Until the end of the year, it would seem that the trend of simply not having enough time in the day/week to see what we both want to watch and what we feel obliged to see will continue. Add to that the stress of watching as many films on our FilmStruck watch lists before the site is shut down at the end of the month. Frankly, the amount of buzz-worthy films being released in November is almost unfair. Thankfully, there are some that are certainly more worthy than others (see “Widows,” “Shoplifters,” “The Favourite” and “If Beale Street Could Talk”) and some, like “Bohemian Rhapsody” that we’ll leave up to you to decide your own anticipation level.
Cast: Rami Malek (let’s be real, it’s all about Malek)
Synopsis: A foot-stomping celebration of Queen, the band’s music, and the extraordinary singer Freddie Mercury, who defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet.
What You Need to Know: We didn’t think too kindly of Bryan Singer/Dexter Fletcher’s years-in-the-making Freddie Mercury biopic (and we weren’t alone). Despite some truly spectacular work by leading man Rami Malek who single-handedly makes for the best moments (the end), there is no looking past the heavy-handed nature of the film. Fraught with drama as director Singer reportedly fought with Malek and disappeared from the set all around the time when reports of past alleged abuse began to swirl, there’s perhaps reasoning as to why the direction is so harried and lackluster. That being said, my audience applauded at the end, so for Queen fans maybe there will be something to cheer for.
Release Date: November 2
Cast: Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe
Synopsis: The story of Jared, the son of a Baptist pastor in a small American town, who is outed to his parents at age 19. Jared is faced with an ultimatum: attend a conversion therapy program — or be permanently exiled and shunned by his family, friends, and faith.
What You Need to Know: Marking his second foray into directing feature films, “Boy Erased” starring the wonderful Lucas Hedges, Joel Edgerton has taken a different direction from his last effort “The Gift.” Based on a true story (and certainly an important one), “Boy Erased” features strong performances from Kidman and Hedges. However, there seems to be a divide in critics about whether important means good, and if the film is ever able to dig deeper than what is presented on the surface. Our critic who saw it at the Toronto Film Festival said as much, “…there will be audiences that know little of the perils of conversion therapy, and for them, this film might strike a necessary chord. But despite Kidman and Hedges’ best efforts, the picture is pockets of different narratives trying to mesh together into a complete whole.” Either way, this is a series awards contender and a film that many will want to support for the message alone, as well as the strong acting.
Release Date: November 2
“The Other Side of the Wind”
Cast: John Huston, Peter Bogdanovich, Oja Kodar, Susan Strasberg
Synopsis: A satire of Hollywood, “The Other Side of the Wind” focuses on the last days of a legendary film director named Jake Hannaford, who is struggling to forge his last great comeback as a major filmmaker.
What You Need to Know: There’s a ton of anticipation before the release of master filmmaker Orson Welles’s last film, “The Other Side of the Wind,” which has been 42 years in the making. With such a name looming overhead, expectations are high and the drama that ensued in the initial making of the film nearly as fascinating (if not more so) than the final product. It was a set riddled by everything from embezzlement to Welles taking a two-year break, seemingly putting the film in an eternal purgatory. But ‘Other Side’ finally made its debut this year to curious responses of those who will always wonder what an original cut seen through to the end by the filmmaker may have looked like. Our critic said “…the big question that will always hang over this version of “The Other Side of the Wind”: Is this truly close to the film Orson Welles would have made?”
Release Date: November 2
“The Front Runner”
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, Molly Ephraim, Kaitlyn Dever
Synopsis: The film follows the rise and fall of Senator Hart, who captured the imagination of young voters and was considered the overwhelming front-runner for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination when his campaign was sidelined by the story of an extramarital relationship with Donna Rice.
What You Need to Know: Despite being a fine performer it seems that Hugh Jackman — “Logan” aside — is attempting every role possible, in an attempt to find films that best fit his (many) talents. Sure, he’s good in the (oddly) popular “The Greatest Showman” but films such as “Chappie” and “Pan” have resulted in less than stellar turns for the jack of all trades actor. “The Front Runner” marks a change of pace to reel in his overtly performative traits for a role more subdued. It appears he’s done well, as our review points out. Directed by Jason Reitman (already having impressed crowds with this year’s “Tully”) and dropping at a point where the country’s tolerance for political assholes is less than enthused, it will be interesting to see how this one plays to general audiences.
Release Date: November 6