NOVEMBER FILMS

A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas (Nov.4 )- The plot seems stupid (Harold and Kumar try and find a new Christmas tree), but I’m sure this movie will make me laugh, with the 3D especially played up for comedy. And I always like a good NPH dance number. Plus this will be Milken Community High School Alumnus Amir Blumenfeld’s (College Humor’s Jake and Amir shorts) debut film appearance. It’s cool that someone who went to my high school is in a real movie. Kudos to him.

My Week with Marilyn (Nov. 4)- While people were buzzing about the uncanny image of Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe, I’m more excited to see Emma Watson in her first post Harry Potter role! She has a small part as a wardrobe assistant named Lucy, so the pressure isn’t on her. Plus, to make her transition easier, she’s still surrounded by a consort of fine British actors: Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench (how was she not in any of the Harry Potters?), and Toby Jones. Emma will probably feel the pressure for her next big role; she plays Sam in the feature adaptation of the seminal teen book “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” (Raise your hand if you couldn’t believe that you were asked to, nay, allowed to, read that book for school (I am raising my hand.)). And how’s this for movie connections: the director of the film, Simon Curtis, directed the 1999 BBC Films production of David Copperfield which starred a young Daniel Radcliffe!

Tower Heist (Nov. 4)- Going through a bevy of screenwriters, and having Brett Ratner at the helm doesn’t give me confidence in a film. But I’m really happy to see fast-talking, street hustling, Eddie Murphy again. Re-watching his concert film Raw a few weeks ago reminded me what a transcendent and dynamic talent Murphy is, and what a shame its been that he’s tainted his legacy by making such horrible movies the past 10 years (Dreamgirls excluded). This movie, in addition to his upcoming Oscar hosting performance, will prove if he still has the chops (I’m sure he does) to give his career a second life. If he does, he’ll return to his rightful status of comedy royalty. I also wonder if Casey Affleck signed on to this film accidentally, thinking it was another Oceans 11.

J.Edgar (Nov.9)- If it’s fall, then it’s Oscar season! If it’s Oscar season, it’s biopic season! And if it’s biopic season, then bring out the big guns. This film’s got Oscar-winning director, Clint Eastwood, Oscar-winning screenwriter, Dustin Lance Black (Milk), and perennial Oscar-nominee Leo DiCaprio. What’s not to love? Oh did I mention it’s about America? And that Leo’s character is gay? And conflicted? And has an accent? And ages forty years? Better fill out your Oscar ballots early. Truthfully, I’m sure this movie will be interesting, but I’m also sure it will be long….very long. And probably slow at times. But J.Edgar Hoover was a fascinating man, and frankly I don’t know enough about him.  The man founded the FBI in 1935 and stayed as president until 1972! He lasted through six presidents and some of the most tumultuous times in US history. He also was a huge dick who spied on civilians and blackmailed Eleanor Roosevelt. Given that Eastwood is such a die-hard Republican and Lance Black is probably a Democrat, I wonder what political agenda the film will have. This is also Armie Hammer’s (the Winkelvoss Twins) follow-up to The Social Network. He plays J.Edgar’s right hand man and lover. An heir to the Arm&Hammer fortune, this dude is super hot in Hollywood right now (He’s playing Prince Charming in a Snow White movie, and was supposed to play The Lone Ranger opposite Johnny Depp), but frankly, I couldn’t give a shit. Fun fact: J. Edgar Hoover has been portrayed in film at least 16 times by actors such as Bob Hoskins, Ernest Borgnine, and Billy Crudup.

Jack and Jill (Nov. 11)- Adam Sandler playing a super rich guy (himself) and that super rich guy’s annoying sister (himself with a wig)?! To paraphrase South Park, Adam Sandler is really shitting in our ears, eyes and mouth. Does he think that this kind of comedy is funny or does he think that we (America) think it’s funny, so he’s just giving us what we want. People say Sandler’s early stuff was his best. But now I look back at how much I used to love them, and I am coming to believe that his movies were actually never good. I just appreciated that type of humor when I was younger. Adam Sandler’s sense of humor appeals to 14 year-old boys. Always has, always will. Comedically, he doesn’t want to mature. (Dramatically, he’s put in some fine performances.) That’s ok. Why should he? His movies consistently make over $100 million. So while I will not see this movie, I’m sure there are a lot of 14 year old boys who will enjoy it. My one big peeve is that Al Pacino is subjecting himself to this shit. I think the time has come to take him out to a field somewhere, tell him to look for the rabbits, and mercifully end it all.

The Descendents (Nov. 18)- This is Alexander Payne’s first movie in seven years since his masterpiece, Sideways. He hasn’t quite disappeared, as he produced Cedar Rapids, directed the pilot to Hung, and wrote a draft of I Now Pronounce You, Chuck and Larry (which had to have been rewritten to add more fart/fat jokes). But with this movie, starring George Clooney, Matthew Lillard (whose Shaggy was most entertaining), and Judy Greer (Arrested Development’s Kitty—“Say goodbye to these!”), it looks like Mr. Payne might be back to form. The film is about a real estate mogul in Hawaii (Clooney) whose wife is on life support, and who, along with his two daughters, must confront the man (Lillard) said wife was having an affair with. This film adaptation of the debut novel of Kaui Hart Hemmings looks like a dark, funny, dramatic, emotional roller coaster ride. George Clooney is also particularly effective when he’s in “damaged, mid-life crisis” mode. So in all, probably a moving film.

The Muppets (Nov. 23)- If the hilarious spoof previews are any indication, this is going to be a return to form for the Muppets. Unlike the ghastly turd that was Muppets from Space, this Jason Segal-penned flick looks to be a classic, good-hearted tale that has just enough sly, edgy, cheeky humor to satisfy the adults. The spirit of the movie, directed by James Bobbin (Flight of the Concords) seems to be joyful, enthusiastic and bright, which is everything Muppet movies are supposed to be. And like the Muppet movies from yore, this one’s loaded with musical numbers and dozens of celebrity cameos (I won’t spoil them.) I’m also excited that Flight of the Concords member, Bret McKenzie helped write the music. No matter what age you are, watching the Muppets makes you feel like a kid opening presents on Hannukah morning.

Hugo (Nov. 25)- The Caldecott (‘member dat?) Award winning book this movie is based on, is a recent favorite of mine. It’s enchanting, original and beautiful. It’s a 526-pager (by Brian Selznick) told through pictures and occasionally words. It’s not quite a novel, or a picture book, or a graphic-novel, or a flip-book. It’s a combination of all of these. It’s almost like reading a movie. For example, here is a flash version of the opening sequence. The book is about a young orphan in the 1930s who lives in a Paris train and who unlocks secrets about his father’s past with the help of a young girl. Some of the secrets involve the invention of movies, and I can’t think of a bigger cinephile than director Martin Scorsese, who is using 3D and making a family movie for the first time. I haven’t wanted to see a 3D or family movie in a long time, as most 3D movies and family movies are terrible. Yet, knowing Scorsese is behind this, I am 100% on board. The screenwriter (John Logan) is top notch, as is the cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Chloe Moretz, Christopher Lee, Jude Law, Ben Kinglsey, Ray Winstone, Emily Mortimer, Richard Griffiths and Boardwalk Empire’s Michael Pitt and Michael Sthulbarg. Hugo himself is played by an actor named Asa Butterfield who was haunting in The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas. I know what I’ll be seeing with my family this Thanksgiving.

Coming Soon: December Preview