Coming off the back of the Tokyo International Film Festival, this November’s cinema screens are packed with a host of Japanese works that made their premiere at Japan’s biggest movie event. Not to be left out of the action, Hollywood is going to war in Fury and into space for Interstellar before taking an unprecedented look into the dramas of everyday life in Richard Linklater’s hugely impressive Boyhood. Check out below for a look at the biggest films coming to our screens in November.
By Christopher O’Keeffe
Interstellar—Out November 22
Christopher Nolan is the reigning king of the intelligent blockbuster. Having made his name with indie classic Memento, he brought Batman back to his brooding best before creating worlds and bending minds in Inception. Returning for the first time since completing his Dark Knight trilogy in 2012, the talented filmmaker is taking a trip to the stars in Interstellar, an epic sci-fi drama starring Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey. This year’s Best Actor stars as Cooper, a member of a team of explorers and scientists sent on a mission to travel beyond the galaxy into uncharted space on a mission to save mankind by finding an inhabitable planet to replace the devastated earth. McConaughey is joined in the impressive cast by fellow Oscar winners Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain, along with Nolan regular Sir Michael Caine. Expect stunning visuals and a respectful approach to science theory in a film that could well be one of the biggest sci-fi hits of recent times.
Fury—Out November 28
Brad Pitt, who last made headlines marrying long-term partner Angelina Jolie in August, is back on the big screen with hard-hitting war drama Fury. The actor is no stranger to battling Nazis in occupied Europe—he made a memorable turn in Quentin Tarantino’s 2009 hit Inglourious Basterds as the leader of a take-no-prisoners crew of Jewish soldiers. Fury is an altogether more serious affair than Tarantino’s blackly comic war-effort. Pitt plays the battle hardened Sgt. Don “Wardaddy” Collier, who commands a Sherman tank and its crew as they go it alone against overwhelming odds on a dangerous mission behind enemy lines. Wardaddy’s crew includes Shia LaBeouf, End of Watch’s Michael Peña and The Walking Dead’s Jon Bernthal along with young Logan Lerman as a fresh recruit unschooled in the realities of war. Directed by David Ayer, the man who made his name writing about crooked cops and criminals in Training Day and The Fast and the Furious before impressing as director on the documentary-style LA cop drama End of Watch. Pitt carries the show here.
Boyhood—Out November 14
A film 12 years in the making, Boyhood follows the development and growth of a young boy. Opening when the boy is just five years old the film remains with him throughout his adolescence up until he reaches the age of 18. This extraordinary project comes from director Richard Linklater, who gathered the same cast together for a few weeks each year to chart the changes that take place in a family, giving us an unparalleled view of people growing and life changing before our eyes. Newcomer Ellar Coltrane stars as Mason Evans Jr., the boy from whose viewpoint we see all the major milestones reached in a young life. Ethan Hawke, who starred in Linklater’s Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight series of films, plays Mason’s father, Patricia Arquette portrays his mother and the director’s own daughter Lorelei Linklater portrays his sister. Boyhood is a film of unparalleled scope that has won awards around the world.
As the Gods Will—Out November 15
If you’ve visited the cinemas in the past or month or so, chances are you’ve caught a glimpse of the blood-splattered trailer for As the Gods Will. The clip shows a traditional Japanese daruma doll with a hideously psychotic face sitting in the teacher’s position at the head of a classroom. The grinning monstrosity then proceeds to pick out students in the class, at which point they explode in a fountain of blood. It’s no surprise to learn that the film comes from Takashi Miike, currently the biggest name in Japanese cinema—and the purveyor of sex, violence and everything in-between in movies including Audition, Ichi the Killer and 13 Assassins. Adapted from a manga, the story is set in a high school in which the malevolent Daruma appears one day and forces the pupils of a second year class to partake in a series of games in which the penalty for losing is death. The prolific director, who in the past has managed to churn out around five films a year, is in top horror form coming off the back of atmospheric ghost story Kuime, released earlier this year.
The Expendables 3—Out November 1
We all know what to expect from the Expendables franchise by now. A bunch of aging action stars are brought together under the leadership of Sylvester Stallone’s tireless leader Barney Ross to do what they do best: take out the bad guys in the most over-the-top, explosive means imaginable. The Expendables 3 sees original cast members Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren and Arnold Schwarzenegger joined by the likes of Wesley Snipes, Harrison Ford, Kelsey Grammer, Antonio Banderas and Mel Gibson. This time around Ross is forced to put together a new team in order to deal with team co-founder and notorious arms dealer Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson), who’s on a personal quest to wipe the Expendables off the face of the planet. Macho action combined with a huge cast of stars hope to pull in audiences to this third installment of the old-school action franchise.
Greatful Dead—Out November 1
Greatful Dead is a deathly black comedy that follows the young and wealthy Nami as she uses her free time to pursue a peculiar hobby: spying on lonely old people while hoping to catch them at the moment of their sad, solitary deaths. Nami’s routine is disrupted when a young Catholic care worker comes into the life of her favorite “Solitarian”—an angry old man—and gives him a new reason to live. Nami doesn’t take the loss lying down, though, and her villainous intentions escalate into a bloody finale. From director Eiji Uchida, Greatful Dead riffs on the theme of Japan’s aging population to create a hugely enjoyable and blackly comic work.
Best of the Rest
Fuku-chan of FukuFuku Flats—Out November 8
Popular television personality and comedienne Miyuki Oshima swaps gender to star as loveable oaf Fuku-chan who risks heartbreak when a childhood crush returns from his painful past. A wonderfully warm comedy with a heart of gold.
Pale Moon—Out November 15
The only Japanese film to appear in the “Competition” section at the Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) section, this entertaining drama follows a housewife who starts to live her life by taking up a young lover and swindling the bank she works at to fuel her new lifestyle.
Parasyte—Out November 28
Chosen as the closing film for TIFF this year, this adaptation of Hitoshi Iwaaki’s hit manga stars Himizu’s Shota Sometani as a student forced to fight invading alien creatures with the help of an alien parasite that has taken over his right hand.
Tatsumi—Out November 15
TIFF jury member Eric Khoo directs this animated movie intertwining the life story of gekiga manga writer Yoshihiro Tatsumi with his pitch-black stories of murder and revenge.
The Double—Out November 8
Based on a novella by Dostoyevsky, Submarine director Richard Ayoade’s latest sees Jesse Eisenberg being stalked, and frequently oneupped, by his ill-intentioned doppelgänger.