November’s going out with a bang, it would seem, with this week being the best of the month, and potentially the best of the season, if for its depth of quality more than anything else. Do you want to see this year’s best espionage thriller? It’s out this week. Or (one of) the best indie films this year? Also out this week? Gangsters? Yup. Kids films? You gotcha. Also a neat looking travel documentary, and a bunch of French people trying to prove that threesomes can be all romantic.
First up this week sees the return of a Hollywood dream-team, as Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks take on the Cold War with Bridge of Spies. The film, written by Matt Charman and (more importantly) the Coen Brothers, tells the story of a lawyer who takes charge of negotiations between the USA and the USSR concerning the release/exchange of military prisoners. Having already been released in America, the film has done pretty well, more than doubling its budget at the domestic box office, and has received near universal acclaim from critics. With Oscar season slowly unfurling, this is definitely one to watch, and one you’ll hear about more and more come February(ish). The film is released on Thursday.
Next up is an indie French film, All About Them (or À trois on y va in the original French). The film, made by Jérôme Bonnell (Le chignon d’Olga) and starring Anaïs Demoustier (Thérèse Desqueyroux, Bird People), is a romantic comedy of the love triangle variety, but rather than going the Hollywood route, where the girl has to choose between two competing suitors, All About Them looks at whether or not a polyamorous relationship would work. Oh how very French. The film receives a limited release this Friday.
On to the big stuff (you know, besides the new Spielberg film – I mean, who the hell is this Spielberg joker anyway?). We get to take a trip to 1970s Boston in Black Mass, a biopic about the notorious James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, who carved out a particularly brutal place for himself in the world of organised crime, and the incredible corruption that surrounded any attempts to investigate him. Starring Johnny Depp, who has at last decided to stop screwing around and actually start acting again, the film has received some serious praise, with Depp being almost guaranteed an Oscar nod. The film, which premiered at the Venice International Film Festival, and at the London Film Festival last month, sees a wide release on Friday.
Another potential corker this week, though certainly a more low key film than Bridge of Spies or Black Mass, is Carol. Based on the novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, Carol is directed by Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven, I’m Not There), and tells the story of an illicit lesbian love affair between a photographer and a married woman in 1950s New York. Starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara (who tied for Best Actress at Cannes for her role), expect some next-level acting, super pretty camera work, and that nice, fuzzy nostalgia feeling that makes the whole thing feel like Christmas. But with, like, a powerful story plopped on top. The film sees a limited release on Friday.
If lesbianism, spies, and gangsters aren’t your thing, and if you really enjoy just feeling in general, look no further than this year’s second Pixar film (excitement doesn’t quite say it). The Good Dinosaur looks at a world where the asteroid (you know, the asteroid) missed, and the dinosaurs stuck around long enough to bump into humans. Now, one dinosaur adopts a wild little boy-child and heads off on an adventure to find his way home. Written by Bob Peterson (Finding Nemo, Up), and directed by Peter Sohn (his first feature-length film), The Good Dinosaur might not come from quite the same place as Inside Out did, but it’s Pixar, of course it’s going to be good. The film is released on Friday.
Wrapping things up this week is Unbranded, the obligatory weekly documentary. The film follows four friends who journey from Mexico to Canada, a 3000 mile journey up the spine of North America. If you like travel, and cinematography, and wildlife, this is for you, even if it might not have the most original or compelling narrative of any documentary film. It will be released in select cinemas on Friday.