With five weekends worth of movies to offer, including the coveted Thanksgiving weekend, November has always seen the release of very different types of films – namely, critical darlings courting awards and major blockbusters.
This November is no different, as it brings new films from some beloved directors, two box office busting sequels, and a few indie films that have caught our eye. While it’s fairly obvious which film will win the month in terms of box office (hint: it involves vampires), the more intriguing question is – which films will still be relevant come January and February, when the awards season kicks off?
Without further ado, here are the 11 films we’re looking forward to in the month of November.
Director Robert Zemekis finally returns to live-action (after an extended stint exploring the capabilities of motion capture with films like A Christmas Carol and Beowulf) with Flight, which teams him up with Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington. Washington plays Whip Whitaker, an airline pilot forced to perform a dangerous emergency landing and becomes an American hero overnight. However, charges that Whitaker had alcohol in his system during the flight turn the film into an examination of the line between heroism and downright foolishness.
Seeing Zemeckis return to directing real people on real sets is perhaps the biggest draw for Flight, but the director’s strong resume – with films like Back to the Future and Who Framed Roger Rabbit – makes it worth checking out. Zemeckis’ last live-action film, Cast Away, had an extremely thrilling sequence involving a flight gone awry, so we’re hoping for an equally compelling one from Flight.
Check out the trailer for Flight here.
Taking a page (okay, maybe a whole chapter) from Quentin Tarantino’s book, first-time director RZA brings us The Man with the Iron Fists. Like an extended version of the House of Blue Leaves section from Kill Bill, this film is a mish mash of crazy villains and heroes, armed with even crazier weaponry. Not only is RZA (formerly of the Wu Tang Clan) helming the film, but he is also playing the eponymous man with iron fists.
Though the film is highly stylized, and RZA operated under the watchful eye of Tarantino and Eli Roth, the verdict is still out on whether there will be any substance to The Man with the Iron Fists. Still, it has blood, gore, and guts – and even Russell Crowe as a flamboyant villain – which should prove to be a fun ride, if nothing else.
Check out the red-band trailer for The Man with the Iron Fists here.
When most people think Disney and computer animation, they think Pixar, but Walt Disney’s own animation studio would sure like to change that. The studio’s next feature that’s looking to make a splash is Wreck-It Ralph, which features the voices of John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman. The film tells the story of Ralph, a video game villain from the 8-bit era, who decides he’s fed up with his pre-determined role and sets off to find a game that’s more his style. Along the way, Ralph finds himself in the company of some eclectic characters and in the worlds of some unique video game creations.
Though the film shares some similarities with Toy Story and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, the hope is that the video game genre and a universal message of self-discovery will help this film to stand out. More importantly, it’ll give us the chance to see iconic video game characters Zangief, Sonic the Hedghog, and Q*Bert star in the same movie.
Check out the trailer for Wreck-It Ralph here.
Daniel Craig’s James Bond is back for his third adventure, Skyfall, the highly anticipated follow-up to the disappointing Quantum of Solace. As has been common for the franchise over the years, Skyfall is in the hands of a new director, Oscar winner Sam Mendes, who is best known for the films American Beauty and Road to Perdition. After MGM went bankrupt and the Bond property fell into flux, it seemed like Mendes might never get to show audiences his vision, but thankfully those issues have been worked out.
And more importantly, we have a chance to see a completely new side of Daniel Craig’s Bond, one not bound by the strictures of an origin story. Skyfall sees Bond at a different point in his life – presumably many successful operations after Quantum – and surrounds him with a new Q (Ben Whishaw), potentially a new Moneypenny (Naomie Harris), a replacement for Judi Dench’s M in Thomas Mallory (Ralph Fiennes), and Javier Bardem in another crazy villain role. What’s not to look forward to?
Check out the trailer for Skyfall here.
Stephen Spielberg’s Lincoln has been in development for the better part of a decade, and it’s finally coming to theaters this November. Even though some of the players changed over the years – Liam Neeson was originally going to play our 16th President, but Daniel Day Lewis has since taken over the role – the feeling that this was material perfect for Spielberg’s touch has remained. And since he is (arguably) one of the best directors in the business, Spielberg was able to put together a supporting cast as diverse as they come.
While the film is most assuredly bound for Oscar glory (or at least a few nominations), the real question is whether or not Spielberg – who some argue has lost his touch over the years – has another great historical epic under his sleeve. Day Lewis certainly looks the part, but it’s how those other pieces come together that will determine Lincoln‘s legacy.
Check out the trailer for Lincoln here.
The franchise that put Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson’s stars on the map (and reinvigorated the vampire craze) comes to a close with The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2. Like the final Harry Potter film, this epic conclusion was split in two, and this month we’ll see how it all wraps up. Most immediately, Edward and Bella will have to deal with a rapidly aging vampire daughter and Bella’s transformation into a fully-fledged vampire.
But more importantly, there’s an epic vampire-on-vampire (plus werewolf) battle on the horizon that should sufficiently provide the wow factor that is fitting of the final film in a blockbuster series. What we’re all wondering, though, is whether or not Summit will conclude Breaking Dawn with a teaser for future films, as they have already expressed interest in keeping the Twilight property going strong.
Check out the trailer for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 here.
Like last month’s Cloud Atlas, Life of Pi is based on a novel (by Yann Martel), that was thought to be unfilmable, as it is more an internal journey than an outward one. There’s basic action – the film is called Life of Pi after all – but a lot of the story revolves around Pi’s experiences lost at sea with a tiger, and is therefore light on dialogue in places.
It’s obviously not going to be easy to sell audiences on the film – even when the added boost of 3D is thrown in – but we think it’s worth a look because of its ambition and the director, Ang Lee. Somehow, the Oscar-nominated director found a way to bring this unconventional story to life, and imbued the proceedings with his signature visual flair. Early reviews of the film suggest Ang Lee has successfully brought this difficult story to life, and that it’s on track for Oscar gold.
Check out the trailer for Life of Pi here.
The original Red Dawn (1984) – starring Patrick Swayze and C. Thomas Howell – imagined a future where the Soviets invaded American soil, and focused on a band of teenagers who fought to save their town. This forthcoming remake trades Soviets for North Koreans and Swayze for Chris Hemsworth, but preserves most of the other “big picture” ideas.
Like Cabin in the Woods (which coincidentally also starred a pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth), Red Dawn has been resting on the MGM shelves for quite some time, and is now releasing almost two years later. Whether the film will find the cult following that Cabin did is unclear, but at the very least, Red Dawn could make for a fun remake.
Check out the trailer for Red Dawn here.
Animated films in the past have touched upon subjects like the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, but none have approached them quite like Rise of the Guardians. Rather than imagine Kris Kringle, the Sandman, and Jack Frost (among others) in their more traditional forms, Guardians portrays the characters almost like superheroes.
Moreover, the film’s art style is much bolder than, say, Hotel Transylvania, which found great success with audiences earlier this year. It’s certainly an interesting take on childhood legends, one that features some top name voice talent like Alec Baldwin and Hugh Jackman. But will that be enough to get families into the theaters?
Check out the trailer for Rise of the Guardians here.
As a follow-up to his Oscar-nominated film The Fighter, David O. Russell has delivered The Silver Linings Playbook, which stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. In the film, Cooper plays a former teacher who, after a stint in an institution, tries to reconnect with the people in his life – namely, his mother (Jackie Weaver), father (Robert De Niro), and ex-wife. However, it’s his encounter with an equally troubled mysterious girl (Lawrence) that delivers Cooper’s character’s “silver lining.”
Though not many are aware of the film yet, The Silver Linings Playbook has been slowly generating positive buzz coming off its People’s Choice Award win at the Toronto International Film Festival. Could this be another Oscar contender for O. Russell?
Check out the trailer for The Silver Linings Playbook here.
Andrew Dominik and Brad Pitt are reuniting for Killing Them Softly, an adaptation of George V. Higgins’ novel Cogan’s Trade. While the new title suggests a generic thriller, Higgins’ novel is anything but. The film follows Jackie Cogan (Pitt), a hired gun who is called in to do a little “damage control” after a Mafia-run poker game is robbed.
Dominik and Pitt’s last collaboration, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, was a slow-burn drama that used beautiful cinematography and poignant moments of violence to tell its story, and was a critical darling. While it’s unclear how closely Killing Them Softly will resemble Assassination, if at all, the promise of another Oscar-worthy collaboration has us intrigued.
Check out the trailer for Killing Them Softly here.
There’s no doubt that Skyfall and Breaking Dawn – Part 2 will be the real standouts financially, but we’re also wondering if Lincoln, Flight, and Life of Pi will prove successful for their critically-acclaimed directors. Then there’s the question of which animated film will dominate the month: Wreck-It Ralph or Rise of the Guardians? And, more importantly, will any of these films come away with a gold statue on Oscar night?
Once again, here are the 11 movies we’re looking forward to for November:
- November 2nd: Flight, The Man with the Iron Fists, Wreck-It Ralph
- November 9th: Skyfall
- November 16th: Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2, Lincoln
- November 21st: Life of Pi, Red Dawn, Rise of the Guardians, Silver Linings Playbook
- November 30th: Killing Them Softly