It’s arguably the busiest month in the movie year, jam-packed with awards contenders, well-feted indies, and the occasional sequel to huge hits and/or iconic flicks. You want new works by Todd Haynes, Rian Johnson, and one Martin “Saint Marty” Scorsese? You got ’em. How about some more Stephen King horrorshows, Terminator movies, and Disney classics featuring princesses and snowmen? Yup, those are on deck as well. All this, plus the retro-gearhead throwback, the feel-bad divorce film and the journalist/legendary kid’s-TV host bromance of 2019, respectively. Here is what’s coming to a theater near you this November.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Nov. 22nd)
Ready your heartstrings for a good tugging, because America’s movie dad is portraying America’s TV dad. Tom Hanks plays Fred “Mister” Rogers in this story of an emotionally conflicted reporter (Matthew Rhys) readying a profile of the universally beloved children’s entertainer. He’s not super-stoked about the assignment; then, quicker than you can say “I wonder if the gentle man in the cardigan can help this journalist heal his emotional wounds,” a deep friendship between the two is forged. Director Marielle Heller entranced the Oscar voters just last year with her based-on-true-story dramedy Can You Ever Forgive Me? Let’s just say we’d be surprised if she is not sitting in the Dolby Theater next February.
Dark Waters (Nov. 22nd)
Todd Haynes has done experimental biopics, homages to vintage melodrama and a glam-rock epic — now the director behind I’m Not There and Velvet Goldmine takes on … a straightforward law procedural? Mark Ruffalo is a tireless attorney working a case that may link a mounting count of unexplained deaths in a low-income West Virginian town to the DuPont chemical company. (Moviegoers may remember the DuPonts as the obscenely rich, malevolent weirdoes from Foxcatcher, though the “little guy takes on the corporate establishment” premise will more likely bring Erin Brockovich to mind.) Cue lots of high-powered legal-eagle showdowns, some hand-wringing from Anne Hathaway’s long-suffering wife and the sort of social-issue speechifying one associates with movies in November.
Doctor Sleep (Nov. 8th)
Ever wonder what Danny Torrance, the creepy little kid with the talking finger from The Shining, might look like as an adult? The answer: Ewan McGregor. This adaptation of Stephen King’s sequel to what may be his most revered work revisits the now-grown Torrance, who finds himself caught in the crossfire a similarly ESP-blessed teen (Kyliegh Curran) and a vampirish cult led keen on absorbing their “shine” for their benefit, lead by a mysterious figure known as Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson). Director Mike Flanagan was responsible for the 2017 Netflix movie Gerald’s Game, so clearly the man knows his King. Count on a lot of callbacks to Kubrick’s iconic ghost story from the ’80s as well.
Ford v. Ferrari (Nov. 15th)
After Enzo Ferrari rebuffed Henry Ford’s offer for an international acquisition, the Detroit auto manufacturer called on his best guys to defeat his Italian rival. The arena: The 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race. This film expands on that historical footnote, placing the focus on the engineer (Matt Damon) that designed the winning GT40, and the daring driver (Christian Bale) that piloted it to victory in a thrilling upset. James Mangold (Logan) takes the wheel for a story of guys working on engines, having serious conversations while making serious faces, kicking Europe’s ass with good ol’ American ingenuity — you know, the usual. And the high-octane racing sequences are instant knuckle-whiteners.
Frozen 2 (Nov. 22nd)
Much to the horror of parents still triggered by the opening notes of “Let It Go,” there is indeed a sequel to Disney’s animated smash, and it will almost undoubtedly contain a hit single their children will demand to hear 17,000 times per month. Ice princess Elsa (Idina Menzel)) takes off for the north in response to a call she can’t explain. Her sister Anna (Kristen Bell) and their pals follow her. What waits there will clarify the origin of Elsa’s fantastical abilities, and save their Scandinavian kingdom from an enigmatic encroaching threat. If you have created new life within the past decade, you will see this film, whether you like it or not.
The Irishman (Nov. 1st)
At 76 years old, Martin Scorsese is the elder statesman of American filmmaking — and he may very well have just made his magnum opus. Robert De Niro is Frank Sheeran, an enforcer for both the Mafia (represented by wiseguys Harvey Keitel and Joe Pesci) and teamster head honcho Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), in effect making him one of the most influential men in America. But as this peripheral player in 20th-century history finds himself edging into his twilight years, he contends with regret and guilt — a constant in Scorsese’s work, but made all the more poignant considering the folks in front of and behind the camera are also getting up there in years. At three-and-a-half hours, it’s nothing short of an epic. See it on a big screen if you possibly can.
Knives Out (Nov. 27th)
Freed from a galaxy far, far away, Rian Johnson springs a late-in-the-year surprise by resurrecting the whodunit. A rich novelist (Christopher Plummer) passes away under cloudy circumstances, leaving a chicken-fried Southern gumshoe (Daniel Craig) to sniff out the culprit among the author’s perfidious kin. He interrogates a stellar ensemble made up of Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, and Chris Evans, each of them with their own secrets and lies. There’s also a dedicated live-in caretaker (Ana de Armas) who may know more than she’s letting on. The twists coming fast and furious; the Trump-era commentary on class and privilege is much more stealthy.
Marriage Story (Nov. 6th)
Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson act each other into next week as opposing halves of a divorcing couple — he’s a theater director who’d rather die than move out of New York; she’s an actor who just nabbed a TV show role that requires a relocation to Los Angeles. She’s also taking their son with her, which sets off a legal battle to establish the terms of their custody (featuring sublime supporting turns from Laura Dern, Ray Liotta, and Alan Alda as the lawyers unafraid to get their hands dirty). It’s funny, tender, sometimes brutal and often exquisitely painful in how it paints a portrait of disintegrating love. Bring tissues, but maybe leave your spouse at home.
Queen and Slim (Nov. 27th)
A black motorist and his passenger, a roadside stop, a white cop. A confrontation breaks out, one thing leads to another, and suddenly, Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) and Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) go from a couple on a first date to Public Enemies No. 1 and 2. Their pushback against a racist police corps make them folk heroes in the black community and fugitives in the eyes of the law. If they can just make it out of the country, then everything will be a-ok. The feature debut from Beyoncé’s go-to video director Melina Matsoukas, it’s the latest cinematic vision of American black strife in a year full of them.
Terminator: Dark Fate (Nov. 1st)
Arnold Schwarzenegger makes good on his promise to be bahk (Remember that? From the first movie? Is this thing on?) in this sequel that’s a direct follow up to 1991’s T2. (Apologies to the franchise’s past few installments. Your help is no longer needed here.) The former Governator reprises his role as a killing machine turned good, though he plays third banana to the new cyborg defender on the block (Mackenzie Davis) and a triumphant Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton, badder than ever). They’re all fending off an advanced unit (Gabriel Luna) sent from the future to terminate the savior of all humankind (Natalia Reyes). Mayhem, bullets, beatdowns, chase scenes, narrow escapes, kick-ass set pieces — you know the drill. Deadpool‘s Tim Miller directs.