Now denoting day-and-date video on demand releases! Because seeing good movies is easier than ever!
As a big fan of both Notting Hill and Love Actually, I’m really looking forward to Richard Curtis’ latest, a time travel rom-com-dram starring Rachel McAdams, Domhnall Gleeson (Harry Potter’s Bill Weasley), and Bill Nighy. Reviews have been mixed-to-good, but honestly, the romantic movie market is so starved for quality content that even a mediocre movie with charming leads (as this appears to be) is very welcome. It also offers nice counter-programming to the other wide releases (it goes wide on the eighth) this month, which are mostly of the blockbuster variety as we approach the holiday “little season” of tent poles.
Yet another Jack Kerouac movie, this time adapted from his novel of the same title. What is it with all the Kerouac at the movies lately? Is there an anniversary of something? I could Google it, but I won’t. I WON’T.
Dallas Buyers Club
Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto gun for Oscars in this true story about a straight man who is infected with AIDS during the early days of the epidemic and goes on to save all the poor gays who can’t afford their expensive medication. Early buzz is good but this trailer puts me off. It’s like a “white person fixes black people problems” movie but for gay people. And I know it’s a true story but it’s a tone thing. The tone is off.
How is this not a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie of the week?
I thought it was a joke, too, but it turns out, “the first Thanksgiving as performed by turkeys” is a real movie.
They’re all good actors, but, I mean, it’s kind of embarrassing, right? Just a little bit?
The Armstrong Lie
Alex Gibney (We Steal Secrets, Taxi to the Dark Side) was making a documentary about Lance Armstrong when Armstrong’s doping scandal blew up and Gibney found his subject and his story greatly changed. He also found himself greatly mad as he’d bought into the Armstrong hype machine (whatever, we all did), and this doc is the result of his anger at almost being made the hype machine’s bitch. Can’t wait to see it.
The Book Thief
Not feeling superheroes or children locked in a murder cage this month? The Book Thief is a modest, engaging alternative. Review here.
How I Live Now
Sent to visit relatives in the UK, an American teen suddenly finds herself cut off when the world ends. It’s an interesting premise and though I like Saoirse Ronan, her project selection is hit or miss, so I don’t trust her for consistent quality. Still, I’ll probably check this out on VOD at some point.
Thor: The Dark World
Does this movie need any introduction? No, of course not. All things Marvel have reached like, critical mass cultural saturation at this point. Although I will say that while the trailer makes it seem like the movie ought to be called Loki: The Loki World, he’s not in it as much you expect. It’s still Thor’s movie, even if Tom Hiddleston does stomp all over Chris Hemsworth in every scene they share.
The Best Man Holiday
It’s never a good sign when a Christmas movie comes out before Thanksgiving.
The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman
Shia LaBeouf has entered the “Cracked-Out Movies & Questionable Life Choices” phase of his career. Next is “Rehab & Apologies”.
I’m just waiting for Vince Vaughn to pull off the mask and reveal that it was Adam Sandler all along.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Another movie that needs no introduction. Although in this one, Peeta is in it exactly as much as you think. Which is to say: Too much.
This is not my favorite Alexander Payne movie (I really enjoy The Descendants and Election), but Bruce Dern’s performance is very good, and who knew SNL alum Will Forte could actually act? Though I didn’t like it as much as everyone else (mostly because I just found it boring, but particularly bad), it is a lovely, adult-oriented piece of original cinema, and I’m all for supporting that as we slowly drown in a swamp of sequels and reboots. Also, since it’s coming out around Thanksgiving, it is a good movie to see with Dad. There’s always that.
Stephen Frears is the director of many good movies (The Queen, High Fidelity, Dangerous Liaisons), but he also directed one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen (Lay the Favorite). Happily, reviews for his latest, Philomena, have been really good, and there’s even Oscar buzz for star Judie Dench.
Dench plays Philomena, a woman who was forced to give up her child when she became pregnant as an unwed young woman. When her story is picked up by a journalist (Steve Coogan), she sets out to find her now-grown child. It has tear-jerker potential, but in that “heartwarming and life-reaffirming” way, not the “everybody dies” way.
Originally an off-Broadway musical with a book written by Langston Hughes, Black Nativity has been updated for the twenty-first century and is directed by Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou). Starring Jennifer Hudson, Angela Basset, Forest Whitaker (he can sing?) and Mary J. Blige, it ought to have a helluva soundtrack.
I keep getting this confused with a survival movie from a few years ago about kids stuck on a ski lift. But this isn’t about slowly freezing to death in the alpine wilderness; no, it’s a Disney CG cartoon about a fake place buried in snow. It actually looks pretty cute, and I like that the “villain” isn’t actually a villain at all. There’s no real competition for the little kid market (Thor and Catching Fire are going to be too much for the little ones, but I’m sure that won’t stop assholes from bringing their tots into the theater anyway), so it ought to do pretty well. And it can’t possibly be any worse than Epic.
Jason Statham + James Franco = Horrible but YES.
Spike Lee’s remake of Park Chan-wook’s South Korean classic looks pretty literal, but the original is such a badass movie (it’s on Netflix Instant—seriously, check it out) and Josh Brolin, Samuel L. Jackson, Elizabeth Olson and Sharlto Copley star, so I’m into it. It’s about a dude who’s held captive for twenty years then mysteriously released and he has only days to solve the whole mystery. It’s high concept horror, and if it’s even half as good as the original, it’ll be worth watching. The trailer is cool, so I have hopes.
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Go for the Idris Elba, stay for the…Idris Elba. Review here.