Top 10 – Films not to miss in November 2014

Mockingjay - the latest Hunger Games film - is released in the UK in November

October has come to an end, leaving behind the darkness of the horror genre in favour of some lighter fare. There are a couple of major blockbusters strategically placed outside of the summer scrum and also the beginnings of awards season.

There’s also a sense of remembrance in the month’s film calendar. Cinemagoers will get the chance to say goodbye to an iconic actor in his last big screen role and there’s also a poignant documentary that bids farewell to a true titan of the film industry.

See you at the movies? I thought so.

      

10. Horrible Bosses 2 (Nov 28)

Jason Bateman and friends are back for Horrible Bosses 2

The first Horrible Bosses movie proved to be a huge hit at the worldwide box office, making in excess of $200m in 2011. This made it somewhat inevitable that Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis would be back for a sequel.

In Horrible Bosses 2, the guys attempt to start their own business, but are screwed over by a wealthy investor. With crime on the brain, they plan to kidnap the investor’s son in order to turn things around.

The trailer suggests that Horrible Bosses 2 will be more of the same, but it could be a fun dark comedy to wash away the darkness of Halloween.

 

 

9. Get On Up (Nov 21)

Chadwick Boseman stars as music legend James Brown in biopic Get On Up

James Brown is one of the true icons of popular music and he is set to get the biopic treatment in Get On Up. Chadwick Boseman, who has biopic experience as Jackie Robinson in 42, will take the lead role as the ‘Godfather of Soul’, directed by Tate Taylor, who made The Help in 2011.

The film has received mixed reviews, but there has been pretty universal acclaim for Boseman’s performance. Get On Up is a great chance to catch Boseman before he takes on the mantle of superhero Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War and then his own solo movie.

With a legendary figure under the spotlight and a future A-lister in the cast, Get On Up could be one of the year’s best biopics.

 

 

8. Paddington (Nov 28)

Ben Whishaw voices the eponymous bear in Paddington

Britain’s favourite bear is to get the big screen treatment this winter as Ben Whishaw (Q in Skyfall) steps into Colin Firth’s shoes for live action children’s film Paddington.

Whishaw voices the titular bear, who is left stranded at Paddington Station in London, who is taken in by Hugh Bonneville’s Mr Brown and his family. Paul King, director of The Mighty Boosh, is in the director’s chair. This suggests that Paddington might not be quite as conventional as it seems.

The trailer suggests a delightfully playful sense of humour and dollops of Britishness. It should be good fun.

 

 

7. The Skeleton Twins (Nov 7)

Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader lead The Skeleton Twins

As two of the biggest names in American comedy, Saturday Night Live alumni Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader are way better known for making people laugh than for making them cry.

In darkly comedic drama The Skeleton Twins, Wiig and Hader portray estranged twins who are both prepared to commit suicide on the same day. Having both cheated death, they decide to mend their relationship.

The Skeleton Twins premiered at Sundance to positive reviews, with many focusing on the chemistry between the two leads. As a change of pace for the two actors, this could be a very interesting piece of work.

 

6. Say When (Nov 7)

Keira Knightley and Chloe Grace Moretz make friends in Say When

Keira Knightley is an actress making a lot of interesting choices at the moment. She has moved away from the blockbuster years of her Pirates of the Caribbean days and is shining in more independent fare.

Following quirky comedy Begin Again earlier in the year, Knightley teams up with Chloe Grace Moretz and Sam Rockwell for Say When. She plays twenty-something Megan, who is going nowhere until she crosses paths with Moretz’s youngster and her friends. Megan also begins to bond with Moretz’s single father, played by Rockwell.

Trailers point to a charming comedy with plenty of giggles. Another Sundance premiere, it got solid reviews, with special praise for Knightley’s performance.

 

 

5. The Drop (Nov 14)

Tom Hardy and the late James Gandolfini star in thriller The Drop

There’s a bittersweet feel to Michaël Roskam’s adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s 2009 short story Animal Rescue. It marks the final cinematic appearance of the late James Gandolfini, who plays the owner of a bar which is frequently used as a drop-off point for dirty money.

Tom Hardy is a bartender in the establishment, who is plunged into chaos when the bar is robbed and he finds a dog mysteriously dumped in a trash can near to the home of Nadia (Noomi Rapace).

I had the good fortune to catch The Drop at the BFI London Film Festival and it’s a terrific thriller, powered by a great performance from Tom Hardy.

 

4. Interstellar (Nov 7)

Anne Hathaway is one of the stars of Christopher Nolan's secretive sci-fi Interstellar

Much of Christopher Nolan’s ambitious sci-fi epic, Interstellar, is still shrouded in secrecy thanks to an efficient marketing campaign. Due to the clout and success of its director, it’s a film that has been highly anticipated for many people since the project was announced.

What is known is that the plot follows pilot Matthew McConaughey, who is dispatched to find a new home for the human race, given that Earth is rapidly becoming uninhabitable.

Beyond that, the plot is still something of an enigma. Early reviews have showered the film with praise, although there have been several notable dissenting voices. Either way, Nolan is an ambitious filmmaker and Interstellar looks like it may well be his most ambitious project to date.

 

3. The Imitation Game (Nov 14)

Benedict Cumberbatch is in the awards race for The Imitation Game

Benedict Cumberbatch is set to throw himself into the midst of the Best Actor race with Weinstein-backed historical drama The Imitation Game. The Sherlock star portrays iconic mathematician Alan Turing, who played a key role in cracking the ‘Enigma Code’ used by the Nazis, but was later prosecuted as a result of his sexuality.

The film has attracted rave reviews from festival audiences, with The Independent calling it “the best British film of the year”. Cumberbatch, especially, has been honoured almost universally. Many are declaring him a frontrunner in the battle for the Best Actor award at the Oscars.

Whether it is showered with gold or not, The Imitation Game looks set to be a hugely interesting film and yet another shimmering performance from one of Britain’s brightest acting talents.

 

 

2. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (Nov 20)

Jennifer Lawrence is back for Mockingjay - Part 1, the penultimate film in the Hunger Games franchise

It’s the box office juggernaut that keeps on giving. Mockingjay – Part 1 is the penultimate entry in the Hunger Games franchise and the beginning of the end for Katniss Everdeen’s story.

Following the explosive conclusion to Catching Fire, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and the rest of the rebels are holed up in District 13 as they prepare to overthrow the Capitol. They plan to cast Katniss as the ‘Mockingjay’ – a symbol for the people to rally around.

Mockingjay is a hugely flawed book, but the franchise has thus far done an excellent job of adapting the series for the big screen. Hopefully, the latest film will provide yet more reasons for The Hunger Games taking its dominant place at the summit of the YA genre.

 

 

1. Life Itself (Nov 14)

Legendary film critic Roger Ebert is immortalised in Life Itself

The death of Roger Ebert last year shook the foundations of the film industry. For half a decade, Ebert’s opinion on the latest release was the closest thing there was to a definitive pass or fail for a movie. His encyclopaedic knowledge and fair approach made him pretty much indisputably the greatest film critic of all time.

Before Ebert’s death, his memoir Life Itself was optioned for a documentary by Hoop Dreams director Steve James. The finished film will now serve as the perfect memorial for a man who came to define what the world of film criticism and movie journalism was all about.

It’s a film that is sure to resonate personally with me, as Ebert is my greatest inspiration. For many, there may be more exciting films set to come out in November. But, for me, there isn’t a single movie that I want to see more.

 

 

Do you agree with my film choices? Which movies will you be trying to see in November, and which ones will you be avoiding like the plague?

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