Life of Pi AFI FEST

October offered up plenty of films to give this awards season a proper start. Ben Affleck once again showed he’s got one of the best eyes for tension working today; John Hawkes gave another year’s best performance in Fox Searchlight’s The Sessions; Martin McDonagh made another wicked, original dark comedy with real bite; and, who could forget, The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer made a huge box office smash which received unabashed praise up the wazoo, especially for the seamless makeup work.

While I wish Cloud Atlas did fit that description, at least for a few more years the trio’s daring and moving film will go down as a box office bomb which may or may have not been ahead of its time. No matter how Cloud Atlas stands up in a few years, it was the type of ambition which served as another reminder of how important going to the movie theater is and to truly have experiences while you are there, be they good or bad.

With November 2012, there are plenty of movies to have a similar experience with, from Ang Lee‘s Life of Pi to a triumphant new Bond movie. Keep reading to find out what other eight movies you must see this month.

The Man With the Iron Fists

The Man With the Iron Fists

Opens November 2nd

This is the wild card of the month. Not only in terms of box office, since who knows if more than five people want to see a Kung-Fu movie, but whether RZA‘s directorial debut lives up to his hopes for the project. This is a big labor of love project, and if all of RZA’s ambition is on screen, then The Man With the Iron Fists should make for a good showcase of RZA’s undetermined directorial talents.

Check out the trailer.

Wreck-It Ralph

Wreck-It Ralph

Opens November 2nd

Go read my review to find out why Wreck-it Ralph is more than a nostalgia-driven gamer movie.

Check out the trailer.

Skyfall

Skyfall

Opens November 9th

For my money, Skyfall is the best entry in the Bond series. If you sorely missed the early fun of the series after the mopey Quantum of Solace, then Sam Mendes has brought back the original series’ charm for all you disappointed Bond fans. This is everything we want and expect from a Bond movie and more.

Check out the trailer.

Lincoln

Lincoln

Opens November 9th

Steven Spielberg. Daniel Day Lewis. Some guy named Abraham Lincoln. Sold.

Read the review.

Check out the trailer.

Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina

Opens November 16th

I can’t say much about Joe Wright‘s newest effort, but I will say it is less stuffy and more imaginative than the average period piece. If you want something new from that genre, you’ll be pleased with what Wright’s fresh take. If period pieces with plenty of melodrama are your bread and butter, then Anna Karenina is for you.

Check out the trailer.

Rise of the Guardians

Rise of the Guardians 

Opens November 21st

Dreamworks has been stepping up their game recently. With How to Train Your Dragon, they showed they aren’t only interested in Shrek sequel quality anymore. They went for more with Dragon, and considering all the buzz coming from the Rise of the Guardians junket, they’re still aiming higher. Plus, having Guillermo del Toro and Rabbit Hole writer David Lindsay Abaire involved certainly proves Dreamworks is out for quality animation.

Life of Pi

Life of Pi

Opens November 21st

It’s been over a month since I first saw Ang Lee‘s Life of Pi, and it has been impossible to remove the film’s images, which have been inked into my mind. Lee took a potentially sappy and ponderous story and turned it into the finest cinematic experience we’ll see all year. Imagine the spectacle of Crouching Tiger, Hiddren Dragon combined with the drama of Brokeback Mountain, and you end up with an equally terrific and moving film with Life of Pi.

Read the review.

Check out the trailer.

Silver Linings Playbook AFI FEST

Silver Linings Playbook

Opens November 21st

Another low-key, subtle dramedy from David O. Russell with an awards contender performance from Bradley Cooper. Silver Linings Playbook has all the themes and family dysfunction we expect from a Russell picture, but that doesn’t mean it’s the acclaimed director doing the same old thing. The movie is a surprisingly touching love story, something we haven’t quite seen before from Russell before. Even when the man is going out of his comfort zone, Russell still knocks it out of the park.

Check out the trailer.

Hitchcock

Hitchcock

Opens November 23rd

One of the greatest actors of all time portraying one of the greatest directors of all time? Sounds like a perfect match. It’s unfathomable not to get excited over the idea of Anthony Hopkins portraying Alfred Hitchock, shoddy makeup and all. The movie premiered at AFI FEST and was met with a positive response, with most of the praise for Hopkins and Helen Mirren. No surprise there, really.

Check out the trailer.

Killing Them Softly

Killing Them Softly

Opens November 30th

If the previously-titled Cogan’s Trade is a tenth as good as director Andrew Dominik‘s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, then we’re in for a pretty tight politically minded thriller. Based on the marketing, Killing Them Softly is far less meditative and brooding than Jesse James, but just as visually engaging. Then again, when you got Brad Pitt, Sam Shepard, James Gandolfini, and Ray Liotta as your cast, it must be hard not making a film which doesn’t drip in coolness.

Read the review.

Check out the trailer.

Honorable MentionsRust and Bone (Marion Cotillard is a shoo-in for an Oscar nod, but the movie as a whole apparently isn’t on par with her performance), Flight (a good, manipulative drama from Zemeckis), and This Must Be The Place (can’t lose with Sean Penn going goth).


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