Friday, November 9
LIMITED Directed by Rick Alverson
Already out on VOD, this polarizing film—which, no matter how hard the title protests, is not really a comedy—stars Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim (of Awesome Show fame) and LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy. Heidecker plays a self-indulgent Brooklyn hipster who engages in increasingly off-putting and antagonistic behavior as he is about to inherit his dying father's estate. Rick Alverson's film debuted at Sundance back in January, where some audience members walked out mid-film; some critics, however, praised the result.
LIMITED Directed by Steven Spielberg
Based on Doris Kearns Goodwin's acclaimed biography Team of Rivals, Steven Spielberg's historical drama Lincoln narrows the focus to the final four months in the life of America's 16th president, a period in which Lincoln worked to secure passage of the 13th Amendment and made critical decisions to lead the Union to victory in the Civil War despite opposition on all sides. (So busy was the president during those months that he didn't have time for his vampire-hunting hobby.) The screenplay comes from from Pulitzer Prize-winner Tony Kushner (Angels in America), and 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. But it is star Daniel Day-Lewis who is attracting the most Oscar buzz for his high-pitched (that voice is historically accurate, they swear!) portrayal of Lincoln. The film opens in limited release on November 9 and expands nationwide on Friday, November 16th.
Directed by Sam Mendes
Could this be the best Bond film yet? How about the most lucrative? Early reviews are almost universally great for Daniel Craig’s third outing as James Bond, which follows the successful franchise reinvention Casino Royale 81and its disappointing sequel Quantum of Solace 58. By all accounts, first-time Bond director Sam Mendes (American Beauty 86) brings dramatic heft to the series without losing the fun, and cinematographer Roger Deakins produces visuals on par with his previous award-winning work. The story delves into 007's and M’s past while staying rooted in the present by casting Javier Bardem (with yet another attention-grabbing hair style) as a cyber-terrorist. Joining the returning Judi Dench are a new and much younger Q, played by Ben Whishaw, as well as Ralph Fiennes as another government suit, while the requisite Bond girls are played this time by Bérénice Marlohe and Naomie Harris. The film is already breaking box office records in the U.K. (where it opened last week) while reaping impressive grosses worldwide, and with Bond 24 already being written by Skyfall contributor John Logan, the future is looking bright for this 50-year old franchise. In the U.S., IMAX theaters will get the film one day early, on Thursday, November 8th.
Café de Flore LIMITED
The French Canadian drama jumps between two stories, one set in present-day Montreal, the other in 1960s Paris.
Coming Up Roses LIMITED
Bernadette Peters stars as a former actress struggling to make a better life for her 15-year-old daughter.
Dangerous Liaisons LIMITED Watch trailer
The umpteenth adaptation of the French novel comes from China and stars Ziyi Zhang (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon).
In Another Country LIMITED
The latest enigma from Korean director Hong Sang-soo finds French actress Isabelle Huppert playing three different women.
Nature Calls LIMITED Watch red-band trailer
A rivalry between brothers played by Patton Oswalt and Johnny Knoxville escalates during an ill-advised camping trip in a comedy from the writer/director behind The Catechism Cataclysm.
Thursday, November 15
Barrymore LA/NY Watch trailer
Recent supporting actor Oscar winner Christopher Plummer is already being rumored as a potential Academy Award nominee for his starring role as legendary actor John Barrymore; the biopic—in which Plummer is the only actor to appear on screen— is based on a Broadway play which earned Plummer a Tony Award in 1996.
Friday, November 16
Anna Karenina Watch trailer
Directed by Joe Wright
Director Joe Wright’s last film, the stylish actioner Hanna 65, wasn’t what many expected from the director of Pride & Prejudice 82 and Atonement 85, but Wright has returned to the land of period literary adaptations starring Keira Knightley with his take on Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. Wright’s choice to shoot most of the film on a single soundstage has divided critics, with some enjoying the theatrical and cinematic mix while others complain that the style gets in the way of the story. The screenplay comes from award-winning playwright and Shakespeare in Love 87 writer Tom Stoppard, and the cast features Jude Law as Knightley’s husband, Aaron Johnson as her lover, Matthew Macfadyen as her womanizing brother, and Kelly Macdonald, Olivia Williams, Emily Watson, Ruth Wilson and Holliday Grainger as countesses and princesses of the Russian aristocracy.
Silver Linings Playbook
LIMITED Directed by David O. Russell
David O. Russell’s follow-up to his Oscar-nominated 2010 film, The Fighter 79, has been generating awards buzz ever since its audience award-winning premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Russell adapted his screenplay from Matthew Quick’s 2008 debut novel that tells the story of a former high school teacher (Bradley Cooper) who, after being released from a mental institution, moves back in with his parents and strikes up a relationship with an odd, mentally unstable girl (Jennifer Lawrence). Cooper’s parents are played by Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver, and Chris Tucker plays his pal from the clinic, who seems to have an easier life than his other buddy (played by John Ortiz) who is struggling with his job, baby, and wife (Julia Stiles), and not necessarily in that order. The eclectic soundtrack (Stevie Wonder, alt-J, Alabama Shakes, Eagles of Death Metal) is supported by Danny Elfman’s score. Silver Linings Playbook will open in 10 cities on the 16th before expanding nationwide on Wednesday, November 21st.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 Watch trailer
Directed by Bill Condon
The first four movies in the Twilight Saga have combined to gross more than $2.5 billion worldwide (and that's just theatrical receipts), so do you really expect the series to end here as planned? Even author Stephenie Meyer hinted last week that she hasn't entirely closed the door to writing additional Twilight books. But unless you are particularly fond of vampire sex scenes, there probably isn't a reason for the uninitiated viewer to jump in at this point; the previous films in the series scored 56 / 44 / 58 / 45, so don't expect Breaking Dawn Part 2 to suddenly become an Oscar contender.
In Our Nature LIMITED
TV's John Slattery (Mad Men) and Zach Gilford (Friday Night Lights) star alongside Jena Malone in this indie drama about family relationships.
Lincoln: Expands nationwide today. See above.
Price Check LIMITED Watch trailer
Parker Posey plays family-man Eric Mabius' enthusiastic boss in this indie comedy.
Wednesday, November 21
Life of Pi
Directed by Ang Lee
After years of starts and stops it looked like Yann Martel’s best-selling, Booker Prize-winning novel, Life of Pi, would never make it to the big screen, but patience looks to have paid off in the selection of Ang Lee as director. That patience also allowed Lee the chance to make his first 3D movie with the most advanced technology ever available; by all accounts, his cinematographer, Claudio Miranda (Tron: Legacy), vividly captures an amazing 3D environment of ocean and sky. The story follows a shipwrecked Indian boy named Pi who is stranded on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Newcomer Suraj Sharma plays Pi, and supporting turns are provided by Gérard Depardieu, Irrfan Khan, and Rafe Spall in a framing device that some believe screenwriter David Magee (Finding Neverland 67) could have left out altogether. Regardless, reviews have been strong so far, so expect plenty of nominations come awards season.
Red Dawn Watch trailer
Directed by Dan Bradley
Delayed for over a year by MGM's financial problems and so that North Korea could be digitally subbed in for China as the invading enemy (so as not to hurt the film's box office prospects in the latter country), this Red Dawn is a remake of the 1984 film of the same name. As in the original, it falls to a group of teenagers (yes, they're still Wolverines, though this time they're in Spokane, Washington) to save America after a surprise attack on U.S. soil. The directorial debut for Dan Bradley (a former stunt coordinator and 2nd unit director) stars Chris Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, and Adrianne Palicki.
Rise of the Guardians Watch trailer
Directed by Peter Ramsey
There aren't too many holiday movies heading to your local cineplex over the coming weeks, so if you want your fill of Santa Claus, you'll have to put up with his non-Chrismas-y pals like the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, and Jack Frost in this animated family adventure from DreamWorks Animation. David Lindsay-Abaire's (Rabbit Hole) script is adapted from William Joyce's The Guardians of Childhood book series, and it finds our team of childhood hero all-stars (prepare for an onslaught of Avengers comparisons) battling the nightmarish Pitch, who seeks to bring darkness to the world. The voice cast includes Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Jude Law, Isla Fisher, and Hugh Jackman.
Silver Linings Playbook: Expands nationwide today. See above.
Friday, November 23
Hitchcock Watch trailer
Directed by Sacha Gervasi
After making his directorial debut with Anvil! The Story of Anvil 82, Sacha Gervasi leaves documentary behind with his new film, a biopic of Alfred Hitchcock based on Stephen Rebello’s book, Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho. As the book’s title implies, the film focuses on Hitchcock’s struggles to get Psycho made even after the success of North by Northwest. Anthony Hopkins plays Hitchcock, but of almost equal importance in the story is his wife Alma, played by Helen Mirren. While Gervasi wasn’t allowed to use or re-create any footage from the original film, he did cast Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh, James D’Arcy as Anthony Perkins, and Jessica Biel as Vera Miles. Michael Stuhlbarg plays Hitchcock’s agent, Lew Wasserman, and Michael Wincott turns up to haunt Hitchcock’s mind as real-life murderer Ed Gein, the inspiration for Robert Bloch’s novel on which the 1960 horror classic is based.
The Central Park Five LIMITED Watch trailer
Co-directed by Ken Burns, this documentary examines the failures of the legal system and the media frenzy surrounding the false rape conviction of five black and Latino teenagers in 1989.
Friday, November 30
Killing Them Softly
Directed by Andrew Dominik
Andrew Dominik’s third film finds him reunited with Brad Pitt, the star of his 2007 effort The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford 68, in this update of George V. Higgins' 1974 novel Cogan’s Trade. Pitt plays a hitman tasked to track down the thieves (Ben Mendelsohn and Scoot McMairy) who robbed a mafia-controlled poker game run by Ray Liotta. The film updates the action to post-crash, pre-election 2008, but critics have been split on whether Dominik overstates the political and economic underpinnings of his story. Rounding out the cast are Richard Jenkins and Sam Shepard as well as two actors quite familiar with mob stories: Vincent Curatola, who played Johnny Sack on The Sopranos, and Tony Soprano himself, James Gandolfini, as another killer brought in to help with the job.
The Collection LIMITED Watch trailer
This 3D sequel to The Collector finds the first movie's survivor, Arkin (Josh Stewart), hired to rescue a teenager (Emma Fitzpatrick) who has become the latest target of the serial killer known as The Collector.
Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning LIMITED Watch red-band trailer
The fourth film in the Universal Soldier action franchise stars Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, and Scott Adkins; it's already available on VOD.
Wagner & Me LIMITED Watch trailer
Patrick McGrady's documentary follows actor Stephen Fry as he explores the work of controversial composer Richard Wagner.
Friday, December 7
Hyde Park on Hudson Watch trailer
Directed by Roger Michell
On a weekend in June 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited the President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It was the first time a King of England had visited the United States, and FDR supposedly showed him a pretty good time. Rumored to have shown the president a good time that weekend was Margaret Suckley, a distant cousin and his alleged mistress, while FDR's secretary Marguerite “Missy” LeHand was on hand as a rival for the president's affections. (FDR, it seems, was a multitasker.) One would think that all these characters would make for a lively film, especially with Bill Murray as FDR, Olivia Williams as Eleanor Roosevelt (Rushmore reunion!), Laura Linney as Suckley, and Samuel West and Olivia Colman as the King and Queen, but early reviews have been mixed for Roger Michell’s (Notting Hill 66) latest, though Murray and Linney are drawing praise for their performances.
The Fitzgerald Family Christmas LIMITED Watch trailer
Edward Burns directs and stars in this drama (which also comes to iTunes on November 21st) about an Irish-Catholic family deciding whether to forgive their father for Christmas; Connie Britton also stars.
Playing for Keeps Watch trailer
Gerard Butler is surrounded by a bevy of beauties (Jessica Biel, Uma Thurman, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Judy Greer) in this romantic comedy in which he plays an ex-soccer player trying to right the wrongs he's inflicted on his ex-wife and son.
Friday, December 14
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Directed by Peter Jackson
The Hobbit's journey from page to screen hasn't been unexpected so much as surprisingly turbulent, with numerous delays causing original director Guillermo del Toro to depart the project. (He remains credited as a co-writer.) What is unexpected is that the slightest of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings novels (which, for the uninitiated, serves as a prequel to the actual LOTR trilogy) has been turned into not one, not two, but three separate films, with the subsequent chapters to arrive in 2013 and 2014. Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf, while Martin Freeman (Sherlock, The Office) takes the lead as the young Bilbo Baggins. In addition to the standard 3D, 2D, and IMAX options, some theaters will screen the film in the new High Frame Rate 3D (HFR 3D) digital format championed by James Cameron, which uses 48 frames per second rather than the industry-standard 24; while that in theory produces a higher-quality image, some viewers reacted negatively to test footage screened earlier this year.
Any Day Now LIMITED
Set during the 1970s, this drama finds a gay couple (Garret Dillahunt, Alan Cumming) fighting a legal battle to retain custody of a teenager with Down syndrome.
Save the Date LIMITED Watch trailer
Lizzy Caplan and Alison Brie star as sisters with very different approaches to commitment in this romantic comedy from director Michael Mohan (One Too Many Mornings), with a script co-written by comic book artist Jeffrey Brown; reviews were mixed when the film debuted at Sundance.
Stand Up Guys LA/NY Watch trailer
Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin play retired gangsters in an action-comedy directed by Fisher Stevens; after this one-week qualifying engagement, the film returns to theaters on February 1st.
Wednesday, December 19
Amour Watch trailer
LIMITED Directed by Michael Haneke
Michael Haneke’s Palme d’Or-winning Amour is an unflinching look at the love between Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and his sickly wife Anne (Emmanuelle Riva). The film has earned almost universal praise from critics, but Haneke’s challenging films, which include The Piano Teacher 79, Caché (Hidden) 83 and his previous Palme d’Or winner The White Ribbon 82 rarely bring big audiences to the theater. Could his latest break the trend? It’s doubtful, but perhaps some Oscar nominations—a distinct possibility—could help drive interest.
The Guilt Trip Watch trailer
Directed by Anne Fletcher
Seth Rogen stars as an inventor who decides to take his mother, played by Barbra Streisand, on the road with him as he tries to sell his revolutionary organic cleaner in this comedy written by Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love 68) and directed by Anne Fletcher (27 Dresses 47 and The Proposal 48). Over the course of eight days and 3,000 miles, mother and son share plenty of awkward moments that eventually bring them closer together. While the concept sounds a bit stale, the comedic skills of Rogen and Streisand along with the strong supporting cast of Adam Scott, Colin Hanks, Yvonne Strahovski, Danny Pudi, Casey Wilson, and Dale Dickey could make this a solid choice for a family movie outing during the holidays.
Zero Dark Thirty Watch trailer
LA/NY Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
When we last heard from Kathryn Bigelow, the director was busy becoming the first woman ever to win an Academy Award for best director, while her film, The Hurt Locker 94, earned best picture honors. Her follow-up finds Bigelow in familiar action territory but shifting from the Iraq War to the war on terror to depict the final days of the manhunt for Osama bin Laden. The script once again comes from Mark Boal, while the ensemble cast features Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt, James Gandolfini, and Kyle Chandler. Note that only folks in Los Angeles and New York will get to see the film on December 19th (when it begins an Oscar-qualifying run); the rest of the country will have to wait until January 11, 2013.
Friday, December 21
The Impossible Watch trailer
LA/NY Directed by Juan Antonio Bayona
Juan Antonio Bayona’s follow-up to 2007‘s The Orphanage 74 is a drama based around the deadly tsunami of 2004. Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor star as the parents of three boys struggling to survive and reunite following the devastating natural disaster. Bayona has earned praise for his direction, especially the impressive editing and effects in the harrowing, 10-minute tsunami sequence, and the script, based on a true story, comes from the pen of Sergio G. Sanchez, Bayona’s collaborator on The Orphanage. The film has already set box office records in Spain, so hopes are high for its prospects in the States. A wider release will come later following the film's Oscar-qualifying debut in Los Angeles and New York on December 21st.
Directed by Christopher McQuarrie
Best known as a screenwriter (The Usual Suspects 77), Christopher McQuarrie didn't make much of an impression with his directorial debut, 2000's The Way of the Gun 49. He could fare better with his sophomore outing, an adaptation of Lee Child's best-selling thriller One Shot, the ninth of 17 novels featuring military cop turned drifter Jack Reacher. (Just think of all the sequel possibilities!) In the books, the Reacher character is a muscular, 6' 5" blond, which means there's only one person really perfect for the role (say it with us now): Tom Cruise. While that casting decision angered fans of the novels, buzz has improved somewhat in recent weeks with the release of several trailers depicting a tense, action-filled movie that finds Reacher grudgingly investigating a series of sniper killings.
Not Fade Away Watch trailer
Directed by David Chase
With his first feature film, David Chase, the creator of The Sopranos, stays in his native New Jersey but shifts his focus away from the mob and onto the '60s and the influence of music and pop culture on a generation of suburban kids. In this coming-of-age story, Chase’s stand-in is Doug (John Magaro) whose insistence on pursuing rock ‘n’ roll fame full time goes against his working class father’s wishes. The film also explores class dynamics through Doug’s relationship with the much wealthier Grace (Bella Heathcote). Chase brings in a familiar face—James Gandolfini—to play Doug’s tough but loving father, while another Sopranos vet, E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt, serves as music supervisor.
On the Road Watch trailer
December 21 | Directed by Walter Salles
Jack Kerouac's 1957 Beat novel doesn't exactly scream "major motion picture," which might explain why it has taken 55 years for it to come to the big screen. But Walter Salles (Central Station 80) could be the right director for the job, having helmed another road trip period piece, The Motorcycle Diaries 75. Sam Riley (Control) stars as Kerouac stand-in Sal Paradise, while Garrett Hedlund plays his companion Dean Moriarty, and Kristen Stewart co-stars as the latter's girlfriend. The film received qualified praise when it screen at Cannes over the summer, with complaints about occasional aimlessness and a lack of spark.
This Is Forty
Directed by Judd Apatow
Judd Apatow's first directorial effort since 2009's Funny People 60 is a semi-sequel to his 2007 hit Knocked Up 85, focusing on the latter film's side characters played by Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann, who find themselves confronted by the approach of middle age. Also reprising their roles from the original are Charlyne Yi and Jason Segel, while newcomers include Albert Brooks, Megan Fox, John Lithgow, Lena Dunham, Melissa McCarthy, and Chris O'Dowd. A few early reviews suggest a very funny, if imperfect, film, but given the lack of promising comedies on the schedule for the next few months, it seems safe to say that this will be the one to spend your money on.
Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away 3D LIMITED Watch trailer
The first big-screen version of Cirque du Soleil's acrobatic stage shows (which actually combines segments from a variety of the group's current productions) is executive-produced by James Cameron; expect little plot but plenty of innovative, 3D photography.
Tuesday, December 25
Django Unchained Watch trailer
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
For many cinema fans, there's no better Christmas present than a new Quentin Tarantino movie, especially when the film's genre (spaghetti western) is so well-suited to the director's talents. Set in the Deep South, Django Unchained follows a slave named Django (Jamie Foxx) who is given his freedom by a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz, returning from his star-making turn in Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds 69), provided that he helps in tracking down and eliminating some targets on his list. (Along the way, Django also searches for his wife Broomhilda, played by Kerry Washington.) The loaded cast also includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins, Bruce Dern, Don Johnson, Anthony LaPaglia, and Robert Carradine. While filming is complete, the film itself may not be, according to reports, which could prevent Django from collecting any awards from critic groups when December rolls around.
Directed by Tom Hooper
It’s no easy task to follow up Academy Award wins for best picture and best director, but Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech 88) has put together an amazing cast for his big-screen musical adaptation of Les Miserables, and even more Oscar nominations seem likely to follow. Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel about an ex-convict’s struggle for redemption has been adapted over 50 times, in multiple languages and in various forms (film, television, radio play, stage play, musical), but the most memorable version is probably the English stage musical, which here comes to the big screen for the first time. The film stars Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe as his nemesis, Inspector Javert, Anne Hathaway as Fantine, Amanda Seyfried as Cosette, Samantha Barks as Éponine, Eddie Redmayne as Marius, and Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the Thénardiers. All the cast members were tasked with singing their parts live during filming (an unusual step for a filmed musical) in the hopes that the emotions of the songs would feel more immediate to the audience. That decision could really pay off if reports that the film will run close to three hours prove true.
Parental Guidance Watch trailer
Directed by Andy Fickman
In this generational comedy, Billy Crystal and Bette Midler play grandparents whose old-school ways conflict with their daughter’s 21st-century ideas of good parenting. Marisa Tomei plays their type-A daughter who requests their babysitting services for her three kids, so she and her husband (Tom Everett Scott) can go on a work trip. Andy Fickman (You Again 28) directs what looks to be a film that will rely on the chemistry and comedic chops of Crystal and Midler to make it stand out during a busy holiday film season. Sounds like a winning strategy ... in the 1980s.
West of Memphis LIMITED Watch trailer
This Peter Jackson-produced documentary is yet another examination of the West Memphis Three, the trio of teenagers convicted of murder in 1993 but released from prison 18 years later, and whose lives have been chronicled in three Paradise Lost films.
Friday, December 28
Promised Land Watch trailer
NY/LA Directed by Gus Van Sant
This fracking drama (and we don't mean that in the Battlestar Galactica sense of the word) is based on a short story by Dave Eggers and looks at a small town's fight against a corporation seeking to drill for natural gas. Originally set to be Matt Damon's directorial debut (he remains in the cast, and wrote the screenplay with his co-star, John Krasinski), the film is instead helmed by Gus Van Sant, who previously worked with Damon on Good Will Hunting 70 and Gerry 54. Promised Land, which also stars Frances McDormand, Hal Holbrook, and Rosemarie DeWitt, will get an Oscar-qualifying limited release on December 28th before opening nationwide on January 4, 2013.
What do you think?
Which films are you looking forward to over the next few months? Let us know in the comments section below. For a frequently updated listing of all upcoming film releases by date, including films arriving in 2013, visit our Movie Calendar.