This month's notable theatrical releases
Below, our editors have selected 10 interesting films debuting this month, listed in alphabetical order.
The Babadook Watch trailer
NR Horror/Thriller | November 28 | Directed by Jennifer Kent
The Babadook? It's Australian for "indie horror hit." This import from Down Under earned great reviews when it premiered at Sundance in January before going on to win four awards (including one for best horror feature) at Fantastic Fest. Writer-director Jennifer Kent’s feature debut follows single mother Amelia (Essie Davis) and her troubled 6-year-old son, Samuel (Noah Wiseman). The movie gets its title from a pop-up book that mysteriously appears in Samuel’s bedroom. The disturbing bedtime story convinces Sam that the Babadook is the monster haunting his dreams, and soon his increasingly distressed mother begins to wonder if what her son believes could actually be true.
Big Hero 6 Watch trailer #1 Watch trailer #2 Watch sizzle reel
PG Animation/Action-Adventure | November 7 | Directed by Don Hall & Chris Williams
This story of robotics genius Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter) and his brother Tadashi’s creation, Baymax (Scott Adsit), a Healthcare Companion robot whom Hiro tweaks to become a superhero, is the first Disney animated movie based (loosely) on a Marvel comic book. When a mysterious supervillain threatens the metropolis of San Fransokyo, Hiro and the balloon-like Baymax team up with friends Go Go Tamago (Jamie Chung), Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr.), Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez) and Fred (T.J. Miller) to form a superhero team without any superpowers to speak of (though they do have a few really cool robotic suits). Directed by Don Hall (Winnie the Pooh) and Chris Williams (Bolt), the film is already collecting strong reviews and should be another family-friendly hit for Walt Disney Animation following 2012’s Wreck It Ralph and 2013’s Frozen.
Foxcatcher Watch trailer
R Drama | November 14 | Directed by Bennett Miller
It is usually a bad sign when a film is pushed out of a prestigious awards season release window, and Foxcatcher was originally slated for release last fall before it was pulled from the schedule. But when Bennett Miller won the best director prize at the Cannes Film Festival in May, where his third feature also earned excellent reviews, any concerns over this film’s quality were put to rest. That doesn’t mean this dark, strange, true-crime story that tracks the relationship between eccentric millionaire John du Pont (Steve Carell) and Olympic wrestling champions Mark (Channing Tatum) and Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo) won’t face a challenge at the box office, but with all three actors earning praise from critics, the film should be a major contender during awards season, a time when Miller's previous films, Capote and Moneyball, also had success.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night Watch trailer
NR Foreign/Horror/Thriller | November 21 | Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour
If an intriguingly long title and excellent reviews don’t pull you into theaters, maybe the chance to see the very first "Iranian vampire western" will. This debut feature from writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour premiered at Sundance in January and has since played in festivals around the world. Filmed in black and white, the story follows the “girl” of the title, a vampire played by Sheila Vand, as she haunts the very western-sounding Iranian town of Bad City, where she gets close to Arash (Arash Marandi), a young man trying to cope with his father’s drug addiction and the local crime lord who supplies him. Mixing genres and offering sly commentary on Iranian society, this is a small film worth seeking out.
The Homesman Watch trailer
R Western | November 14 | Directed by Tommy Lee Jones
Also by this director:
77 The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005)
Tommy Lee Jones’ first feature directorial effort, 2005’s The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, won him the best actor prize and Guillermo Arriaga the best screenplay award at Cannes. Nearly a decade later, he's back with a follow-up. While this offbeat, genre-defying adaptation of Glendon Swarthout's novel about a claim jumper (Jones) who joins a pioneer woman (Hilary Swank) in transporting three troubled women (Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, and Sonja Richter) from Nebraska to Iowa didn’t win any awards at Cannes this year, critics had plenty of praise for the performances of both Jones and Swank.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 Watch trailer #1 Trailer #2 Preview
PG-13 Action-Adventure/Sci-fi | November 21 | Directed by Francis Lawrence
Also by this director:
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was last year’s box office champ, and this third film in the series (the first of a two-part finale) should equal that feat. The Hunger Games, directed by Gary Ross, placed third at the box office in 2012, but Ross’s replacement Francis Lawrence, who returns here, not only bettered that movie’s ability to fill Lionsgate’s coffers but also improved on its critical reception with Catching Fire. Joining him once again in the post-apocalyptic world of Panem are Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Jeffrey Wright, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in his final role (though not his final film, which will be the next year's second half of Mockingjay). The film picks up with Katniss reluctantly accepting the role of poster child for the rebellion, Peeta in the clutches of President Snow, and war on the horizon. Expect another success; industry experts are already predicting an opening weekend of at least $130 million.
The Imitation Game Watch trailer
PG-13 Drama | November 28 | Directed by Morten Tyldum
Also by this director:
72 Headhunters (2012)
In this biopic from Headhunters director Morten Tyldum, Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Alan Turing, the British mathematician, computer scientist, and logician who led the team that cracked the German Enigma Code, helping the Allies win World War II. Turing’s success was short-lived, however, as he was convicted of homosexual acts in 1952 and died tragically just a few years later, well before earning a pardon from the Queen (which finally came, posthumously, last year). While Cumberbatch has earned the bulk of the praise in early reviews, he is surrounded by a very strong cast that includes Mark Strong, Matthew Goode, Charles Dance, and Keira Knightley, who just earned a British Independent Film Award nomination for best actress alongside Cumberbatch’s nomination for best actor.
Interstellar Watch trailer #1 Watch trailer #2 Watch trailer #3
PG-13 Sci-fi | November 5 | Directed by Christopher Nolan
Also by this director:
Christopher Nolan’s latest—and first non-Batman film in four years—is his most ambitious and personal film to date. With a father-daughter story at its heart and theoretical astrophysics on its brain, this nearly three-hour sci-fi epic is a challenging balancing act for Nolan. Some early reviews claim he has succeeded, though a few critics aren’t completely convinced. But with its massive scale (see it in 70mm or IMAX if you can, especially since conventional theaters with digital projection get the film on Friday instead of tomorrow) and a strong cast led by Matthew McConaughey as a pilot asked to leave behind his kids and lead a team of explorers on a mission to save humanity, Interstellar could be Hollywood blockbuster filmmaking at its best.
Rosewater Watch trailer
NR Drama | November 7 | Directed by Jon Stewart
Here's the reason that Jon Stewart took a few months away from his day job last year. The Daily Show host makes his directorial debut with this adaptation of journalist Maziar Bahari’s 2011 memoir recounting his 118-day imprisonment following Iran’s riot-inspiring 2009 presidential election. The film is uniquely personal for Stewart because Bahari (played here by Gael García Bernal) was thrown into prison after appearing in a taped interview with The Daily Show’s Jason Jones, an interview his (apparently humor-challenged) interrogators used against him during his confinement. Early, mostly positive, reviews claim Stewart’s first feature is a solid drama with occasional moments of humor.
The Theory of Everything Watch trailer #1 Watch trailer #2
PG-13 Drama | November 7 | Directed by James Marsh
Also by this director:
Eddie Redmayne stars as Stephen Hawking in this look at the theoretical physicist’s early years at Cambridge, where he met his first wife, Jane Wilde (played by Felicity Jones), and was diagnosed with motor neuron disease. Based on Jane’s memoir, Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen, scripted by Anthony McCarten, and directed by James Marsh, who is known more for his documentaries (Man on Wire, Project Nim) than his narrative films (Shadow Dancer, The King), the film earned mostly favorable reviews in Toronto, with Redmayne’s strong performance making him one of the early front-runners for a best actor Oscar.
What do you think?
Which films are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments section below. For a complete, updated listing of all upcoming film releases by date, including other November releases and films arriving later in 2014 and 2015, visit our Movie Calendar.