Hollywood Contenders – “Spotlight”: Ten Films to see in November

spotlight michael keaton mark ruffalo

Folks, it’s now November, and that’s rather absurd to me. We’re basically all but done with the fall festival season, which means that we’re also officially knee deep in awards season as well. I think this month is another one of the very best of the year so far, especially in terms of new releases, though that sort of goes without saying as we move deeper into the fall and winter. As you’ll see once again, a multitude of Academy Award possibilities are hitting theaters, so that alone is a major boost to cinema offerings. Of course, there’s no assurance at all of Oscar attention, but I’m of the opinion that whenever we have a bunch of contenders circling the wagons, as it were, it’s a very good thing. As such, this could be a really good month indeed. Take a look below and I’ll be more than happy to show you what November has to offer up for you all…

Here now are the ten best bets for flicks to see in the month of November:

10. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 – The franchise finally comes to an end here, after a string of surprisingly successful outings, at least in terms of quality. This is one of the main reasons why Jennifer Lawrence is an A-list star, though at the same time, it’s kept her from doing more challenging fare as well. I’m eager to see it next week, and I know a ton of people are anxiously waiting the final chapter, but I’ll also be content that it’s now over.

9. Brooklyn – This delightful little romantic drama actually opened yesterday, and I can personally vouch that it’s really good. Saoirse Ronan is well on her way to a Best Actress nomination in John Crowley’s film, while Nick Hornby could again be in line for Best Adapted Screenplay contention. This isn’t the last time we’ll be talking about this flick, trust me there. It’ll be hanging around all season long.

8. The Night Before – I loved the last time Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen teamed up with filmmaker Jonathan Levine, as we got 50/50. This time around, we get a holiday themed buddy comedy that probably won’t stack up, but intrigues me anyway. Anthony Mackie rounds out the main cast, and the thought of those three getting into Christmas shenanigans in an R-rated comedy is more than good enough for me.

7. Creed – A sequel/spinoff of the Rocky franchise, this time focusing on Apollo Creed’s son, I’m very intrigued. Sylvester Stallone did some interesting things with the Rocky Balboa character last time out, so moving him to a supporting role has a ton of potential, especially in the hands of up and coming filmmaker Ryan Coogler. Don’t sleep on this one folks…

6. Carol – One of the more anticipated prestige titles of the year, I’ve seen and liked this one, even if I don’t quite love it like some do. Todd Haynes is definitely in his comfort zone, while Cate Blanchett is her reliably great self. The MVP here though is Rooney Mara, who deserves Best Actress consideration, even though she’s going Supporting and will have to settle for being one of the Best Supporting Actress frontrunners right now.

5. By the Sea – The rare unseen contender still to be revealed, I see this drama on Monday. Angelina Jolie (or credited here as Angelina Jolie Pitt) wrote, directed, and co-starred in this one with husband Brad Pitt, and it’s a total mystery right now. Is it an Oscar player? A vanity project? Something in between? Both? I’ll discover that early next week, so stay tuned…

4. Trumbo – I was really pleased by this biopic, which is much more entertaining than you’d ever expect. Director Jay Roach infuses just the right amount of levity to the black list situation in Hollywood during the Red Scare. Bryan Cranston is excellent as screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, John Goodman again steals scenes in a supporting role, and this is both informative and fun. I hope it’s not forgotten by voters when the end of the year rolls around.

3. Spectre – I’ll be talking more about the latest James Bond outing later on today, but it’s something that fans of the long running series will likely enjoy. It’s decidedly old fashioned, in fact, despite the continued presence of 007 revisionists Daniel Craig and Sam Mendes. Craig is very comfortable as Bond, while Mendes directs this in the style of the older installments. It’s an odd mix, but an enjoyable one overall.

2. The Good Dinosuar – Pixar’s other 2015 release is another high concept bit of animation that could really have some big appeal. A fantasy adventure about if man and dinosaur interacted, it could wow children even more than Inside Out, which was actually geared more towards adults. The studio might be fighting itself for Best Animated Feature, interestingly enough.

1. Spotlight – The best movie I’ve seen all year, this fact based journalism drama is the odds on favorite in Best Picture right now. I’ll be talking a lot more about this one in the days, weeks, and months to come, but just know that filmmaker Tom McCarthy did something special here. Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo both deserve Academy Awards for their performances. Sit tight for much more on this one…

Honorable Mention: The 33, The Danish Girl, James White, The Peanuts Movie, and The Secret in Their Eyes

Be sure to check out all these movies over the course of the month of November!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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