November brings us deeper into Oscar season, seeing a few notable contenders as well as a blockbuster or two. Check out the must-see list below and matinee recommendations on the next page.
10. Morning Glory (Roger Mitchell; Nov. 10th)
Synopsis: A hotshot television producer (McAdams) is set the challenge of reviving a struggling morning show program, despite the constant feuding of its high-profile anchors (Keaton and Ford).
Why You Should See It: Originally slated for the summer, this marks the first outside-the-action-box feature from J.J. Abrams’ production company Bad Robot. Notting Hill director Roger Mitchell helms what looks to be a harmlessly entertaining rom-com with a great cast.
Synopsis: An in-depth look at the rise and fall of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, including interviews with the scandalized, former politician.
Why You Should See It: After releasing Casino Jack and the United States of Money earlier this year, documentarian Alex Gibney is back with an in-depth look at the Eliot Spitzer. Garnering solid reviews from film fests (including our own by Dan Mecca), this looks to be the best doc this month.
Synopsis: A romantic comedy that skewers the pharmaceutical industry and is centered on relentlessly charming Viagra salesman Jamie Reidy (Gyllenhaal) and his romantic involvement with free-spirited Maggie Murdock (Hathaway).
Why You Should See It: After the brutal dramas Defiance and Blood Diamond, director Ed Zwick lightens it up with this rom/com/drama. While it doesn’t look the Oscar contender some may have predicted, it could be a good time. And Anne Hathaway is naked. A lot.
Synopsis: While investigating the existence of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, CIA operative Valerie Plame (Watts) discovers her identity allegedly leaked by the government as payback for an op-ed article her husband (Penn) wrote criticizing the Bush administration.
Why You Should See It: Coming off Jumper can take a toll on anyone. The Bourne Identity helmer Doug Liman is back to espionage capturing this real-life tale of Valerie Plame. Garnering decent reviews at Cannes this past spring, Summit will look to repeat Oscar chances with this drama.
Synopsis: A dramatization of the 1968 strike at the Ford Dagenham car plant, where female workers walked out in protest against sexual discrimination.
Why You Should See It: It’s rare for Sally Hawkins to take part in a bad film and this historical comedy/drama looks to be no different.
Synopsis: Harry (Radcliffe), Hermione (Watson), and Ron (Grint) set out from Hogwarts to find and destroy the Horcruxes — the secret to Voldemort’s power and immortality.
Why You Should See It: I’m tired of Harry Potter. Every year I tell myself, ‘I won’t see this one.’ Then opening day comes around and it garners great reviews and I go see it. The last three years has ended in disappointment. It is difficult to get my hopes up, but this (almost) last entry looks to redeem some of the monotonous scenes filling the last few.
Synopsis: Rapunzel (voice of Moore), a princess with 70 feet of magical, golden hair, has been locked away for years in a tower high above her kingdom. Desperate to be free, she strikes a deal with Flynn Rider (voice of Levi), a handsome bandit who chooses her tower as a hide-out spot.
Why You Should See It: The director and head of story behind Bolt, a solid animation entry, have teamed up for this Rapunzel retelling. The trailer seems a bit *too* kiddy, but all the early screening buzz has been fantastic.
Synopsis: High-strung father-to-be Peter Highman (Downey Jr.) is forced to hitch a ride with aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay (Galifianakis) on a road trip in order to make it to his child’s birth on time.
Why You Should See It: Before the behemoth known as The Hangover became the highest grossing R-rated comedy of all-time, director Todd Phillips was developing this little roadtrip movie with Downey Jr. and Galifianakis. While he is currently shooting his Hangover sequel, I sincerely can’t wait to see this pairing onscreen.
Synopsis: Mountain climber Aron Ralston (Franco) becomes trapped under a boulder while canyoneering alone near Moab, Utah and resorts to desperate measures in order to survive.
Why You Should See It: Coming off his Oscar win(s) for Slumdog Millionaire, Boyle could have chosen from a wealth of projects to direct. Instead he opted for a smaller tale, a triumphant story of life. I experienced 127 Hours at TIFF this September (review here) and it is a whirlwind of emotion, simply one of the best films of the year.
Synopsis: A chronicle of King George VI’s (Firth) effort to overcome his nervous stammer with the assistance of speech therapist Lionel Logue (Rush).
Why You Should See It: Colin Firth commands this expertly written and directed crowd-pleaser. Period pieces of this kind are normally a turn-off, but I was enthralled from start to end with this gripping story. Check out my full TIFF review here.
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