10 Must-See Movies of November 2011

Last month the Oscar season officially kicked off, and this month we’ll be getting plenty more Oscar baiters and real contenders to add to the mix. We’ll get another Brett Ratner film, the 25th film of the decade from Clint Eastwood, another upbeat audience friendly film from Lars von Trier, and the most expected and clichéd, a Martin Scorsese “kids” film.

A fairly promising month, right? I’ve already seen a few films coming out this month, and there’s plenty of good-to-great films to see, even one or two that didn’t make it on this list.

Honorable Mentions: My Week with Marilyn (an extremely enjoyable film with a great performance by Kenneth Branagh), Elite Squad: The Enemy Within, and London Boulevard (a solid anti-cliché gangster film). But here are the names who made it all the way to the top ten:

10. J. Edgar (November 9th)

God, I hope this is Clint Eastwood’s comeback. The last memorable film he made was Letters From Iwo Jima, and since then it’s been mediocre disappointment after mediocre disappointment. ChangelingGrand TorinoInvictus, and the noble effort Hereafter are all Eastwood at his most schmaltzy and condescending. Getting an idea in an Eastwood film isn’t enough now, he wants to hammer you in the face with it. Hopefully with a good script from Dustin Lance Black (Milk), this will mark Eastwood’s return with a grand biopic.

9. The Muppets (Nov 23rd)

Considering I don’t have a great nostalgia for The Muppets, my excitement for their return is not as flaming and uncontrollable as most on the internet. With that said, boy, those parody trailers have been great. Nearly every one of them have been as clever as I hope the film will be. Having Jason Segel shepherding the project is a promising sign that that will be the case. This seems to be a project coming out of true love for these characters, especially for Segel, rather than some cheap cash grab. The first online reactions from last night’s L.A. press screening imply that the film will get me on the Muppets bandwagon, and make any fan tear up and smile ear to ear.

8. Into the Abyss (Nov 11th)

Another year, another Werner Herzog film. The word of mouth on the festival circuit has been fantastic, so this is undoubtedly going to be another home run for the filmmaker. Although, despite being in the minority on this, I was slightly underwhelmed by Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams. To sound more snobby, it wasn’t one of his greater films. From what I and everyone else who pays attention has heard, his documentary on death row is a moving and humanistic exploration on life and death.

7. Immortals (Nov 11th)

The trailers for Tarsem‘s Immortals haven’t been anything to write home about. There’s an odd stiltedness to how the footage is being showed, and they make the film look shockingly small in scope. One point the trailers do get across: This is a Tarsem picture. The Fall is one of the best films of its decade and The Cell is a disturbing and visually engaging thriller; the visionary has his own style. Whether his action sequences and the picture itself will go beyond, “That looks beautiful,” remains unseen, but a Tarsem film is still a Tarsem film.

6. Tyrannosaur (Nov 18th)

I have not seen Paddy Considine‘s feature debut and festival favorite Tyrannosaur yet. However, our own Kate Erbland has, and she described it, to paraphrase, as: too bleak, everyone in it is either broken or are their way to becoming broken, uncomfortable, and that it “made her sick to her stomach.” Sign me up!

All you really need to know about Jack is his favorite movies are: The Last Detail, Rumble Fish, Sunset Boulevard, The Truman Show, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, The Verdict, Closer, Shadow of a Doubt, The Long Goodbye, Spider-Man 2, Jaws, Adaptation, Get Carter, The Last Days of Disco, Carnal Knowledge, Almost Famous, Ed Wood, Ace in the Hole, Barton Fink, and L.A. Confidential.

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