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The Best Films to See this November

3 November 2018 Daniel Pateman

A splattering of horror-themed fare segues into the pre-Christmas party month of November, whose drizzle, single digit temperatures and overcast days make the appellation ‘the nightmare before Christmas’ justifiable.

Ryan Green - © Universal PicturesContinuing to stalk multiplexes into the new month, David Gordon Green’s Halloween (2018) manages to successfully re-boot the franchise nine years after Rob Zombie’s dreary reimagining, with a fast-paced and suspenseful return to the series’ roots. Nick Wall/Columbia PicturesIn a similar vein but with a side-order of laughs comes horror-comedy Slaughterhouse Rulez, now in cinemas. Set at the fictional boarding school of Slaughterhouse, its pupils discover a sinkhole in their local woods that unleashes a horde of hellish creatures. The film is Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s first for their production company Stolen Picture, and stars the aforementioned comedy duo alongside Michael Sheen and a host of young talent.

Peter Mountain - © 2018 Paramount PicturesThe onslaught continues with another genre mash-up. Overlord, released on 7th November by producer J.J Abrams, is described as “Indiana Jones on acid” by its director. Taking place on the eve of D-Day at the end of World War Two, a team of American soldiers find themselves stranded behind enemy lines when their plane is shot down, only to discover the monstrous results of Nazi science experiments. A fusion of war film and horror movie with an 18 rating, this looks set to be a rollercoaster ride: a fusion perhaps of Guillermo Del Toro’s Hellboy with the supernatural horror of Michael Mann’s The Keep.

Scott Patrick Green - © Amazon StudiosVeering enthusiastically along in the indie lane is Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot. Currently screening at the Rio Cinema Dalston and the Everyman Muswell Hill, the film is of A-List pedigree. Director Gus Van Sant has already proven his ability to bring marginalised issues to mainstream audiences with Milk and his accessible, intimate style of filmmaking. Here he brings another biopic to the screen with the life of John Callahan (Joaquin Phoenix): an alcoholic whose antics result in the car crash that left him paralysed. Reluctantly entering rehabilitation for his addiction, he discovers a skill for drawing crude but edgy cartoons, leading to both public adoration and indignation. Neither Van Sant nor Phoenix let disability define the movie, with small triumphs and joys mixing equally with muted pain and frustration. The result is a well-acted, life-affirming and humorous film, though its slack narrative drive means it fails to be as rousing as Van Sant’s most successful movies (Milk, Good Will Hunting).

Merrick Morton - © 2018 - Twentieth Century Fox Film CorporationSetting a pattern of auteur directors and stellar ensemble casts this month is Steve McQueen’s Widows. Written by Gone Girl’s Gillian Flynn and released in cinemas 6 November, Widows focuses on a group of women forced to carry out a heist after their criminal husbands die in a botched robbery. Laced with contemporarily resonant issues such as sexism and police brutality but resolutely entertaining, current reviews describe Widows as a dark, edge-of-your-seat thriller. Its superb cast includes Colin Farrell and Liam Neeson, but it is Viola Davis’s performance in particular currently receiving acclaim.

Copyright Amazon StudiosBalancing the chills of Halloween with awards season prestige is Luca Gudagnino’s Suspiria, released on 16th November: a remake of Italian director Dario Argento’s grisly 1977 giallo. Guadagnino proved he can cast a spell of hypnotic sensuality with the acclaimed Call Me By Your Name, and this bodes well for his reinterpretation of the original’s sensory assault. Taking place during autumn 1977 in Berlin, it begins with the arrival of young American dancer Susie (Dakota Johnson) at the Helena Markos Dance Company; a place which she comes to learn hides a sinister secret. Forgoing the lurid primary colours of the original for cold, winterish tones and starring Tilda Swinton in three individual roles, the trailer suggests this will be an unsettling, singular and intoxicating experience that stands out among the rash of seventies horror retreads.

© 2018 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC.After all the goosebump-raising and bone-chilling we end on a warm pre-Christmas note with the release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald on 16 November.  The sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and a continuation of the Wizarding World franchise that began with Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, the film follows Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) as they hunt the now escaped wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), trying to prevent his scheme to rule over all non-magical beings. Redmayne and Law reprise their original roles, and director David Yates is back at the helm for an impressive sixth installment. Judging by the trailer, the film maintains the same awe-inspiring spectacle, magic and fully-realised world-building that makes the series so popular.

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