As you might have noticed with October’s preview, we seemed to point to the smaller releases as being the ones to see (sorry Paranormal Activity fans). Will November follow suit, or will the major studios flex their might as they mount Oscar campaigns as well as entertain the kids with Puss in Boots and The Muppets.
November starts out with a strong month for popcorn films and an Oscar candidate. Puss in Boots was one of the best things about the Shrek series, especially when they became much less entertaining, and now the erstwhile cat-assassin gets his own film in Puss in Boots. The only concern could be whether or not Puss translates to his own film successfully; the same problem Captain Jack Sparrow had in the latest Pirates of the Caribbean film. Is the little Puss a good enough character to carry his own film or is he better served in the smaller doses provided in the Shrek franchise?
The rest of this week is fairly innocuous. Harold & Kumar are back in another sequel to the stoner comedy Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle with A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, with a plotline close to “A Christmas Carol” but with the usual blue humor shenanigans. Ben Stiller heads an all-star cast with Tower Heist, which appears to be a blue-collar version of the Ocean’s Eleven series. It does have Brett Ratner helming it instead of Stiller, the better director of the two, so the bar isn’t really being raised all that high for this one. My Week with Marilyn is scheduled for a limited release and features an Oscar candidate in Michelle Williams as the titular Marilyn Monroe. This’ll be the usual Michelle Williams starring indie: mediocre to good film but she’ll be brilliant in it.
Pick of the Week: Puss in Boots
The second week of November features a candidate for both the best film of 2011 as well as its worst. J. Edgar, Clint Eastwood’s take on the controversial head of the FBI, comes out in limited release in the middle of the week but expands aggressively for the weekend. Look for this to be a candidate for a film on most people’s Top 10 lists of the year.
Adam Sandler wasn’t quite done stinking up theatres this year as he plays his usual “wealthy man needing to learn a life lesson” in Jack and Jill, which also features him in drag. Speaking of rancid, Lars Von Trier debuts his Melancholia in limited release this week. It did earn Kirsten Dunst an award at Cannes, and she does a full frontal nude scene apparently as well.
Tarsem Singh wraps up the week with his fantasy drama Immortals, which looks to be the next film to try and duplicate the success of 300.
Pick of the Week: J. Edgar
The week before Thanksgiving will be a big one for theatres as well. And you’ll be able to get the entire family there as there will be something for everyone. For mom and dad there’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy with Gary Oldman, a spy drama with a stellar cast. For the children there’s Happy Feet Two, a sequel to the hit children’s film about penguins that sing and dance. And for the whiny teenagers there’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (Part One), with more sparkly vampires and crappy acting.
Pick of the Week: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Thanksgiving (November 25th)
Thanksgiving weekend, with Black Friday giving some remarkable deals as always, is one of the biggest weekends of the year for new releases. Martin Scorsese leads the pack of films aiming at family audiences with Hugo, his first film in 3D. Arthur Christmas and The Muppets look to try and split off part of the family audience from Scorsese. The sequel to last year’s Piranha 3D, appropriately entitled Piranha 3DD, is back.
The week’s indie releases will all probably be picking up some sort of hardware early next year. The Artist has been getting an insane level of buzz and will be one to see if you can find it. A Dangerous Method gives us Cronenberg tackling the Freud-Jung friendship. And George Clooney’s The Descendants will probably be worth watching.
Pick of the Week: The Artist
Tags: A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, Arthur Christmas, Hugo, Immortals, J. Edgar, Jack and Jill, My Week with Marilyn, Piranha 3DD, Puss in Boots, The Artist, The Muppets, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy