Box Office Weekend: November 2021

Welcome back to your monthly roundup of new films in theaters and streaming at home. We have adaptations, documentaries, and holiday romances. Your mileage may vary…

New in theaters last week:

Hell Hath No Fury is a WWII action film. A French national must lead American soldiers to a cache of gold to survive. 

Eternals, the newest MCU entry, from Oscar-winning director Chloé Zhao, is about a “race of immortal beings with superhuman powers who have secretly lived on Earth for thousands of years” and reunite to battle Deviants, whatever that is. I’ve been plodding through Phase I of Marvel’s offerings, and it has been bleak, but I think this film will be worth it. Honestly, anything from Zhao is worth it, but it doesn’t hurt at all that the film stars Angelina Jolie, Don Lee, Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Brain Tyree Henry, Lauren Ridloff, Salma Hayek, and many, many more. 

The Beta Test — YIKES: “A married Hollywood agent receives a mysterious letter for an anonymous sexual encounter and becomes ensnared in a sinister world of lying, infidelity, and digital data.”

Julia is a documentary about Julia Child. If this doesn’t interest you, we can’t be friends. If this does interest you, come over, and I’ll roast us a chicken.

New in theaters this weekend:

Uppercase Print is a documentary about Mugur Călinescu, who wrote messages against the Ceaușescu regime in 1981. The film presents file footage of Romania with “the voluminous file kept by the Secret Police, which observed, apprehended, interrogated, and in the end destroyed him.” Călinescu died in 1985 of leukemia, though his supporters suspect he was poisoned.

Clifford the Big Red Dog is a live-action (and animated, obviously) adaptation of the popular childrens’ series. Walt Becker, director of Wild Hogs and Old Dogs is helming this disappointment, and Jack Whitehall, Darby Camp, Tony Hale, Sienna Guillory, David Alan Grier, Russell Wong, and John Cleese star. 

New in theaters November 12:

Love Is Love Is Love, co-written and directed by Eleanor Coppola, stars Joanne Whalley, Chris Messina, Kathy Baker, Marshall Bell, Maya Kazan, Rosanna Arquette, Polly Draper, Elea Oberon, Valarie Pettiford, Alyson Reed, Cybill Shepherd and Rita Wilson. The drama interweaves three stories about love, family, and friends.

Belfast is a coming-of-age dramedy by Kenneth Branagh. It is “semi-autobiographical” and set during the Troubles in the 1960s.

New in theaters November 19:

Mothering Sunday is a WWI-period drama about a maid having an affair with the neighbor. That’s pretty boring, honestly, but with this cast, I’m tempted: Olivia Colman, Colin Firth, Odessa Young, Glenda Jackson, and Josh O’Connor. The film is directed by Eva Husson and written by Alice Birch (and adapted from a novel by Graham Swift).

Ghostbusters: Afterlife stars Paul Rudd, Finn Wolfhard, McKenna Grace, Carrie Coon, and promises cameos from Annie Potts, Dan Akroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, and Bill Murray. The grandkids of Dr. Egon find his old equipment and are either simultaneously haunted or awaken ghosts. The film, directed by Jason Reitman, is a continuation of the 1980s franchise.

I Was a Simple Man, a drama, stars Constance Wu and Steve Iwamoto. From Variety: “As a family in Hawai’i faces the imminent death of their eldest, the ghosts of the past haunt the countryside.”

The Feast is a Welsh thriller. A young woman serves privileged guests at a dinner party their last meal.

C’mon C’mon is a black and white drama written and directed by Mike Mills. It stars Joaquin Phoenix, Gaby Hoffmann and Woody Norman.

The Youngest Evangelist is your monthly entry in the religious drama category. 

King Richard is a biopic about Richard Williams, the father, and coach of Venus and Serena Williams. Will Smith stars are Richard, and his overacting (and the emotional manipulating!) is a turnoff but my love for the Williams sisters makes this irresistible. Because this is a Warner Bros. film, it will also stream on HBO Max.

Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time is a documentary about novelist Kurt Vonnegut and “and the 25-year friendship with the filmmaker who set out to document it.”

Streaming now on Netflix:

The Harder They Fall, a Western by Jeymes Samuel, has the vibes of the sort of movie Quentin Tarantino wishes he could make. Here’s what I said in What to Watch: “This Western stars Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Regina King, problematic but talented LaKeith Stanfield, Delroy Lindo, and Zazie Beetz. The drama follows a gang in the West, and though the story is fictional, the all-Black cast is based on historical figures.”

Lords of Scam, a French documentary “traces the rise and crash of scammers who conned the EU carbon quote system and pocketed millions before turning on one another.” Netflix categorizes it as “irreverent.”

Love Hard, a holiday romantic film, stars Nina Dobrev (she’s unlucky-in-love in LA), Darren Barnet (a rugged guy from the East Coast), and Jimmy O. Yang (who is catfishing her, boo).

We Couldn’t Become Adults, a drama from Japan, follows a man whose memories of the ‘90s spiral after he receives a friend request. OK, Yes, please.

Yara, a dark drama, is inspired by the murder of 13-year-old Yara Gambirasio.

Passing, which also received a limited release in theaters, streams November 10. Here’s what I wrote for our What to Watch feature: “Rebecca Hall’s adaption of Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel is garnering rave reviews. Filmed in black and white, and set in 1920s Harlem, two childhood friends are reunited. Ruth Negga stars as Clare, a woman “passing” as white and married to a virulent racist. (Her husband is Alexander Skarsgård, of course.) Tessa Thompson stars as Irene, a Black woman married to a doctor (played by Andre Holland). Tragedy will strike after their lives intersect.”

Streaming this weekend:

Red Notice is the kind of action-comedy my dad (and I) will watch several times but never admit to. Here’s what I wrote for our What to Watch feature: “This action film stars Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne Johnson, and Gal Gadot. An FBI profiler, in pursuit of a prolific art thief, needs help from a criminal to save his career. It looks terrible and satisfying all at once.”

Available Wednesday, November 17

Prayers for the Stolen, based on the Jennifer Clement novel, examines war through the eyes of three young girls. It sounds harrowing.

Streaming Thursday:

The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star, the third (HOW AND WHY) in the Princess Switch series is here to baffle my heart and infuriate Fiona (the Scholar, not the character). Brave of Netflix to entice Vanessa Hudgens out of a Hillsong mass and COVID-19 sensitivity training to make more drivel.

Coming to Netflix Friday:

Dhamaka is a Hindi-language drama. An ex-TV anchor is offered a comeback at the price of his conscience.

tick, tick… BOOM! stars Andrew Garfield as a barely fictionalized Jonathan Larson, who lives on the precipice of success and self-annihilation. Lin-Manuel directs, I roll my eyes. This looks terrible.

Streaming Wednesday, November 24:

A Boy Called Christmas, holiday drivel made for Boomers.

Coming Friday, November 26:

A Castle For Christmas, which presupposes a beautiful woman could write eleven novels and live in New York unhappily. I’m offended on principle and I’m disgusted. Miserable in Idaho? Sure! New York, the city that never sleeps, with its pizza and its subways and its will to survive? How dare they.

Streaming Tuesday, November 30:

The Summit of the Gods, an animated adaptation of the manga series, follows a Japanese photojournalist whose discovery could change the history of mountaineering. 

Streaming on Amazon:

The Electrical Life of Louis Wan, a dramedy about the eccentric artist. Benedict Cumberbatch stars. 

Streaming this weekend:

Mayor Pete, a documentary, follows  United States Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg during his 2020 run for office.

Coming Friday, November 26:

Anni da cane (Dog Years), an Italian teen drama, follows a girl who counts her age in dog years.

Streaming Monday, November 29:

Burning, a documentary about the 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfires.

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