2007 Fall Movie Preview: November
The holidays are here, but don't expect the theaters to be full of
nothing but warm 'n' fuzzy kids' flicks -- although the month does bring
a couple of notable new releases for the tots (we're looking at you,
"Bee Movie" and "Fred Claus"), there's also plenty
of grown-up drama and action to be had. Whether you're looking to be
scared, have your heart warmed, or just up for a couple hours of old-fashioned
Hollywood escapism, the next four weeks should give you everything you're
looking for. Scroll down for everything you need to know.
American Gangster (Universal, November 2)
Starring: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Josh Brolin, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Common, TI, RZA, Ted Levine, John Ortiz, Yul Vazquez, Roger Bart
Director: Ridley Scott
The Pitch: The story of Frank Lucas (Washington),
a Harlem drug kingpin who used the bodybags of Vietnam War casualties
to smuggle heroin, and the cop (Crowe) focused on taking him down.
The Buzz: Respected director, impeccable cast, high-stakes, hard-hitting story...what's not to like?
Trailer Highlight: Denzel? Rusell? Fuck it, how about both of 'em?
Bottom Line: From a distance, this looks like the Official Dude Movie of November. Stay tuned.
Official Site: http://www.americangangster.net/
Movie (DreamWorks, November 2)
Starring: Jerry Seinfeld, Renée Zellweger, Matthew Broderick, John Goodman, Chris Rock, Megan Mullally, Kathy Bates, Alan Arkin, Patrick Warburton, Oprah Winfrey, Larry Miller, George Wallace, Barry Levinson, Colin Quinn, Renee Taylor, Rip Torn
Director: Simon J. Smith, Steve Hickner
The Pitch: A bee fresh out of college (Seinfeld) discovers
that people are in the habit of consuming honey, and decides to sue
the human race for theft.
The Buzz: Buzz! Ha! Get it? It's a movie about bees! Um, anyway, Seinfeld has been working on this for a long time, which either means he's been careful to get it right, or he's crawled entirely up his own rear end and can't let go of the movie. Judging from the trailer, it's the former.
Trailer Highlight: Seinfeld and Chris Rock, dressed up in bug suits and being terrorized on a giant windshield? Gold, Jerry. Gold.
Bottom Line: The biggest question might not be if you see it, but how many times.
Official Site: http://www.beemovie.com/
The Kite Runner (Paramount, November 2)
Starring: Wali Razaqi, Saïd Taghmaoui, Shaun Toub, Nasser Memarzia
Director: Marc Forster
The Pitch: Khaled Hosseini's bestselling novel makes its way to the big screen, bringing his tale of the intertwined lives of two Afghan boys to non-readers. It's the kind of story you don't want to know a whole lot about before you see the film; suffice it to say the movie follows the boys into manhood, and deals with the effects of the Taliban regime on the people of Afghanistan.
The Buzz: The book has been an Oprah-approved phenomenon since it was published roughly five years ago, and if the trailer is anything to go on, the movie has captured much of what people loved about the story on the printed page.
Trailer Highlight: The cinematography. Afghanistan never looked so good.
Bottom Line: One look at the trailer and you'll know if this is your type of film -- but even if it isn't, not seeing it will probably be your loss.
Official Site: http://www.kiterunnermovie.com/
Claus (Warner Bros., November 9)
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Paul Giamatti, John Michael Higgins, Kevin Spacey, Minja Filipovic, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges
Director: David Dobkin
The Pitch: The bitter older brother (Vaughn) of Santa Claus (Giamatti) is forced to move to the North Pole.
The Buzz: Guys like Vaughn, who essentially play the same type of character in every film, tend to have a polarizing effect after awhile; what audiences lapped up in "The Wedding Crashers" might not seem like so much fun by November '07. That being said, the trailer -- essentially one scene, of Vaughn and Giamatti arguing on the sofa -- suggests major potential.
Trailer Highlight: Giamatti trying to give Vaughn a wet willie.
Bottom Line: If you dig Vaughn's shtick, have no fear; even if you don't, though, this might be worth checking out.
Official Site: N/A
Lions for Lambs (MGM, November 9)
Starring: Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Michael Pena, Derek Luke, Andrew Garfield
Director: Robert Redford
The Pitch: The good news: Cruise's rejuvenated United Artists launches itself with a Robert Redford-directed drama. The bad news: said drama follows a multitude of characters in storylines that take place around the world, and all of them are framed against the backdrop of the "war on terror."
The Buzz: The words "Lions for Lambs" have been on plenty of film critics' lips for months -- with this movie's pedigree, you'd be crazy to ignore it -- but the subject matter is a tough sell, to say the least; moviegoers have been beaten over the head with this stuff for years, and more than a few of them are liable to pass on spending money to hear more of it.
Trailer Highlight: Given the parties involved, the trailer is surprisingly crappy; most of it consists of close-ups of the stars delivering less-than-scintillating dialogue.
Bottom Line: Our enthusiasm has cooled.
Official Site: http://lionsforlambs.unitedartists.com/
(Paramount, November 16)
Starring: Ray Winstone, Crispin Glover, Anthony Hopkins, Angelina Jolie, John Malkovich, Robin Wright Penn, Alison Lohman, Brendan Gleeson, Dominic Keating, Ric Young, Chris Coppola
Director: Robert Zemeckis
The Pitch: The Old English poem we all had to read in high school gets the big-budget epic treatment courtesy of director Zemeckis, who's using an updated version of the performance-capture animation techniques he used to make "The Polar Express."
The Buzz: A "Beowulf" even tangentially related to "The Polar Express" sounds utterly dreadful, but hold on -- the script was co-written by Neil Gaiman, who has stayed on as a producer throughout the film's bumpy development cycle, and Gaiman has described the film as "cheerfully violent and very, very weird."
Trailer Highlight: Jolie gets the Jessica Rabbit treatment from Zemeckis' animation army.
Bottom Line: Did we mention Crispin Glover is Grendel? And freakin' Angelina Jolie is Grendel's mom? Rumors of an IMAX-only NC-17 version should only heighten the anticipation.
Official Site: http://www.beowulfmovie.com
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (20th
Century Fox, November 16)
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Natalie Portman, Jason Bateman
Director: Zach Helm
The Pitch: The eccentric owner of a magical toy store (Hoffman) receives some unhappy news from his straight-laced accountant (Bateman) and decides to give the shop to his employee, the awkward and insecure Molly Mahoney (Portman).
The Buzz: On one hand, Hoffman and Portman teaming up for a big-budget holiday kids' movie seems like a slam dunk. On the other hand, the last time Hoffman did something like this, it ended up being "Hook."
Trailer Highlight: "Stupid zebra."
Bottom Line: Your kids will want to see it, and if the trailer is anything to go by, it won't be a painful experience; Bateman does his thing well, Portman's cute as a button (despite the post-"V for Vendetta" haircut) and Hoffman is, well...Hoffman.
Official Site: http://www.magorium.com/
August Rush (Warner Bros., November 21)
Starring: Freddie Highmore, Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Terrence Howard, Robin Williams, William Sadler
Director: Kirsten Sheridan
The Pitch: Russell and Rhys-Meyers play a pair of lovebirds from opposite sides of the tracks whose love child is taken from them (apparently by her overbearing family) and given up for adoption. Years later, the child -- who knows his parents are musicians -- decides to find them by leaving the adoption agency, heading to New York, and playing some music of his own.
The Buzz: Sounds like "Patch Adams" with strings, no? The trailer, unfortunately, doesn't do much to suggest otherwise.
Trailer Highlight: Robin Williams as Toby Keith's gay uncle.
Bottom Line: The presence of Terrence Howard gives us a glimmer of hope, but if the trailer's any indication, this is the type of film that normally comes with a Hallmark or Lifetime logo attached.
Official Site: http://www.augustrushmovie.com/
(Disney, November 21)
Starring: Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden, Timothy Spall, Idina Menzel, Rachel Covey, Susan Sarandon
Director: Kevin Lima
The Pitch: A Disney princess is banished from the kingdom by an evil queen and must be rescued by her dashing knight. Sounds like pretty standard stuff, right? Well, there's a twist -- the princess is banished to the real, non-animated world, where she's played by Amy Adams, and where she bumps into Patrick Dempsey.
The Buzz: Even with the twist (and a suddenly employable Dempsey), this doesn't look like it stands much of chance at anything resembling an appreciable box-office gross, but you never know -- the trailer features a number of surprisingly funny moments, and the idea of Disney making fun of itself is pretty appealing.
Trailer Highlight: "Don't sing. It's okay. You know? Let's just walk."
Bottom Line: Come Thanksgiving, this could be something for the whole family to enjoy.
Official Site: http://www.enchantedmovie.com/
Stephen King's The Mist (MGM, November
Starring: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Andre Braugher, Laurie Holden, Toby Jones, William Sadler, Frances Sternhagen
Director: Frank Darabont
The Pitch: Darabont tackles his third King adaptation with "The Mist," and this time, he's finally taking on one that's supposed to be scary. Taken from a short story, "The Mist" focuses on the creepy-crawlies that invade a small Maine town, and the connection this has with something called the Arrowhead Project.
The Buzz: The director's previous King-inspired outings were "The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Green Mile," so he's earned our trust; having said that, until we see a trailer, there isn't much worth getting terribly excited about.
Trailer Highlight: N/A
Bottom Line: It won't be as good as "Shawshank," but hey, few movies are.
Official Site: N/A