Coming Soon: November

November hits the sweet spot of Fall releases, as the great films are poised for a strong end-of year run before awards campaigning goes into full effect. More than a few films opening this month are already garnering Best Picture buzz – I imagine the film taking home to top Oscar is in the mix here somewhere.

November 6

Spectre – What other film franchise is still going as strong as 007? The answer is none, and there’s a reason it’s still a mainstay: dashing leading man, edge-of-your-seat action and a ride always worth its ticket price. I’ll be there. Watch the trailer

Spotlight  – If I were a voting member of the Academy and they handed me a ballot to vote on Best Picture today, this would be the winner. It’s that good. Watch the trailer | Read my write-up

Trumbo – Bryan Cranston has had no trouble finding roles post-Breaking Bad, and his turn as blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo only confirms his talent for becoming someone else. Bolstered by a cast including Helen Mirren, Elle Fanning and Louis CK, the film has the slick look of Old Hollywood with the wit of the times. Watch the trailer

Brooklyn – I’ve had my eye on this one since its premiere at Sundance in January, where it nabbed early buzz as one of the best of the year, both at the festival and in general. Saoirse Ronan and Domnhall Gleeson star in a story by Nick Hornby about a young woman who has to choose between life in the old world and new. Watch the trailer

November 13

By The Sea – Noteworthy for being the first time Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have shared the screen since Mr. & Mrs. Smith, this go-round is a much more mature, slick delivery of an American couple traveling in Italy and seemingly growing apart. Watch the trailer

The 33 – In 2010, a Chilean mine caved in, trapping 33 workers underground. The world watched and waited for their rescue. And in true Hollywood fashion, the harrowing story is now a movie boasting stars like Antonio Banderas and Juliette Binoche. Heartstrings, prepare to be pulled.  Watch the trailer

Ingrid Bergman – Earlier this year, Listen To Me Marlon recounted the great actor’s life using mostly his own meticulously recorded interviews, archival footage and film clips – not your average talking-head documentary. Nows at the end of the year comes a similar glimpse into the life and work of Igrid Bergman. Watch the trailer

November 20

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 – The final installment in a film series I’ve thoroughly enjoyed following without ever having read the books from which they are adapted, I imagine only Jennifer Lawrence is glad to be done with Katniss Everdeen. Watch the trailer

Secret in Their Eyes – Julia Roberts, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman and more star in this U.S. adaptation of the 2010 Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film (from Argentina), about the unsolved murder of the daughter of one of a tight-knit team of detectives. Chances are this one, despite the slick trailer and gripping plot, won’t be repeating the Oscar wins. Watch the trailer

Carol – Like Hillary Clinton and the Democratic nomination, the general consensus is that Cate Blanchett has already won all the Best Actress awards for her turn as a suppressed ’50s housewife who finds love with another woman (Rooney Mara). Watch the trailer

Legend – Tom Hardy, besides being as dreamy as movie stars get, is also one of the most talented actors out there. He ups his own game in Legend, portraying both Ronnie and Reggie Kray, real-life twins and gangster king-pins of 1960s London. Watch the trailer

November 27

The Good Dinosaur – Pixar continues their successful release slate with this original story set in adorably prehistoric times as a cuddly dinosaur makes friends with a winningly charming young boy. Heartwarming moments abound, one can safely assume. Watch the trailer

Victor Frankenstein – James McAvoy is not nearly as big a star as he deserves to be. I’m not sure Victor Frankenstein wil do him any favors, but the filmmakers get an A for effort in reinventing a classic story of ego and god-complexes gone awry.  Watch the trailer

I Saw The Light – Tom Hiddleston has made his name in Shakespeare adaptations and comic book blockbusters; he’s earning his biopic stripes as Hank Williams in this latest turn. The field may be too crowded for it to earn him top acting honors, but it’s nevertheless nice to see T-Hidds branching out. Watch a clip Ed note: this has since been moved out of Oscar season to March 2016

The Danish Girl – Following his Oscar win, Eddie Redmayne takes on another transformation, this time into Lili Elbe, one of the first transgendered people to undergo gender reassignment surgery at the turn of the last century. Unfortunately (and I can say this, I saw it at TIFF), this one suffers from Tom Hooper’s over-done directing style and Redmayne’s over-dramatic whisper-acting, neither of which do the important subject matter any justice. Watch the trailer