November is a beautiful transition month. There’s still a snap in the air and memories of October’s Halloween delights even as the Thanksgiving season points towards Christmas.
It’s also a terrific month for movies. There are big fall dramas like Green Book, Beautiful Boy, and Widows, and flashes of horror such as Suspiria and The Possession of Hannah Grace. We finally get to see big sequels like Ralph Breaks the Internet and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald even as a new Grinch heralds the joyous holiday season. Here are the must-see movies of November 2018.
The band Queen, and particularly their charismatic and wildly talented frontman Freddie Mercury, is the center of this rock and roll biopic. Rami Malek delivers an electric and uncanny performance as Mercury as the film explores the band’s history and dives into Mercury’s complicated and often lonely personal life. Packed with music, the film also delivers spot-on recreations of the band’s incredible live stage shows.
Tanya (Tiffany Haddish) just got out of prison and all she wants is to get her life on track — ideally with the help of her buttoned-up sister Danica (Tika Sumpter). But some new elements of Danica’s life, particularly her boyfriend, set off Tanya’s alarm bells, and the sisters find their opposing natures colliding with and even complementing one another in surprising and hilarious ways.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
Clara (Mackenzie Foy) was left a beautiful gift by her late mother — trouble is, the box containing the mysterious boon can only be opened by a special key. While trying to find that object, Clara is pulled into a parallel world divided into four parts: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers, Land of Sweets, and the ominous Fourth Realm, ruled by the ambitious tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren). Keira Knightley, Morgan Freeman, and Miranda Hart co-star in this fabulous adaptation of E. T. A. Hoffmann’s short story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” and Marius Petipa’s The Nutcracker Ballet.
A Private War
Rosamund Pike plays the fearless and sometimes brash journalist Marie Colvin, who spent thirty years covering the world’s worst war zones, paying particular attention to women and children whose stories were often lost in the chaos of conflict. When she and war photographer Paul Conroy (Jamie Dornan) are sent to the city of Homs in Syria, Colvin faces the most difficult conditions of her life. (Limited release this week; wide release November 16)
This adaptation of a pair of memoirs by a father/son pair chronicles the harrowing drug addiction and difficult recovery experienced by Nic Sheff. Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) plays Nic, whose life is changed and nearly destroyed by addiction to meth. Steve Carell plays his father David, who stands by his son even when their relationship is strained to amazingly difficult degrees. (Wide release)
Small-town teen Jared Eamons (Lucas Hedges) is outed as gay, and faces big problems with his conservative Baptist parents (Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman). His father, a pastor, offers a choice: be shunned by his community, or attend gay conversion therapy. Jared goes to therapy, run by a well-intentioned but hardly helpful counselor played by Joel Edgerton, who also directs. Based on Boy Erased: A Memoir, by Garrard Conley. (Limited release this week; wide release December 7)
Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch
Benedict Cumberbatch voices Dr. Seuss’s most wicked character in this new take on the holiday classic. Naturally, the Grinch sets his sights on a giant tree representing the happy holiday celebrations of the Whos in Whoville. As he tries to tear down their festivities, the Grinch is swayed by the pure heart of Cindy Lou Who — and his own too-small heart might finally expand to its proper size.
The Girl in the Spider’s Web
Stieg Larsson’s character Elizabeth Salander, now played by Claire Foy (The Crown) reunites with her estranged sister Camilla (Sylvia Hoeks) as she’s drawn into a violent and dangerous web of revenge. Sverrir Gudnason appears as Lisbeth’s partner, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, while LaKeith Stanfield plays an NSA security expert on Lisbeth’s trail, and Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread) plays Blomkvist’s publisher. Directed by Fede Alvarez, who previously made Lights Out and the Evil Dead remake.
A squad of American paratroopers flies towards the D-Day invasion in France during World War II. The men have a single task: disable a German radio tower to help ensure the full force of Allied troops can land safely on the beaches at Normandy. The mission is difficult enough, and then it becomes nearly impossible when the soldiers discover awful experiments taking place at the German fortress topped by the radio tower — experiments which create monstrous super-soldiers.
A young American woman (Dakota Johnson) enrolls in a famed dance academy in Berlin. There, she finds an inspiring and exacting teaching staff led by Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton). The only problem is that the teachers are all witches, and they use dance in some deviously evil ways. This reimagining of a cult 1977 Italian horror film goes in all-new directions, and explodes in an absolutely insane final act. (Wide release)
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Newt Scamander teams up with young Albus Dumbledore to face off against the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, who wants to give wizards power over all non-magical people. The sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them explores previously-unseen corners of J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, and fills in much of the blank space in the backstory of Hogwarts headmaster Dumbledore.
Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne play married couple Pete and Ellie, who look to foster care adoption as a way to start a family. Instead of adopting just one child, they end up with three — 15-year old Lizzy (Isabela Moner) and her two young siblings Juan and Lita (Gustavo Quiroz Jr. and Julianna Gamiz). Incredible challenges eventually give way to the deep gratification of raising a family in this story based on the adoption experience of director Sean Anders.
Four criminals are killed after pulling off a job for a ruthless boss. Their widows, played by Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Carrie Coon, and Elizabeth Debicki, are given a month to pay back the $2 million that was destroyed along with the men. If they don’t? The boss’s nasty right-hand man (Daniel Kaluuya) will do really terrible things. Luckily, the women have a new plan and a tough as nails fifth conspirator (Cynthia Erivo) to help them get out from under the thumb of the boss and his enforcer.
Having proven that his boxing cred goes far beyond his famous father’s name, Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) accepts a challenge from Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), the son of the man who killed his father in an exhibition bout. As Adonis faces disapproval from Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) and the challenges of starting a family with Bianca (Tessa Thompson) he has to train for the most intense fight of his life.
Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) plays Don Shirley, a pianist touring from Manhattan to the Deep South in 1962. He hires a New York bouncer, Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) to work as his driver. Despite the initial caution and distrust between the two men, they soon forge a friendship as they rely on the Green Book — a segregation-era publication guiding black travelers around racist businesses and towns — to navigate the region.
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Wreck-It-Ralph heroes Ralph and Vanellope leave the safety of their home arcade for the wilds of the internet, and find that life can be infinitely more challenging than a game. When the hardware for Vanellope’s game Sugar Rush breaks, she and Ralph seek out a replacement part — on eBay, naturally. That leads to a series of misadventures involving an online gaming champion (Gal Gadot), a viral queen (Taraji P. Henson) and a whole host of other online friends and misfits.
The story of Robin Hood gets an update as a former crusader (Taron Egerton) teams up with his Moorish commander (Jamie Foxx) to battle the encroaching corruption of the English government. The brilliant cast also features Ben Mendelsohn as the Sheriff of Nottingham, Jamie Dornan as Will Scarlet, and Eve Hewson as Marian.
Anna and the Apocalypse
When Christmas celebrations in the quiet town of Little Haven are threatened by a zombie apocalypse, Anna and friends take up arms to fight off the undead. Oh, and they take up song, too — this is a musical! Make that a great musical; Anna and the Apocalypse is this decade’s answer to Shaun of the Dead. (Limited release)
The director of The Killing of a Sacred Deer and The Lobster goes a little more mainstream (just a little!) with the 18th-century story of England’s Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) and the women around her. While Anne rules in name, her frailty forces her to rely on friend Lady Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz) to help govern. Their status quo is threatened by the arrival of Sarah’s cousin Abigail Masham (Emma Stone), who is soon competing to be the Queen’s favourite. (Limited release)
The Possession of Hannah Grace
If you think nothing is freakier than working a graveyard shift at the morgue, this movie is either going to be your must-see of the fall, or one to avoid entirely. Shay Mitchell (Pretty Little Liars) plays a former cop who takes a job at the city morgue after getting out of rehab — and finds herself staring down true evil when the body of a woman who died during an exorcism is brought into her facility.