The summer blockbuster season has been over for a fair while now, the nights are drawing in and the leaves are forming a handy carpet. For film-goers, this can only mean that it is time for the quieter, quirkier films to be released, the possible Oscar contenders and films looking to stand out from the crowd. There’s a fair few of these on their way in November and we’ve gathered the top ten right here.
Drinking Buddies – 1st November
A romantic comedy with a healthy amount of alcohol thrown into the mix, Drinking Buddies stars Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson as Kate and Luke, co-workers in a Chicago Brewery who just happen to be the ideal couple. Except that they are both in relationships with other people. With Ron Livingston and Anna Kendrick playing the obstacle other halves, Drinking Buddies has a great cast and a director with some excellent form in the shape of Joe Swanberg. The film is largely improvised with the actors given an outline of the major plot points and given the green light to play it all by ear. [Read our review here]
Philomena – 1st November
Starring the unlikely couple of Steve Coogan and Dame Judi Dench, Philomena follows the true story of Philomena Lee (Dench) who was forced to give up her son for adoption after giving birth to him in a convent in Ireland. She teams up with recently unemployed journalist Martin Sixsmith to track down what became of the son she was forced to give up. It looks set to be a fascinating tale of re-discovering family and if Dench doesn’t get an Oscar nomination, I think we can all eat our collective hats.
Gravity – 8th November
Possibly one of the most anticipated releases of the year (already in cinemas just about everywhere else in the world), Alfonso Cuaron‘s film about survival in space has been getting rave reviews since it first screened at the Venice International Film Festival. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star as two astronauts who survive a mid-orbit explosion and have to attempt to somehow return to Earth. By all accounts, it’s the complete science fiction package; excellent performances, thought-provoking philosophy and mind-blowing special effects. [Read our review here]
The Butler – 15th November
The Butler is loosely based on the real life of Eugene Allen and stars Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines, an African-American who served as the White House butler for 34 years and observed some of the most important events of the 20th century. It features an extensive and excellent cast, featuring the likes of Robin Williams, James Marsden, Liev Schreiber, John Cusack and Alan Rickman as the Presidents that Gaines serves as well as Vanessa Redgrave, Cuba Gooding Jr and Lenny Kravitz in other roles. Look out for this one come awards season.
The Counsellor – 15th November
On paper, The Counsellor already sounds like an intriguing thriller with themes of greed and ambition mixed into a plot centred around iffy drug deals. Then you look at who is involved. The sheer pedigree behind this film is worth the price of admission alone; written by bestselling author Cormac McCarthy, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Brad Pitt and Javier Bardem with yet another wacky hairdo. I’m sold.
Don Jon – 15th November
Don Jon is Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s feature film directorial debut which he also wrote and stars in as the title character, a New Jersey lothario who has only a few concerns, mainly girls, his friends, his car and porn. That is until he meets Scarlett Johansson‘s Barbara, a blonde bombshell type who could just be his true love. The trailers for this have been a hoot so far and it’s got a great cast to boot with Julianne Moore, Tony Danza and Brie Larson all appearing. [Read our review here]
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – 21st November
The sequel to smash hit The Hunger Games, Catching Fire is based on the second book in Suzanne Collins‘ dystopian trilogy. Jennifer Lawrence reprises her role a badass Katniss Everdeen along with Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth as well as franchise newcomer Sam Claflin as fan favourite Finnick Odair. As always with sequels, expect the scale to be bigger and better with Katniss forced to take part in the Quarter Quell, a Hunger Games in which the tributes are taken from a pool of previous victors.
Blue is the Warmest Colour – 22nd November
Blue is the Warmest Colour has been making waves since it screened back at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival which saw it win the Palme d’Or, awarded to both the director, Abdellatif Kechiche and lead actresses Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux. Though controversy has since followed in its wake with its explicit sex scenes and talks of behind-the-scenes issues, praise has been fairly universal and there is no doubt that this is one of the film events of the year. [Read our review here]
Carrie – 29th November
Brian de Palma‘s original film is a masterful adaptation of Stephen King‘s debut novel but there is still plenty of room for a new take on this story of a teenage girl developing telekinetic abilities after harassment from both girls at school and her zealous mother. Chloe Moretz takes over from Sissy Spacek in the title role but the one to watch here is surely Julianne Moore as her mother. Piper Laurie was terrifying but Moore is one to give her a run for her money.
Saving Mr Banks – 29th November
A heartwarming one to head into the Christmas season with, Saving Mr Banks tells the behind-the-scenes story of Mary Poppins’ author PL Travers (Emma Thompson) and Walt Disney’s (Tom Hanks) attempts to gain the screen rights to her novel. What ensues is a battle between two unstoppable forces with the usual dash of Disney charm and wit thrown into the mix. It’s also another film on this list with an excellent cast including Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford and Ruth Wilson.