards and nominations and even some worst of the year lists. And most film fans are anxiously awaiting the emergence of a front-runner in the Oscar race. 

So far the love has been spread around between year-end releases like Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty and Ang Lee's Life of Pi, all of which earned key nominations from the Golden Globes last week and the London Critics' Circle Film Awards this week. Perhaps not quite so awards-worthy is the new Tom Cruise action romp Jack Reacher, which opens on Christmas.

Jack Reacher

Cruise has been out promoting Jack Reacher this week, although the film's premiere was cancelled out of respect for last Friday's tragic shooting in Connecticut. He did make an appearance on David Letterman's show, where fans jostled to get closer to him. As always, he spent several minutes with them, signing autographs and posing for photos before briefly giving the paparazzi their turn.

At Los Angeles airport, George Clooney managed to slip more quickly past the paps, and his disguise of a hat and sunglasses seemed to fool at least one of the photographers, who can be heard calling him "Mel", as if they thought he was Mel Gibson.

Star Trek Into Darkness

This is also the time of year when we look ahead at what's coming, and perhaps the most hotly anticipated film of 2013 - JJ Abrams' sequel Star Trek: Into Darkness - released a teaser trailer this week that has everyone even more excited about the film than before. It looks like an intense, emotional action film with seriously strong characters. It opens in May. 

And finally, assuming we survive the Mayan doomsayers and make it into next year, we'll have a lot of apocalyptic movies to look forward to, including Tom Cruise's Oblivion, which released a trailer last week. This week we get a glimpse of Will Smith's end of the world thriller After Earth, which costars his now-teen son Jaden Smith. Like Oblivion, the film is set long after humans abandoned Earth, although this one looks a bit darker and more centred on nature-based perils. It opens next summer.   

Rich Cline