Aliens, pacifists, and one very odd physician.
November is about more than just Thanksgiving and Black Friday deals. Like every other month… it’s also about movies. Instead of simply picking the movies we think you should see, we’ve decided to rank the films hitting theaters this month from “Maybe See” to “Must See.”
Here’s how we rank the new movies of November 2016.
10. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (11/18)
Pros: Director David Yates made some of the best Harry Potter films, so not only does he know this material but he also knows how to bring it to the screen. The cast is equally appealing with the likes of Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, (Minority Report reunion!), Ron Perlman, Ezra Miller, Katherine Waterston, and Gemma Chan all co-starring.
Cons: One of the big appeals of the Harry Potter series was seeing kids at the center of the adventure who grow up throughout it, but here it’s an adult named Newt Scamander and he’s played by Eddie Redmayne. This is not as appealing. Equally off-putting is the announcement by Warner Bros. that a total of five movies are planned from J.K. Rowling’s 128 page book. I mean, it worked so well for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit…
9. Shut In (11/11)
Pros: Naomi Watts in a lead role in a supernatural horror thriller is enough for me, but I also like how the film’s plot is far removed from the norm. It’s difficult to predict where the story’s going from the trailer, and that’s a luxury we rarely find these days. Plus Oliver Platt!
Cons: Between this and writer Christina Hodson’s next film, Unforgettable, I’m preemptively annoyed that both titles are lifted from previous films. Last year’s Shut In is a terrific little thriller that deserves better than being overshadowed by a bigger-budgeted title.
8. Trash Fire (11/4)
Pros: This is the first of three movies on this list that I’ve already seen, so I already know it’s a wickedly funny, cruelly twisted, and tonally-wild film. [My review.]
Cons: As much as I love it, I know most viewers won’t quite connect in the same way. It’s a harsh film in its humor, dialogue, and intentions, and it’s almost guaranteed to leave some people very upset.
7. Loving (11/4)
Pros: Director Jeff Nichols hasn’t made a lot of films, but even his small filmography is enough to earn his new projects must-watch status. His latest diverts from his past fictions to tell an important, and sadly still timely, true tale of love, hatred, and acceptance. [Our review.]
Cons: His last film, Midnight Special, is actually his weakest. Don’t @ me.
6. Moana (11/23)
Pros: Co-directors Ron Clements and John Musker previously brought us the likes of The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Great Mouse Detective, and Hercules. Disney Animation’s been on a solid streak the last few years with their most recent, the absolutely terrific Zootopia, being one of the year’s best films. The voice cast includes Alan Tudyk, Jemaine Clement, and Dwayne Johnson (who plays Maui, which just so happens to be my favorite island getaway.)
Cons: Co-directors Don Hall and Chris Williams previously brought us the likes of Bolt.
5. Allied (11/23)
Pros: It’s a new film from the director of Cast Away and Contact and the writer of Locke and Eastern Promises.
Cons: It’s a new film from the director of The Walk and Flight and the writer of Burnt and Seventh Son.
4. Doctor Strange (11/4)
Pros: The latest entry in the Marvel Universe stands apart from the norm thanks to its atypical hero, and that’s enough to make it worth anticipating. The trippy visuals and a cast that includes Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton, Scott Adkins, and others are equally exciting. [Our review.]
Cons: Casting Swinton as the Ancient One ‐ an Eastern mystic who’s always been represented as an Asian character ‐ seems insensitive and irresponsible even to me, and I’ve never read a single Doctor Strange comic. The introduction of magic and metaphysics into the Marvel Universe also threatens to upend the conversation some. What good are metal suits and sticky fingers when there’s a guy who can bend the world?
3. Manchester By the Sea (11/18)
Pros: Kenneth Lonergan’s latest was my favorite film at Sundance, and it’s remained one of my favorites across the nine months and 180+ movies since. Few films have mixed grief, humor, and humanity with such perfection.
Cons: Rumors are swirling that a new edit for the film has lessened its impact, and that would be a damn shame if true.
2. Hacksaw Ridge (11/4)
Pros: Mel Gibson makes visceral films as a director that embrace violence from its conception to its repercussions, and his latest looks to continue that trend. The fact that it’s a true story about a man who refused to commit violence makes it even more compelling.
Cons: It’s opening against a Marvel film, but I’m hoping it works as counter-programming and manages to find an audience.
1. Arrival (11/11)
Pros: This is the film that knocked Manchester By the Sea out of my top spot for the year. It’s a stunning, affecting, and beautiful slice of sci-fi perfection. Even Jeremy Renner shines! [My review.]
Cons: I can’t see it for the first time again.
Related Topics: Comics