This Month in Movies

November 2016

Doctor Strange

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Director: Scott Derrickson (Sinister)

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton, Benedict Wong, Chiwetel Ejiofer,

Marvel is at it again. They took Doctor Strange from the comic book series and created his origin story in movie form. The reviews are staggeringly positive for this film. Benedict Cumberbatch has been someone I’ve enjoyed for years and when he was cast, I thought a brilliant move by Marvel.  It looks like they have yet another blockbuster on their hands.  Will they ever make a truly rotten film?  (They have as good if not better record than Pixar at this point. My goodness!)

Trolls- Why? Why must this be a film?  I’m blaming The Lego Movie for this one.  Now every damn toy is going to get a movie and most of them are going to suck.  This film looks colorful and imaginative. It has a cast many could appreciate (though I’ve never seen Timberlake voice act or even regular act effectively).  One just needs to hope this is fluffy and fun. Nothing too serious about it.  I hope this isn’t the worst animated movie of the year, but there is a chance.  I have zero interest in it and I love me some animated films.

Hacksaw Ridge- Say what you want about Mel Gibson (I know he is a racist, but has he been diagnosed with a mental illness yet officially?) Gibson has many faults  and I can’t support or sugarcoat his past 20 years. However, he has the ability to be make powerful, heart-wrenching films. Granted, mainstream audiences haven’t seen this film yet, but the word out is that its exceptional but also incredibly brutal. Perhaps the best film of the year (if you can stomach the horror of war).


Genre: Biography, Drama

Director: Jeff Nichols (Mud, Midnight Special)

Starring:  Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, (and Garrett Matthews….you may not know him yet, but one day you will.)

Based on the true story which made people and the government question laws against interracial marriage in the United States

My friend Garrett had a very small role in this film and I’m excited for him because the film looks excellent. Though getting to the actual film, there is a lot of positive talk about  Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton are incredible in their lead roles. That alone makes this film worth watching.  Jeff Nichols makes very smart, well-crafted films and I have no doubt that this will continue in Loving. If you like a hard hitting modern historical drama, then this is a film you have to find and watch. This film is bound to cause some hate groups to attack it, but I think the quality of the film will stand firm.

November 11th

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Genre: Drama, War

Director: Ang Lee

IMDb: 6.7 of 152 ratings

Starring: Vin Diesel, Steve Martin, Chris Tucker, Garrett Hedlund, and Kristin Stewart

A detailed look at the life of a young veteran of the Iraq War in comparison to the way we view and treat our veterans.  It looks like it could be a powerful and heart-wrenching film. I can’t say I am interested in the movie, but I do have respect for the concept. Also, Ang Lee is a wonderful visual director. I can’t say I love all his work, but I do respect him.


Genre: Drama, Mystery, Science Fiction

Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker,

IMDb: 8.5 of 1,984 ratings

A linguist is enlisted to assist communication with aliens.

Alright, this is a film that looks really-well made.  However, the trailers didn’t inspire me too much. Maybe I’ve become too numbed  by the over saturation of action packed superhero trailers.  However, the very concepts the film are incredibly important. This is a science fiction film which asks tough questions and details a possible outcome should we ever make contact with intelligent extraterrestrial life.

Check out this awesome review of Arrival at Jumpcutuk-

Shut in (2016)- Did you like Room in 2015?  This is 2016’s Room. I swear, people saw Room and how great it was and said, “I can make that!” Alright, to its credit, this film looks to be more of a thriller than a drama. However, it does star the young Jacob Tremblay and is about an isolated motherly figure who looks to rescue a young child from a dangerous situation.  It isn’t Room, but it certainly has some similarities.

November 18th

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Family

Director: David Yates (Harry Potter films 5,6,7,8)

Writer: J.K. Rowling

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Colin Farrell, Zoe Kravitz, Ron Pearlman, Ezra Miller

Simply put, this series of movies is meant to replace the gaping hole left in a many Harry Potter fan’s life. It is inspired by more work by J.K. Rowling who is a pretty awesome writer and celebrity. Again, I didn’t read the Potter novels (I love reading, but not huge into fantasy.) However, I did enjoy the majority of the Potter films. I am interested to see what else Rowling has in store. Magic often will gather my attention.

Bleed For This

Genre: Sports, Biographical, Drama

IMDb: 6.5 of 357

Another inspiration boxing story based on a true historical and sports figure Vinny Pazienza. Chances are that there is nothing really wrong with this movie. I mean it stars Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart, Kate Sagal, and Ted Levine (that’s a pretty good cast).  It’s pretty simple, if you love a good comeback story, if you are really into the many fascinating boxing stories and characters through history, then this is going be a movie you’ll enjoy.  If boxing doesn’t interest you, then it’s not in your ballpark and that will happen.  

The Edge of Seventeen

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Starring: Woody Harrelson

IMDb: 7.9 of 252ratings.

Ah, the teenage comedy in the spirit of Juno and I suppose Mean Girls. (More like Juno though.) I suppose a few of them have to be pushed out every year. This one does have Woody Harrelson in it and opening critical reception isn’t terrible.  I try not to be cynical about these films, but so many are at best average.

November 23rd

The final movie dump before Christmas. (Many movies don’t fare well in between Thanksgiving and Christmas.)


Genre: Animated, Adventure, Comedy

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Alan Tudyk

Disney’s newest movie and it looks fantastic.  Disney often gets the nod for Oscars and numerous other awards be it justified or not.  However, I’ll admit that Disney have been knocking it out of the park every time in these last five years or so. The music, the animation, the characters. All of it looks fantastic.  I understand that there is some controversy about one character being overweight.  I may not be corpulent, but I certainly have a stocky build which isn’t always embraced favorably. So I take some offense with people being so offended over a depiction of an overweight character.  Now I’m told there is history of Polynesian characters being defined in this cliché manner as big fat party animals and that cliché is what is the issue is.  I am not Polynesian, I merely dated one and that’s as close as I can get. So, if there is this stereotype (which I don’t doubt), I can understand why people would be offended. However, there is also no shame in having a heroic god like figure that doesn’t look similar to Michelangelo’s David.

Bad Santa 2– Why?  I’m not saying the first one was terrible. I know a lot of people who like it. (Though not really my style of humor.) However, I don’t think it needed a sequel. Seems like YET ANOTHER cash grab this year. I kinda hope this falters, because Hollywood needs to learn that sequels have limits and people eventually get bored. We are seeing it a lot more these days.


Genre: Action, Romance, Drama,

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Starring: Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Matthew Goode

A war romance movie featuring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard.  Pitt has had a really rough year and you know is hoping for this movie to do well. Especially with critics (face it, historical dramas aren’t exactly box-office gold). Watch this be a solid movie that nobody really sees until around Oscar time when it gets nominated for some award.

November 25th


Genre: Drama

Starring: Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, Dev Patel

IMDb: 7.5 of 450 ratings

November finished with another potential Oscar movie featuring a solid cast and a heartfelt drama set in India. A young man who was adopted and moved Australia comes home to India years later in search of his real family.


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