November officially kicks off the winter movie season. Now past the pitfalls of post-summer tentpoles that fill up September and the uninspired horror movies of October, November begins the perfect mix of Oscar contenders and blockbusters looking to take advantage of the holiday season. There are quite a few noteworthy movies coming out in November, so I’ve broken down what you should see and what you should skip.
The Big Ones
Ender’s Game (Nov. 1) – The month gets off to a heavy sci-fi start with the first adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s most notable work. Starting Asa Butterfield as the titular character and directed by Gavin Hood (he of X-Men Origins: Wolverine) this movie will try and translate what some have said is an unfilmable text. The trailers have a been a mixed bag, but the film promises some spectacular special effects if nothing else.
Thor: The Dark World (Nov. 8) – After this summer’s mediocre Iron Man 3, the state of the Marvel Cinematic Universe seems to be on somewhat shaky ground as it moves into a post-Avengers world. Luckily, Thor has the advantage of taking most of its action off-world by exploring the mystical realms. The story reunites Thor with Jane Foster who, along with Tom Hiddleston’s Loki must fight the threat of the Dark Elves (whatever those may be).
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Nov. 22) – There is probably a joke to be made about a movie called the Hunger Games being released around Thanksgiving, but I’m not clever enough to make it so I’ll just move on. It’s been a little surprising how little the trailers have shown of the actual Hunger Games competition that takes place during the event, but it’s a smart marketing strategy. The second book is a little bit of a retread of the first, minus an out of left field twist ending. Audiences (arguably) don’t want to see the same movie twice. so putting more focus on the revolutionary aspects of the story makes sense.
The Less Essentials
Oldboy (Nov. 27) – If you’re looking to really fill your movie-going plate in November, try Spike Lee’s remake of this classic Korean film. Josh Brolin stars in a role originally intended for Will Smith. Samuel L. Jackson stars as the bad guy. It’s hard to talk about this movie without giving away all of its best twists and turns. So instead, go watch the original (available on Netflix, although sadly its dubbed) because its hard to imagine Lee and company will come anywhere close to reaching that film’s storied heights of suspense, action and emotion.
Homefront (Nov. 27) – I feel a little guilty about putting this one in this section, because all Jason Statham movies should be essential viewing. And in all honesty, this is probably more intriguing than the Oldboy remake above. Statham plays an undercover DEA agent who runs afoul when his daughter gets in a scuffle with a kid at school whose uncle just happens to be the local meth kingpin (meth is really in right now in Hollywood) named Gator played by none other than James Franco. If the sight of Statham and Franco going toe-to-toe isn’t enough to get you to fork over ten dollars, then you are clearly reading the wrong blog.
The One Under the Radar
Dear Mr. Watterson (Nov. 15) – This one may be a little hard to find at your local theater, but if you have a chance, it’s almost definitely going to be worth checking out. This documentary chronicles the impact of the fabled comic strip Calvin & Hobbes. Featuring interviews from scholars, celebrities and fans, anyone who loved the strip will want to see this film.
The Ones to Skip
Free Birds (Nov. 1) – See if you can follow me on this one. Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson voice two turkeys who are running for their lives on Thanksgiving. Then the get in a time machine and go back to the first Thanksgiving to try and prevent the pilgrims from putting turkey on the menu. I wish I was making this up, but unfortunately this really exists. Unless you have small kids or are really devoted to any of the actors voicing the characters, I’d tell this one to stuff it.
Last Vegas (Nov. 1) – Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro , Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline star as four best buds who head to Las Vegas for a bachelor party. The Hangover for a geriatric audience, where every joke will probably be “Get it?! It’s funny because they’re old!” Avoid at all costs.
What are you looking forward to seeing most this November?