The 2016 Film Release Calendar: November

Every January, I preview all the films that are scheduled to come out for that year. I go through the existing release calendar, month by month, and guess how much or how little I’m going to like each of the films.

The major benefit is that it allows me, come the end of the year, to see which movies ended up surprising me for better or for worse, or which ones I had wildly disproportionate expectations for. It also gives me a chance to know what’s coming out and what to look forward to.

I also take all the films that are filming or in post and theoretically able to come out that year and preview those too, along with all the films from the previous year(s) that have yet to come out that I’ve been tracking. In all, I end up previewing more films than pretty much anyone else, I’ve been told.



Upon learning that their mother has been lying to them for years about their allegedly deceased father, two fraternal twin brothers hit the road in order to find him.

Owen Wilson, Ed Helms.


The director was a DP on a lot of comedies, but hasn’t directed before.

The writer has scripts for Bad Teacher 2 and Baywatch coming out.

Anyone else thinking Unforgivable? Because I’m thinking Unforgivable.

J.K. Simmons is in it, I’m guessing as the father. Which means a cameo at best.

2.5 stars.

No faith in this to be good whatsoever.

Doctor Strange

After his career is destroyed, a brilliant but arrogant surgeon gets a new lease on life when a sorcerer takes him under his wing and trains him to defend the world against evil.

Why is his career destroyed? And why does a sorcerer decide, “You know what… I’m gonna train you”?

Scott Derrickson is directing. Another uninspired Marvel choice.

Benedict Cumberbatch is Doctor Strange. Rachel McAdams is in it. Tilda Swinton I’m guessing is the sorcerer. Chiwetel Ejiofor is the villain. Mads Mikkelsen is in it too, as is Michael Stuhlbarg.

It’s a good cast. So that, coupled with the fact that it’s not a direct correlation to other Marvel properties makes me think it could be 3.5 stars. At least initially.


I mean… it’s a movie about the little troll characters. So it’s basically The Smurfs, but with trolls.

Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, James Corden and Russell Brand are in it. As is Gwen Stefani.


2.5 stars.

Kinda want to go lower.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

An infantryman recounts the final hours before he and his fellow soldiers return to Iraq.

Ang Lee. He does diverse stuff. Though usually he’s one up, one down. And his last one was way up.

The premise is that a bunch of soldiers have a brief fight in Iraq, and are hailed as heroes and sent home to be honored. They go to an NFL game and get the whole thing at halftime, but then they also find out that they’re gonna be sent back. So basically, “Hey, you’re heroes, now go back and die after we get good press out of you.”

The cast is all right. Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund, Vin Diesel, Steve Martin, Chris Tucker, Tim Blake Nelson.

Everything here points to failed Oscar contender. I’m just feeling that.

3.5 stars. I trust Ang Lee, but not absolutely.

Why Him?

A dad forms a bitter rivalry with his daughter’s young rich boyfriend.

Directed by the guy who did Along Came Polly and I Love You Man. He also wrote Meet the Parents, Zoolander, and their respective sequels.

So really, at best we’re getting 3 stars out of this.

Bryan Cranston is the dad, James Franco is the boyfriend, Zoey Deutch is the daughter and Megan Mullally is the mother, I’m assuming.

3 stars. I’m letting Cranston cancel out Franco.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.

I don’t even need a synopsis or a cast. I’m in.

But for the purposes of the article, Eddie Redmayne is Newt Scamander, Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell, Ron Perlman, Katherine Waterston, Jon Voight, Samantha Morton.

Cool, cool. Colin Farrell in a Harry Potter movie is hysterical.

It’s a Harry Potter universe movie. 4 stars. It has to be terrible for me to not go at least 3.5.

The Shack

A grieving man receives a mysterious, personal invitation to meet with God at a place called “The Shack.”

Shake Shack?

Sam Worthington, Radha Mitchell, Octavia Spencer, Graham Greene.

3 stars. No idea what to make of this.

Bad Santa 2


Billy Bob is back. So are Tony Cox and Brett Kelly.

Kathy Bates and Christina Hendricks also are in it.

Mark Waters is directing. Doug Ellin helped write the screenplay.

All this is adding up to a movie that clearly won’t be as good as the original.

I have to say 3.5 stars here, because I need this to tangibly disappoint me. It needs to be great, or I need to be pissed that they ruined such a great first move.

The Great Wall

A mystery centered around the construction of the Great Wall of China.

Zhang Yimou directs. Matt Damon is in it. I don’t know how much, but he’s in it.

I hear this went crazy over budget and was a disaster and is gonna tank hard for them. $135 million. No way they make that back.

It’s a mystery, too.

Gotta go 3 stars. No idea what I’m getting here. But word around town is not promising on this one.


A young woman uses her navigational talents to set sail for a fabled island. Joining her on the adventure is her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui.

It’s Disney, so that means something. It’s not hand-drawn, which limits my enthusiasm going in. It’s “ethnic,” which means they’ll find a way for this to be racist.

The guys who directed it also made Aladdin, Little Mermaid, Hercules, Treasure Planet, Great Mouse Detective and Princess and the Frog. So they’re solid.

Dwayne Johnson is in this. So there’s that.

Let’s go with 3.5 stars. We’ll see what we get with this. Disney has been solid lately, but I don’t know. I’m hopeful for 3.5 or 4. We’ll see.

Untitled WWII / Brad Pitt / Marion Cotillard

1942. After falling in love with a French agent during a dangerous North African mission, an Allied counter-intelligence agent is quietly notified that the woman he has married and had a baby with is likely a Nazi spy.

Robert Zemeckis directs. Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard star.

Director, stars, synopsis. At minimum, we’re looking at 4 stars. I’d like 4.5, but Zemeckis is good for 4, and Pitt and Cotillard make good decisions.

Oh, and the writer is the guy who directed Locke and wrote Eastern Promises.

Yeah… kinda want to go higher on this. But I’ll stick with 4.

The Founder

The story of McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc.

Starring Michael Keaton, Patrick Wilson, Nick Offerman, Patrick Wilson, Linda Cardellini, Laura Dern, B.J. Novak, John Carroll Lynch.

Directed by John Lee Hancock, who did The Rookie, The Alamo, The Blind Side and Saving Mr. Banks.

You know what that tells me?

4 stars. Subject matter and his last two movies tell me it’ll be solid and be in that awards conversation but maybe not near the top of it. Still kind of excited for this.

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow is December.

One response

  1. “The Founder” has been moved up to August 5th.

    March 3, 2016 at 1:13 pm

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