November 2008 Movies, Quantum of Solace, Twilight, The Soloist, The Road

2008 Fall Movie Preview: November

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Quantum of Solace (November 14)

When last we saw Agent 007, he was heartbroken over the betrayal (and death) of his lady friend Vesper – and he’d set out to exact revenge on the men who’d used her to further their schemes. Somewhat atypically for the Bond universe, the follow-up, “Quantum of Solace,” picks up right where the last film left off, delving deeper into the conspiracy at the heart of “Casino Royale” (via plenty of globetrotting action, of course).

The plot is far too complicated to get into here, but no matter; all you really need to know is that Daniel Craig is back as Bond, Judi Dench returns as M, and the latest bevy of beauties includes Olga Kurylenko and Gemma Arterton. Cue the theme music already!

Watch the Trailer

Twilight (November 21)

If you’re a girl between the ages of, say, nine and 35, you’re probably already well-acquainted with Stephanie Meyer’s vampire romance novels. The four-part series, which kicked off with “Twilight” and ended just a few weeks ago with the bestselling “Breaking Dawn,” has inspired the sort of feverish devotion rarely seen outside of…well, the “Harry Potter” universe, which might have something to do with why “Twilight” inherited the slot abdicated by the latest “Potter” sequel when Warners bumped it back to the summer of next year.

Even if you haven’t read the books, however, you know the story – there’s this girl, see, and she meets this vampire, and he’s just so dreamy that she can’t help falling in love with him. Or maybe the nice werewolf next door? It’s so hard to decide. What’s a girl to do? The answer to that question, if Summit Entertainment has done its job correctly, is “break the box office” and “spawn a series of sequels.”

Watch the Trailer

The Soloist (November 21)

They’ve both dabbled in blockbuster popcorn fare recently, but with “The Soloist” – a based-on-a-true-story drama inspired by the heartwarming exploits of Los Angeles Times reporter Steve Lopez, and his friendship with a schizophrenic homeless man (and musical prodigy) named Nathaniel Ayers – Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. will seek to remind us that they’re real actors.

Of the two actors, Foxx needs a prestige boost more – Downey delivered plenty of well-received performances in dramas and indie flicks before busting back out with “Iron Man” and “Tropic Thunder,” but Foxx followed up the critically beloved “Ray” with “Stealth” and “The Kingdom.” It’s easy to be cynical and accuse Foxx of returning to the “playing a disabled musical genius” well, but if “The Soloist” works as well as it’s supposed to, we’ll all be too busy applauding his performance (and the talent of his real-life subject) to care.

The Road (November 26)

For decades, he was better known to literary eggheads than pop culture mavens, but since scoring a Pulitzer for the novel this movie is based on – and having his “No Country for Old Men” turned into one of 2007’s best-reviewed movies – the 75-year-old Cormac McCarthy has gone from being just another reclusive author to one of Hollywood’s favorite sources of inspiration.

If the syrupy-sweet movies that tend to typify Hollywood’s end-of-year offerings leave you cold, you’ll want to pay attention to “The Road”: not only does it star Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron, it’s a grim tale of a father and son wandering through a hellish post-apocalyptic wilderness in search of warmth and safety that may never be found. Commercially, it may well be overshadowed by less demanding fare like “Bolt” or “Four Christmases,” but if your tastes run to weightier stuff, “The Road” will provide the perfect bookend to a fall season that started with “Burn After Reading” and included “Changeling.”

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