This month's notable theatrical releases
Below, our editors have selected the most interesting films debuting this month, listed in alphabetical order.
Anna and the Apocalypse Watch trailer(s)
Horror/Musical/Comedy | November 30 | Directed by John McPhail
There might be a glut of zombie-themed entertainment these days, but Anna and the Apocalypse takes a novel approach: It’s a Christmas zombie musical. Ella Hunt stars as Anna, a teenager in the sleepy town of Little Haven who must fight her way through zombie hordes with her best friend John (Malcolm Cumming) to get to her high school where they hope to be safe. The second feature directed by John McPhail has good early reviews.
Bodied Watch trailer(s)
Drama/Comedy | November 2 | Directed by Joseph Kahn
Since it premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival to good reviews, Bodied has made appearances at several other festivals and will finally land in theaters this Friday before streaming on YouTube Premium on the 28th. Set in Oakland’s underground rap battle scene, the film follows a grad student (Calum Worthy of American Vandal) as he becomes addicted to rhyming. The debut feature from music video director Joseph Khan features Jackie Long, Rory Uphold, Dumbfoundead, Walter Perez, Shoniqua Shandai, Charlamagne tha God, Dizaster, Hollow da Don, Debra Wilson, and Anthony Michael Hall.
Creed II Watch trailer(s)
Drama/Sports | November 21 | Directed by Steven Caple Jr.
Fans of Rocky IV will recognize a familiar foe in Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), whose son, Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), will be Adonis’s opponent this time around. Sylvester Stallone helped write the script and returns for his eighth performance as Rocky Balboa. Steven Caple Jr. (The Land) takes over directing duties from Ryan Coogler, but Tessa Thompson is back as Bianca, as is Phylicia Rashad as Mary Anne Creed.
At Eternity's Gate Watch trailer(s)
Drama | November 16 | Directed by Julian Schnabel
Artist-filmmaker Julien Schnabel directs Willem Dafoe as Vincent van Gogh in this exploration of the painter’s later life. Based on letters with his brother Theo (Rupert Friend), as well as imagined events, this is an immersive portrait of a painter by a painter (Schnabel painted some of the canvases in the film). Dafoe won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at Venice 75 for his portrayal of van Gogh, and Oscar Isaac stars as Paul Gaugin.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Watch trailer(s)
Fantasy/Adventure | November 16 | Directed by David Yates
This second film in a planned five-film Harry Potter spin-off series continues the story that began in 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The villain of the series—Johnny Depp’s Grindelwald—revealed himself at the end of that film. Now, at the behest of his mentor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law), Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) will face off against the Dark wizard. David Yates returns to direct his sixth film in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, and Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Carmen Ejogo, Ezra Miller, and Alison Sudol are back as well. Joining the cast are Zoe Kravitz (who was introduced via a photo in the first film), Jessica Williams, Poppy Corby-Tuech, Callum Turner, and Claudia Kim, whose role as Nagini (Voldemort’s Horcrux in the books and earlier films) stirred up a minor controversy when she was revealed to be a maledictus.
The Favourite Watch trailer(s)
Drama | November 23 | Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos
The latest from Yorgos Lanthimos (The Killing of a Sacred Deer, The Lobster) is the director’s idiosyncratic take on 18th century England and Queen Anne’s court. Olivia Colman plays the Queen, a frail woman whose close friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) actually governs the country. When a new servant, Abigail (Emma Stone), charms Sarah, she mentors her, but soon Abigail becomes the Queen’s companion as Sarah is consumed by the politics of war. With excellent reviews from its premiere in Venice, the Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize winner is another critical success for Lanthimos, but this one might have a chance to surprise at the box office as well, while Colman (winner of Venice’s Volpi Cup for Best Actress), Stone and Weisz could compete in lead and supporting actress categories.
The Front Runner Watch trailer(s)
Drama | November 6 | Directed by Jason Reitman
After Labor Day and Men, Women & Children, Jason Reitman looks to be back on track with his two 2018 releases—first Tully, and now this look at the fall of Senator Gary Hart (Hugh Jackman), the one-time favorite to win the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination. The timely film captures the intertwining of traditional political reporting and the sensational tactics of tabloid journalism as Hat’s campaign is derailed by evidence of his affair with Donna Rice. The strong supporting cast includes Vera Farmiga, J.K. Simmons, Alex Karpovsky, Alfred Molina, and Steve Zissis.
Green Book Watch trailer(s)
Drama | November 21 | Directed by Peter Farrelly
Director Peter Farrelly continues his move away from the unbridled comedies of his past (Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin, There’s Something About Mary) with this based-on-a-true-story tale of a bouncer (Viggo Mortensen) hired to drive a pianist (Mahershala Ali) on a concert tour through the American South in 1962. The title refers to the segregation-era road travel guidebook used by African-Americans to find places that would serve them during the decades of Jim Crow laws. While it has received good reviews, Green Book was the surprise winner of the People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, an honor that typically foretells an Oscar best picture nomination.
If Beale Street Could Talk Watch trailer(s)
Drama | November 30 | Directed by Barry Jenkins
Writer-director Barry Jenkins follows to his best picture Oscar winner, Moonlight, with an adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel about 19-year-old Tish Rivers (Kiki Layne), a woman in Harlem who fights to prove her imprisoned fiancé’s innocence while carrying their first child. Stephan James plays her artist fiancé, Alonzo “Fonny” Hunt, and Regina King plays a mother who fights for her daughter’s future when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit. Already a hit with critics, the film should keep Jenkins busy throughout another awards season.
Mirai Watch trailer(s)
Animation/Family | November 29 | Directed by Mamoru Hosoda
The latest from anime writer-director Mamoru Hosoda (Summer Wars, Wolf Children, The Boy and the Beast) is a fantastical take on a simple story. In order to come to terms with the arrival of his baby sister, a little boy travels through time to meet his relatives at different ages, including his sister as a teenager. John Cho, Rebecca Hall, and Daniel Dae Kim will be featured in the new English voice cast, and Fathom Events will have nationwide screenings on November 29, December 5, and December 8.
Shoplifters Watch trailer(s)
Foreign/Drama | November 23 | Directed by Hirokazu Koreeda
After winning the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2013 for Like Father, Like Son, Japanese writer-director Hirokazu Kore-eda took home the Palme d’Or this year for his latest family-centered drama (with a twist). The film follows a poor family who survive through petty crime, as they take in a young girl, bringing them unwanted attention and testing the bonds that unite them. The film features one of the last performance of frequent Kore-eda collaborator Kirin Kiki (Our Little Sister, I Wish, Still Walking), who passed away in September.
Widows Watch trailer(s)
Drama/Thriller | November 16 | Directed by Steve McQueen
Steve McQueen’s first feature since 2013’s 12 Years a Slave tells the story of four women who team up to settle the debt their dead husbands left behind. Adapted by Gillian Flynn and McQueen from a British television series, this Chicago-set heist movie follows Veronica (Viola Davis), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki), Linda (Michelle Rodriguez) and Belle (Cynthia Erivo) as they struggle to make their own future. Early reviews have been excellent, with raves for the leads and an impressive supporting cast that includes Colin Farrell, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Robert Duvall, and Liam Neeson.
Bonus picks: Streaming on Netflix
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs Watch trailer(s)
Western | November 16 | Directed by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
Originally intended to be the first Netflix television series from the Coen brothers, Buster Scruggs was retooled at the last minute into a (very long) movie, though it retains the anthology format of the series. Every critic seemed to like the result when it debuted at Venice a few months ago, though many also ranked it below the duo's best work. The film collects six different stories set in the Old West that vary in tone (though many are comedic) and are tied together only by the presence of the title character, a "sharp-shooting songster" played by Tim Blake Nelson. Individual segments feature James Franco, Liam Neeson, Tom Waits, Zoe Kazan, Brendan Gleeson, and Tyne Daly, among others. On the same day it debuts on the streaming service, Scruggs will also open in a few theaters to qualify for year-end awards.
Happy as Lazzaro
Foreign/Drama | November 30 | Directed by Alice Rohrwacher
After winning the Grand Prix for The Wonders at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, writer-director Alice Rohrwacher returned to Cannes this year with her third feature, a fable that follows the eponymous peasant on a fantastical journey through time. Early critical raves include the following from Manohla Dargis of The N.Y. Times, “With a sensitive touch that makes every face, tree and ray of light come alive, Ms. Rohrwacher creates a textured, vibrant portrait of a lost world that is at once emotionally sustaining and grossly exploitative.”
The Other Side of the Wind Watch trailer(s)
Drama | November 2 | Directed by Orson Welles
We'll never know what legendary director Orson Welles would have thought about his final film being a Netflix exclusive, but here it is (though it will also open in a few theaters on Friday). Welles began production on the film in 1970 and continued to work on it for six years, but financial troubles eventually forced him to abandon the project, a sort of proto-mockumentary that traces the efforts of an aging, once-famous director (played by John Huston) to revive his career with a major new film. (Sound familiar?) You'll get to see glimpses of that film within the film as a whole, which was reportedly 96% complete when Welles abandoned it. Decades-long efforts by various people after Welles' death in 1985 to edit and score the film and wrangle the legal rights finally came to fruition, mainly thanks to producer Frank Marshall, who worked as production manager during the original shoot. A companion making-of documentary, the Morgan Neville-directed They'll Love Me When I'm Dead, also debuts on Netflix this Friday.
What do you think?
Which films are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments section below. For a complete, updated listing of all upcoming film releases by date, including films arriving later in 2018 and in 2019, visit our Movie Calendar.