Fans of Brad Pitt and Jake Gyllenhaal will be disappointed to learn that Netflix is losing not one, but two vehicles for each star in November (and more than that for Pitt if you count all the “Ocean’s” movies that are leaving, at least temporarily). Elsewhere, we have cop movies, a Broadway musical, a musical documentary (?), indies aplenty and Oscar nominees galore. (Dates identify the last day a title will be available.)
‘Krisha’ (Nov. 6)
Young filmmakers are often told to write what they know, and Trey Edward Shults certainly took that advice to heart: His 2016 debut feature is based on the struggles and conflicts of his family, many of whom appear in the film as versions of themselves. (He also shot the film in his family home.) It sounds like a formula for microbudget navel-gazing, but quite the contrary. Shults’ proximity to the material gives it an uncommon intimacy, and while his distinctive style — using a visual and aural aesthetic closer to that of horror cinema than of domestic drama — renders this an especially unnerving viewing experience.
‘Bathtubs Over Broadway’ (Nov. 8)
Do you think your pop culture obsession is niche? If so, seek out this delightful documentary, chronicling the archival exploits of one Steve Young. A longtime writer for David Letterman, Young’s record store crate digging led him to the world of “industrial musicals”: full-scale Broadway-style productions created specifically for corporate conventions, often providing a nice paycheck for up-and-coming musicians, lyricists and performers. Their recordings first strike Young as amusing curios, but the more he learns about this little-known sub-scene, the more fascinated he becomes. The director Dava Whisenant shares Young’s interest and enthusiasm while subtly posing questions about what separates art from commerce, and about who makes that distinction.
‘Green Room’ (Nov. 11)
A struggling punk band gets a gig that sounds too good to be true — and proves to be — in this claustrophobic, white-knuckle thriller from the writer and director Jeremy Saulnier. Booked at the last minute at an off-the-map roadhouse, the bandmates are horrified to discover that they’re playing for a white supremacist gang, and when they’re unlucky enough to witness a backstage murder, things really start to get ugly. Saulnier plays up the claustrophobia of the location as the savage skinheads descend on his protagonists, building tension and suspense sequences with skill and ingenuity. But his secret weapon is the great Patrick Stewart, cast against type as the menacing father figure of their tormentors.
‘The Addams Family’ (Nov. 15)
The late 1980s and early 1990s were the salad days of adapting classic television series into films, with diminishing results; for every “The Fugitive,” there were three or four “Car 54, Where Are You?”s. But one of the rare artistic successes was this 1991 dark comedy from the director Barry Sonnenfeld, which aped the spirit of both the supernatural sitcom and the Charles Addams cartoons that inspired it. Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston are magnificent as the heads of the title family, finding a perfect note of lustful abandon and dark domestic bliss, while Christina Ricci shines as little Wednesday Addams, sporting the best cinematic deadpan this side of Buster Keaton.
‘Drive’ (Nov. 15)
He’s known only as the Driver, and all he does is drive — stunt cars by day for the movies, getaway cars at night for criminals. Ryan Gosling resists the urge to over-explain this enigmatic young man, instead embracing his mystery and effortless cool in this moody, violent neo-noir thriller from the director Nicolas Winding Refn. Carey Mulligan co-stars as the friendly neighbor who garners his sympathy and trust (and perhaps more), leading him into a job that goes very wrong, very fast. Top-notch supporting performances abound from Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, Osar Issac and especially Albert Brooks, unexpectedly effective as a ruthless crime boss.
‘End of Watch’ (Nov. 22)
Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña star as two Los Angeles cops working the street gang beat in this action drama from the writer and director David Ayer (“Training Day”). He’s dealing with material that is, to put it mildly, not exactly fresh: the buddy cop dynamic, rival gang wars, the difficulty of honest policing. But he takes a novel approach, framing the picture in a pseudo-documentary format, using personal videos, dash cam footage and the like. And he wisely keeps the focus on the byplay between Gyllenhaal and Peña, who invest their characters with enough depth and genuine affection to keep the film from surrendering to formula.
The directors Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion adopt a similarly stylish approach for this 2017 indie action movie, which unfolds as a series of long, seemingly unbroken takes, shot with a relentlessly prowling camera. The unnerving (and not altogether far-fetched) narrative has the citizens of Brooklyn under attack from a nationalist militia, with gunfights and hand-to-hand combat among the brownstones. But the biggest draw is Dave Bautista, who summons just the right mixture of offhand skill and muted reluctance as a former military man who must fight his own demons while fighting for his life.
‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ (Nov. 26)
Matthew McConaughey got his big break playing a lawyer (in the 1996 film “A Time to Kill”), so it made sense that when he needed to revive his flagging career, he would play one again. This 2011 adaptation of the Michael Connelly novel casts McConaughey as Mickey Haller, a slick criminal defense lawyer who runs his practice from inside his snazzy Lincoln Town Car. It’s a perfect role for McConaughey, who captures the character’s sleazy charisma while making his inevitable personal growth seem organic. And the director Brad Furman knows exactly the kind of movie he’s making: the sort of trashy airport-novel adaptation that’s not going to win awards but proves an amiable way to pass a lazy afternoon.
‘Lakeview Terrace’ (Nov. 30)
It wasn’t so unusual, once upon a time, for genre movies to come loaded with social commentary and pointed subtext — which is perhaps why this 2008 thriller from the director Neil LaBute makes such an impact. Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington star as a newlywed couple whose big move into their dream home is disrupted by their neighbor (Samuel L. Jackson), an Los Angeles police officer who seems more than a little unstable. The basic premise mirrors such cop-harassment tales as “Unlawful Entry,” but the smart screenplay by David Loughery and Howard Korder wrestles with questions of race, class and police brutality, turning what could have been a common suspense flick into a thoughtful potboiler.
‘Moneyball’ (Nov. 30)
It would seem impossible to craft an entertaining film adaptation of Michael Lewis’s dense nonfiction account of number-crunching in baseball — much less to make one as breezy and engaging as this one. But the screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin finds the proper balance of egghead theory and character development, Bennett Miller’s direction is fleet-footed without being lightweight, Brad Pitt’s restless charisma has rarely found a more appropriate showcase, and the supporting cast (including Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright and Chris Pratt) is, well, an all-star team.
‘Ocean’s Eleven’ (Nov. 30)
Pitt is similarly terrific — charming, funny and cool — in Steven Soderbergh’s star-studded adaptation of the 1960 Rat Pack-centered heist picture. George Clooney stars as Danny Ocean, a con man (and ex-con) hellbent on ripping off a Las Vegas casino magnate (Andy Garcia) who also happens to be the paramour of Danny’s ex-wife (Julia Roberts). The supporting players (including Matt Damon, Carl Reiner, Bernie Mac, Elliott Gould and Don Cheadle) crackle and pop, while Ted Griffin’s clever screenplay runs with the precision of a Swiss watch. (Its two sequels, “Ocean’s Twelve” and “Ocean’s Thirteen,” also leave Netflix this month and are also worth your time.)
‘Stand and Deliver’ (Nov. 30)
Edward James Olmos nabbed an Oscar nomination for his eccentric, funny and heartfelt performance as the high school teacher Jaime Escalante in this true story from the director Ramón Menéndez. Escalante was sent into the math classes of his East Los Angeles school with only a faint hope of raising the school’s dismal test scores; instead, he coaching them not only to acquire basic math skills but also to take and ace the A.P. calculus exam. Menéndez ticks the boxes of the “inspirational teacher” narrative without surrendering to cliché, detailing how Escalante used his quirky personality and unwavering faith to push his students to thrive.
‘West Side Story’ (Nov. 30)
Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents’s ingenious musical adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet,” which updated its setting and story to the streets and gangs of New York, remains one of the towering achievements of the Broadway stage. So it’s no surprise that it spawned one of the great movie musicals. The original stage director and choreographer Jerome Robbins and the filmmaker Robert Wise shared directorial duties, thrillingly placing the show’s songs and dances on the real streets of New York City while using the proximity and intimacy of the camera to render the longing and loss of the story even more poignant. Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer perform admirably in the leads, but Rita Moreno and George Chakiris steal the show in support — and won Oscars for their efforts, two of the film’s astonishing ten-statue haul, which included prizes for best picture and best director.
‘Y Tu Mamá También’ (Nov. 30)
This 2001 road movie from Alfonso Cuarón marked his true breakthrough as an international filmmaking force — and it remains one of his best films, funny and evocative and unapologetically sexy. Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal (both unknowns at the time) star as teenage best buddies who convince a sensuous older woman (Maribel Verdú) to join them on a road trip to an exotic beach. They think they’re in for a weekend of hedonism, but she has other ideas as the three embark on a journey of surprising tenderness and emotional reckoning.
‘Zodiac’ (Nov. 30)
With David Fincher’s new made-for-Netflix feature, “Mank,” on the runway for a December streaming debut, it seems odd that the service is pulling his best picture to date, this 2007 examination of the crimes, investigation and ultimate mystery of the Zodiac killer. Jake Gyllenhaal is a newspaper cartoonist whose casual interest in the case becomes an obsession; Robert Downey Jr. is his columnist colleague whose own obsession rounds the corner into near-madness. Mark Ruffalo rounds out the cast as the San Francisco police detective who keeps hitting brick walls himself.