Film

The PopMatters Fall Film Preview - November 2014

November 2014 offers up standard award seasons fare, a couple of cool indies, and five horror films that, according to the calendar, are a bit past their celebration sell-by date.

November 2014 offers up standard award seasons fare, a couple of cool indies, and five horror films that, according to the calendar, are a bit past their celebration sell-by date.

 
Director: Christopher Nolan

Film: Interstellar

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn

MPAA rating: PG-13

Image: http://www.popmatters.com/images/blog_art/i/interstellarposter.jpg

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7 November
Interstellar

Ever since Bruce Wayne jetted off to Italy -- with Selena Kyle in tow -- to leave Gotham and a certain masked vigilante behind, film fans have wondered what Christopher Nolan would do next? Would it be another superhero movie? Would he drop the pomp and go for something small? Well, the answer is "No," and "No" as the British auteur walks in the footsteps of Steven Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick for this far reaching space epic. Earth is dying an ex-astronaut Matthew McConaughey is recruited to man a mission through a wormhole to investigate possible replacements. As with all things Nolan, it's big, it's bombastic, and it's breathtaking.

 
Director: Don Hall, Chris Williams

Film: Big Hero 6

Cast: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans, Jr., Génesis Rodríguez, T. J. Miller, Daniel Henney, Maya Rudolph

MPAA rating: PG

Image: http://www.popmatters.com/images/blog_art/b/bighero6poster.jpg

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7 November
Big Hero 6

Disney and Marvel continue to make magic, this time using another fringe title from the comic book kings (and you know how well their Guardians of the Galaxy experiment went, right?) to teach children the value of heart, intelligence, and a big inflatable robot. Indeed, this clever bit of animated imagination sees a young genius resort to revenge when tragedy strikes his family. All he has in reserve, however, is a collection of college age nerds and his brother's balloon being. Apply a bit of that patented House of Mouse wonder and - Voila! - another cartoon classic is born.

 
Director: James Marsh

Film: The Theory of Everything

Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, Emily Watson, Simon McBurney, David Thewlis

MPAA rating: R

Image: http://www.popmatters.com/images/blog_art/t/theoryofeverythingposter.jpg

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7 November
The Theory of Everything

Long before he was a physics savant, long before a debilitating disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS) left him reduced to a life in a wheelchair, Stephen Hawking was an exceedingly bright student studying at Cambridge. He also fell in love with a co-ed named Jane Wilde, and together they laid the foundation for one of the most important scientific careers of all time. It's also a love story, though a bit on the fairytale side if you actually consider the facts. Still, Eddie Redmayne is Oscar-worthy as Hawking, and the film is earning big buzz as the annual awards season push begins.

 
Director: Kevin Greutert

Film: Jessabelle

Cast: Sarah Snook, Mark Webber, Joelle Carter, David Andrews, Amber Stevens, Brian Hallisay, Ana de la Reguera

MPAA rating: R

Image: http://www.popmatters.com/images/blog_art/j/jessabelleposter.jpg

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7 November
Jessabelle

Yes, Halloween was last week... Anyways, this film boasts Saw editor turned Part VI and VII director Kevin Greutert going James Wan on some silly Southern gothic. What do we mean by the comparison? Well, when you consider that both men are constantly mentioned when it comes to the now dead subgenre known as torture porn, and the latter is a legitimate filmmaker who reinvented the haunted house film with Insidious and The Conjuring, this little PG-13 nod from someone who made their name as part of the gorno franchise makes a bit of sense. Even for confirmed a fright fan like yours truly, however, this is a bit much.

 
Director: Tristram Shapeero

Film: Merry Friggin' Christmas

Cast: Joel McHale, Lauren Graham, Clark Duke, Oliver Platt, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Tim Heidecker, Candice Bergen, Robin Williams

MPAA rating:

Image: http://www.popmatters.com/images/blog_art/m/merryfrigginchristmasposter.jpg

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7 November
Merry Friggin' Christmas

While he has at least two more movies in the can (A Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and Absolutely Anything), many are calling this one of Robin Williams' last leading roles. Unfortunately, this also appears to be an unfunny holiday "comedy" where the laughs are generated from jaded juvenile behavior and not actual human emotions. The late comedian was always praised for his performances even in the most mindless, paycheck cashing affair. This looks a lot like such a fiscal decision. Too bad, then, it may end up becoming a symbol of Williams' onscreen career.

 
Director: Nacho Vigalondo

Film: Open Windows

Cast: Elijah Wood, Sasha Grey, Neil Maskell

MPAA rating: R

Image: http://www.popmatters.com/images/blog_art/o/openwindowsposter.jpg

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7 November
Open Windows

You gotta hand it to Elijah Wood. After walking through Middle Earth as part of the billion dollar Lord of the Rings franchise, the certified star has moved away from the mainstream for more unusual fare. He's also indulged his love of horror, first with the excellent Maniac remake and then with a solid suspense effort entitled Grand Piano. Now comes a post-modern riff on Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, the story of a young man who wins a date with his favorite celebrity (Sasha Grey) only to see her renege on the deal. Offered a chance at 24/7 internet access to her life, he agrees. Then things turn dark -- really dark.

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