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November 2015

Books on Screen

November 2015

Turns out, death and taxes aren’t the only certain things in the world: We can now count on an Amazon pilot dump every six months or so. Ben Franklin may have discovered electricity and penned an early draft of Celine Dion’s favorite idiom, but even he could not see this coming. Hang on to your bifocals; we're about to dive headfirst into November's Books on Screen!

First things first, though. November is a wonderful time for adult movie movies for adults. In the calm before the awards season storm, we get thoughtful, character-driven films, which means plenty of book adaptations. The top of the crop this month are Brooklyn, the tender, poignant story of a young Irish immigrant who finds love in 1950s Brooklyn; Carol, about two women who are drawn into a passionate, precarious love affair; and The Danish Girl, a movingly intimate portrait of Lili Elbe, one of the first known recipients of gender reassignment surgery.

If you’re still broken up over “Mad Men” ending and don’t have the heart to watch any more mid-century period dramas, there’s always The 33, the true story of the 33 Chilean miners trapped underground for 69 days, or Spotlight, about the Boston Globe’s controversial, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into allegations of abuse against the Catholic Church. The latter comes highly recommended; glowing reviews claim a tour-de-force performance by its incomparable ensemble. Forgive me for laying it on thick; I know it’s a hard sell against the final installments of The Hunger Games movies and the Craig-as-Bond franchise. And don't forget Legend, a gangster movie that has two Tom Hardys for the price of one.

On significantly smaller screens, we have the aforementioned pilots from Amazon, including “Z: The Beginning of Everything,” about the notorious belle-turned-flapper Zelda Fitzgerald, and “Good Girls Revolt,” which traces the early tremors of feminism in the change-resistant newsroom (and includes a cameo from my mustachioed friend, Kenny!). All Amazon pilots are available to stream on November 5th, and series will be ordered according to success and/or popularity. Don’t fight it --- our Amazon overlords only want to give us what we want!

“The Leftovers” continues to be the best thing on TV (if not in my refrigerator lolol), and “The Flash” and “Arrow” are consistent bright spots in these dark times of squandered daylight. And, never content to be outdone when it comes to moody superheroes and lucrative comic book properties, Netflix is bringing “Jessica Jones” into the fray, a PTSD-stricken heroine who can hold her own against the boys.

If all else fails, rent The End of the Tour on DVD. Ben "Early to Bed Early to Rise" Franklin would certainly not approve of your streaming habits, but your entertainment choices are yours to make…for now at least…. 


---Written and compiled by Emily Hoenig Bezos Hoenig


In Theaters:

Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen, Michael Zegen, Julie Walters, Eileen O’Higgins, Emily Bett Rickards
Director: John Crowley
Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: November 4th (limited)
Based On: BROOKLYN by Colm Toibin

Brooklyn tells the profoundly moving story of Eilis Lacey, a young Irish immigrant navigating her way through 1950s Brooklyn. Lured by the promise of America, Eilis departs Ireland and the comfort of her mother's home for the shores of New York City. The initial shackles of homesickness quickly diminish as a fresh romance sweeps Eilis into the intoxicating charm of love. But soon, her new vivacity is disrupted by her past, and Eilis must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within.


Cast: Daniel Craig, Léa Seydoux, Christoff Waltz, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Ralph Fiennes, Monica Bellucci
Director: Sam Mendes
Distributor: Sony Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: November 6th

A cryptic message from Bond's past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organisation. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind Spectre.


Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Stanley Tucci, Michael Keaton, Live Schreiber, Rachel McAdams, Billy Crudup, John Slattery
Director: Tom McCarthy
Distributor: Open Road Films
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: November 6th
Based On: BETRAYAL: The Crisis in the Catholic Church by the investigative staff of The Boston Globe

Spotlight tells the riveting true story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe investigation that would rock the city and cause a crisis in one of the world's oldest and most trusted institutions. When the newspaper's tenacious "Spotlight" team of reporters delves into allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church, their year-long investigation uncovers a decades-long cover-up at the highest levels of Boston's religious, legal, and government establishment, touching off a wave of revelations around the world. Spotlight is a tense investigative dramatic-thriller, tracing the steps to one of the biggest cover-ups in modern times. 


Cast: Brian Cranston, Diane Lane, Elle Fanning, John Goodman, Michael Stuhlbarg, Louis C.K., Alan Tudyk
Director: Jay Roach
Distributor: Bleecker Street
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: November 6th (limited)
Based On: DALTON TRUMBO by Bruce Cook

The successful career of 1940s screenwriter Dalton Trumbo comes to a crushing end when he and other Hollywood figures are blacklisted for their political beliefs. This film tells the story of his fight against the U.S. government and studio bosses in a war over words and freedom, which entangled everyone in Hollywood from Hedda Hopper and John Wayne to Kirk Douglas and Otto Preminger.


The Peanuts Movie
Cast: [voices of] Noah Schnapp, Hadley Belle Miller, Alexander Garfin, Mariel Sheets, Bill Melendez
Director: Steve Martino
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
MPAA Rating: G
Release Date: November 6th
Based On: Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz

Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the beloved Peanuts gang make their big-screen debut, like they've never been seen before, in state of the art 3D animation. Charlie Brown, the world's most beloved underdog, embarks upon an epic and heroic quest, while his best pal, the lovable beagle Snoopy, takes to the skies to pursue his arch-nemesis, the Red Baron. From the imagination of Charles M. Schulz and the creators of the Ice Age films, The Peanuts Movie will prove that every underdog has his day.


The 33
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Juliette Binoche, Gabriel Byrne, Rodrigo Santoro, Cote de Pablo, Juan Pablo Raba, Martin Sheen
Director: Patricia Riggen
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: November 13th
Based On: DEEP DOWN DARK: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free by Héctor Tobar

Antonio Banderas, Jennifer Lopez, Rodrigo Santoro and Martin Sheen star in this ensemble drama detailing the daring real-life rescue of 33 Chilean miners who were trapped in the San Jose Mine for 69 days in 2010. 


Cast: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Kyle Chandler, Sarah Paulson
Director: Todd Haynes
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: November 20th
Based On: THE PRICE OF SALT by Patricia Highsmith

Therese Belivet spots the beautiful, elegant Carol perusing the doll displays in a 1950s Manhattan department store. The two women develop a fast bond that becomes a love with complicated consequences.


The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Julianne Moore, Gwendoline Christie, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Sam Claflin
Director: Francis Lawrence
Distributor: Lionsgate Films
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: November 20th
Based On: MOCKINGJAY by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 now brings the franchise to its powerful final chapter in which Katniss Everdeen realizes the stakes are no longer just for survival --- they are for the future. With the nation of Panem in a full scale war, Katniss confronts President Snow in the final showdown. Teamed with a group of her closest friends --- including Gale, Finnick and Peeta --- Katniss goes off on a mission with the unit from District 13 as they risk their lives to liberate the citizens of Panem, and stage an assassination attempt on President Snow who has become increasingly obsessed with destroying her. The mortal traps, enemies, and moral choices that await Katniss will challenge her more than any arena she faced in The Hunger Games.


Cast: Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, David Thewlis, Taron Egerton, Christopher Eccleston
Director: Brian Helgeland
Distributor: Universal Studios
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: November 20th
Based On: THE PROFESSION OF VIOLENCE: The Rise And Fall Of The Kray Twins by John Pearson

From Academy Award winner Brian Helgeland comes the true story of the rise and fall of London's most notorious gangsters, Reggie and Ron Kray, both portrayed by Tom Hardy in an incredible performance. Legend is a classic crime thriller taking us into the secret history of the 1960s and the extraordinary events that secured the infamy of the Kray Twins.


The Secret in Their Eyes
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lyndon Smith, Dean Norris
Director: Billy Ray
Distributor: STX Entertainment
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: November 20th
Based On: THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES by Eduardo A. Sacheri

A tight-knit team of rising investigators --- Ray and Jess, along with their supervisor Claire --- is suddenly torn apart when they discover that Jess's teenage daughter has been brutally and inexplicably murdered. Now, 13 years later, after obsessively searching every day for the elusive killer, Ray finally uncovers a new lead that he's certain can permanently resolve the case, nail the vicious murderer, and bring long-desired closure to his team. No one is prepared, however, for the shocking, unspeakable secret that will reveal the enduring, destructive effects of personal vengeance on the human soul.


Victor Frankenstein
Cast: Jame McAvoy, Daniel Radcliffe, Jessica Brown Findlay, Andrew Scott, Mark Gatiss, Freddie Fox
Director: Paul McGuigan
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: November 25th
Based On: FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley

James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe star in a dynamic and thrilling twist on a legendary tale. Radical scientist Victor Frankenstein and his equally brilliant protégé Igor Strausman share a noble vision of aiding humanity through their groundbreaking research into immortality. But Victor's experiments go too far, and his obsession has horrifying consequences. Only Igor can bring his friend back from the brink of madness and save him from his monstrous creation.


The Danish Girl
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Amber Heard, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ben Whishaw
Director: Tom Hooper
Distributor: Focus Features
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: November 27th
Based On: THE DANISH GIRL by David Ebershoff

The remarkable love story inspired by the lives of artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Lili and Gerda's marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili's groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer.


On TV:

"Z: The Beginning of Everything"
Cast: Christina Ricci, Gavin Stenhouse, David Strathairn, Kristine Nielsen
Network: Amazon
Air Dates: Pilot episode available November 5th
Based On: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

"Z: The Beginning of Everything" is a bio-series of the life of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, Southern Belle turned flapper, writer and icon of modern feminism. Starting right before Zelda meets unpublished writer F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1918, "Z" dives into the fascinating life of a woman ahead of her time and the story of the most famous, and infamous, couple of the Roaring 1920s.


"Good Girls Revolt"
Cast: Lena Hall, Anna Camp, Grace Gummer, Chris Diamantopoulos, Teddy Bergman, Genevieve Angelson, Hunter Parrish, Daniel Eric Gold
Network: Amazon
Air Dates: Pilot episode available November 5th
Based On: THE GOOD GIRLS REVOLT: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace by Lynn Povich

In 1969, while a cultural revolution swept through the free world, there was still one place that refused to change with the times: newsrooms. Good Girls Revolt follows a group of young female researchers at News of the Week, who ask to be treated fairly. Their revolutionary request sparks convulsive changes and upends marriages, careers, sex lives, love lives and friendships.


Cast: Max Martini, Ryan Kwanten, Yvonne Strahovski, Alicja Bachleda
Network: Amazon
Air Dates: Pilot episode available November 5th
Based On: Edge series by George G. Gilman

Missouri, 1865. Josiah Hedges, a.k.a. "Edge," returns home from the Civil War to discover his closest comrades-in-arms have betrayed him, sparking a bloody reign of vengeance. A mysterious beauty crosses Edge's path, and together they will uncover a dark conspiracy that extends to the highest ranks of American power. 


“Jessica Jones”
Cast: Kristen Ritter, Mike Colter, David Tennant
Network: Netflix
Air Dates: Friday, November 20th
Based On: Alias comic book series by Brian Michael Bendis

A PTSD-stricken superhero hangs up her costume and opens her own detective agency in this superhero drama.


“The Man in the High Castle
Cast: Alexa Davalos, Joel de la Fuente, Rupert Evans, Luke Kleintank, DJ Qualls
Network: Amazon
Air Dates: Friday, November 20th
Based On: THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE by Philip K. Dick

An alternate version of life in the U.S. in the 1960s -- if Nazi Germany and Japan had won WWII.


Murder She Baked: A Plum Pudding Mystery (TV Movie)
Cast: Alison Sweeney, Barbara Niven, Cameron Mathison, Gabriel Hogan
Network: Hallmark
Air Dates: Sunday, November 22nd
Based On: PLUM PUDDING MURDER by Joanne Fluke

The Cookie Jar's busiest time of the year also happens to be the most wonderful time...for Christmas cookies, Hannah's own special plum pudding --- and romance! She also gets a kick out of “Lunatic Larry Jaeger’s Crazy Elf Christmas Tree Lot,” a kitschy carnival taking place smack-dab in the middle of the village green. But then Hannah discovers the man himself dead as a doornail in his own office. Now, with so many suspects to investigate and the 12 days of Christmas ticking away, Hannah's running out of time to nab a murderous Scrooge who doesn't want her to see the New Year...


“The Leftovers”
Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston
Network: HBO
Air Dates: Sundays at 9pm ET
Based On: THE LEFTOVERS by Tom Perrotta

Adaptation of Tom Perrotta's novel about life in a small town after many of its residents vanished in a Rapture-like event. Although the characters in this new season remain the same as those in the book, the plots of this new season depart from the book.


Cast: Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Rupert Friend
Network: Showtime
Air Dates: Sundays at 9pm ET
Based On: SAUL'S GAME by Andrew Kaplan

“Homeland” is an edge-of-your-seat sensation. CIA officer Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) is tops in her field despite being bipolar, which makes her volatile and unpredictable. With the help of her long-time mentor Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), Carrie fearlessly risks everything, including her personal well-being and even sanity, at every turn. You won't be able to turn away from this gripping, emotional thriller in which nothing short of the fate of our nation is at stake.


“Minority Report”
Cast: Meagan Good, Stark Sands, Laura Regan, Wilmer Valderrama
Network: Fox
Air Dates: Mondays at 9pm ET
Based On: THE MINORITY REPORT by Philip K. Dick

Ten years after the end of Precrime in Washington D.C., one of the three PreCogs attempts to lead on a normal life while still suffering from visions of the future. Will they be able to hold it together or mentally breakdown and give up?


“The Flash”
Cast: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Rick Cosnett, Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes, Tom Cavanagh, Jessie L. Martin
Network: The CW
Air Dates: Tuesdays at 8pm ET
Based On: THE FLASH: DC Comics character created by Robert Kanigher, John Broome and Carmine Infantino

Following the defeat of Barry Allen's arch-nemesis Eobard Thawne (a.k.a. Reverse Flash), Team Flash quickly turned their attention to the singularity swirling high above Central City, which fans last saw consuming everything in its path. Armed with the heart of a hero and the ability to move at super speeds, Barry charged into the eye of the singularity, but will he actually be able to save his city from impending doom?


Cast: Stephen Amell, Colin Donnell, Katie Cassidy, David Ramsey, Willa Holland, Susanna Thompson, Paul Blackthorne
Network: The CW
Air Dates: Wednesdays at 8pm ET
Based On: DC Comics character Green Arrow created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp

After defeating his most formidable foe to date and riding off into the sunset with longtime flame Felicity Smoak, Oliver Queen (a.k.a. The Arrow) left Starling City with the hopes of beginning a new life. But will Oliver ever truly be able to leave behind his past as the Arrow, and, if so, what becomes of the team he has worked so hard to assemble? Will Diggle, Thea and Laurel be left to continue Oliver’s crusade without him? And with Malcolm Merlyn having ascended to the top of the League of Assassins as the new Ra's al Ghul, is anyone really safe?


“The Vampire Diaries”
Cast: Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley, Steven R. McQueen, Kat Graham, Candice Accola
Network: The CW
Air Dates: Thursdays at 8pm ET
Based On: The Vampire Diaries series by L.J. Smith

In the wake of Elena Gilbert’s goodbye, season seven begins with some characters will recover while others falter. As Lily tries to drive a wedge between the Salvatore brothers, we’ll still hold onto hope that Stefan and Caroline’s love story is strong enough to survive.


“The Last Kingdom”
Cast: Gerard Kearns, Alec Newman, Madeleine Power
Network: BBC America
Air Dates: Saturdays at 10pm ET
Based On: The Saxon Tales series by Bernard Cornwell

Anglo-Saxons are attacked by Viking forces. Uhtred, born a Saxon but raised by Vikings, finds his loyalties tested as he tries to claim his birthright and help create a new nation.



The End of the Tour
Cast: Jason Segel, Jesse Eisenberg, Joan Cusack
Director: James Ponsoldt
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: November 3rd
Based On: ALTHOUGH OF COURSE YOU END UP BECOMING YOURSELF: A Road Trip With David Foster Wallace by David Lipsky

The End of the Tour tells the story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter (and novelist) David Lipsky and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace, which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace's groundbreaking epic novel, INFINITE JEST. As the days go on, a tenuous yet intense relationship seems to develop between journalist and subject. The two men bob and weave around each other, sharing laughs and also possibly revealing hidden frailties --- but it's never clear how truthful they are being with each other. Ironically, the interview was never published, and five days of audio tapes were packed away in Lipsky's closet. The two men did not meet again. The film is based on Lipsky's critically acclaimed memoir about this unforgettable encounter, written following Wallace's 2008 suicide.


The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Cast: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, Orland Bloom
Director: Peter Jackson
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: November 17th
Based On: THE HOBBIT by J.R.R. Tolkien

Having reclaimed Erebor and a vast treasure from the dragon Smaug, Thorin Oakenshield sacrifices friendship and honor in his search for the Arkenstone, despite Smaug's fiery wrath and Bilbo's desperate attempts to make him see reason. Meanwhile, Sauron sends forth legions of Orcs in a sneak attack upon the Lonely Mountain. As the ultimate fate of Middle Earth hangs in the balance, the races of Men, Elves and Dwarves must decide whether to unite or die.