Tuesday, November 01, 2011

November at the Movies

 

Ides

  • This article was first published on 01/11/11 in VIDA magazine.
  • Release dates are subject to change. All films released locally by KRS Film Distributors Ltd.

film of the month:

The Ides of March

George Clooney is not just a pleasant leading man with nicely-chiselled features. Amongst other things, he’s been trying his hand at directing for the past decade, and his 2005 film Good Night, and Good Luck, which he directed, starred in and co-wrote, is a flawless little gem that has class written all over it. He’s now returning to the political arena with another film in which he also stars, this time as an American presidential candidate.

As the presidential hopeful builds momentum and seems destined for the White House, his campaign is being run by a junior, but very talented, campaign manager (Ryan Gosling, who seems to be in everything nowadays, and was particularly good in the recent Crazy Stupid Love and Drive). Offers start to come in, as I’m sure they do in real life, of shows of support in return for favours later on. But the candidate tries to stick to his principles, and the campaign manager isn’t sure which side to stay on.

Rounding off the impressive cast are Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote, Magnolia), Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny, The Wrestler), Paul Giamatti (Sideways, Cinderella Man) and Jeffrey Wright (Casino Royale, Syriana). With the media-heavy Obama campaign fresh in our minds, it’s easy to imagine Clooney in the role, and this time we get to see what goes on behind the scenes. With a title like this, I guess we can safely assume there will be a certain amount of back-stabbing.

 


also released this month:

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1

Yes, that is the actual title. Since the Harry Potter final film split seemed to work nicely, this other fantasy franchise decided to hop on the money train too. So the fourth and final book in the werewolves vs. vampires love story will be fleshed out into two films. This is great news for Twilight fans, I imagine. The chapter kicks off with a wedding, but it turns out that marriages between humans and the undead aren’t such a good idea after all. Needless to say, this is only for those who have watched (and enjoyed) the previous three films.

 

The Rum Diary

Johnny Depp continues to mix staple, blockbuster roles (such as the cash behemoth he heads as Jack Sparrow) with smaller, more intriguing films. One of his weirdest trips was the drug-fuelled haze of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, based on the book by Hunter S. Thompson, which was a perfect fit for the eccentric talents of director Terry Gilliam, and Depp. This new film is an adaptation of another book by the same author, and this time takes us to Puerto Rico, where an American journalist immerses himself fully into the local craziness, aided significantly by the joys of rum. This should be fun.

 

Happy Feet 2

Happy Feet was an icy-cool breath of fresh air, that came out of nowhere and was one of the most original, and enjoyable, animated films of recent years. But despite what appeared to be a fluffy, jukebox-style first half, it also dared to delve deeper, and had a few disturbing and thought-provoking moments later on. Thankfully, the sequel is still the work of George Miller (who was also the man behind Babe), so hopefully it won’t descend into cheap sequel-itis. Elijah Wood (you know, Frodo) returns as Mumble the penguin, although he’s now all grown-up and doing some parenting of his own. Also reprising their vocal roles are Robin Williams and Hugo Weaving, and joining the arctic fun are Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Pink, and Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara.

 

Tower Heist

I love heist films, and this one’s a comedy too. Director Brent Ratner has successfully juggled crime and comedy in the past with the Rush Hour films, and this time he has an incredible cast at his disposal - Ben Stiller (Tropic Thunder), Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone), Matthew Broderick (Godzilla), Alan Alda (M*A*S*H, 30 Rock), Tea Leoni (Spanglish) and Gabourey Sidibe (Precious). And adding some veteran mania to the comedy is Eddie Murphy, who might be hoping this film gives his comedy career a bump in time for next year’s Oscars, which it looks like he will be hosting.

 

Straw Dogs

This is an apparently faithful remake of the disturbing 1971 film, about a young couple who drop everything and go to live in an idyllic house in the woods. They start to be harassed and taunted by workmen and neighbours, with things eventually getting very out of hand. James Marsden (Enchanted, Superman Returns) and Kate Bosworth (Blue Crush, Superman Returns) reprise the roles originally played by Dustin Hoffman and Susan George. The original film was infamous for a few graphic scenes, so this might not be for everyone.

 

Contagion

Disaster movies are fun. Those standard shots of newscasters announcing the tragedy, presidents calling for calm, and (this one is obligatory) people slowly getting out of their cars in standstill traffic, make for great cinema, with us viewers obviously rooting for the human race. And amongst all disasters, outbreaks are often the most chilling, since we have been subjected to similar, but thankfully better-controlled, epidemics in the past few years. No matter how scary an alien looks, it can’t cause as much paranoia and panic as an invisible virus that you could pick up by touching a door handle. Steven Soderbergh directs, and the ensemble cast consists of Marion Cottilard, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslet. It’s not every day we see a Best Actress winner be killed off in a film - but with three to choose from here, it’s safe to say we will.

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