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New in Theaters November 04: Doctor Strange, Trolls, Hacksaw Ridge

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By Chris Kavan - 11/03/16 at 06:39 AM CT

A Madea Halloween has done a good job of scaring off some decent competition, but Tyler Perry is no match for the might of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Having already made a big splash overseas, it's time to see how Dr. Strange will open to American audiences. Along with the latest hero, we have Mel Gibson's war drama Hacksaw Ridge and the family-friendly Trolls. It should be another up weekend for Hollywood as Dr. Strange represents just the first wave of several high-profile films coming out way.

DOCTOR STRANGE I admit that Doctor Strange looks, well, strange, even for a Marvel film. Yet they've done so well - I didn't know what to expect from Guardians of the Galaxy, either, that at this point I would be more surprised if I was disappointed rather than surprised by the outcome. The always calm, cool and collected Benedict Cumberbatch takes on the role of Dr. Stephen Strange, master surgeon, until an accident takes away his hands - but opens up an entirely new world to him. Doctor Strange is more spiritual and mystic. It also deals with alternate dimensions - which could easily open up a whole can of worms for Marvel as well as pretty much giving them options for the future when all their current actors age out and they have to find new meat. In any case, I get a real Inception vibe from the rather trippy trailers out there. In any case, as long as we can all get over the fact that, yes, Tilda Swinton was cast at "The Ancient One" maybe we can all enjoy this film. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt and Mads Mikkelsen (playing the villain) all star in this one as well. Even though it seems out-of-place compared to many of the other Marvel films, this will probably open to big numbers and go on to make a boatload of cash - and even if it underperforms, I doubt it's going to sink Marvel.

TROLLS I'm still not sure why DreamWorks settled on Trolls as their next (potential) franchise. But, hey, if The Smurfs and Chimpmunks can be relevant again, why not the bushy-haired monsters? In any case, this is going to be a musical as well, but they do have Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, Gwen Stefani and James Corden on board - along with Zooey Deschanel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Christine Baranski, Russell Brand, John Cleese, Jeffrey Tambor, Ron Funches and Quvenzhané Wallis. The cast looks like they can handle things and this is the only game in town for families so maybe that combined effort will be enough for Trolls to have a respectable run in theaters, even if I have pretty much zero interest in this would-be franchise.

HACKSAW RIDGE Mel Gibson returns to being behind the camera for the first time since 2006 and Apocalypto. While it's opening in far fewer theaters than both Trolls and Dr. Strange, Hacksaw Ridge still should make an impact at the box office. The story follows Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who finds himself in Okinawa during WWII. The film follows both the personal life of Doss as well as his time at war, where he refuses to kill any enemy combatants, even while putting himself in harms way to save those in the field. Andrew Garfield plays Doss, Hugo Weaving plays his WWI veteran father while Teresa Palmer, Sam Worthington and Vince Vaughn help round out the cast. While the movie could be a bit too sentimental or political - hopefully it can find the right balance without becoming too self-righteous. It's going to face an uphill battle with several adult dramas plus the two new films opening this week, but I'm hoping it manages to keep its head above water.

Those are the main movies hitting theaters this weekend. I'll be back on Sunday where we'll find out how they all wind up.


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