I say it every year, but I guess when you see any title with Halloween in it, a certain chill might run across you. The reality is, this time of year can be viewed in a lot of different ways. Sure, kids will dress up and go trick or treating while adults go to their parties, but for Hollywood, this day means something completely different. And no, I’m not talking about the token horror flicks or thrillers. Believe it or not, Halloween tells yours truly that award season is right around the corner, so while most people will rushing into theaters to see “Carrie,” I will most likely be in an adjacent theater watching a possible Oscar contender. I say possible, because we are roughly four months away from finding out who got that early morning call telling them they have been nominated, but it’s still fun to predict what may or may not be in the race. So, while I would love to just preview that list, I can’t, leaving me with the below selection of both contenders and pretenders for the month of October.
“Gravity” (October 4th)
This is one of those films everyone wants to see, but if they thought about it, they may not given its slanted story. That’s at least what I thought after watching the trailer, which yes, was intriguing but also seemed a bit unrealistic. I know, it’s just a movie, but when you throw stars like George Clooney and Sandra Bullock in it, I have to take notice. That’s just a reality, so with that, maybe I do see it and find out why director Alfonso Cuaron was hired. Who is this guy? I recognized the name, but didn’t know from where until I pulled up his IMDB page and saw he directed one the “Harry Potter” films as well as the Oscar nominated “Children of Men” back in 2006. But, that’s it, so I am curious to see how he pulled off making this film appear like it was shot 200 kilometers above Earth. Even with CGI, the actors still had a lot of work to do to match certain movements as if they were floating in space, so it will be interesting to see the final product built with a lot of emotion.
“Runner, Runner” (October 4th)
If I were to bet what film will be the sleeper of October, it would be this one. It just has the look of something you will tell you friends about and given what else is coming out, it might be the “fun” film to go check out in-between all the serious ones. That’s at least what I am hoping for, given it all centers around the game of poker just like 1998’s “Rounders,” which was written by Brian Koppelman and David Levien, the same two guys that wrote this one. Only this thriller will appear to be a bit flashier given its Costa Rican themes and cast. One that involves Ben Affleck as just an actor, which I’m sure was nice for him after virtually sweeping the award season last year as actor, producer, writer and director with “Argo.” Add in the often undervalued Justin Timberlake and beautiful Gemma Arterton and this becomes one of those films you won’t want to miss.
“Captain Phillips” (October 11th)
While “Runner,Runner” may be the sleeper of the month, this film will be the outright winner if Tom Hanks has anything to say about it. Gripping story plus Tom Hanks usually equals a lot of gold come award season, so we’ll see how it does , but given how the trailer looks, I can’t imagine this film not being the one to remember in October. Sure, true stories can be tough, but with director Paul Greengrass at the helm, I’m not worried. Plus, this was based around the true events that took place back in 2009 when a small band of Somali raiders hijacked a cargo ship in the middle of the Indian Ocean. I remember that story and it was pretty intense, so to now see it play out on the big screen should be a lot of fun. Greengrass doesn’t shy away from tough stories, having directed films like “United 93” and “Green Zone”, so I expect a lot of the same with this new one with my second favorite actor in Hanks.
“The Fifth Estate” (October 11th)
Well, in other news, we finally have a film based around WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his rise to the top. I write that like I know, but the truth is, I have never heard of Assange and could care less about some story about his life. But, just this week, three people asked me about this film, so I felt compelled to write something, anything about it. So, I watched the trailer and it actually looks fairly decent. A lot of politics and drama, which is right down my alley, so I will check it out just for that but also see why all these Cumberbitches can’t get enough of Benedict Cumberbatch. Sure, I liked him in a few recent films like “Star Trek Into Darkness” and “War Horse,” but it’s his costar might be the one to watch in this one actually. Yes, Daniel Bruhl has resurfaced yet again; weeks after impressing me with his performance in “Rush.” And here playing opposite a guy like Cumberbatch might be the performance people remember this fall season.
“All is Lost” (October 18th)
Just when you thought we would not see Robert Redford again on the big screen in a leading role, he comes out with this film based around an old man alone on a sinking sailboat. Sounds uninspiring, but I assure you Robert Redford doesn’t just do anything nowadays. Sure, he has been a part of lot things over the years, including my all-time favorite film, “The Natural,” so to see him endure this kind of role is impressive. Yeah, it will resemble recent films like “Life of PI’ or even “Cast Away,” but this appears to be the ultimate survival story on the surface. So for a guy that has helped make Hollywood what it is today, this is quite the undertaking at his age. Seventy six is old, so I can’t wait to see how he managed this story with virtually no dialogue and no other actor in it for the better part of 100 minutes.
“12 Years a Slave” (October 18th)
I would be in idiot not to feature a film based on an 1853 autobiography by the same name, written by Solomon Northrup. That’s an old story and one I think people need to see, given it all centers around the story of a free black man who was kidnapped 12 years prior in Washington, D.C. and sold into slavery. Just writing that almost says it all, given the type of story that must have been to live through but one that should make for a good flick. I just don’t know if it will keep your attention long enough, given its deep historical roots. But, with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fasbender involved as its main stars, I think it will become more intriguing than it looks, even if its directed by the unknown Steve McQueen.
“The Counselor” (October 25th)
Any film that is dedicated to the memory of director Tony Scott is one that I not only need to see, but one I must see. Scott was an icon and director of several of my all-time favorite films like “Top Gun,” “Days of Thunder” and “True Romance.” That kind of trio could be a career for most filmmakers, but for Scott, it was just the beginning as he went on to direct and produce a host of popular films the next 15 years. Plus he was the younger brother of Ridley Scott, who directed this film, which is all you need to know if you ask me. So, to then add in a cast like the one here, including the likes of Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Michael Fassbender, Rosie Perez, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz makes this an easy decision. Plus, any story based around drugs is going to be exciting given all the natural life elements that tend to get mixed in.
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