Fall Movie Preview Spectacular! Part 3 – The Films of November

Screen Shot 2012 08 31 at 1.35.44 PM 670x334 Fall Movie Preview Spectacular! Part 3   The Films of November

Having wrapped up our Summer 2012 film coverage with the End of Summer Movie Awards a few days ago, it is time to look forward to Fall and the rest of what 2012 has in store. This has been an extremely enjoyable year for cinema so far, but when one looks at the absolute mountain of titles the industry has coming over the next few months, one has to imagine studios have been saving the best for last.

There are so many films coming out through the end of the year, in fact, that we thought it would be a good idea to put together this handy, four-part guide to the films of the Fall. This preview, publishing throughout the week, is divided into four parts, each exploring one remaining month of the year.

Part 1 explored the cinema of September, Part 2 examined October, and today, in Part 3, we’re looking at the films of November, with a guide to release dates, casts, story information, trailers, and my analysis of how each individual movie may stack up.

It’s our Fall Movie Preview Spectacular! Part 3, enjoy!

Begin reading on the next page…


Wreck-It Ralph

Release Date: November 2nd

Directed by Rich Moore; Starring John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Sarah Silverman, and Alan Tudyk

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Wreck-It Ralph looks more interesting than any non-Pixar animated feature Disney has produced since…hmm…Lilo & Stitch? That’s probably an apt comparison, as Lilo was the last animated Disney film that wasn’t an adaptation of a preexisting story or a return to familiar Disney archetypes. It was a kind of film the studio had never done before, and from what we’ve seen so far, the same can be said of Wreck-It Ralph.

The film is set in the world of video games, something Disney has never explored before, and that alone gets me excited. But the plot – title-character Ralph is a video game villain who escapes his arcade console to find a place he can be the hero – really is a creative one, and Reilly seems perfect for the material.

I don’t know how the rest of the cast will fare – I worry Lynch, cast years ago when Glee was actually relevant, will just be playing Sue Sylvester – but I like the look of the animation and tone of the trailer.

All in all, I think this could be a very pleasant surprise from a company that hasn’t had many to offer in a long time.

The Man With The Iron Fists

Release Date: November 2nd

Directed by RZA; Starring Russell Crowe, Cung Le, Lucy Liu, Bryon Mann, and RZA

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Oh boy.

There really isn’t a whole lot I can write about this one. The trailer itself is such a crazy, no-holds-barred visual and aural powerhouse that I have no idea how to sum it up. It looks like the craziest Kung-Fu mash-up movie since Kill Bill, unsurprising since Quentin Tarantino produced the project, and RZA, the man who scored those films, directs, co-stars, and co-writes with Eli Roth.

This is a group of talent with limitless affection for and knowledge of the genre, and that passion is clear in every frame of the trailer. I cannot wait to set eyes on this one and to see this wonderful cast in action and witness the glorious mayhem RZA has concocted.


Release Date: November 2nd

Directed by Robert Zemeckis; Starring Denzel Washington, Kelly Reilly, Bruce Greenwood, Don Cheadle, John Goodman, Melissa Leo, and James Badge Dale

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Robert Zemeckis! You’ve returned! To live-action! I thought we’d lost you forever in the dark, computer-generated landscape of uncanny valley! I believed your creepy attempts at animated photorealism had consumed you! But here you are, back in the land of the living!

In all seriousness, it is exciting to see Zemeckis return to live-action filmmaking after over a decade away, especially with such a fascinating project. Flight stars Denzel Washington as a commercial airline pilot who successfully lands a crashing plane without any casualties. He is treated like a hero until it turns out he had alcohol in his system at the time of the crash, broadening the scope of the investigation.

The trailer is simply fantastic, an expertly structured primer that hints at compelling characters and intriguing mysteries. Washington appears perfect for the part (as he always does), I always enjoy watching Don Cheadle work, and the rest of the cast is equally talented.

Zemeckis seems to have returned to the land of the living in style, and that makes me very, very excited.

Continue the Preview on the next page…

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Release Date: November 9th (October 26th in the United Kingdom)

Directed by Sam Mendes; Starring Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney, Naomie Harris, and Ben Winshaw

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There is literally nothing about Skyfall that does not excite me. It’s the first 007 film in four whole years. It stars Daniel Craig, my personal favorite Bond. It’s written by talented Bond regulars Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, along with John Logan, a newcomer to the franchise who has penned such recent classics as Hugo, Rango, and The Aviator. It’s directed by Sam Mendes, a true auteur, and shot by legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins, virtually guaranteeing this will be the most visually splendid Bond film to date.

All that is only the tip of the iceberg, especially given how spectacular every inch of footage shown so far has been. It feels like we’ve only scratched the surface of what Craig’s Bond is capable of; Casino Royale was an all-time great espionage film, but Quantum of Solace, while good, operated in a lower key, and the subsequent hiatus has so far stopped filmmakers from exploring this character any more.

With Skyfall, it appears that Mendes and Craig are taking this interpretation to the next level, and I couldn’t be any more eager to see what they have in store.


Release Date: November 9th (Limited)

Directed by Steven Spielberg; Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Straitham, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones, James Spader, and Jackie Earle Haley

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I could literally triple the size of that cast listing and not include every great actor who appears in this film. Because when Steven friggin’ Spielberg makes a movie about America’s greatest President, and Daniel Day-“I-drink-your-milkshake”-Lewis signs on to play the lead, everybody wants a part. Who wouldn’t?

This is one of the single greatest dream teams in recent memory, covering some of the most compelling material in human history, and if they pull it off, this could very well be one of the all-time great historical films.

I’m simply giddy with excitement, even for just a trailer, to see what Day-Lewis has done with the part, and what look Spielberg has given the film, and what kind of iconic musical theme John Williams has written for honest Abe.

Can it possibly live up to expectations? I don’t even care at this point. I just want to set my eyes on this seemingly impossible project.

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The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2

Release Date: November 16th

Directed by Bill Condon; Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner

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At last, our long national nightmare comes to an end. Twilight ends, the hype dies down, and teenage girls may finally have a chance at discovering empowering and intelligent films and literature, instead of this puritanical misogynist garbage. And lest you think me unfair, I have seen these movies, and I have read the first book. I have done my research. And this is easily one of the laziest, most blatantly contemptuous cash-grab franchises in film history. I don’t care if they do have an Oscar winner at the helm. Condon makes no difference. These movies are awful, rotten to their core, and I cannot wait for them to return to the shadows from whence they came.

Anna Karenina

Release Date: November 16th (Limited)

Directed by Joe Wright; Starring Keira Knightley, Jude Law, and Aaron Tyler-Johnson

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If I may play Oscar prognosticator for a second, I think there’s a very real chance Keira Knightley may win Best Actress this year for her lead role in Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina. Knightley was a tremendously deserving nominee for Pride and Prejudice, her first collaboration with the director, and both she and Wright have only gotten better at their respective crafts since then.

That means Karenina is one of the key prestige films to watch out for this season, and as with all of Wright’s films, I suspect there’s more than mere pedigree beneath the surface.

He has a wonderful sense for character, a deft hand at relating thematic subtext, and, of course, a tremendous eye for visuals. All of that will serve the film well, and Knightley may have her meatiest role to date playing one of literature’s most well known characters. I’m very excited to see what she does with the part, and with no major competition to speak of (not, at least, among roles the Oscars care about), this could very well be her year.

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Rise of the Guardians

Release Date: November 21st

Directed by Peter Ramsey; Starring Chris Pine, Isla Fisher, Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin, Jude Law, and Dakota Goyo

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This film is sort of like The Avengers, if The Avengers was a team-up of public domain mythical characters, like Santa Claus, the Sandman, the Easter Bunny, etc. And as silly as that sounds, I think a strong creative team could probably have fun imagining how all these larger-than-life personalities might get along.

What I don’t quite understand is the need to have these icons team up to fight a monstrous evil force. If Santa Claus is out kicking ass in his sleigh, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of ‘Jolly Saint Nick?’ And of what use would the Tooth Fairy be in a calamitous situation? Would the Sandman really be able to help conquer evil by sprinkling it with magical powder?

I don’t see the logic in turning storybook characters into superheroes, and the tone of the trailers is a bit too reverential for my tastes. That being said, this is an original project from DreamWorks Animation, a company I often criticize for lacking any semblance of creativity. I do applaud them for trying something new. But until I see the finished film, I’ll probably remain baffled by the entire concept.

Life of Pi

Release Date: November 21st

Directed by Ang Lee; Starring Suraj Sharma

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I don’t want to sound overly negative about this film – Ang Lee is a great director, the source material is beloved and respected, etc. – but I have one serious problem with all the footage I’ve seen that I really hope the film itself works past: I do not understand why Life of Pi is a live-action movie. I just cannot fathom, after seeing the sheer amount of CGI on display in every single ad, why one would bother casting a real actor when everything around him is fake. Some of the CGI is very nice. Ang Lee, as always, has a strong eye for visuals. But with even a little bit of live-action mixed in among all the animation, the entire affair looks tremendously ‘fake’ to me.

The trailers should be visually stimulating, I know that, but to me, they’re just eyesores, because the mesh of CGI and live-action doesn’t look right. To be fair, I never think heavy-CGI movies look very good, and even Avatar had spots where I couldn’t quite believe the performers were interacting with their environments. I don’t understand why Hollywood forces CGI on live-action so vigorously, and I seriously hope the technology doesn’t hold Life of Pi back. I think it could be a great movie. But from what I’ve seen so far, it’s difficult to get past the visuals.

Maybe that will all change in context. I sure hope so.

Silver Linings Playbook

Release Date: November 21st

Directed by David O. Russell; Starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DiNiro, Anupam Kher, Julia Stiles, Jacki Weaver, and Chris Tucker

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This one looks really good. Cooper stars as a man struggling with anger, while co-star Lawrence has personality issues of her own. I always enjoy good stories about dealing with dysfunction, and from the looks of the trailer, the film has a lot of very honest things to say about feeling ‘broken.’

Cooper and Lawrence are each wonderful actors, and they are surrounded by very talented people, including Chris Tucker in his first non-Rush Hour ­performance in fifteen years. David O. Russell’s last film was The Fighter, meaning this project carries a good deal of pedigree. I hope it lives up to its potential.

What films are you most excited for? Sound off in the comments, and come back in a few days for the fourth and final part of our FALL MOVIE PREVIEW SPECTACULAR! 

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  • obloodyhell

    }}} about America’s greatest President

    Many would take issue with that. While certainly a great man, he did defacto destroy States Rights, which were a singularly important part of the foundation of this nation and its controls over the Federal government. We’ve been working for the last 50 years to restore some semblance of that control, and mostly losing ground. That States Rights were seriously flawed in terms of the notion that they were not constrained by the Consitution, they were still valid at their heart. I don’t believe Spielberg will touch on those things at all, and that will be a strong weakness to this film.

  • obloodyhell

    The truly wretched part about Twilight is that it, along with “True Blood” is an exercise in “Vampire Chic”, the notion that Vampires, which are explicitly evil, have no emotions other than the blood lust (much less a desire for, or interest in, “sex”), and pretty much cannot, as Vampires, be “good guys”. This started, within reason, with Joss Whedon’s Angel (though you could argue it started with Anne Rice), but Angel wasn’t a vampire in the strictest sense. His soul was returned to him by a curse, and that tormented him all the time, he now SAW the evil he’d done, and felt the pain and suffering of all those he’d tormented. He wasn’t a true vampire any more. The same cannot be said for those in True Blood or Twilight (or even Underworld). They aren’t going to be compassionate or understanding or loving or caring. That’s not what a “vampire” is.

  • Tangibulla

    Crappy click-bait website, and second-rate, self-indulgent reviews. Get a job!