Movies in Theaters This Friday, November 1, 2013: Ender’s Game, Free Birds, Last Vegas, and More
November has arrived and do you feel it? It would be the surmounting pressure that comes with some of the most anticipated movies of the year. While November and December will surely have their share of Oscar candidates (and winners), this November is unusual in the amount of blockbuster-y movies on the horizon.
To kick things off we’ll finally get a film adaptation of Ender’s Game. Based on the popular military drama novel by Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game has a lot to live up to. It could be a tough sell, too, because the source material makes part of it difficult to adapt. However, the Battle School stuff and the sci-fi visual premise are practically begging to be made into a movie. As for technicals, Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) directs the movie that stars Asa Butterfield (Hugo), Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit), Harrison Ford, and Ben Kingsley.
A more family-friendly film goes to Free Birds, the story of two Thanksgiving-bound turkeys that use time travel to stop turkeys from becoming a tradition. Alliteration aside, Free Birds utilizes Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson’s voices. It’s directed by Jimmy Hayward (Jonah Hex).
The third and final wide release bridges the gap between the other two movies. Jon Turteltaub’s (National Treasure) Last Vegas, a Hangover-type comedy with some beloved older actors (Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline), could potentially be a fun movie. Or it could flop hard. We’ll know more after this weekend.
The limited releases are also a force to be reckoned with. For me personally, Jean-March Vallee’s (C.R.A.Z.Y.) Dallas Buyer’s Club shows the most promise. It stars Matthew McConaughey as an HIV-infected man that is forced to smuggle and sell drugs in order to survive. It’s based on a true story and also features Jared Leto (Requiem for a Dream) and Jennifer Garner (Juno).
Also, I’m excited to see what Diana has to offer. Based on the life of the late Princess Diana, the biopic stars Naomi Watts (The Impossible) and is directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall). The movie supposedly covers the last two years of her life up until the fateful car crash that tragically took her life.
About Time – a time travel romantic comedy starring Domhnall Gleeson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2) and Rachel McAdams (The Notebook) – and Sal – directed and starring James Franco – are both worth mentioning, too.
The rest of limited releases are Aftermath, Angels Sing, Big Sur, The Broken Circle Breakdown, Last Love, Le Week-End, Man of Tai Chi, Mr. Nobody, and The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology.
I’ve attached synopses and trailers for each film below. Enjoy!
The Earth was ravaged by the Formics, an alien race seemingly determined to destroy humanity. Seventy years later, the people of Earth remain banded together to prevent their own annihilation from this technologically superior alien species. Ender Wiggin, a quiet but brilliant boy, may become the savior of the human race. He is separated from his beloved sister and his terrifying brother and brought to battle school in orbit around earth. He will be tested and honed into an empathetic killer who begins to despise what he does as he learns to fight in hopes of saving Earth and his family.
Two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks must put aside their differences and team up to travel back in time to change the course of history – and get turkey off the holiday menu for good.
Billy (Michael Douglas), Paddy (Robert De Niro), Archie (Morgan Freeman) and Sam (Kevin Kline) have been best friends since childhood. So when Billy, the group’s sworn bachelor, finally proposes to his thirty-something (of course) girlfriend, the four head to Las Vegas with a plan to stop acting their age and relive their glory days. However, upon arriving, the four quickly realize that the decades have transformed Sin City and tested their friendship in ways they never imagined. The Rat Pack may have once played the Sands and Cirque du Soleil may now rule the Strip, but it’s these four who are taking over Vegas.
At the age of 21, Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) discovers he can travel in time…
The night after another unsatisfactory New Year party, Tim’s father (Bill Nighy) tells his son that the men in his family have always had the ability to travel through time. Tim can’t change history, but he can change what happens and has happened in his own life—so he decides to make his world a better place…by getting a girlfriend. Sadly, that turns out not to be as easy as you might think.
Moving from the Cornwall coast to London to train as a lawyer, Tim finally meets the beautiful but insecure Mary (Rachel McAdams). They fall in love, then an unfortunate time-travel incident means he’s never met her at all. So they meet for the first time again—and again—but finally, after a lot of cunning time traveling, he wins her heart.
Tim then uses his power to create the perfect romantic proposal, to save his wedding from the worst best-man speeches and to save his best friend from professional disaster. But as his unusual life progresses, Tim finds out that his unique gift can’t save him from the sorrows and ups and downs that affect all families, everywhere. There are great limits to what time travel can achieve, and it can be dangerous, too.
About Time is a comedy about love and time travel, which discovers that, in the end, making the most of life may not need time travel at all.
Franek and Jozek Kalina, sons of a poor farmer, are brothers from a small village in central Poland. Franek immigrated to the United States in the 80’s, and cut all ties with his family. Only when Jozek’s wife arrives in the US, without explanation, does Franek finally return to his homeland.
Franek discovers that Jozek has been ostracized from the community, and constantly receives various threats. As Franek and Jozek struggle to rebuild their relationship, they are drawn into a gothic tale of intrigue. The two brothers eventually uncover a dark secret that forces them to confront the history of their family and their hometown.
Upon its release in Poland, Aftermath received acclaim and also generated intense controversy. Polish nationals have accused the film of being anti-Polish propaganda, as well as a distortion of a sensitive piece of Polish history, leading the film to be banned in some Polish cinemas.
Harry Connick, Jr. stars as Michael Walker, who, as a child, wished every day was Christmas. That is, until a tragic accident crushed his holiday spirit. Thirty years later, Michael still can’t muster any joy for Christmas, despite encouragement from his playful wife (Connie Britton) and well intentioned parents (Kris Kristofferson and Fionnula Flanagan). But when his young son (Chandler Canterbury) faces a tragedy, Michael needs to make amends with his past. A mysterious man named Nick (Willie Nelson) gives Michael a gift that instills in him the courage to find the Christmas joy that he lost.
Sudden fame and a self-destructive lifestyle were taking a toll on Jack Kerouac’s mind and body following the unparalleled success of the groundbreaking novel, On The Road. Once the handsome literary maverick and hero of the Beat Generation, Kerouac now sees only a vestige of his former self, ravaged by alcohol and drugs, aged beyond his years and tormented by self-doubt. Questioning his talent, his faith, and his mortality, Kerouac leaves New York for California, on a quest for redemption at an isolated, fog-banked cabin in the primitive landscape of the Big Sur woods. What ensues in those fateful 3 weeks of August, 1960, is both terrifying and revelatory. While Kerouac is able to find beauty and elation in his surroundings, the dichotomy of his psyche renders him unable to face his demons alone. He sets off on a visceral collision course of paranoia, sex, delirium tremens, misery and madness.
The Broken Circle Breakdown is the new film by Felix van Groeningen. The film is based on the stage play with the same name by Johan Heldenbergh and Mieke Dobbels, with which they filled all manner of theaters, church halls, public houses and cultural centres.
The story of Texas electrician Ron Woodroof and his battle with the medical establishment and pharmaceutical companies after being diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1986, and his search for alternative treatments that helped established a way in which fellow HIV-positive people could join for access to his supplies.
During the last two years of her life, Princess Diana embarks on a final rite of passage: a secret love affair with Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan.
A married couple, Meg and Nick (Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan), revisit Paris to revitalise their marriage, and run into an old friend (Jeff Goldblum) who gives them a new vision on life and love.
Tiger Chen is a Tai Chi student who is rather rebellious and uses Tai Chi to fight despite his master’s concerns. When the temple where he studies get threatened from modern redevelopment, he fights in an underground fight club to get money the temple needs. However he soon realizes that his employer has other negative motives.
A look at the life-changing connection between a retired and widowed American philosophy professor and a young Parisian woman.
A young boy stands on a station platform. The train is about to leave. Should he go with his mother or stay with his father? An infinity of possibilities rise from this decision. As long as he doesn’t choose, anything is possible. Every life deserves to be lived.
THE PERVERT’S GUIDE TO CINEMA takes the viewer on an exhilarating ride through some of the greatest movies ever made. Serving as presenter and guide is the charismatic Slavoj Zizek, the Slovenian philosopher and psychoanalyst. With his engaging and passionate approach to thinking, Zizek delves into the hidden language of cinema, uncovering what movies can tell us about ourselves.
James Franco’s Sal chronicles the final hours of the life of actor Sal Mineo, one-time teen idol and star of the blockbuster films Rebel Without a Cause and Exodus.
Follow me on Twitter @jmacle