Friday, November 14, 2014

Movie Preview: November 2014

Ok, I know this is called a movie preview, but at the time you are reading this, it is exactly halfway through the month of November. Well, first off let me say that we are just beginning November's second weekend and since not everyone rushes out to see the new movies as quick as possible, I still have three weekends that could still count as a preview. Second, everyone knew about the movies that came out in the first weekend anyways, so I wasn't going to inform you of anything new there, outside possibly the one huge limited release that came out that weekend, which probably hasn't made it to your theater by now anyways. Third, and most importantly, life has been really busy for the last several weeks and I just didn't get around to doing this when I wanted to. But hey, since this is a blog and not a professional site, I can get away with being a bit late, right? Anywho, I like doing these every month because it helps remind me of what's coming out and I hope there are a few of you who enjoy reading them. Without further ado, November is the first month that constitutes as the holiday season, so let's dive into what this month has to offer!

November 7th - 9th- 

It what could be considered a mild upset, the top movie of the first weekend of the holiday season wasn't Christopher Nolan's highly anticipated movie, it was Disney's Big Hero 6. It's safe to say that Disney is on fire right now. There was a time when Disney was king of the animated movies, but ever since Toy Story debuted in 1995, becoming the first ever feature length animated movie done solely on the computer, Disney got left in the dust. In fact, after The Lion King became Disney's biggest hit ever in 1994, Disney could only muster one movie that topped $150 million from then until 2010's Tangled. 2012's Wreck-It Ralph proved that Tangled wasn't a fluke and then of course we have last year's Frozen, which is now the highest-grossing animated movie ever when you look at worldwide numbers (it's fourth in the US which is still good). With Big Hero 6, Disney dove into their Marvel collection to look for things that they could adapt and they found the Big Hero 6 comics. The movie has gone over very well and thus should continue to be a very popular option throughout the holidays.

It might be unfair to say that Interstellar disappointed at the box office. I mean, $47 million is nothing to cry over. But considering Christopher Nolan's very popular reputation, especially after The Dark Knight trilogy and Inception, that total was on the lower end of expectations. However, as Nolan is pretty good at, the film has managed to get a lot of people talking and so it seems pretty likely that this is also going to be another popular choice throughout the holidays as people seem to want to get in on the conversation. Reviews are literally all over the map, which is actually quite impressive. Some are calling it the best movie of the year while some are calling it one of the worst and there's plenty of opinions on nearly every level in between. Moral of the story is don't trust anyone's opinions because yours might be completely different from whatever they say.

The strong limited-release debut that I was speaking of in my intro from this week was none other than The Theory of Everything. Having killed it in limited release ($208,000 in 5 theaters), it'll be expanding throughout the month and should be available to the public by the end of the month. The movie brings lesser-known actors Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones to center stage as both are practically guaranteed to get Oscar nominations. Now, Redmayne and Jones aren't completely unknown. Redmayne played Marius is Les Mis and Jones played Felicia Hardy in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. But they aren't what you would call household names.... yet. But that could change. However, regardless of the popularity of the actors, the characters they play certainly are very well known. This movie is a biopic of the famous physicist Stephen Hawking. And if for some reason that name doesn't immediately ring a bell, if I tell you he's the scientist in the wheelchair with the computer voice, then you'll know exactly who I'm talking about.

November 14th - 16th-

While this second weekend of November will surely bring strong holds from Big Hero 6 and Interstellar, new comedy Dumb and Dumber To enters the marketplace and will try to compete for that top spot. Dumb and Dumber is quite the comedy classic as it is beloved by a whole lot of people. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels' humor was legendary as Harry and Lloyd and now they're back after 20 years. Now sure, you might argue that it's been sooner since the characters have been in theaters as there was the prequel Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, but most fans of Dumb and Dumber pretend that that movie doesn't exist, especially because it had none of the same actors or directors as the first. This movie is obviously not for everyone, but those who loved the original movie and are excited to see Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels back together as these characters are sure to enjoy themselves this weekend.

Opening up in a moderate number of theaters is Beyond the Lights, a movie with some fun female names attached to it. Gina Prince-Bythewood directs and Gugu Mbatha-Raw stars in this drama about a young superstar singer and a young cop trying to help her out. Prince-Bythewood's previous directing work includes Love & Basketball and The Secret Life of Bees while Mbatha-Raw is known for playing the title character of Dido Elizabeth Belle in the movie Belle from earlier this year and is also set to star in next February's Jupiter Ascending, so you can say that she is an actress on the rise.

Opening up in 6 theaters this weekend is the highly anticipated movie Foxcatcher. I say highly anticipated because this was a movie that almost was released towards the end of last year and was thought to be a big awards player. Now after being pushed back to this November it has received great reception in a few festivals and will finally reach art house theaters before expanding nationwide throughout the month. Foxcatcher has the all-star trio of Steve Carrell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo, all three of which are getting decent Oscar buzz surrounding them, although it's hard to imagine all three getting nominations. In the movie, Tatum and Ruffalo play two Olympic wrestlers who are brothers and Steve Carrell plays their psychopath coach. This is definitely newer territory for Carrell and Tatum especially, but both are getting praised for their roles, so it should be a good change of pace for the actors and their respective fan bases.

Not done yet for this weekend. There are a couple more limited releases to talk about. Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas will be playing in about 400 theaters this weekend. It is a Christian movie that is trying to remember people to put Christ back in Christmas. There's been a lot of good Christian dramas this year that have come out of no where to surprise audiences and being that this is coming out in the holiday season, this could potentially do decent business. Kirk Cameron is known for his other Christian drama Fireproof, so fans of that movie could show up to check out this one.

And finally opening up in just under 400 theaters is Rosewater. This movie is written and directed by Jon Stewart, who is the host of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and is based on the true story of journalist Maziar Bahari, who was blindfolded and interrogated for four months in an Iranian prison.

November 21st - 23rd-

For the longest time, this weekend has been marked on the calendars of millions of individuals as the time when The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1. And smartly, other studios have completely avoided releasing any new movies to compete with it, so Mockingay gets the weekend all to itself and will also look to dominate throughout the Thanksgiving holiday. The Hunger Games was a huge surprise two years ago as it tried to be the next big young adult adaption after Harry Potter and Twilight. Turns out it was bigger than any of those movies at it made over $400 million in the US box office. And what was even more impressive is that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire not only matched that number, but improved on it. Needless to say, the first part of the finale should be huge. Historically speaking, the first part of the two part finales have taken a slight dip in the box office, but not by a whole lot. Now the first half of the book Mockingjay isn't filled with a whole ton of drama, so they are going to have to go outside Katniss' perspective in order to make this interesting and word on the street is they have done exactly that.

November 26th - 30th-

Thanksgiving holiday has arrived! Unlike some holidays, catching a movie before or after turkey dinner is actually quite a popular idea and there will be plenty to choose from. Outside holdovers like Mockingjay, Dumb and Dumber To, Big Hero 6, and Interstellar, two new movies will be entering the field on Thanksgiving weekend, starting the day before Thanksgiving. The first of these two is Horrible Bosses 2. R-rated comedies are always hit and miss, but Horrible Bosses back in 2011 was definitely a surprise hit as it had an excellent cast and a relatable premise. This is a bit of a testing ground for Horrible Bosses 2 as R-rated comedies don't usually show up around Thanksgiving, but with a likable first movie and a returning cast for the second movie, this should be a fairly popular Thanksgiving option for the adult crowd.

While adults have their option during Thanksgiving, family audiences will also have another option to see as Dreamworks' Penguins of Madagascar hits theaters the day before Turkey Day. Dreamworks has had their fair share of duds recently, so they are really scrambling for a big hit and they hope that the popular penguin characters from their huge Madagascar franchise can do the trick. The problem is, Big Hero 6 will most likely still be a big player in the market at this time as families who missed it earlier in the month will be probably using the Thanksgiving holiday to catch up, so that will definitely hurt the penguins prospects. On the upside, though, families who have already seen Big Hero 6 might be looking for another option.

Not coming out before Thanksgiving, but rather waiting to come out the day after will be The Imitation Game. This strategy is of course due to the fact that it will only be playing a few theaters during this weekend before expanding. The Imitation Game brings the fourth of a our "big four" when it comes to the best actor race and that is Benedict Cumberbatch, the other three being Michael Keaton, Steve Carrell, and Eddie Redmayne. Whoever ends up getting that fifth spot is anyone's guess, but these four seem pretty safe. Although at this point, that really doesn't mean much because there are still a lot of candidates coming up. Anywho, getting back on focus, Cumberbatch has had quite the career as of late. After entering many people's favorite actor radar thanks to his role of Sherlock Holmes in BBC's popular series Sherlock, he seems to be everywhere including Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness and Smaug in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. He made a few unsuccessful attempts at the Oscar game last year and is trying his luck again this year with The Imitation Game, which is looking like a big success. In fact, he's the current front-runner to actually win the award as he plays Alan Turning, who helped crack the Enigma code during World War II. The movie got raving reviews out of festivals and is currently one of the highest reviewed films of the year.

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