Nine Notable Films This November

Brooklyn

Release Date: Nov. 4th (limited)
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson
Written By: Nick Hornby

Brooklyn is an indie film about a young Irish immigrant (Ronan) finding her way in 1950’s Brooklyn. After finding love and success in New York City, she is faced with the decision of staying in the U.S. or returning to Ireland to deal with her past. Though Brooklyn looks a bit too straight-up romance for me, I could be persuaded to see this one if the buzz is good. At the moment the film is enjoying a 100% on RottenTomatoes and some buzz from the festival circuits.

Spectre

Release Date: Nov. 6th
Starring: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz
Directed By: Sam Mendes

Spectre is going to be big. The question is, how big? Will it be able to top 2012’s Skyfall, which raked in $88 million on opening weekend and $1.1 BILLION worldwide? Early signs seem to say yes. Despite a 77% on RottenTomatoes, 99% of people want to see it.

This latest chapter in the James Bond franchise features Christoph Waltz in the role he was born to play: bond villain. The thought of that is exciting, although it’ll be hard to top his performance in Inglourious Basterds. Spectre is also likely to be the last time audiences see Daniel Craig as Bond, based on his comment that he’d rather slit his wrists than play Bond again. Easy Daniel, no need to bite the hand that feeds you. Fine by me, anyways – I never thought he was that great a Bond to begin with.

Aside from a Christoph Waltz villain, there’s little about Spectre that excites me. In my eyes, excluding Skyfall the franchise has grown rather dated and stale at this point. The formula is always the same. Bond is always the same. The girls are always the same. The villains are mostly the same. So unless the reviews are absolutely stellar, I think I’ll skip Spectre and hope that a new actor breathes new life into the next film.

Spotlight

Release Date: Nov. 6th (limited)
Starring: Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo
Directed By: Tom McCarthy

Spotlight is based on the true story of the team of Boston Globe journalists that broke the Catholic church sex scandal. The film may have Oscar potential and currently has a 93% on RottenTomatoes. It features a long list of big-name actors and was helmed by the director of Win Win, although McCarthy also directed the atrocious The Cobbler starring Adam Sandler.

I’m personally looking forward to Spotlight, and not just because I grew up a short distance from Boston. The story itself looks really interesting and it’s being taken on by a handful of respectable actors (very few of which sport thick Boston accents, thank God). I’m a fan of films involving investigative journalism (like All the President’s Men or even Zodiac) because I love discovering new information along with the main characters and putting all of the pieces together. Even though we all know the outcome, it’s still a fun process to watch.

It’s too early to tell, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets a Best Picture nomination at this year’s Academy Awards.

Trumbo

Release Date: Nov. 6th (limited)
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren, John Goodman
Directed By: Jay Roach

Trumbo tells the tale of successful Hollywood writer Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted during the Red Scare (along with other writers) because of his political beliefs. Trumbo’s films include Roman Holiday, The Brave One, Spartacus, and Papillon.

I have a particular interest in Trumbo because I’m an aspiring screenplay writer and I love a good historical drama, especially one about Hollywood. I also find the Red Scare and McCarthyism a fascinating period in U.S. history. Plus, like the rest of the world I’ve been a huge Bryan Cranston fan since Breaking Bad and am always interested in what he’s up to next. I don’t foresee Trumbo being film of the year, but I think it could end up being a pretty decent movie.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

Release Date: Nov. 20th
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Natalie Dormer, Elizabeth Banks
Directed By: Francis Lawrence

With Mockingjay Part 2 we finally reach the conclusion of the Hunger Games saga as Katniss leads the revolt against President Snow. There will be two new notable additions to the cast with Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones) and Julianne Moore joining the already crowded list of stars appearing in the franchise.

I read and liked the Hunger Games books, but my interest in the film franchise has waned considerably since the 2nd film. Part of that is likely due to the new Hollywood trend of creating a bloated 2-part final film in popular series, something that none of them have needed save for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I mean, how long was the last Hunger Games book, 300 pages? There’s no way that deserves TWO movies. My lack of interest probably also stems from the fact that the third book was pretty terrible and featured one of the worst endings of all time. Here’s to hoping the movie does it better (which shouldn’t be hard).

The Night Before

Release Date: Nov. 20th
Starring: Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anthony Mackie
Directed By: Jonathan Levine

The Night Before follows three best friends who set out to have one last epic Christmas together. The movie comes from the guys who brought us This is the End and Neighbors, so you know what to expect with this latest installment (not necessarily a bad thing). Expect lots of drug trips, embarrassing situations, and stoner humor.

You know, I’m not usually one for stoner comedy but Seth Rogen and his band of merry men never cease to amuse me. I was pleasantly surprised by This is the End and Neighbors was hilarious. Rogen somehow has a charm to him – there’s something about him that’s so endearing despite the rampant drug use and reckless behavior in all of these films. I can’t help but like the guy. Add in Joseph Gordon-Levitt and a Christmas theme and I am definitely showing up for this one.

Carol

Release Date: Nov. 20th (limited)
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Kyle Chandler
Directed By: Todd Haynes

Carol tells the story of a young woman who falls for an older, married woman in 1950s New York. The film is an adaptation of the book The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley).

This movie has been getting a lot of critical buzz and has “Oscar nomination” written all over it. Since I make an effort to see every best picture nomination each year, I’ll likely be seeing Carol. The romantic plot doesn’t interest me much, although I’ve heard speculation that the role could earn Blanchett her third Academy Award. It could be another Blue Jasmine situation in which the film itself isn’t anything special but Cate Blanchett’s performance definitely is.

The Good Dinosaur

Release Date: Nov. 25th
Starring: Jeffrey Wright, Steve Zahn, Anna Paquin
Written By: Meg LeFauve

In Pixar’s second outing this year, the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs misses earth completely, allowing one dino to befriend a young boy.

The Good Dinosaur looks like it will be joining the very short list of Pixar blunders with A Bug’s Life and Brave. Pixar has never released more than one film a year until now. After June’s release of the exceptional Inside Out, they’ll be following it up with what’s sure to be a dud. Maybe Pixar should stick to the one-movie-per-year plan, especially if getting two movies means one of them will be a disappointment. The trailer, which was posted back in July, hasn’t even broken a million views. Yikes. The Good Dinosaur makes my list of notable November flicks for the sole purpose of witnessing the rarity of a bad Pixar film.

The Danish Girl

Release Date: Nov. 27th (limited)
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander
Directed By: Tom Hooper

The Danish Girl tells the true story of transgender pioneer Lili Elbe, an artist who received the first surgery to transition from a man to a woman. The film is directed by Oscar winning director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Les Miserables).

This movie is what you’d call Oscar Bait. It’s too early to say how it will do at the Academy Awards, but it most definitely will be among the nominations. The Danish Girl boasts an Oscar-winning director and star as well as one of this year’s breakthrough actresses in Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, The Man from U.N.C.L.E, Burnt). The transgender subject matter comes at a time when transgender people are in the spotlight thanks to women like Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black). And the setting is 1920s Europe (the Oscars love a good period piece). Check, check and check. Regardless of how The Danish Girl performs at the box office, expect to see it snatching up a number of award season nominations.

Are there any films I missed that you’re excited about? Leave it in the comments, and thanks for reading!


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