November is dominated by arguably one of the biggest films of the year, the first of two Harry Potter films based on the seventh and final book of the series.
Along with several other releases, this makes for a month of thrillers from Asian and Western cinema. Top directors Tony Scott and Paul Haggis each direct A-list leading men in their offerings, while award-winning Korean star Jeon Do-yeon features in The Housemaid.
Among the other foreign-film imports, Luc Besson returns with another colourful adventure, a Malaysian Film Festival hit film arrives, while the first Iraqi feature to grace local screens comes to town as well.
There are also two kungfu movies linked to the celebrated Wing Chun martial art, as well as family-friendly features, with school holidays imminent, from the vaunted animation teams of Dreamworks and Disney.
Week of 4 November
The Stars: Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, Justin Long, David Cross
The Story: Two aliens imbued with otherworldly power and intellect take on the roles of superhero and supervillain on Earth. Roles start to change when one defeats the other.
The Buzz: Ferrell plays the blue buffoon of a supervillain, Megamind, taking the role after Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Jr dropped out. Pitt, most agree, has been perfectly cast as the Superman-like Metro Man, the goody arch-nemisis of Megamind, who was known first as Master Mind, then Oobermind, earlier in production.
To promote the film, DreamWorks and Ferrell hosted the Guinness-certified world record attempt for the Largest Gathering of Superheroes – a total of 1,580 costumed ‘heroes’ turned up for the 2 October event in Los Angeles. A blue-faced dome-headed costumed Ferrell also graced the San Diego Comic-Con, along with a cut-out of Pitt, in July.
inSing.com says: A send-up of the superhero genre by taking the supervillain’s perspective, it is reminiscent of The Incredibles and Despicable Me. With this much comic talent aboard – Pitt included – how can this fiendish plan possibly go wrong?
Also opening: Director Todd Phillips and his Hangover star Zach Galifianakis join Downey Jr for the road comedy Due Date; Luc Besson’s The Mummy-like period fantasy piece Adele; Flowers, a Japanese drama charting the lives of six women across three generations; and Son of Babylon, about the search for a missing man after the fall of Saddam in Iraq.
Week of 11 November
The Stars: Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Karl Urban
Also opening: Tony Scott’s Unstoppable – his second consecutive rail-related thriller after The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 – has Denzel Washington and Chris Pine (Star Trek) after a runaway train; Korean erotic thriller The Housemaid, starring Jeon Do-yeon (Secret Sunshine) and Lee Jung-jae (Typhoon); and the Malaysian fairytale adventure Magika.
Week of 18 November
The Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter, Bill Nighy
Also opening: The Hong Kong action film Kung Fu Wing Chun, starring Bai Jin, Kara Hui and Yu Shaoqun, about the legendary creator of the Wing Chun style of martial arts made famous by well-known practitioners Ip Man and Bruce Lee.
Week of 25 November
The Story: A high-school girl’s (Stone) little white lie snowballs into an uncontrollable ‘beast’, as she gets a nasty reputation and starts to enjoy notoriety and popularity.
The Buzz: Inspired in part by the literary classic, The Scarlet Letter, the script was originally written by Bert V. Royal as a means to incorporate three classic stories. The other two stories were Cyrano de Bergerac and Dickens’ The Mystery of Edwin Drood. The final shooting script is much changed; it has little of the original coarse language.
Following positive notices in supporting roles in Superbad, The House Bunny and Zombieland, Stone gets to spread her wings here. She is set to appear next in the Justin Timberlake-Mila Kunis rom-com Friends with Benefits, and as Gwen Stacy in director Marc Webb’s 2012 reboot of the Spider-Man franchise.
inSing.com says: A talented funny gal who has played second fiddle for a while, Stone deserves her first leading role in a vehicle that can really showcase her talents. One expects her career to go into overdrive after this.
Also opening: Crash director Paul Haggis’s The Next Three Days, a thriller about a man (Russell Crowe) driven to extreme measures to free his wife (Elizabeth Banks) from prison; the latest Disney 3D family feature, Rapunzel, with Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi; the Japanese revenge story Confessions; and the HK biopic Bruce Lee, My Brother.
The 14th German Film Festival, featuring a retrospective influential film-maker Werner Herzog’s works, opens on 10 November with Michael Haneke’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner The White Ribbon; the film also opens at The Picturehouse 25 November.
Playing at the Cathay Cineplex and featuring 27 films, the festival closes on 21 November with Herzog’s The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans, starring Nicolas Cage.
Other films to look out for include the latest IMAX film Legends of Flightat the Singapore Science Centre’s Omni-Theatre (opens 1 November); a number of anime films at the Anime Festival Asia held at Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre on 13 and 14 November; and the Oscar-nominated French period piece, Ridicule, at the Alliance Francaise (23 November).
(Note: All release dates are subject to change; all information correct as of press time.)