With October out of the way, it’s time for my most anticipated month of movies this year. In fact, being the Harry Potter nerd that I am, I’ve been anxiously waiting for this month to come around for the better part of three years since a spinoff of the franchise was announced. However, that particular movie comes out later in the month, so let’s get started with something for the kiddos.
November has two box office draws for the family, with the first one being “Trolls” (Nov. 4). Feel like you can’t escape Justin Timberlake’s hit song “Can’t Stop the Feeling?” Well get used to hearing it, as it’s the lead single from a jam-packed soundtrack for this story of trolls embarking on a song-filled adventure. If the soundtrack and bright colors don’t entice you, maybe the star-studded cast of Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, James Corden, and Zooey Deschanel will. The other family movie this month is “Moana” (Nov. 23), a Disney animation project that tells the story of a young woman using her navigational talents to set sail for a fabled island. Along the way, she meets a demigod named Maui, aka Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Disney animation has been on its A-game lately with features like “Zootopia,” “Big Hero 6,” and “Frozen,” so “Moana” is sure to provide a good time for the whole family.
Joining “Trolls” on the Nov. 4 weekend is the next story in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, “Doctor Strange.” A talented neurosurgeon played by Benedict Cumberbatch, Dr. Strange damages nerves in his hands in a car accident, thus destroying his career. His journey to repair his hands leads him to a hidden world of mysticism and alternate dimensions. The trailers have an “Inception”-like feel and makes this movie look like it will have a different vibe than the rest of the Marvel Universe.
If you’re looking for drama, November has two movies that should entertain you. For the sci-fi/drama fan, “Arrival” (Nov. 11) features a mysterious spacecraft landing on earth and an expert linguist being the only hope to find answers before a global war takes hold. “Allied” (Nov. 23), starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, will probably be known more for the end of Brangelina than what the movie is about, but it is worth mentioning. Set in 1942, Pitt plays an intelligence officer in North Africa that encounters a female French Resistance fighter, Cotillard, on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. They develop a relationship and must find a way to continue it while dealing with the pressures of war.
And here it is! The movie I’ve been desperately waiting for – “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (Nov. 18). If you can recall Harry Potter’s supplies list from his first year at Hogwarts, there was a book titled “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” by Newt Scamander. This movie follows Newt Scamander in his journeys prior to writing the aforementioned book as he encounters magical beasts like the Thunderbird, Occamy, and Graphorn. Since it’s set about 70 years before the events of the Harry Potter series, it’s unlikely that any familiar characters will play key roles, but the magic is still there to captivate a generation that grew up with the franchise. I’m still holding out hope for a Dumbledore appearance…fingers crossed!
For the Christmas comedy fan, “Almost Christmas” (Nov. 11) should hit all of the beats needed for a good chuckle. The story follows a family as they to get along for five days under the same roof, which proves to be more difficult that it may seem. November closes out with “Bad Santa 2” (Nov. 23). “Bad Santa 2” follows up its predecessor 13 years later with Billy Bob Thornton in the same role. You’re sure to find the same irreverent and wild humor in this one that you found in the original.
I’ve been looking forward to November for a long time. This anticipation, however, is not solely based on “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” There appears to be some solid options for a few hours of escape from the world where you can sit back and be entertained. My top picks are “Fantastic Beasts,” “Moana,” and “Doctor Strange,” and I cannot wait to see them!