November 4

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas

Well, sure. If anyone is going to have a 3D Christmas movie about a mystical, Neil Patrick Harris-assisted yuletide quest, it might as well be these two, right? Cheech and Chong must be kicking themselves right now for not thinking of the idea themselves. As for the rest of us, well, the first Harold and Kumar didn’t really seem to need one sequel, let alone two…but as far as holiday movies go, we’re betting A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas will be better than Jingle All the Way, Christmas with the Kranks, and Prancer. Smoke ’em if you got ’em. –Jeff Giles

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Tower Heist

Could it be — An Eddie Murphy movie that’s actually funny? To judge from the trailer, possibly; he’s in good form riffing with Ben Stiller (a Ben Stiller movie that’s actually funny?), and the prospect of him and Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) getting it on has potential. Adding to his repertoire of caper pictures director Brett Ratner has also stirred something potent into the mix — a Madoff figure (Alan Alda) who pretends to be at one with the working class, then steals their minimum wages and absconds to the same inhuman glass-and-steel tower that every movie bad guy lives in. Class resentment should be a ripe plum for contemporary comedies to pick, and as they’re bound to have the low-hanging fruit of hanging-from-ropes gags covered, I hope Ratner and company have firmly grasped this far juicier theme. —Bob Cashill

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November 9

J. Edgar

Movie God Clint Eastwood has disappointed his acolytes recently, with neither Invictus nor Hereafter proving suitable objects of worship. For believers and non-believers alike, however (and I’ve established that I’d rather watch The Gauntlet than deal with the stifling likes of, say, Flags of Our Fathers again), this biopic is a stretch. A slightly puffy Billy Crudup strained credulity as the FBI chieftain in Public Enemies–now comes Leonardo DiCaprio, a workable Howard Hughes, as the corpulent keeper of dirty secrets, in a scenario that Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (Milk) says will touch on some of Hoover’s rumored peccadilloes. No doubt he’ll look better in a dress and pearls than co-star Stephen Root, to name one actor who might be a closer physical match. Unless DiCaprio can transcend the shortcomings of his good looks, however, you may be better off with big, bad Broderick Crawford, perfectly cast in Larry Cohen’s unsung melodrama The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover (1977). —Bob Cashill

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November 11


This seems to be the year in which other planets invade the indie film world — first with the quiet Brit Marling drama Another Earth, then with the probably not-so-quiet Lars von Trier film Melancholia. Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander SkarsgÁ¥rd) are getting married at the home of her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and brother-in-law, John (Kiefer Sutherland). But their happiness is threatened, and Justine’s and Claire’s already strained relationship is challenged, when it’s discovered that the rogue planet Melancholia is on a collision course with Earth.

A master of controversy, both in film and in life (remember the Nazi comments he made at Cannes this year?), von Trier’s latest looks to be just as bizarre and fascinating as any of his other films. I’m not much of a fan of Dunst’s, but I hear she turns in a pretty good performance here (she won Best Actress at Cannes). I’ve also heard good things about Gainsbourg, who was frightening, yet affecting, in von Trier’s last offering, the crazypants Antichrist. But perhaps the most compelling thing about this movie, for me — even moreso than its plot — is the idea of Sutherland in a von Trier movie; that alone has me full of curious anticipation. –Kelly Stitzel

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