November's key releases
(Through November 9th)
Flight Watch Trailer
November 2 | Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Last seen directing creepy motion-capture animated films like A Christmas Carol 55 and The Polar Express 61, Robert Zemeckis hasn't released a live-action feature since 2000's Cast Away 73. Flight, his return to non-animated moviemaking, stars Denzel Washington as an airline pilot who becomes a national hero after saving nearly 100 lives when he prevents his damaged plane from crashing. Before you start thinking that this is the Sully story, however, note that there's a twist: the pilot is himself a damaged man, and an alcoholic, and the media scrutiny shines a light on portions of his life he'd rather keep hidden—including his activities the night before the fateful flight. The relatively low-budget drama also stars John Goodman, Don Cheadle, and Melissa Leo.
Limited release November 9 (wide November 16) | Directed by Steven Spielberg
That photograph alone is probably enough to get Daniel Day-Lewis an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of America's 16th president in Steven Spielberg's upcoming historical drama. Based on Doris Kearns Goodwin's acclaimed biography Team of Rivals, Lincoln narrows the focus to the final four months of the president's life, a period in which Lincoln made critical decisions to lead the Union to victory in the Civil War despite opposition on all sides. (Not once does he even consider hunting a vampire.) Spielberg has assembled an impressive cast that includes Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Hawkes, Tommy Lee Jones, Jared Harris, and Walton Goggins, though nobody's seen them yet: the trailer doesn't arrive until next week.
The Man with the Iron Fists Watch Trailer
November 2 | Directed by RZA
A violent, stylized, English-language martial arts epic set in 19th century China and centering on an African-American blacksmith? While that might sound like a Quentin Tarantino movie, he's only a producer; The Man with the Iron Fists is actually the directorial debut for Wu-Tang Clan rapper/producer RZA, who also co-wrote the film with Eli Roth and stars in the title role. Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu also star, and the film will screen in 3D. Fans of the RZA's day job have the soundtrack album (out October 23rd) to look forward to as well; in addition to plenty of new Wu-Tang-affiliated tracks, it will include new songs by Kanye West and Talib Kweli and a collaboration between RZA and the Black Keys.
November 9 | Directed by Sam Mendes
Daniel Craig's third go as James Bond takes him to Istanbul, China, and exotic London, England. Skyfall—the 23rd official Bond film in the series—is the first for director Sam Mendes (American Beauty 86), who doesn't exactly have an action movie pedigree but has nevertheless guided the secret agent through an adventure that includes an attack on MI6 and a new adversary played by Javier Bardem (in yet another odd haircut). Another newcomer is Naomie Harris (28 Days Later), who plays one of Bond's new colleagues, while Ralph Fiennes co-stars as a government official, Ben Whishaw appears as Q, and Judi Dench returns as M. Mendes reportedly has brought the franchise back closer to its roots than Craig's prior two Bond outings (Casino Royale 81, Quantum of Solace 58), and smartly enlisted Roger Deakins as cinematographer. According to new reports surfacing this week, Craig will return for two additional 007 films following this one.
This Must Be the Place Watch Trailer
November 2 | Directed by Paolo Sorrentino
Yes, that's Sean Penn dressed up like an aging Cure fan—he does play a former goth rock star, though not Robert Smith—in the English-language debut for Italian director Paolo Sorrentino (Il Divo 81). Penn's character is actually named Cheyenne, and he takes on his deceased father's obsession for revenge (against a Nazi, no less) in a bizarre road trip dramedy that also stars Frances McDormand and Judd Hirsch. This Must Be the Place, which features David Byrne performing the titular Talking Heads song on the soundtrack (Byrne also co-wrote original songs for the film with Will Oldham), received decidedly mixed reviews when it screened at Cannes way back in 2011, with Penn's performance striking some critics as eccentric and grating and the movie as a whole unfocused. Still, how often do you get to see the Oscar-winning actor dressed up like an old lady?
Wreck-It Ralph Watch Trailer
November 2 | Directed by Rich Moore
Disney's sole animated film this fall is that rarest of things: a new, original concept that is neither a sequel nor based on an existing story. That doesn't mean you won't recognize some of the characters, however. Wreck-It Ralph centers on the titular character, the villain in a fictitious, 1980s-era 8-bit video game ("Fix It Felix Jr.") who gets tired of being the bad guy and jumps from game cabinet to game cabinet in his arcade in an attempt to prove that he's a hero (and ultimately forced to be just that when a crisis threatens all the games in the arcade). Along the way, he'll encounter plenty of characters from classic games, including Q*bert, Pac-Man ghost Clyde, Kano from Mortal Kombat, Bowser from Super Mario Bros., and Ryu from Street Fighter; think of the new film as a videogame version of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The feature film directorial debut for animator Rich Moore (The Simpsons, Futurama, The Critic) stars the voices of John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, and Jane Lynch, and it looks like their finished product will charm both present-day kids and children of the 1980s and '90s.
All November releases by date
Friday, November 2
French Canadian drama Café de Flore LIMITED jumps between two stories, one set in present-day Montreal, the other in 1960s Paris.
The arrival of a family of raccoons in a suburban backyard sets off a chain reaction that jeopardizes a marriage in comedy The Details LIMITED, starring Tobey Maguire, Elizabeth Banks, Laura Linney, and Ray Liotta.
Flight: See above.
A romance between two teenage girls turns macabre in the drama Jack and Diane LIMITED.
A Late Quartet LIMITED finds a renowned string quartet on shaky ground as they approach their 25th anniversary; Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Jeremy Northam, and Christopher Walken star.
The Man with the Iron Fists: See above.
This Must Be the Place LIMITED: See above.
Amy Heckerling's vampire rom-com Vamps LIMITED stars Alicia Silverstone, Krysten Ritter, and Sigourney Weaver.
Wreck-It Ralph: See above.
Friday, November 9
Visually stunning documentary Chasing Ice LIMITED looks at the Extreme Ice Survey's attempts to chronicle receding glaciers in some of the world's most remote locations.
Lincoln LIMITED: See above.
Rapper Common and Dennis Haysbert head the cast of Baltimore-set crime drama LUV LIMITED.
Scout leader Patton Oswalt is ditched by his troop in the comedy Nature Calls LIMITED, which also stars Rob Riggle, Johnny Knoxville, and Maura Tierney.
Mads Mikkelsen stars in the 18th century Danish historical drama A Royal Affair LIMITED.
Skyfall: See above.
Note that remaining November releases, as well as those films due in December, will be featured in our Holiday Movie Preview coming in early November.
What do you think?
Which films are you looking forward to this fall? Let us know in the comments section below. For a frequently updated listing of all upcoming film releases by date, including films arriving later in 2012, visit our Movie Calendar.