November Film Preview

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by Kerensa Cadenas
November 1, 2013 1:56 PM
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After an Oscar buzzy October with Sandra Bullock's turn in Gravity and the tremendous performances of the controversial Blue is the Warmest Color, we move into a more mainstream November.

November promises holiday movie fare in the form of Kasi Lemmons' Black Nativity, Jennifer Lee's Frozen and the more than likely heartbreaking The Book Thief.

The month will also bring out new features directed by Kat Coiro (the delightful rom-com A Case of You) and Laurie Collyer (Sunlight Jr.). It will also bring Sini Anderson's The Punk Singer, a documentary about feminist, riot grrrl, musician Kathleen Hanna.

Oh, and a small movie, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, maybe you've heard of it? Box office predictions have it opening north of $150 million.

Here are the women-centric, directed and written films that you should keep on your radar for November.

All descriptions are from IMDB unless otherwise noted.

November 1:

Running from Crazy - Directed by Barbara Kopple (doc)

Running from Crazy is a documentary examining the personal journey of model and actress Mariel Hemingway, the granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, as she strives for a greater understanding of her family history of suicide and mental illness. Through stunning archival footage of the three Hemingway sisters and intimate verite moments with Mariel herself, the film examines the remarkable though often heartbreaking Hemingway legacy. As Mariel comes to terms with the tragedies of her family's past that have shaped the course of her life, deeply hidden secrets are revealed and truths emerge.

Sweet Dreams - Co-Directed by Lisa Fruchtman (doc)

Sweet Dreams, directed by Academy Award winning filmmaker Lisa Fruchtman and Rob Fruchtman, follows the remarkable group of women from Ingoma Nshya, Rwanda's first and only all women's drumming troupe. Made up of women from both sides of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the troupe offers a place of support, healing and reconciliation. When the group decides to partner with two young American entrepreneurs, Jennie Dundas and Alexis Miesen of Brooklyn's Blue Marble Ice Cream, to open Rwanda's first ever ice cream shop, these remarkable Rwandan women embark on a journey of independence, peace and possibility. Sweet Dreams interweaves intimate, heart-wrenching stories with joyous and powerful music to present a moving portrait of a country in transition. (Press Materials)

Casting By

A fast-paced journey through the last half-century of Hollywood history from an entirely new perspective, Casting By spotlights filmmaking's unsung hero – the casting director. The film examines Marion Dougherty's early career, which began in TV before she segued into feature-film casting. Armed with a Rolodex boasting the names of up-and-coming actors she spotted in Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, Dougherty headed west to Hollywood in the 1970s after becoming head of casting at Paramount Pictures. Drawing on her experiences in New York, she had a strong hand in reshaping the way Hollywood cast films as it distanced itself from the old studio system. Dougherty was later hired by Warner Brothers, where she spent more than two decades in a professional career of more than 50 years. (Official film site)

Diana

During the last two years of her life, Princess Diana embarks on a final rite of passage: a secret love affair with Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan. (IMDB)

Last Love - Written and Directed by Sandra Nettelbeck

Michael Caine plays a widower who is stuck in his grief until by chance he meets a glorious young free spirit played by Clemence Poesy. They are both lost and by chance they happen to give the other what they most need, the ability to connect with someone. (Melissa Silverstein)

The New Black - Directed by Yeruba Richen (doc)

The New Black is a documentary that tells the story of how the African-American community is grappling with the gay rights issue in light of the recent gay marriage movement. The film documents activists, families and clergy on both sides of the campaign to legalize gay marriage and examines homophobia in the black community's institutional pillar—the black church and reveals the Christian right wing's strategy of exploiting this phenomenon in order to pursue an anti-gay political agenda. The New Black takes viewers into the pews and onto the streets and provides a seat at the kitchen table as it tells the story of the historic fight to win marriage equality in Maryland and charts the evolution of this divisive issue within the black community. (Press Materials)

The Pervert's Guide to Ideology - Directed by Sophie Fiennes (doc)

The Pervert's Guide to Ideology directed by Sophie Fiennes' follow up to The Pervert's Guide to Cinema, about cultural theorist superstar Slavoj Zizek. With infectious zeal and a voracious appetite for popular culture, Zizek literally goes inside some truly epochal movies, all the better to explore and expose how they reinforce prevailing ideologies. (IFC)

November 6:

A Case of You - Directed by Kat Coiro

Young writer Sam (Justin Long) has a crush on Birdie (Evan Rachel Wood), the cute and quirky barista at his local coffee shop. When his conventional attempts to woo her crash and burn, he takes his efforts online, creating an Internet profile embellished with all of the details that would make him Birdie's dream guy: ballroom dancing, rock climbing, a seemingly endless, escalating series of wacky and unlikely hobbies. When the harebrained scheme is a surprise success and Birdie falls for his exaggerated alter ego, Sam must keep up the act or lose his dream girl forever. (Press Materials)

November 8:

How I Live Now

Set in the near-future UK, Ronan plays Daisy, an American teenager sent to stay with relatives in the English countryside. Initially withdrawn and alienated, she begins to warm up to her charming surroundings, and strikes up a romance with the handsome Edmund (George MacKay). But on the fringes of their idyllic summer days are tense news reports of an escalating conflict in Europe. When a nuclear device is detonated, the UK falls into a violent, chaotic military state, and Daisy finds herself hiding and fighting to survive. (Press Materials)

Reaching for the Moon

The tragic love affair between American poet Elizabeth Bishop and Brazilian architect Lota de Macedo Soares.

Go For Sisters

Two childhood friends cross paths years later under undesirable circumstances.

Ass Backwards - Written by Casey Wilson and June Diane Raphael

Two best friends (Kate and Chloe) embark on a cross country trip back to their hometown to attempt to win a pageant that eluded them as children.

The Book Thief

While subjected to the horrors of WWII Germany, young Liesel finds solace by stealing books and sharing them with others. Under the stairs in her home, a Jewish refuge is being sheltered by her adoptive parents.

Ghosts in Our Machine - Directed by Liz Marshall (doc)

A cinematic documentary that illuminates the lives of individual animals living within and rescued from the machine of our modern world.

Symphony of the Soil - Directed by Deborah Koons Garcia (doc)

Symphony of the Soil is a 103-minute documentary feature film that explores the complexity and mystery of soil. Filmed on four continents and sharing the voices of some of the world's most esteemed soil scientists, farmers and activists, the film portrays soil as a protagonist of our planetary story. Using a captivating mix of art and science, the film shows that soil is a complex living organism, the foundation of life on earth. Yet most people are soil-blind and "treat soil like dirt." Through the knowledge and wisdom revealed in this film, we can come to respect, even revere, this miraculous substance, and appreciate that treating the soil right can help solve some of our most pressing environmental problems.

November 15:

Brave Miss World - Directed by Cecilia Peck

One woman's quest to turn personal tragedy into global awareness.

Sunlight Jr. - Directed by Laurie Collyer

Sunlight Jr. spotlights hard-working convenience store clerk Melissa (Naomi Watts) and her disabled boyfriend, Richie (Matt Dillon), who are trapped in a generational cycle of poverty. Their luck may be changing when they learn that Melissa has become pregnant. But as soon as she loses her job and they get evicted from the motel they live in, their joy vanishes. Through this adversity, the couple realizes that they can never lose everything as long as they have each other. (Press Materials)

November 22:

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.

Bettie Page Reveals All (doc)

The world's greatest pinup model and cult icon, Bettie Page, recounts the true story of how her free expression overcame government witch-hunts to help launch America's sexual revolution.

November 27:

Philomena

A world-weary political journalist picks up the story of a woman's search for her son, who was taken away from her decades ago after she became pregnant and was forced to live in a convent.

Black Nativity - Directed by Kasi Lemmons

A street-wise teen from Baltimore who has been raised by a single mother travels to New York City to spend the Christmas holiday with his estranged relatives, where he embarks on a surprising and inspirational journey.

Frozen - Co-Directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck

Fearless optimist Anna teams up with Kristoff in an epic journey, encountering Everest-like conditions, and a hilarious snowman named Olaf in a race to find Anna's sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom in eternal winter.

November 29:

The Punk Singer - Directed by Sini Anderson

Lead singer of the punk band Bikini Kill and dance-punk trio Le Tigre, Hanna rose to national attention as the reluctant but never shy voice of the Riot Grrrl movement of the '90s. She became one of the most famously outspoken feminist icons for a new generation of women and a cultural lightning rod. Her critics wished she would just shut up, and her fans hoped she never would. So in 2005, when Hanna stopped shouting, many wondered why. Through 20 years of archival footage and interviews with Hanna, as well as musicians like Kim Gordon, Joan Jett and Carrie Brownstein, The Punk Singer provides a fascinating overview of her influential career, leading up to the much-anticipated launch of her new band, The Julie Ruin.

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