There’s 20 films listed on indieWIRE’s November calendar. From Lars von Trier and Werner Herzog to Marilyn Monroe and Sigmund Freud, check out indieWIRE‘s picks for the seven best options, and then check out the full calendar or iW’s fall movie preview; there’s many worthy films that didn’t make this list (including notable studio efforts like “Hugo” and “J. Edgar”).
1. Melancholia (November 11, Magnolia)
What’s The Deal? It’s the end of the world as we know it, and Lars von Trier definitely does not feel fine. Using the most depressing wedding ever as an entry point, von Trier goes apocalyptic through the story of two sisters (Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg) in dispute as the life of the planet is threatened by the planet Melancholia, which is heading toward Earth. Oh, and did we mention when the film premiered at Cannes, von Trier made jokes about Hitler and Nazis that led the festival to declare him “persona non grata”?
Who’s Already Seen It? 44 critics gave it an average of B+ on the film’s criticWIRE page.
Why is it a “Must See”? von Trier’s controversial Cannes comments aside, many critics—including indieWIRE‘s own Eric Kohn—have declared “Melancholia” a full-fledged masterpiece. Don’t you want to be the judge of that?
2. The Descendants (November 23, Fox Searchlight)
What’s The Deal? Seven years after “Sideways,” Alexander Payne is back with this adaptation of Kaui Hart Hemmings’s novel about a land baron (George Clooney), who tries to reconnect with his two daughters after his wife suffers a boating accident (and, thickening the plot, it also turns out she was having an affair).
Who’s Already Seen It? 31 critics gave it an average of B+ on the film’s criticWIRE page.
Why is it a “Must See”? In his four previous features (“Citizen Ruth,” “Election,” “About Schmidt” and “Sideways”), Payne has never disappointed, giving no reason to suggest “The Descendants” will be any different (and critics out of Toronto and Telluride seem to agree). It’s also part two of the generally reliable George Clooney’s considerable fall presence, coming after recent studio release “The Ides of March” (which he notably directed, produced, wroteand starred in).
3. The Artist (November 23, The Weinstein Company)
What’s The Deal? A black-and-white film with no stars and no dialogue, Michel Hazanavicius’ “The Artist” emerged out of Cannes as the most unlikely of major Oscar contenders. France-produced but Hollywood-set, the film takes place between 1927 and 1931 and focuses on a declining male film star and a rising actress as silent cinema grows out of fashion. Harvey Weinstein himself clearly saw something in it, nabbing it off the Croisette and into theaters this November.
Who’s Already Seen It? 18 critics gave it an average of B+ on the film’s criticWIRE page.
Why is it a “Must See”? Surprisingly accessible and endlessly entertaining, “The Artist” has the making of a extraordinarily unique specialty breakout: When was the last time a silent film brought home the bucks? With the help of Oscar, “The Artist” could very well do just that.
4. A Dangerous Method (November 23, Sony Pictures Classics)
What’s The Deal? David Cronenberg gives us his third Viggo Mortensen collaboration in a row with this historical film detailing the turbulent relationships between psychiatrist Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender), his mentor Sigmund Freud (Mortensen, though it was originally going to be Christoph Waltz) and Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), the troubled but beautiful young woman who comes between them.
Who’s Already Seen It? 29 critics have it an average of B on the film’s criticWIRE page.
Why is it a “Must See”? If the unbeatable combo of Cronenberg and Mortensen isn’t enough for you, the addition of Fassbender (reason enough to see any film in himself), Knightley and Vincent Cassel (as Otto Gross) better be.
5. My Week With Marilyn (November 4, The Weinstein Company)
What’s The Deal? The Weinstein Company brings us the first of its two British set, Oscar-hungry biopics (I wonder wherever did they get that idea?) in Simon Curtis’ “My Week With Marilyn.” Starring Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe in what is certain to give the actress her third Oscar nomination, the film details the week in which Monroe spent in London filming “The Prince and the Showgirl” with Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh).
Who’s Already Seen Them? Seven critics gave it an average of B- on the film’s criticWIRE page.
Why Are They “Must Sees”? It remains to be seen whether either film does their subjects justice, but Michelle Williams and Meryl Streep are masters of their respective generations, and generally should be trusted. Seeing them both should also give considerable insight into this year’s best actress Oscar race, of which 2/5ths could likely come from this duo.
6. Tyrannosaur (November 18, Strand Releasing)
What’s The Deal? The first feature entirely written and directed by actor Paddy Considine, “Tyrannosaur” stars Peter Mullan, Olivia Colman and Eddie Marsan. Mullan stars as a troubled man whose life gets a chance of redemption appears in the form of Hannah (Olivia Colman), a Christian charity shop worker.
Who’s Already Seen It? Eight critics gave it an average of B on the film’s criticWIRE page.
Why is it a “Must See”? Eric Kohn writes in his Sundance review: “The discomfiting story of a middle-aged drunkard overcoming his booze-fueled woes, Considine announces his directorial vision with a morbid character piece sustained by two remarkably intense performances.” He speaks of course of Mullan and Colman, who have received widespread acclaim for their work.
7. Into The Abyss (November 11, Sundance Selects)
What’s The Deal? Werner Herzog follows up “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” by delving into the legacy of a triple homicide in Texas. Thankfully not telling this tale in 3D, Herzog interviews the victims’ families and those convicted for the crime, including one man on death row, eight days before his execution
Who’s Already Seen It? Nine critics gave it an average of B on the film’s criticWIRE page.
Why is it a “Must See”? While clearly not as accessible as his box office hit “Cave,” “Into The Abyss” continues to prove Herzog’s amazing ability to output quality films at a remarkable pace. Next stop? Playing a villian opposite Tom Cruise.