October 2016 Movie Preview
This is Halloween! This is Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! Halloween!
It’s October and we’re starting to come into the homestretch for 2016. While October may not have as many big movies as September did (and we don’t really have any worthwhile horror for some reason) we still have lots of big, tentpole releases worth paying attention to. Let’s just dive right in!
October 5th 2016
The Girl on the Train –
This is one of the quickest turnarounds I’ve ever seen for a book adaptation, at least from my recollection. “The Girl on the Train” was written by Paula Hawkins and became a worldwide best seller upon its 2015 release. In fact, Dreamworks acquired the movie rights to the book a year before it was even published so they were clearly able to foresee some potential here. From the director of ‘Get On Up‘ and ‘The Help‘ we have the London setting of the book jettisoned in favour of New York (something that readers of the book that I personally know seem baffled by) and Emily Blunt takes the lead role.
Honestly, the trailers and marketing has done very little to get me engaged. I’ve heard great things about the book and everyone I’ve spoken to who has read the book say it’s a great read…but I ain’t got time for any of that reading nonsense. Anyway, I think Emily Blunt is terrific and she may be the main reason I have any interest in this adaptation. But reviews have been mixed and…I kid you not, the moment I wrote that previous sentence I got a text from my brother saying “The Girl on the Train was f***ing terrible.” so…I guess it’s a no from him.
October 7th 2016
Blood Father –
Say what you will about Mel Gibson as a person but…the dude’s pretty darn talented. 2016 has been something akin to a return to form for the guy as not only is he in the news for wanting to develop a sequel to his biggest hit ‘The Passion of the Christ‘ and also has a major Oscar contender on the horizon with ‘Hacksaw Ridge‘ but he’s also proving to still have action chops in ‘Blood Father‘. Imagine ‘Taken‘ except Liam Neeson stuck around with his daughter to kill the bad guys instead of her getting kidnapped.
Coming from ‘Assault on Precinct 13‘ director Jean-François Richet, ‘Blood Father‘ looks like solid B-movie fare. It had a strong debut at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year and has been met with incredibly positive reviews. This may seem like the type of movie better served for an on-demand service like Netflix but ‘Blood Father‘ seems like must-see viewing for fans of the action genre.
My Scientology Movie –
Louis Theroux is a name I had never heard of until a year or two ago. As I delved into the bowels of Netflix looking for things to marathon, I found his extensive library of documentaries and couldn’t stop watching. His approach feels minimal yet extremely personal as he seems to be able to get his subjects to open up about controversial or contrarian topics with ease. The dude is awesome and when I heard he’d be coming to the big screen talking about Scientology, I was instantly hyped.
However, his inability to get inside the Scientology headquarters in California leading to him creating dramatic reenactments with ex-members, while a novel approach, doesn’t feel like the Theroux that I love watching. But the subject matter is fascinating in and of itself (a religion created by a sci-fi author mainly to avoid taxes that you have to pay to be a part of and operate religious freedom and essentially acts as a rich dude’s club) that you can’t really do much to mess this up. Reviews have been lukewarm but Louis Theroux tackling Scientology is enough to get my butt in the theatre.
War On Everyone –
Director John Michael McDonagh is taking his career is a very different place with his new movie ‘War On Everyone‘, which follows two reprehensible police officers in New Mexico who blackmail criminals. McDonagh’s last movie was the low-key, methodical ‘Calvary‘ and the black-comedy ‘War On Everyone‘ seems like the polar-opposite type of movie.
Starring Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Peña ‘War On Everyone‘, from what I hear, is a black comedy in every sense of the word with a lot of punching-down humour which comes with the territory. Reviews have been mixed, leaning on the positive and while I’m looking forward to the film, John Michael McDonagh’s filmography has never really done anything for me. Maybe the drastic change in scenery will help change that.
October 14th 2016
The Dan Brown “Da Vinci” movie trilogy can be described as incredibly talented individuals having their time wasted. ‘The Da Vinci Code‘ from 2006 is the highest grossing movie of all time that ISN’T an action-spectacle of a movie and while it’s serviceable it feels like actor Tom Hands and director Ron Howard really could be working on better things. The 2009 sequel ‘Angels & Demons‘ is basically unwatchable. Now, 7 years later we have ‘Inferno‘ which, if the critics are to be believed, is even worse.
We have one of the greatest actors of all time; Tom Hanks, teaming up with the brilliant Felicity Jones to stop the equally talented Ben Foster from unleashing a plague upon the world. The trailers have an intriguing dilemma; there’s a switch which will kill half the world’s population. But if it isn’t thrown, then in 100 years everyone dies. However, we’re dealing with Dan Brown whose books are for people who don’t like books. The movie will probably make bank, but with such a talented cast and a great director you just know that this is just a stepping stone to something they actually want to be working on.
Honestly, when I first heard the premise of ‘Storks‘ I thought it was going to be terrible. Then my hopes were raised when I heard that ex-Pixar animator Doug Sweetland and ‘Bad Neighbours‘ director Nicholas Stoller were directing and then…I saw the trailer…and I think this actually looks really good.
I’m not expecting to have my mind blown or find anything incredible here but the trailers are selling a really quirky, off-beat tone, some really inventive humour and an understanding of how ridiculous the concept is. We have a strong cast, good reviews and…there are a pack of wolves that transform into a submarine. Seriously, I just want this thing in front of my eyeballs to confirm that it’s actually real.
October 21st 2016
I, Daniel Blake –
The phrase “most important movie of the year” is tossed around quite frequently (seriously, how can EVERY movie that plays at Cannes be the “most important”?) but if there’s one film that absolutely seems to fit that criteria it’s ‘I, Daniel Blake‘ from ‘Kes‘ and ‘The Wind That Shakes The Barley‘ director Ken Loach. The plot follows Daniel Blake, played by Dave Johns, who used to work as a carpenter but has had a major heart-attack. However, despite his doctor’s advice, the E.S.A. insist he must look for work and can only offer a jobseeker’s allowance.
A very topical film, ‘I, Daniel Blake‘ takes aim at the U.K.’s dehumanising benefits system and the insane red tape that you have to go through in order to get by through no fault of your own. It’s politically charged as hell, but apparently the film has the courage of its convictions and has received almost universal acclaim and received the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. ‘I, Daniel Blake‘ might not be a movie worth seeing on a big screen but it seems like it’s definitely worth seeing any way you can.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back –
2012’s ‘Jack Reacher‘, based off the 9th book in the Jack Reacher book series by Lee Child, despite being a solid action film with great practical stunts, a committed Tom Cruise and a memorable villain performance from Werner Herzog, has left practically zero cultural impact OTHER than cementing director Christopher McQuarrie and actor Tom Cruise as a legitimate action-movie team. So here we are, 4 years later with a sequel no one was asking for, where McQuarrie has stepped aside to work on the next “Mission: Impossible” movie, leaving ‘The Last Samurai‘ director Edward Zwick to take over.
‘Jack Reacher: Never Go Back‘ is based off the 18th book in the series where Reacher has to clear the name of an old comrade played by Cobie Smulders. The trailers are selling an old-fashioned, B-movie action film straight from the 80s and 90s and I feel like it’s going to deliver in that regard. Much like ‘Inferno‘ I feel like everyone involved would be better off doing almost anything else but at least we’re going to get a movie that will definitely appeal to a certain demographic very well.
Keeping Up With The Joneses –
Coming from Greg Mottola, the director of ‘Paul‘ and ‘Adventureland‘ we have ‘Keeping Up With The Joneses‘. This spy comedy follows a normal suburban couple, the Gaffney’s played by Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher, whose lives are turned upside down when the Jones’ played by Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot move across the street. See, it turns out the Jones’ are spies and the Gaffney’s get involved in their espionage action and hilarity allegedly ensues.
Honestly, after ‘Central Intelligence‘, ‘Get Smart‘, ‘Spy‘, ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.‘ and more, I just feel a bit burnt out on spy-comedies. That’s not to say that ‘Keeping Up With the Joneses‘ will be bad, but it will really have to go above and beyond to stand out and it seems like Galifianakis is playing the same character he always does and someone like Gal Gadot really is untested in comedies. This could go either way, but as always I’m rooting for the movie to be entertaining.
Ouija: Origin Of Evil –
2014’s ‘Ouija‘ holds the distinction of possibly being the worst horror movie in a year where the entire horror genre actually made my 2014 “worst of” list. It lacks basic storytelling principals, good performances, actual scares and it feels like an excuse just to sell Ouija board-games and merchandise. But it was also a financial success so when a sequel as announced I wasn’t surprised.
But what DID surprise me was the creative team’s acceptance of how bad the first movie was and they claim to be learning from their mistakes. Talk is cheap, but when they brought on board ‘Oculus‘ and ‘Hush‘ director Mike Flanagan I started to believe them. Now, the trailers have looked pretty terrible but maybe those are just the trailers which are not always indicative of the quality of the finished movie. I want this to be good and I think if anyone can steer this franchise in the right direction, it’s a talent like Flanagan. But is it too little too late?
Queen of Katwe –
As the film industry starts to diversify its output and acknowledges the very profitable and culturally relevant demographics outside of the straight-white-male space, we’re starting to get biopics about subjects that we otherwise would never have dreamed of a decade or two ago. It’s how we got biopics ‘12 Years A Slave‘, ‘Dallas Buyers Club‘, ‘Race‘, ‘The Imitation Game‘, ‘Straight Outta Compton‘ and more. In the near future we’ve got ‘A United Kingdom‘ (which’ll be previewed next month) and ‘Birth of a Nation‘ focusing on more obscure black figures (obscure by MAINSTREAM standards, I must stress) but one of the most out-of-left-field biopics comes in the form of ‘Queen of Katwe‘ from Disney.
Starring Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o and Oscar-snub David Oyelowo, the movie follows the life of Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi, a woman who was born in the slums and had to drop out of school because her family could not afford an education for her. But she learned how to play chess and went on to become one of the first titled female players in Ugandan chess history. It’s a really interesting true story and Disney are a great fit for the material; depicting this rags to riches story as a live-action fairytale. This should offer some great, female-oriented counter-programming this October.
I’m curious as to how far I’m willing to ride ‘The LEGO Movie‘ train of having zero expectations for a questionable movie adaptation but giving it the benefit of the doubt because…’The LEGO Movie‘ was awesome. We’ve got ‘Storks‘, the upcoming ‘Minecraft‘ movie and we’ve also got ‘Trolls‘. Personally, I think the origin of the Troll dolls by Danish Woodcutter Thomas Dam is more interesting than a movie about the trolls themselves (Dam was too poor to afford a toy for his young daughter so he made her one so she wouldn’t get made fun of at school and all of the other parents wanted to buy Troll dolls of their own but Dam made an error filing the trademark meaning toy companies could rip him off and he was robbed of millions of dollars) but anyway.
An animated musical starring Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, James Corden and Zooey Deschanel, ‘Trolls‘ is a road-trip movie about a mismatched pair of Trolls who must rescue their friends from an evil species known as the Bergen. While I don’t expect the story or the humour to go above and beyond, the trailers have actually sold a really colourful and inventive world that the trolls inhabit. Hopefully the movie will be more than flash and music but this could be a strong family-friendly October release.
October 25th 2016
Doctor Strange –
No U.K. readers, your eyes are not mistaken. Marvel’s next M.C.U. movie ‘Doctor Strange‘ is an October release in the U.K. In fact, we’re one of the first territories to actually get to see the movie, which is awesome. But yeah, ‘Doctor Strange‘ is the 14th movie in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and is based off the character created by Steve Ditko in 1963. The character shares many elements to Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man (a well groomed but brash and misguided prodigy gets involved in an accident and must atone for their behaviour by making the world a better place with new skills) but if anything is going to set apart this film from the ‘Iron Man‘ franchise it’ll be a trippy tone and horror sensibilities.
‘Doctor Strange‘ comes to us from ‘Sinister‘ director Scott Derrickson which could make this movie the first horror flick in the M.C.U. and we also have Benedict Cumberbatch in the titular role as well as one of the most talented cast of actors I’ve seen in a long time; Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams and Mads Mikkelsen. Promising to be an incredible 3-D, IMAX experience ‘Doctor Strange‘ is unlikely to be the first chink in Marvel’s massive armour and should cement their reputation of going as strange as possible but still providing solid blockbuster thrills.
October may be quieter than previous months, but it feels like it’s full of more must-see films. And we’ve also got some early awards contenders and the Winter blockbusters will be herelded with the arrival of ‘Doctor Strange‘. But in no particular order here are my top three most anticipated of October 2016;
- ‘My Scientology Movie‘
- ‘I, Daniel Blake‘
- ‘Doctor Strange‘.
Anyway folks, what are you all looking forward to this October? Are there any other releases that I missed that you can’t wait to see? Be sure to sound off in the comments section below!
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Posted: 18th Oct 16