Just as the theatrical releases begin to heat up, this month's crop of new DVD and Blu-Ray releases offer a strong alternative (October's suggestions). November boasts a couple of my favorite films of 2016 so far, as well as plenty of other diverse and stellar options. So here are my top picks of the month:
Hell or High Water - 3 stars out of 4 - (Read my rapid review here)
In one of the year's most complete packages, David Mackenzie's Hell or High Water delivers a classic Western feel despite its present day setting. Brothers Toby (Chris Pine) and Tanner (Ben Foster) embark on a well-orchestrated bank-robbing spree in order to save their family's ranch from auction, all while an aging Sheriff (Jeff Bridges) gets hot on their trail. A tremendous script and taut story are captured wonderfully by top flight performances and David Mackenzie's keen vision. Ben Foster shines in a well-suited and edgy role while Chris Pine's timid character connects deeply with the viewer. Jeff Bridges' supporting role doesn't quite compare to his co-stars, yet early word suggests he's the likeliest Oscar nomination from the film's impressive cast. Hell or High Water caters to a Western genre niche by design, but it's definitely a film for all types of audiences. (November 22nd)
The BFG - 3 stars out of 4 - (Read my full review here)
Despite its surprising lack of fanfare and putrid box office results, Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Roald Dahl's timeless children's novel, The BFG, stands as a remarkably satisfying return to a familiar tale. When a young orphan named Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) discovers a giant lurking the streets of London at night, she's whisked away into his world full of whimsical magic and other people-eating giants. The BFG works so well because it blends together a light-hearted children's film vibe with Spielberg's unique vision as a director. Ruby Barnhill proves a capable lead and the CGI is tastefully advanced in this live action reboot. If you're a fan of the classic story, then you'll certainly want to enjoy The BFG. (November 29th)
Sausage Party - 3 stars out of 4 - (Read my full review here)
One of the most polarizing films of the year comes from the minds of comedy gold like Superbad and This Is the End. Yet, they take their twisted humor to a whole new level in the raunchy R-rated animated comedy, Sausage Party. Items all throughout the grocery store have one goal and one goal only, to be "chosen" by a shopper and enter a grand eternity. Yet, when a sausage named Frank (voice of Seth Rogen) discovers the shocking truth of what happens to food when it comes home with us, he tries to alert everyone that their beliefs have been wrong this entire time. Sausage Party refuses to shy away from vulgar jokes and racial metaphors. Personally, I found the humor to be downright hysterical, but I do understand that the material isn't suited for everyone. If you think Sausage Party may be something you'd enjoy, then I suggest giving it a shot. It's not the funniest film ever made, but it's a laugh-out-loud journey that, in some twisted way, sends an important message. (November 8th)
Honorable Mention: Horror fans will enjoy the solid entry Don't Breathe (11/29), while Finding Dory (11/15) represents another worthwhile watch that the whole family can enjoy.Star Trek Beyond (11/1), Bad Moms (11/ 1) and War Dogs (11/22) are a trio of Summer Blockbusters arriving this month as well. Other releases include the kid-flick reboot Pete's Dragon (11/29), World War II thriller Anthropoid (11/1) and the indie drama Indignation (11/8).