ROCKTOBER! Well, October. It’s where the prestige releases start to make themselves known! To normal people! Where blockbusters mingle with art house, where kids films chat with gorefests. It’s a hell of a month, and this year is no exception. Let’s dig in!
- CRIMSON PEAK – Oct. 16, IMAX. A new film from Guillermo Del Toro is always a cause to celebrate, and he may have outdone himself with this gothic horror love story. Do you like beautiful people? How about Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, and Charlie Hunnam? Yeah, I thought so. This looks fantastic, and early screenings have been super positive. A must see on the big screen and with an audience.
- THE MARTIAN – Oct. 2, RealD 3D. Ridley Scott is back on our happy list thanks to this killer hard-science techno-thriller. Matt Damon is trapped on Mars, and if he’s going to survive, he’s gonna have to science the shit out of it. Again, early reviews are through the roof, maybe even better than GRAVITY. It’s a shame it’s in 3D, but whatareyagonnado.
- ROOM – Oct. 16. Winner of the audience award at this year’s TIFF, Brie Larson is incredible as a woman held hostage for a decade in a tiny room with her now five year old son, who’s never seen the outside world. It’s an uplifting but devastating film, and sure to be nominated for many awards to come.
- STEVE JOBS – Oct. 23. Danny Boyle takes a shot at the legend of Steve, with Michael Fassbender in the lead and Seth Rogen as Woz. Instead of telling his life, it focuses on three moments to great effect. Oh, and it’s written by the legendary Aaron Sorkin (WEST WING, THE SOCIAL NETWORK). So yeah, it’ll murder that other one that came out last year.
- BRIDGE OF SPIES – Oct. 16. Spielberg is back in the cold war! America’s favorite uncle Tom Hanks plays a government stooge tasked with making a deal with the Russians to get back their U2 pilot in a scenario that could have easily led to WWIII. I do love me a good political thriller!
- PAN – Oct. 9. Hey, let’s make an origin story for Peter Pan! What could possibly go wrong? Well, at least it’s not a Tim Burton movie. Joe Wright (ATONEMENT) is behind the camera, and Hugh Jackman plays a completely insane looking Blackbeard as the heavy. It looks very interesting, but it could easily become a hot mess.
- THE LAST WITCH HUNTER – Oct. 23. Speaking of hot messes! Do you miss UNDERWORLD? Well, it’s kind of back! Overdone CG, legendary monsters in the modern world, and Vin Diesel with a mighty beard! I’m pretty sure this will be terrible, but it should be entertaining as hell. Plus it’s got the redhead from GAME OF THRONES! No, the other one, the one who shot Jon Snow.
- THE WALK – Oct. 2 IMAX 3D, Oct. 9 wide. A crazy French dude decides it would be a larf to run a cable between the two World Trade Center buildings and walk across it. Robert Zemeckis and I have a very complicated relationship. While I respect his success, he’s really pissed me off with several of his films, and this one, well, it walks a line. Based on early reviews, the lead up is bad, but the actual sequence of the walk itself is incredible. Is it worth sitting through the rest of the film? I guess that’s your call, but you’d better do it in IMAX 3D.
- ROCK THE KASBAH – Oct. 23. Everyone loves Bill Murray, but there is no hype for his next starring role, despite being directed by the great Barry Levinson (RAIN MAN, HOMICIDE) and written by the dude who wrote SCROOGED. Bill plays a larger-than-life music promoter who’s abandoned by his talent in the middle of Afghanistan, only to discover a raw new singer. It looks… kind of annoying. Bruce Willis is present for some reason. I hope I’m wrong about this, but it looks like a bomb.
- OUR BRAND IS CRISIS – Oct. 30. American woman tries to save crazy Central American country from itself. Sandra Bullock plays a legendary political advisor trying to help the standing government win an open election, ostensibly to keep the country from falling apart under new, untested leadership. On the surface this looks pretty bad, but director David Gordon Green made PINEAPPLE EXPRESS and GEORGE WASHINGTON, so he’s got the chops to pull off a miracle.
- A SCOUT’S GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE – Oct. 30. I’m so over Zombie comedies, but dammit, this one might actually be amusing. MAYBE. Not much in the way of bona fides, but there’s a bit of a spark in the trailer.
- GOOSEBUMPS – Oct. 16, RealD 3D. Jack Black plays R. L. Stine, the “writer” of the series, but in “reality” the stories were meant to trap real monsters. Of course, some doofus lets them loose and it’s up to three kids and JB to catch ‘em all. Comparisons to JUMANJI are noted. The director is responsible for the megabomb GULLIVER’S TRAVELS, so don’t expect much. But hey, the kids’ll like it.
- TRUTH – Oct. 16. In 2004, Dan Rather’s legendary career took a major hit thanks to a discredited story about George W Bush’s military record. Here, Robert Redford plays Rather, and Cate Blanchett his producer. In today’s political climate, it’s nearly impossible to tell a story about, well, today’s political climate without being pulled into said political climate. What’s your intention with this film? Who’s it for? Is it trying to tell the story that was debunked, or the bigger story about the way people who pursue the truth are attacked? Can you do that without being attacked yourself? The film basically has no chance to be reviewed neutrally.
- BURNT – Oct. 23. Bradley Cooper is a bad-boy chef who’s trying to rebuild his career, and his life. Director John Wells cut his teeth on WEST WING, and writer Steven Knight wrote EASTERN PROMISES, but the buzz on this one is terrible.
- PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION – Oct. 23, RealD 3D. The final installment in what should have never been a series goes into THE THIRD DIMENSION OOOOOOH. They’re promising to tie together the whole series, but will audiences care? I haven’t seen any of them, so I can tell you that I don’t.
- JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS – Oct. 23. This one is truly, truly, truly outrageous. They took a goofy, glam, insane cartoon and sucked the life out of it, ran it through the update machine and turned it into a tale of social media gone awry. A young girl’s creepy performance video goes viral and an evil record company makes her a star with a secret identity. Young folks go apey, the label tries to get her to dump her friends, and I don’t know, I assume she cries a lot before growing a spine and turning into Katy Perry. When they look upon the wastelands of media in the future, they’ll say this was the beginning of the end. Or it’ll just tank, one or the other.
So yeah, busy month! See CRIMSON PEAK and THE MARTIAN for the love of god. I see that THE FINAL GIRLS is being released in the States this month, but the Canadian release date is inexplicably in November, so it might as well not be released theatrically at all. If anything changes, it’ll be on my weekly list. Regardless, November has some big ‘uns, we’ll take a look at that in a bunch of weeks.