Film releases follow clearly established patterns. The winter months are the dumping ground for bad movies (beware of any movie released in February). Late spring and summer is the season for blockbusters. Fall is the time for Oscar contenders. As the weather turns cooler, the movies begin to feature more mature content. This fall is no exception. So let’s take a look at some of the big movies set for release this October.
October 2: The Martian: Matt Damon plays an astronaut stranded on Mars and forced to try and find a way to survive? Then the rest of his NASA crew disobeys orders to head back to the Red Planet to try and save him? Yes, please. The Martian is directed by Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Blade Runner, Exodus: Gods and Kings), and features Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, and Sean Bean in its supporting cast.
October 2: The Walk: Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in this film based on the high wire walking exploits of Phillippe Petit. In 1974, Petit famously walked between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Directed by Robert Zemecks (Back to the Future), this has Oscar bait written all over it.
October 2: Sicaro: Starring Emily Blunt plays an FBI agent recruited to help in the fight against the import of illegal drugs into the United States from Mexico. Josh Brolin and Bencio Del Toro co-star in a movie that has gotten a lot of hype for its brutal and gritty depiction of the drug war raging along the US-Mexican border. This topic has been covered extensively on television (The Bridge) and in other movies (too many to list here), but the top notch cast offers hope.
October 9: Pan: Director Joe Wright digs deep into the background story of Peter Pan—the mischievous boy whose story everyone loves as a child and then finds deeply disturbing as an adult. Why do they need a 12 year old girl as their mother? For a magical and enchanted place, Neverland features a lot of killing. Pan serves as an origin story as Peter, a twelve year old orphan, finds his way to Neverland and encounters Captain Hook (Hugh Jackman), Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara), and the Lost Boys. Why anyone wanted a Tim Burton-esque reboot of Peter Pan remains a question without a good answer.
October 16: Bridge of Spies: Tom Hanks and Steven Spielburg reunite for this movie about an American lawyer (Hanks) recruited by the CIA to help arrange a prisoner exchange with the Soviet Union. The film’s trailer paints Hanks as the one honest man trying to prevent a thermonuclear war between the United States and the Soviets. That’s an interesting idea, but we all know that didn’t happen, so….?
October 23: Steve Jobs: If you missed that Ashton Kutcher movie about Steve Jobs, have no fears, now we have another biography of the legendary Apple CEO. This movie checks off all the Oscar boxes, famous leading man on the rise (Michael Fassbender), Oscar winning screenwriter (Aaron Sorkin), and Oscar winning director (Danny Boyle). With the flood of attention focused on Jobs since his passing (including a lengthy biography and the aforementioned Ashton Kutcher movie) it remains to be seen if Boyle and Sorkin have something new to offer.
October 23: Suffragette: Meryl Streep, Carey Mulligan, and Helena Bonham Carter highlight this story of the early history of the women’s suffrage movement in England. Like Jobs, this movie seems like pure Oscar bait: Women rebelling against patriarchy, Meryl Streep, British accents. Hopefully this film rises above the typical liberal paternalism present in these types of movies where women, African-Americans, immigrants or whatever disenfranchised party fight for their rights, but can only succeed with the help of some good honest white men to guide and direct them.
Those are the big movie releases for October. We’ll be back at the end of October to look ahead to November’s most anticipated films. Next week, we’ll check in with the Saints as their season hits the one quarter mark.