What To Look Forward To In … November 2009

7 10 2009

The holiday movie season begins to kick into high gear in the month of November, as does exciting Oscar season.  Accordingly, this post is longer than the previous monthly preview posts.  Brace yourself for movie mania coming your way in a few weeks.  Sit back, relax, and let Marshall guide you through the coming attractions.

November 6

From the mainstream movie perspective, the hot movie of this weekend will be Robert Zemeckis’ adaptation of “A Christmas Carol.”  Shot with the same motion capture technology that Zemeckis used to make “The Polar Express,” the movie will cash in on premium ticket prices from 3D and IMAX 3D screenings.  My main concern about the quality of the movie itself lies with its principal actor, Jim Carrey, who will act as Scrooge and all three ghosts.  I doubt Zemeckis will permit it, but I fear that Carrey will make a mockery of Dickens’ classic novel much in the fashion of Mike Meyers with “The Cat in the Hat.”  Regardless of what critics say, I will probably end up seeing this with the family for some good old-fashioned family fun at the movies.

“The Men Who Stare at Goats” is the first movie of the holiday season to which George Clooney lends his talents.  Here, he plays a a military man in charge of a secret unit that attempts to use psychic powers for military purpose.  One such activity is to attempt to kill goats just by staring at them.  The movie also stars Ewan MacGregor as the reporter who discovers it all; the cast also includes Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey.  The movie is directed and adapted by Grant Heslov, previously nominated for an Academy Award for his work on “Good Night, and Good Luck.”  The trailer seems to show Heslov’s approach as similar to the Coen Brothers who usually provide a fun-filled romp.  Maybe the film will be a bona-fide indie hit, and Overture Films will be able to claim their first movie to gross over $50 million.  But we’ll have to see.

I’ve already written about the Oscar favorite, “Precious,” in a previous Oscar Moment.  I’ll post the trailer here just for the sake of promoting it, but if you want to hear my thoughts, read the post.

Two thrilling movies also open this week.  First, “The Box” with Cameron Diaz and James Marsden, seems to have an intriguing premise: if you push the button on the box, you will get a million dollars, but someone you don’t know will die.  However, it looks to be more interested in cheap thrills than exploring moral issues.  The other, “The Fourth Kind,” looks downright scary.  If horror is your thing, this looks like the movie for you.  I saw the trailer at “District 9,” and even if you don’t want to see it, you have to ponder the validity of the “true story” behind the movie.

November 13

Disaster porn reaches its pinnacle this weekend.  “2012,” Roland Emmerich’s apocalyptic film, will have some of the biggest destruction and explosions the world has ever seen.  The trailer was so mind-blowing that I am willing to overlook all vices in the plot to see the world’s greatest landmarks get wiped off the earth.  My only comment is that if John Cusack somehow finds a way to stop the end of the world, I will be enraged.

The other major wide release of the week is “Pirate Radio,” a movie that Focus Features so desperately wants you to see that they changed the title from “The Boat that Rocked” just a few weeks ago to appeal to you. Are you flattered? You shouldn’t be. The movie seems like comedic Oscar Bait, but it didn’t do well Britain, the country of production. Focus scrambled to change their focus from awards movie to popular movie. So whenever this pops into a theater near you, be armed with the knowledge that “Pirate Radio” is merely a washed-up Oscars wannabe. But make the decision to see it for yourself.

New York and Los Angeles get the treat of watching Wes Anderson’s adaptation Roald Dahl’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox.”  I have the utmost respect for Anderson for not conforming to the growing trend to do all animation through computers.  Anderson’s film uses the stop motion technique, moving an object gradually to give the illusion that it is moving.  Even more exciting that Anderson’s eccentric style in an eccentric medium is the voice cast.  Clooney voices the titular character, the cunning Mr. Fox.  The cast also features Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson, and Bill Murray.  What’s not to like?  (NOTE: The movie expands on November 20 and enters wide release on November 25.)

For those who like very obscure indies, “That Evening Sun” with 87-year-old Oscar bridesmaid Hal Halbrook has his latest shot at the gold.

November 20

I refuse to even mention the name of the movie that every girl in America will flock to this weekend.  No nationwide releases excite me this weekend.  You may delight in seeing the clichéd sports drama “The Blind Side” with Sandra Bullock as a mother with open arms sporting a Texas accent that can rival Julia Roberts in “Charlie Wilson’s War” for its ridiculousness.  Or perhaps another predictable computer animated movie, “Planet 51,” is your cup of tea.

Academy Award-winning director Pedro Almodovar puts out his latest work, “Broken Embraces,” in limited release this week.  The film stars Penelope Cruz, who he directed to an Oscar nomination for “Volver” in 2006.  According to those who have seen the movie at Cannes and other festivals, Cruz delivers another powerhouse performance in “Broken Embraces.”  She has a decent shot of slipping in considering how weak the field is this year.  But if you love a good female-driven movie, this might be worth a look.

November 25

A whole year after its scheduled release date, “The Road” will finally hit the silver screen.  I read the book and I seem to be the only person on the planet not to have been won over by Cormac McCarthy’s book.  I like Viggo Mortensen, but I don’t think he is enough to lure me to see it.  But everyone else loved the book, so maybe you fit in better with that 99% of people.

Also opening nationwide is “Old Dogs,” a family comedy with John Travolta and Robin Williams.  Since this is a weekend heavily driven by families, this could unfortunately catapult to the top of the box office.  “The Princess and the Frog” opens in New York and Los Angeles this weekend, but I will write more about it in the December post when it opens nationwide.  (UPDATE: I am outraged to report that “Nine” will not be opening on November 25 as I previously announced but rather December 18 in New York and Los Angeles before expanding nationwide on Christmas Day.)

So what are you dying to see?  Let me know by telling me your opinion in the poll below!  Remember that the movie with the most votes gets a shameless advertisement on November 1st.


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6 responses

7 10 2009
James D.

I didn’t read McCarthy’s book, but I am still very excited. Combining work from the author of No Country for Old Men with the director of The Proposition equals art at it’s highest level for me.

8 10 2009
mcarteratthemovies

Twenty points for coining the phrase “disaster porn.”

8 10 2009
Marshall

Thank you. I have a list of landmarks I’m praying Emmerich will destroy. I really want to see the Great Wall of China get wiped out.

Anything you want to see get wiped off the face of the earth?

13 10 2009
theteencritic

I’m seeing roughly 35 movies between now and December, I hope. It’ll be big. “2012” looks awesome, I agree. Not smart. Duh. But awesome. Hopefully Emmerich will improve upon “10,000 B.C.” I’m looking forward to “Precious,” “The Men Who Stare at Goats,” and “A Christmas Carol” the most, however. And you forgot “Ninja Assassin,” which I think looks fun.

Oh and let me share your outrage at “Nine.” That is in my top three most anticipated movies of the rest of the year. Even if I didn’t like “Chicago,” I can’t deny an interest in seeing what Rob Marshall has up his sleeve. I felt just as much outrage to learn that “Up in the Air” was moved to the same day. It’s just freaking ridiculous.

OH, I want to see the Sydney Opera House and the Coliseum get flattened. Random choices, I know, but they have yet to be casualties in a disaster movie. And I ditto mccarteratthemovies: “disaster porn” is an AWESOME label, man.

13 10 2009
theteencritic

Continued, all of the new Seven Wonders need to be destroyed. Looks like Christ the Redeemer is taken care of. All the rest do too. That would be awesome to see. Also the Hagia Sophia, the Acropolis of Athens, and Stonehenge.

4 11 2009
Poliwrath52

Oh yeah… I know that St. Peter’s Basilica has been taken care of. I also would like to see the Argentine national congress building, The Taj Mahal, the Dome of the Rock, The Little Mermaid Statue and the leaning tower of pisa crumble to pieces.

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