I’m not doing it. I’m not opening the door to November. As soon as I do, December will just come rushing in after him and before you know it- KABLAM- it’s 2015. I know it’s pointless to resist the passage of time, but I really like 2014. We went fishing together in Canada and even bought silly hats to commemorate our adventures in all things rustic and agrarian. It’s just feels so sudden, you know? Whilst I may be hesitant to invite in the future, I’m more than happy to tell you why you should give them a call and have them come around for an afternoon’s tea. I mean, just look at all these ruddy new films that are coming out next month. LOOK AT THEM!
Interstellar – 7th November
For all his cold, calculating devotion to professionalism and spectacle, Christopher Nolan doesn’t half make a good slab of film cake. I know an overwhelming portion of that is down to his none-more-top-notch selection of actors and effects teams, but it takes a certain kind of fella to bring ’em all together. Unlike in previous Nolan epics, wherein a handsome white male must use his considerable skill and professionalism to overcome any and all personal and emotional turmoil, Interstellar sees modern golden child and handsome white male Matthew McConaughey being forced to use his considerable skill as a professional space shuttle pilot to overcome the personal and emotional turmoil that waits for him back on a pre-apocalyptic, dust-bowl Earth… Wait a minute… Goddamn it Christopher Nolan! Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and Nolan-good-luck-charm Michael Caine also star.
Set Fire to the Stars – 7th November
If you’re going to do a quasi-biographical film about the later years of Dylan Thomas, a man whose own Wikipedia page calls him a “roistering, drunken and doomed poet”, then you aren’t going to get to do it by halves. You’re going to want an awkwardly affable joint lead, like Elijah Wood for example, and an especially-constructed soundtrack by contemporary Welshman Gruff Rhys (whose full name beggars belief). You’re also going to want to have it all in black and white. For reasons. Once you get all that together, you’ll end up with something that more or less resembles Set Fire to the Stars. More or less.
The Skeleton Twins – 7th November
Being really, bloody English I have a very bad idea of what SNL is (could it be some kind of futuristic snail that only uses capital letters and consonants?), that said I am familiar with two of its most recent and prestigious alumni: Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader. Whilst their biggest claims to fame would be Bridesmaids and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs respectively, it’s kinda nice to see them together in a much more earnest, grown-up and heartfelt piece of cinema about estranged twins coming together after a decade of cold distance. The ’80s power ballad dance is a given, heck, it’s in the bloody trailer. See?
The Drop – 14th November
I swear Tom Hardy is a chameleon. He’s a chameleon that looks like Tom Hardy. I know how daft that sounds, but just looking at him in the trailer for The Drop isn’t like looking at the man who was Bane, or Bronson or even Eames from Inception. He just seems to blend into the Brooklyn background like he was always there, alongside the late, great James Gandolfini (whose riffing on his Tony-Soprano-esque nature here looks de-licious). And did I mention Noomi Rapace? That former dragon-tattoo-bearing girl done good from the looks and sounds of it here. But what’s it all about, Scott? Short answer: crime. Longer answer: crimey-crime.
The Imitation Game -14th November
Renowned photo-bomber, consulting detective, founder of WikiLeaks, enemy of Starfleet, cultural icon, meme engine, otter and fire drake of the north Benedict Cumberbatch finally finds time to put in some right good cinematic acting. I wouldn’t dare accuse the man of not trying before, but the story of Alan Turing’s journey to break the German Enigma code is fraught with so much personal drama that it’s going to take all the man’s got to sell it (which by all early reports, he has). If you’re searching for a WW2 drama about computers, secrets, codes, and civil rights and a typecast Charles Dance and Keira Knightley, then search no further.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 – 21st November
Look, guys, I’m not even going to pretend to know what’s going on with The Hunger Games. It’s not that I don’t like the books or the idea behind it, I just never really got into it. From what I do know, they’re all pretty darn fantastic tales of dystopian futures gone tits-up with a focus on a child murder-a-thon called The Hunger Games, which Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen has survived a few times, despite her permeating boy troubles. How this leads us to what appears to be an awesomely full-blown proletarian insurgency in the first part of the finale, Mockinjay – Part 1 is clear to everybody but me. I should probably rectify that, right?
Get On Up – 21st November
I love James Brown. Not only for his rug-cutting tunes, not only for his reinvention of stage presence, not only for his meteoric rise from grinding poverty to ultra-mega-stardom, not only for his influence over civil rights, not only for his slide into a completely deranged mania in the 1980s, but ultimately because of all those things right there. And ladies and gentlest men, when you put all those things together you get the outline for what could be a damned fine little biopic that whilst not as pinpoint in its precision as The Imitation Game, serves to deliver a fantastic story with some fantastic music. Chadwick Boseman takes the spotlight as a handsomer, leaner James Brown. Talk about shoes to fill.
What We Do in the Shadows – 21st November
Are vampires played out yet? Yes, the whole Twilight and True Blood thing imploded a short while ago (and grateful we all are for that happening as soon as it did) but we need a final mocking blow to see such a genre gone for good. So, to give that stake one final satirical twist, we’ve got What We do in the Shadows. Served as a mockumentary, What We Do in the Shadows follows a trio of hundreds-of-years-old vampires living in New Zealand in their quest to just get on with each other as flatmates, go to clubs and the usual foppish palaver. When a fresh, naive vampire suddenly appears on the scene they make it their duty to take him in, with expectedly chaotic results.
Paddington – 28th November
Am I saying “go and see Paddington”? No. Not even. All I am saying is if, like me, you were raised on the beautifully-crafted books and 1970’s stop-motion television show about Paddington Bear, then on the 28th of November this year you might want to note that the begrudging, long-in-the-tooth film adaption rears its head. If your kids really want to go see it, show them the show instead. Seriously there’s a few of them on YouTube, look:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCPnsqxDKf4. If they don’t budge, well… my condolences.
Monsters: Dark Continent – 28th November
As you might recall, I wasn’t overly fond of the overall state of Gareth Edwards’ Monsters, but that opinion is of little regard when it comes to the man who now controls the Godzilla IP. Now we find ourselves with a sequel that has absolutely nothing to do with the original. I mean it, I don’t even think they’re the same monsters. Not that they have to be mind you. It just feels… unnecessarily tied in, y’know? That said, with the current troubles in the Middle East, having a film about American soldiers losing their shit against a truly alien thing in a similar setting seems unnaturally apt. This could either be really something of the moment, or be a whole load of awkward fizzle.
2001: A Space Odyssey (BFI re-release) – 28th November
I shouldn’t need to tell you the importance of 2001: A Space Odyssey, especially seeing that this month opened with the next leap in big-idea science fiction, Chris Nolan’s Interstellar, that wouldn’t even be conceivable without it. If you have ever wanted to see Stanley Kubrick’s definitive take on Arthur C. Clarke’s fiction in all its digitally-remastered glory, then at the end of this month, you can. And just to clarify, this isn’t a George Lucas definition of ‘digitally-remastered’. How could you even suggest that? Shame on you. Whilst 2001: A Space Odyssey may have been scavenged for references in everything from The Simpsons to Tim Burton’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, it still demands to be seen on the big screen in all its undiluted glory. So do it.