November is set to be an unusual month. Why? Because there are A LOT of potentially great movies being released, so much so that there’s an extra ‘Special Mentions’ section after the usual top four this month. It’s unusual for a month to be so jam-packed with must-sees, however it’s a fair theory that releasing a movie now means it’s likely to be better remembered by those who get to decide the nominees and winners during award season early next year. Many of this month’s films have also done the film festival circuits this year, and so now is about the right time for them to have a wider release. Most of them certainly are awards fodder (while others just look purely entertaining), but for good reason, so be sure to set some time aside for as many movie trips as you can during the cold and dark November days.
Motherless Brooklyn (1st)
Edward Norton has done many, many amazing films and given many amazing award-worthy performances, but his role in Motherless Brooklyn has the potential to be his very best yet. Not only that, but he has written and directs the feature too (based on a novel), so overall it could end up being his magnum opus (and maybe finally land himself an Academy Award?). Although it appears to be your standard 1950s-set detective story, it adds a few extra aspects to make it just that bit more interesting. Oh, there’s also a new original song from Thom Yorke (featuring Flea), for any of his/Radiohead fans out there.
The Irishman (8th)
There has been so much ado over this movie, with critics absolutely raving about it. It’s probably to be expected from a movie starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and a pulled-out-of-retirement Joe Pesci (not to mention the likes of Anna Paquin and Harvey Keitel) and directed by Martin Scorsese – not many movies can boast veteran artists of such a high calibre. As a result, expectations are the highest they could possibly be for a movie. And, at three-and-a-half-hours long (yes, you read that right, 210 minutes), you’ll want to make sure you’re suitably hydrated, stocked up on snacks and you’ve pre-trained your bladder. Fingers crossed it truly is worth the time.
Last Christmas (15th)
What would the Christmas period be without a Christmas-set rom-com? Usually these movies are the cheesiest and most cringe-worthy of the year, but Last Christmas‘s trailer boasts a story that could live up to being a future must-watch-every-Christmas, up there with Christmas staples like It’s a Wonderful Life, Love Actually and Home Alone. With a gorgeous, (mostly) talented and popular cast, this one could definitely be the Christmas movie of 2019.
Non-English language choice:
La Belle Époque (22nd)
Something a little different to brighten the darker and drearier days, this French offering has an intersting plot that’s infused with some seemingly great dry comedy. Quite often with foreign-language movies we get a lot of heavier themes and/or arthouse cinema coming to our shores (probably because they’re the most likely to be praised by critics and therefore gain audiences), but this one appears to be a bit more laid back than that.
After the Wedding (1st) – An original story based on the Danish film of the same name (with gender roles reversed), starring Michelle Williams, Julianne Moore and Billy Crudup.
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound (1st) – A very interesting documentary on the importance of sound and music in film, featuring interviews with the likes of Steven Spielberg, Sofia Coppola and Ryan Coogler.
Sorry We Missed You (1st) – The latest commentary on the life of a working-class British family from acclaimed director Ken Loach (Kes, I, Daniel Blake).
Tales from the Lodge (1st) – A British horror-comedy that appears to be a mix of Shaun of the Dead and Ghost Stories, starring Mackenzie Crook and Johnny Vegas.
Luce (4th) – A controversial film that looks at the reprecussions of assuming an idealised version of a person who may not be all you think they are, featuring Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, Tim Roth and Kelvin Harrison Jr.
Back Roads (15th) – A story of a broken family with more secrets buried than they know of, directed by and starring Alex Pettyfer, also featuring Robert Patrick and Juliette Lewis.
Little Monsters (15th) – Another Shaun of the Dead-inspired zombie movie that provides a story not yet seen from the zombie-comedy-horror genre, starring Lupita Nyong’o and Josh Gad.
Greener Grass (22nd) – An exaggerated look at the Stepford-wife, desperate-housewife type that mixes comedy with eccentricity to give something of Lynchian vibe.
Harriet (22nd) – Tells the incredible story of Harriet Tubman, featuring Cynthia Erivo as the titular character.
Judy & Punch (22nd) – Something a bit different that reworks the Punch & Judy characters to create an intriguing tale, starring Mia Wasikowska and Damon Herriman.
The Public (22nd) – A story that lays bare the fine line between being a lawful citizen or a decent human being, written, directed and starring Emilio Estevez, featuring Alec Baldwin and Taylor Schilling.
The Rhythm Section (22nd) – A potential career-best performance for Blake Lively as she portrays a woman seeking justice when a plane crash that killed her family turns out to be something other than an accident, also starring Jude Law.
Them That Follow (22nd) – A strange story of a cult that harbours deeper secrets than just handling dangerous snakes to prove themselves to God, starring Olivia Colman and Kaitlyn Dever.
Knives Out (26th) – A mystery-comedy-drama from Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson that looks like something of a whodunnit, Cluedo type (Clue to Americans), that also boasts an all-star cast, including Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon and Toni Collette.
The Nightingale (26th) – Writer/director Jennifer Kent’s first full-length feature after her acclaimed movie The Babadook (and second full-length feature overall), The Nightingale retains a lot of the eeriness and psychological trauma that The Babadook had and has potential to be just as successful.
Other November releases: