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November movies, November films
Bullz-Eye Fall Movie Preview: November
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NOVEMBER: Gentlemen, start your Oscar engines

Well, at least three movies here look like Oscar hopefuls: Sam Mendes' war movie "Jarhead," Joaquin Phoenix channeling the Man in Black for "Walk the Line," and George Clooney's political potboiler "Syriana." In between are a slew of crowd pleasers, beginning with what may be the fate of Disney as we know it.

Jarhead (Universal, November 4)
Actors: Jake Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Chris Cooper, Jamie Foxx, Lucas Black, Dennis Haysbert, Sam Rockwell,
Director: Sam Mendes
Rating: R
Read our review

The Pitch: Based on the best seller from Anthony Swofford, a former Marine who did time in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the movie follows "Swoff" (Gyllenhaal) as he finds that serving his country includes a lot of down time combined with hellacious up time.
The Buzz: It's Sam Mendes ("American Beauty," "Road to Perdition"), so people will take it very seriously. The cast is a good one, with two Oscar winners (Cooper and Foxx) along with two big time up and comers (Gyllenhaal and Sarsgaard), plus big time utility players in Rockwell and Haysbert. The trailer, however, looks a lot like "Three Kings," but without the humor.
Trailer Highlight: The sniper, popping bubbles with his gum, waiting for something to happen.
Bottom Line: It is sure to draw the admiration of some and the ire of others (how dare they demoralize our troops like that!), but we can't help but think we've seen this movie already.
Official Web Site: www.jarheadmovie.com

Chicken Little (Disney, November 4)
Actors: voices of Zach Braff, Amy Sedaris, Joan Cusack, Don Knotts, Catherine O'Hara, Harry Shearer, Adam West, Fred Willard, Steve Zahn
Director: Mark Dindal
Rating: N/A
Read our review

The Pitch: After causing more than his share of trouble with frequent proclamations that the sky is falling, Chicken Little (voiced by Braff) is sent to a special camp, and uncovers an even more insidious plot. Pity no one believes him.
The Buzz: Dindal saved Disney's butt five years ago when he took over their lost emperor project and turned it into the dead funny "Emperor's New Groove." He has an even more impressive voice cast here (we're suckers for anything Sedaris does), but is handling their first non-Pixar CGI project. Needless to say, there is a lot riding on this one.
Trailer Highlight: "Son, I have to tell you something. In a couple of seconds, I'm going to scream like a little girl."
Bottom Line: Disney has been very hit-and-miss lately, but Dindal was involved the last time they hit. Here's hoping he goes 2 for 2.
Official Web Site: www.the-sky-is-falling.com

"Hey, Mr. Indian Chief mate, ya got any whiskey?"
The New World (New Line, November 9)
Actors: Colin Farrell, Christian Bale, Christopher Plummer, Wes Studi, David Thewlis, Q'Orianka Kilcher
Director: Terrence Malick
Rating: N/A

The Pitch: Malick graces us with his presence for the second time in 10 years to write a story about explorer John Smith and the clashes between English settlers and native American Indians.
The Buzz: Anytime Malick makes a movie, people are going to be talking. The problem is that people might be more interested in the Farrell factor than the Malick factor. Can he finally carry a movie?
Trailer Highlight: The eerie shot of Pocahontas (newcomer Kilcher) looking out over the bay, and seeing the English ships arriving.
Bottom Line: It's been years since a movie like this made decent bank. Even if that trend doesn't end here, it's sure to have its admirers.
Official Web Site: http://www.thenewworldmovie.com/

Get Rich or Die Tryin' (Paramount, November 11)
Actors: 50 Cent, Terrence Howard
Director: Jim Sheridan
Rating: N/A

The Pitch: Eminem protégé Fifty Cent (Curtis Jackson) makes his own "8 Mile."
The Buzz: Jim Sheridan ("In the Name of the Father," "In America") pulls a Curtis Hanson and makes a hip hop biopic. His subject of choice certainly has his share of stories to tell, though the trailer looks like nearly every ‘90s ‘hood movie ever made. From a robbery to the stage? How cliché.
Trailer Highlight: Hard to say. It wasn't terribly impressive, to tell the truth.
Bottom Line: If anyone but Sheridan directed this, we'd be nervous.
Official Web Site: http://www.getrichordietryinmovie.com/

Rent (Sony, November 11)
Actors: Rosario Dawson, Taye Diggs, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Jesse L. Martin, Idina Menzel, Adam Pascal, Anthony Rapp
Director: Chris Columbus
Rating: PG-13

The Pitch: A movie version of the play that won both a Tony and a Pulitzer. "Rent" is about a group of broke East Village squatters, who deal with AIDS, death, drugs and their fight to not only survive but make a name for themselves. One interesting note: all of the leads played their character in the stage production as well.
The Buzz: Seems a little late for this, doesn't it? The play first hit the stage nine years ago, and it was a Peter Griffin punch line five years later. Plus, this movie is as anti-red state as they come. Drugs? AIDS? Homos? Not exactly the kind of thing that will have the state of Texas lined up at the multiplex.
Trailer Highlight: Angel (Heredia) running up the wall and doing a backflip, in high heels, while wearing a female Santa suit.
Bottom Line: This might be as good as the play – though the choice of Columbus as director is curious, to say the least – but will it play in Peoria?
Official Web Site: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/rent/

Zathura (Sony, November 11)
Actors: Josh Hutcherson, Jonah Bobo, Kristen Stewart, Tim Robbins
Director: Jon Favreau
Rating: PG

The Pitch: Simply put, it's "Jumanji" in outer space.
The Buzz: Quiet so far, though Favreau ("Swingers," "Elf") has carved out a nifty little niche for himself as a family entertainment kind of guy. Still, it's been ten long years since "Jumanji" (we know that "The Polar Express" comes from the same author, but that was a different animal entirely), and was anyone waiting for the next chapter in the Board Games From Hell series?
Trailer Highlight: If forced to choose, the shut of the younger brother seeing outer space when he opens the front doors.
Bottom Line: Interesting that Sony is releasing two high profile movies on the same weekend. "Rent" for the blue staters, this for the Red ones. But we're betting that they both lose money.
Official Web Site: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/zathura/index.html

"You know what would be really cool, Hermione? People NOT trying to kill me."
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Warner Bros., November 18)
Actors: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Gary Oldman, Robbie Coltrane, Brendon Gleeson
Director: Mike Newell
Rating: PG-13

The Pitch: The "Potter" series gets tough, with the dreaded Lord Voldemort (Fiennes) interrupting the World Cup of Quidditch and trying once again to lay waste to nemesis Potter (Radcliffe).
The Buzz: This is easily the darkest, most complicated "Potter" book of the series up to this point, and they hand the director's reins to…Mike Newell, who hasn't made a good movie since "Donnie Brasco"? Talk about ballsy.
Trailer Highlight: They only have a small teaser available at the moment, but we love those shots of Harry, Hermione (Watson) and Ron (Grint) from each movie, showing just how much they've grown up.
Bottom Line: Newell or no Newell, we never miss a "Potter" movie.
Official Web Site: http://harrypotter.warnerbros.com/gobletoffire/index.html

Walk the Line (20th Century Fox, November 18)
Actors: Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin, Robert Patrick, Shelby Lynne
Director: James Mangold
Rating: N/A

The Pitch: Phoenix tackles the seemingly impossible task of summing up the life of Johnny Cash. A brunette Witherspoon plays June Carter, the woman that would be Cash's muse and bring together the founding families of country.
The Buzz: There is already talk that Phoenix could win an Oscar for his portrayal of the Man in Black, and it's easy to see why. He sounds just like him in the trailer. The vocals aren't perfect, but hey, we can't all be Jamie Foxx, now can we?
Trailer Highlight: Before the Fulsom Prison gig, a man tells Cash, "You must refrain from singing any song that reminds them that they're in prison." Cash: "What, you think they forgot?"
Bottom Line: He might be a complete space case, but Phoenix is also one of the best actors of his generation. If anyone can do Cash justice, it's him.
Official Web Site: http://www.walkthelinethemovie.com/

"You can have whatever you want, just please, don't touch the hair!"
Syriana (Warner Bros., November 23)
Actors: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Amanda Peet, Chris Cooper, Christopher McDonald, Jeffrey Wright, Will McCormack, Gina Gershon
Director: Steven Gaghan
Rating: N/A

The Pitch: A CIA agent (Clooney) trying to track terrorists gets tied up in DC politics and a massive oil deal.
The Buzz: Clooney did some Method Eating to get into character, gaining 30 pounds for the role (though we love the IMDb bit about him being afraid to shave his head for fear it wouldn't grow back). Gaghan, who wrote the screenplay for "Traffic," is back on familiar ground, and Clooney is still eager to prove to the world that he can act, dammit. It's a match made in heaven. And with McDonald (Shooter McGavin from "Happy Gilmore") and Cooper in support, it's guaranteed to have something entertaining.
Trailer Highlight: No trailer at press time.
Bottom Line: We're intrigued. Now give us a trailer.
Official Web Site: No official site at press time.

The Ice Harvest (Focus, November 23)
Actors: John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, Connie Neilsen, Randy Quaid, Oliver Platt
Director: Harold Ramis
Rating: R

The Pitch: A Mob lawyer (Cusack) steals a bunch of money from his clients, then finds that getting out of town is much more difficult than he imagined.
The Buzz: Best cast Ramis has assembled in decades, for starters. Cusack looks like his "Grosse Pointe Blank" self here, though not as deadly.
Trailer Highlight: The guy stuffed in a trunk shooting at Thornton and Cusack. Thornton: "I took his gun! I guess he had another one." Cusack: "I guess."
Bottom Line: Isn't this a little dark for a Thanksgiving movie? Yes, and that's why we're stoked. But not too stoked. Ramis has to earn our love after "Analyze That" and "Bedazzled."
Official Web Site: No site yet, but you can find the trailer here.






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