November Movie Preview

With October now a thing of the past, it seems only logical to look back on this anticipated month. Taken 2 and Paranormal Activity 4 both rode the sequel hype and surpassed their production budgets by a long shot despite being smashed by critics and fans alike. However, other than these two blemishes and a couple of other bumps along the way (Alex Cross, Chasing Mavericks), October was overall a pretty fantastic time to be a moviegoer. With the releases of Frankenweenie, Argo, Seven Psychopaths, and Cloud Atlas, the month of October saw some of the year’s best and most original films make their way into the theaters. Now with the eyes of Hollywood shifting to November, this upcoming month has some pretty big shoes to fill. However, between the returns of James Bond and Denzel Washington, the final installment in the Twilight franchise, and a slew of awards contenders, November should have no problem kicking off the Holiday Movie Season in style. Let’s take a look at all of the films coming out and see which ones catch our eye:

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November 2nd 

Wreck It-Ralph – A film that reminds us all of our video game adventures as children, Wreck It-Ralph is the aptly titled story of Wreck It-Ralph, a video game villain who decides to leave his game to try and become a hero somewhere else. What is really impressive about this film is the fact that they are using real video game characters, which to me shows that they really want this to be authentic, witty, and flat out fun. The fact that it is both an animated film and one about video games should also help broaden the film’s appeal and bring a wide demographic of moviegoers. I expect this film to open big and hold well throughout the month.

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Flight – This action-mystery-thriller stars Denzel Washington as a veteran airline pilot who miraculously lands a crashing airplane and saves almost everyone on board, but his life spirals out of control when further investigation reveals not everything is what it seems. Not only does Denzel look fantastic in this film, but with Robert Zemeckis director of the Back to the Future trilogy, Forrest Gump and Cast Away, behind the camera and making a live-action film for the first time in over a decade, you can pretty much expect a fantastic cinematic experience. While the movie has not really been advertised that well, the names attached to the project will certainly give it the legs it needs to perform at the box office.

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The Man with the Iron Fists – Presented by Quentin Tarantino (although I don’t believe he has any creative impact on the film), The Man with the Iron Fists follows the story of warriors, assassins, and a lone hero who fight together to take down a clan traitor. From the trailers, this looks like a very-well put together and completely badass Kung-Fu film; however, it being RZA’s debut as a big-screen director has me a bit skeptical. Whether the film is fantastic or not, with Wreck It-Ralph and Flight both being released the same weekend, I wouldn’t expect this film to steal the box office.

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November 9th

Skyfall – With the 50th anniversary of the iconic film series currently taking place, it couldn’t be a more appropriate year for a new Bond film, and Skyfall is the 23rd installment in the James Bond franchise and sees 007 (once again played by Daniel Craig after the incredible Casino Royale and the so-so Quantum of Solace) trying to track down and destroy a threat to MI6 no matter the cost. Thanks to the stunning trailers, which hint that the film will have at a classic Bond villain played by Javier Bardem and what look to be ridiculously high stakes, it looks like this could be one of the best Bond film ever, and with a current 94% on Rotten Tomatoes right now, it seems critics agreeing. With the hype surrounding this film, expect it to be one of the highest grossing films of November, if not the highest.

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Lincoln – Coming off of the decent success of last year’s Oscar nominee War Horse, Steven Spielberg takes a seat behind the camera once again for Lincoln, a drama that focuses on the last couple of months of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency. The performance from Daniel Day-Lewis looks absolutely phenomenal (I mean, seriously, when is Day-Lewis not a force to be reckoned with?), and as long as Spielberg doesn’t play it too safe like he did with War Horse, Lincoln will most likely be one of the best films of the year. With the film only being released in limited theaters, however, it doesn’t look like it will fair well at the box office, but between Day-Lewis, Spielberg, and a supporting cast that includes Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, and Joseph Gordon Levitt, this will definitely be the adult choice for the month and could catch on if reviews are equally as strong.

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November 16th

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 – Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying that the final chapter in the Twilight saga is one of the most anticipated films of the year. While I am not personally a fan of the Twilight saga (mostly because the movies are just plain bad) and am pretty happy that the series is finally coming to an end, it is a Twilight film nonetheless, and the final one in the film franchise no less, so expect it to open pretty big at the box office and become the highest grossing entry in this four film franchise.

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Anna Karenina – Based on the classic Russian novel by Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina stars Keira Knightley as the title character, a fiercely independent woman who cheats on her admiral husband in 19th century tsarist Russia, and details the consequences that come with such a deplorable act. Reviews of the film have been mixed so far, with most praising the cast and design but criticizing the script and the blatant preference for style over substance. Though a limited release will prevent it from truly breaking out, there’s no denying that this could be the period piece of the year, and with the always impressive Keira Knightly turning in what could be an Oscar-nominated performance, this will definitely catch some eyes throughout the month.

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November 21st

Life of Pi – Lead by Academy Award-Winning director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon) and based off of the acclaimed best-selling novel by Yann Martel, Life of Pi follows the journey of a young man who survives a shipwreck, gets thrust into a life of adventure aboard a life boat, and develops a connection with a tiger who survived as well. Riding the fantastic reviews the film has received so far into theaters, Life of Pi looks to be a visually captivating film (the use of 3D is supposed to be the next best thing since Avatar), and one that will definitely make a “splash” as the box office. As for its box office legs, all that will depend on how strong of a narrative Lee can draw from a book that many thought could never be turned into a film.

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Red Dawn – A remake of the 1984 cult film of the same name, Red Dawn follows the story of a family in the wake of an invasion and their attempt to fight against the opposition to take back America. While the first Red Dawn was not the best in terms of actual filmmaking, I’d by lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the mindless action, so I’m curious to see how this new adaptation holds up with the classic cult original. With nostalgia on its side, a cast that includes popular young actors like Chris Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, and Josh Peck, and the fact that it opens the day before a big holiday, I would say Red Dawn could open pretty moderately in terms of box office numbers, but its strength will depend on how good it really is, and the fact that this has been sitting on the shelves for years isn’t a good sign.

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Rise of the Guardians – This animated adventure from DreamWorks Animation follows the story of Jack Frost, Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, The Sandman, and The Tooth Fairy as they join together to fight off an evil force trying to take over the world. Between the fantastic looking visuals and a concept that everyone who has had a childhood can enjoy, Rise of the Guardians looks to be a truly good time at the movies and, in a way, a kiddy version of The Avengers. However, with Wreck It-Ralph coming out only 19 days before this one hits the silver screen, it will be interesting to see if this animated adventure can hold up financially. If Ralph proves a formidable foe, Guardians could suffer if it doesn’t get equal critical acclaim.

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Silver Linings Playbook – A film that has been getting some major buzz over the past month (it received huge praise at the Toronto International Film Festival), Silver Linings Playbook stars Bradley Cooper as a mentally unstable man who loses everything after his marriage falls apart, moves in with his parents, and befriends an equally damaged neighbor (played by Hunger Games’ Jennifer Lawrence), all while trying to figure his life out. From the trailer, it’s easy to see that the real driving force behind this movie is the performances, which all look fantastic, and Cooper, Lawrence, and Robert DeNiro are all getting serious Oscar-buzz for their honest turns, especially Lawrence who is having one hell of a year. Overall, this looks like it might be one of the best of November and it will hopefully do well in theaters and play nicely through December.

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November 23rd

Hitchcock – Based on a true story, Hitchcock follows the story of the notorious director Alfred Hitchcock and his relationship with his wife during the controversial making of Psycho. While Anthony Hopkins looks to have perfected his impersonation Alfred Hitchcock, a move that will likely garner him yet another Oscar nomination for Best Actor, it’s really the concept that is shaping up this film to be utterly fascinating; while we all love Psycho, how many of us actually know what happened to bring that demented tale to the big screen? Expect this film to be fantastic and one of the sleeper hits of the year. In terms of box office success, however, it’s only in limited release, and with four other films being released on the 21st, don’t expect to see Hitchcock on top of the box office during this extremely crowded kick off to the Holiday Movie Season.

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November 30th

Killing Them Softly – This action suspense film stars Brad Pitt as an enforcer hired to track down three guys who robbed a Mob protected card game and caused the local criminal economy to collapse. On top of Brad Pitt (whose performance looks incredible and whose riding off of his stellar 2011 thanks to his dynamite performances in Moneyball and The Tree of Life), the supporting cast in this film is full of A-list performers who are bound to mix well with the suspenseful and oddly comedic plot. This looks like an entertaining thriller that will end the month nicely, but don’t expect it to make too much of an impact numbers wise since its plot and tone are a little outlandish for mainstream audiences.

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OVERALL: With Skyfall and Life of Pi already receiving rave reviews and Twilight (for some reason) always being a ridiculously successful film, November looks like it’s going to be an explosive month for moviegoers. Throw in some awards bait in Lincoln, Anna Karenina, and Silver Lining’s Playbook, and this month seems to have something for everyone. So what films are you all looking forward to most? Sound off in the response section below.

Article by Nick Franco

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