November is a unique time for movies: festival films picked up for distribution start to surface while most blockbusters are saved for December release, leading to a wonderful hodgepodge of big budget leftovers and critical darlings. The tip sheet this month does lean towards the TIFF-minded viewer, but don’t despair, there’s a family recommendation in the mix if you just keep swimming…
New Theatrical Releases:
Release Date: November 4th
Directors: Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter, Mud, Midnight Special)
Starring: Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton, Will Dalton
IMDb Summary: Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, are sentenced to prison in Virginia in 1958 for getting married.
Why I Am So Excited: I’ve been following writer/director Jess Nichols since 2011’s Take Shelter and have yet to see him take a wrong step. Loving fits perfectly into his filmography, focusing on what lies at the core of all his movies: family. The story of Richard and Mildred is one that retains serious relevance today, for better or worse, and hopefully Nichols and phenomenal stars Ruth Negga (who knocked it out of the park this year in the television show Preacher) and Joel Edgerton can get across the personal human story in a way that touches viewers and perhaps opens some eyes. I know many people who saw it when it came to Toronto for TIFF and absolutely adored it, and the trailer alone gives me chills, so this is definitely one I’m itching to see.
Watch the Trailer Here!
Release Date: November 11th
Directors: Denis Villeneuve (Enemy, Prisoners, Sicario)
Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker
IMDb Summary: A linguist is recruited by the military to assist in translating alien communications.
Why I Am So Excited: Another TIFF film brought to big screen release! Man did I want to see this when it was at TIFF and am I ever relieved that I’m getting a second chance. So many good things are going on in this production: Adams is a powerhouse who hasn’t been getting the roles she deserves recently, but Arrival (along with the upcoming Nocturnal Animals) seeks to change that. Paired with director Denis Villeneuve, known for heavy hitters like Sicario, which also highlighted a strong female lead in Emily Blunt, this is not your grandma’s alien sci-fi. The concept of translating the aliens makes me think of Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 but aside from the given summary the trailer doesn’t give up much plot detail, which makes me want to see it that much more (take note, over sharing trailers of today).
Watch the Trailer Here!
New On Blu-Ray:
Release Date: November 15th
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%
Directors: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane (Finding Nemo, Wall-E, Toy Story 3)
Starring: Ellen DeGeneres, Ed O’Neill, Ty Burrell and Kaitlin Olson, to name a few of this star-studded voice cast.
IMDb Summary: The friendly but forgetful blue tang fish begins a search for her long-lost parents, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way.
Why This Is Worth Getting: IT’S FINDING DORY. COME ON. Have you SEEN this movie? You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll cry more. Seriously, this is a movie with serious heart that goes to places Finding Nemo didn’t in terms of pushing the emotional boundaries of how sad a kids movie can be. But this isn’t just a kids movie, it’s a family movie, and adult movie, an everyone movie, and I think having that power of scope from its predecessor gave Finding Dory room to be something more. The creators are smart to add vocal talents like Kaitlin Olson as Destiny the whale shark and Ty Burrell as Bailey the beluga as comic relief so Dory, voiced of course by Ellen Degeneres, has the space to become a more emotional, fully-rounded character. Think this is way too in depth of an analysis for a cartoon? Clearly, you have yet to experience Finding Dory, and desperately need to.
Watch The Trailer Here!
Criterion Release of the Month:
The Squid and the Whale
Release Date: November 22nd
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%
Director: Noah Baumbach (Kicking and Screaming, Greenberg, Frances Ha)
Starring: Jeff Daniels, Jesse Eisenberg, Laura Linney, Owen Kline
IMDb Summary: Follows two young boys dealing with their parents’ divorce in Brooklyn in the 1980s.
Why This Is Worth Getting: This is the first Noah Baumbach movie I ever saw, before he became one of my favourite writer/directors and someone I’d consider an auteur. The Squid and the Whale is not afraid in the least of making you uncomfortable because your discomfort could not possibly compare to that of the characters on screen. Jesse Eisenberg as a son unwilling to see the fault in his father in a performance I think is still one of his best, made all the more difficult to watch because of how unlikeable Jeff Daniels is as patriarch Bernard and how wonderfully Laura Linney portrays the flawed but clearly suffering mother Joan. I won’t even get into Owen Kline as younger brother Frank and how he chooses to deal with the turmoil within the family, suffice it to say watching the family unravel will make you squirm in your seat without once taking your eyes off the screen. It’s not an easy watch, but a truly worthwhile one, particularly if you’re a fan of Baumbach’s other work or want to see Eisenberg in his prime. See it, if only once, and choose whether or not to thank me later.
Watch The Trailer Here!