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The 6 Indie Films You Must See This November

Indiewire By Indiewire | Indiewire November 1, 2013 at 11:12AM

From the latest from Alexander Payne and Alex Gibney to sure fire bets for Matthew McConaughey and Judi Dench to nab Oscar nominations, here's 6 films you should definitely try and see this November.
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"Nebraska."

It will be difficult for the month of November to size up to its predecessor. From studio offerings ("Gravity" and "Captain Phillips") to indies ("12 Years a Slave," "All is Lost" and "Kill Your Darlings") to docs ("The Square) to foreign films ("Blue is the Warmest Color"), October 2013 might have just been one of the best months for film releases on record... So where do we go from here? Well, catch up on those films if you haven't seem them all, for starters. And then there is actually a handful of films coming out this month to add to that list as well...

As an extension of our fall indie preview, Indiewire is offering the third of four monthly fall "must-see" lists to make cinematic decision-making amidst this alleged month or months as easy as possible. It might not be October, but from the latest from Alexander Payne and Alex Gibney to sure fire bets for Matthew McConaughey and Judi Dench to nab Oscar nominations, here's 6 films you should definitely try and see this November:

1. Nebraska (November 15)
Director: Alexander Payne
Cast: Cast: Will Forte, Bruce Dern, June Squibb, Bob Odenkirk, Stacy Keach
Distributor: Paramount Vantage
Criticwire Grade: B+
Why is it a "Must See"?  Ever since it premiered at Cannes earlier this year, Alexander Payne's "Nebraska" has been slowly building Oscar buzz that should only increase as it finally hits theaters this month. Written by Bob Nelson (the first time Payne wasn't directly involved in writing a film he's directed), the comedic drama stars Bruce Dern (who won best actor at Cannes and is a shoo-in for his first Oscar nomination in over 35 years) and Will Forte (of "Saturday Night Live" fame, pulling off a largely dramatic role) as a father and son road tripping it from Montana to Nebraska to claim the alleged prize money the mentally deteriorating father thinks he's won. It's a heartfelt, crowdpleasing film about nostalgia and family and legacy that's definitely unlike anything else coming to theaters this month (in the best possible way).

Check out the trailer below:


2. Dallas Buyers Club (November 1)
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto, Dallas Roberts, Jane McNeill, Steve Zahn
Distributor: Focus Features
Criticwire Grade: B+
Why is it a "Must See"?  It doesn't take long to establish the challenge of Matthew McConaughey's performance in "Dallas Buyers Club," both for him and viewers implicitly asked to accept it. The emaciated actor, playing a straight man who just learned he has AIDS, glares at his doctor and fires back that there's no way he's got "that Rock-cock-sucking-Hudson bullshit." McConaughey, who shed nearly a quarter of his body weight for the role, makes clear the artificial nature of his screen presence from the outset, then spends most of the movie strengthening its credibility. After starting out as a mean-spirited philanderer, he gradually softens up under dire circumstances. The chief emotional pull comes from the way he initially rejects others' help and eventually decides to join their cause. Shot with a gritty naturalism that draws out the Western dimensions of the setting, "Dallas Buyers Club" matches Woodruff's tough situation with an equally dour atmosphere. It wrestles with the heavy material like the cowboys and cattle at the rodeo that frames its events, and McConaughey proves himself a proficient rider. Read Indiewire's full review here.

Check out the trailer below:


3. Philomena (November 27)
Director: Stephen Frears
Cast: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, Michelle Fairley, Mare Winningham, Anna Maxwell Martin
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Criticwire Grade: B+
Why is it a "Must See"?  After a few misfires ("Tamara Drewe," "Lay The Favorite"), Stephen Frears returns to critical -- and likely audiences' -- good graces with this take on the true story of Philomena Lee (Judi Dench), a 70 year old woman searching for the son that was taken away from her 50 years prior after she became pregnant and was forced to live in a convent. Philomena's story finds its way to a prickly journalist played Steve Coogan (who also wrote the screenplay, which won him a prize at the Venice Film Festival), and the two set off in search together.  It makes for a lovely at times quite powerful story, heightened by Dench's effortless titular performance (that should earn her another Oscar nomination) and a screenplay sprinkled with a few welcome doses of comedy.

Check out the trailer below:

4. The Pervert's Guide to Ideology (November 1)
Director: Sophie Fiennes
Cast: Slavoj Zizeks
Distributor: Zeitgeist
Criticwire Grade: A-
Why is it a "Must See"?  The most exciting franchise continuing its life in theaters this fall? No, it's not the latest ""Hunger Games" movie or the sequel to "Thor," but rather a showcase of philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Zizek talking at length about cinema for over two hours. Following director Sophie Fiennes' 2006 "The Pervert's Guide to Cinema," this sequel involves Zizek in various costumes from famous films while discussing psychoanalytic theory, digging into the profound ideas about society and the human condition as far reaching as "The Searchers" and "Taxi Driver." Reviewing "Ideology" at last year's Toronto International Film Festival, David D'Arcy wrote that "Zizek’s deadpan Marx-infused wit is post-Yugoslav stand-up comedy." We can't think of a better form of counter-programming to any of your current multiplex options.

Check out the trailer below:


5. The Armstrong Lie (November 8)
Director: Alex Gibney
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Criticwire Grade: B+
Why is it a "Must See"?  Academy Award-winning documentarian Alex Gibney ("Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room," "Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer") has quickly evolved as a filmmaker synonymous with rise and fall character portraits. With the Lance Armstrong career-crumbling lying spree still lingering in the public spotlight, Gibney's latest film "The Armstrong Lie" is that perfectly-timed addition to his body of work. The film, which had its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, follows seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong from a cycling superstar to a professionally-bankrupt liar. Unlike his previous films, Gibney's "The Armstrong Lie" holds the filmmaker partially in the limelight as Gibney confronts Armstrong for lying to him in previous interviews.

Check out the trailer below:


6. The Broken Circle Breakdown (November 1)
Director: Felix Van Groeningen
Cast: Veerle Baetens, Johan Heldenbergh, Nell Cattrysse, Geert Van Rampelberg, Nils De Caster, Robbie Cleiren
Distributor: Tribeca Film
Criticwire Grade: B
Why is it a "Must See"?  Belgium's entry for this year's Academy Awards (and a big winner at both Berlin and Tribeca), Felix Van Groeningen's "The Broken Circle Breakdown" is the nonlinear tale of an unlikely couple and their cancer-stricken daughter in the Flemish countryside.  It also happens to feature some of the best bluegrass across the pond from Appalachia. Weaving emotions into a grander scheme of politics and ethics that arise from stem cell research and religion, Van Groeningen lures the audience into Didier (Johan Heldenbergh) and Elise's (Veerle Baetens) insular and poetic world, one that is shattered at the height of its happiness.

Check out the trailer below:


Ramzi De Coster, Peter Knegt, Eric Kohn, Sarah Salovaara and Nigel M. Smith contributed to this article.


This article is related to: Nebraska, Dallas Buyers Club, Broken Circle Breakdown, The Armstrong Lie, Philomena, The Pervert's Guide to Ideology, Lists