NovemberDecember at the Movies
When I posted the last set of movies at the end of October, I already have the November movies chosen and just needed to right my little blurbs. I ought to have done it right then and set a publish date of November 1st, but alas I did no such thing. So here we are, middle of December, finally getting the November and December movie recs out to the clamoring masses – I know there are only like 3 of you reading them, but its still a fun exercise for me too.
Also, in personal news – I’M ENGAGED!
November at the Movies
The Holdovers – Theaters, Nov 10th
Paul Giamatti and Alexander Payne teaming up again – their previous outing the 2004 Oscar winning Sideways – “The Holdovers” is an engaging drama that skillfully balances humor and heart. The performances are top-notch, and the script is sharp and insightful. I don’t mind acknowledging that I was an absolute wreck at multiple times during this movie. Instant favorite for me, and hopefully as touching to you as well.
The Marvels – Theaters, Nov 10th
With an ensemble cast including Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, and Iman Vellani, “The Marvels” delivers a decent fusion of action and humor, but with a fair amount of homework since the latter two characters originated on Marvel television shows. We got to see some very interesting locales without the crutch of the ‘multiverse’ (at least during the movie proper) that had me pining for more of the silly storytelling and set pieces that James Gunn pioneered in the first Guardians movie. I was taken out of the movie every time I saw Larson’s landing animation, though, which spotlights the continuing issues over reliance on visual effects and the limitations and issues that that industry are experiencing.
Next Goal Wins – Theaters, Nov 17th
“Next Goal Wins” is a sports drama that presents a somewhat rote tale of the underdog soccer team of American Samoa. The film narrates their struggles and victories, making it a touching depiction of resilience and determination. While it is a sports drama, its appeal is not limited to sports enthusiasts alone, especially since the movie is largely foregrounded by fa’afafine team member, Jaiyah and their struggles. The heartening narrative and the portrayal of the human spirit may draw in those who appreciate stories of triumph in the face of adversity, though I have to echo many critics that would have rather seen an entire movie about Jaiyah, instead of having the alcoholic coach (played by Michael Fassbender) be the center of the film.
Saltburn – Theaters, Nov 22nd
I haven’t gotten to this in the theater yet, but I was originally drawn to it following Barry Keoghan absolutely fantastic last few years – browsing Instagram the other day I happened upon his heart wrenching scene opposite Kerry Condon from Banshees and was reminded just how arresting his presence can be, even as his character fumbles through his attempt to make a play for Condon’s Siobhán. I’ll reserve judgement on Saltburn, but the reviews have been surprisingly mixed – from glowing to tepid – although a promising through line is the superb acting of many of the core cast, and the stunning visuals.
December at the Movies
I was glancing back at my assertion that July was the biggest month this year for Movies, but whether it’s the end of the SAG strike, or just Holiday scheduling, December is hear to say ‘Hold my beer’.
Godzilla Minus One – Theaters, Dec 1st
A must-watch for all Godzilla fans and lovers of action-packed cinema. This movie delivers thrilling scenes and breathtaking visual effects that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The narrative brings a fresh perspective to the Godzilla universe that’s both engaging and thought-provoking – I saw one critic espouse Godzilla as one of the most flexible plot devices, and I have to agree. Whether you’re a longtime fan or new to the franchise, Godzilla Minus One is definitely worth a watch.
The Boy and the Heron – Theaters, Dec 8th
When Hayao Miyazaki announced that The Wind Rises would be his final film, I was saddened that this prolific director was putting away his directors chair. I am far from a completionist of his films, but every single one I’ve seen has drawn me into the narrative in ways many films, both animated and live, just can’t do. Luckily for us, retirement didn’t stick, and Miyazaki is back with The Boy and the Heron. Baffling many (and in doing so, drumming up its own word of mouth), Studio Ghibli opted to do no publicity in the lead up to the release. The lack of advertising doesn’t seem to have hurt the film at all, topping the US box office on its opening weekend – the only original anime production to do so.
Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire – Netflix, Dec 22nd
I’ve gushed previously about my love of original Sci-Fi story telling, and it makes me happy that streamers seem to be willing to take more chances with these types of stories. Yes, Jack Snyder originally pitched this story to Lucasfilm as a more mature, grittier tale from the Star Wars universe, but I think we’re probably better off without the influence of Darth Disney. The top three billed actors – Sofia Boutella, Djimon Hounsou, Charlie Hunnam – have all had roles in some of my favorite movies of the last 10 years, so I’m especially excited to see them headlining this new Sci-Fi epic.
The Color Purple – Theaters, Dec 25th
I had heard that a musical version of The Color Purple was on Broadway, mostly because of Fantasia Burrino’s involvement, but somehow never heard a soundtrack. Fantasia returns as Celie in this adaptation, bringing the Broadway musical to the silver screen. The movie apparently cuts a few songs from the stage production, but adds in some scenes that fans of the 1985 Spielberg adaptation will recognize. Between the cast and the trailer, I’m very excited for this one!