MONTHLY HIGHLIGHTS: October 2013

Gravity - Movies to See in October 2013

October is always a packed month for exciting new releases, but this October seems particularly juicy. Several of the major fall festival releases will hit theatres giving mainstream audiences access to this year’s Oscar contenders earlier than usual. There are almost enough good movies coming out this month to see a new one every other day. Let me stop wasting time on this boring introduction so I can get to breaking down the exciting month ahead.

Film Releases

Gravity
Wide Release on October 4

I had the good fortune to see Gravity a few weeks early and I can confidently say that everyone should put it on their list of must-see October films. It is one of the most visually breathtaking movies I have in the past several years and tells an inspiring story that unfolds almost entirely in images and sound, with little to no dialogue. My full review will come out before the weekend, but the bottom line is see it on the biggest screen in the loudest theatre you can find. [Watch the Trailer]

Runner Runner
Wide Release on October 4

Despite the fact that neither Ben Affleck or Justin Timberlake are on my list of favorite actors to watch, I have enjoyed the project choices that both have made over the last several years. Runner Runner tells the story of a college student who loses everything in an online poker game and goes after the entrepreneur he thinks cheated him. I’m unsure if this film will be better than Affleck and Timberlake, but the trailer makes it look like the film delivers some solid action. [Watch the Trailer]

Captain Phillips - Movies to See in October 2013

Captain Phillips
Wide Release on October 11

Duncan was underwhelmed by Captain Phillips when he saw it at the New York Film Festival on Friday, but not every critic agrees with him. This Paul Greengrass true-life story will undoubtedly be a part of the awards conversation this year, so it’s worth seeking out if you plan to be a part of that. I’m a fan of Greengrass and have high hopes for any project that has his name attached to it. [Watch the Trailer]

Escape from Tomorrow
Limited Release on October 11

This dark horror movie was partially filmed at Disney Land and tells the story of an unemployed father who begins to go insane while on an outing to the famous theme park. The film was a hit at this year’s Fantastic Fest and has a trailer that looks too bizarre to pass up. Hopefully it won’t make me begin to fear the Disney iconography on which I was raised, but if it some horrific acts committed by costumed characters, I’m totally fine with that. [Watch the Trailer]

God Loves Uganda
Limited Release on October 11

This documentary follows a group of evangelical Christians from America who travel to Uganda to instill the nation with biblical values. This appears to be a lot heavier than the other religion-brought-to-Uganda piece of art I saw this year – Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s musical “The Book of Mormon” – and in this case that’s for the best. The film tackles a tough issue – on one hand the missionaries are some of the only people willing to travel and offer aid to a nation in need, and on the other hand some of their teachings may do more harm than good. I’m interested to see what the documentary tackles that controversial issue. [Watch the Trailer]

Romeo and Juliet - Movies to See in October 2013

Romeo and Juliet
Limited Release on October 11

Do we really need another Shakespeare adaptation? Yes, actually. As a die-hard fan of The Bard, I have no problem with the endless interest in bringing his works to the screen. This one comes courtesy of director Carlo Carlei and screenwriter Julian Fellowes (creator of “Downton Abbey”) and is controversial because it does not use Shakespeare’s original language, even though it is set in traditional Renaissance Verona. Will this new twist work? I can’t wait to find out. [Watch the Trailer]

The Fifth Estate
Wide Release on October 18

This has been the year of Julian Assange in cinema with several narrative films and documentaries featuring him as a subject. Bill Condon’s The Fifth Estate will likely be the definitive Julian Assange film of the year because it stars the ubiquitous Benedict Cumberbatch as the controversial Wikileaks founder. The supporting cast is also amazing with names like Daniel Bruhl, Anthony Mackie, Stanley Tucci, Laura Linney, David Thewlis, Peter Capaldi, and Carice van Houten. [Watch the Trailer]

All is Lost
Limited Release on October 18

JC Chandor’s follow-up to his 2011 financial thriller Margin Call received rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, mainly because Robert Redford’s performance. Redford is the only actor listed in the film’s credits and plays the solitary role of a ship captain lost at sea and trying to survive the harsh elements completely on his own. This will get a small release and roll out slowly, so most people might not see it in October, but when it comes to your city it is certainly one not to miss. [Watch the Trailer]

12 Years a Slave - Movies to See in October 2013

12 Years a Slave
Limited Release on October 18

The winner of the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, 12 Years a Slave is definitely this year’s film to beat in the Oscar race. Our own Duncan Houst saw the film just over a week ago and he believes that it lives up to the hype (his full review forthcoming). Whether or not you care about awards, this movie should be seen on a big screen because of its smart, edgy director and its all-star cast including Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Sarah Paulson, Paul Giamatti, Quvenzhane Wallis, and so many more. [Watch the Trailer]

The Counselor
Wide Release on October 25

On paper, this film sounds way too brilliant not to pass up. It is the first screenplay of award-winning badass author Cormac McCarthy and directed by the occasionally brilliant Ridley Scott. The cast includes Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt (those two must have hung out a lot this year) along with Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz, Dean Norris, and John Leguizamo. It sounds like it will maintain the bleak, consequences-of-drug-trade scenario that McCarthy has made a career on and I hope it is able to live up to my ridiculously high expectations. [Watch the Trailer]

Blue is the Warmest Color
Limited Release on October 25

This Palme d’Or winning film has only continued to rise in my anticipation with increasing stories about tension on the set and reviews fluctuating since the film’s Cannes release. For many critics, this appears to be the best film of the year and I anticipate that it will be a leader on many end of the year top ten lists. [Watch the Trailer]

Much Less Appealing Film Releases:

  • Parkland – October 4
  • Machete Kills – October 11
  • Carrie – October 18
  • Escape Plan – October 18
  • Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa – October 25

Film Events

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - Movies to See in October 2013

New York Film Festival

Duncan still has a few more days of coverage from the New York Film Festival with reviews of anticipated films including 12 Years a Slave, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Immigrant, Bastards, and many more. Check out all of his reviews so far and be sure to follow him on Twitter for live updates and quick thoughts after his screenings.

Twin Cities Film Festival

Once again this year Justin and I will be covering the Twin Cities Film Festival. Highly anticipated titles this year include Nebraska, 12 Years a Slave, and August: Osage County. However, I’m most excited for the smaller independent films and documentaries. Last year I saw The Iran Job at the festival and it ended up being my #6 favorite film of 2013. Look for this year’s coverage to begin October 18.

Updated Oscar Predictions

After the New York Film Festival concludes we should have the clearest picture yet of where the Oscar race stands. Look for updated predictions in every category coming next week along with increased coverage over the next several weeks.

What movies or events are you most anticipating in October?

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  • Gravity…Gravity and Gravity!

    12 Years a Slave, Blue is the Warmest Color, All is Lost, Captain Phillips. I am excited.

    Looking forward to all the festival coverage as usual.

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