After a delightful month for film, and quite possibly the best this year so far, October is looking vastly lighter in content and quality. There are a couple of big blockbusters and some solid looking award worthy pictures so let’s hope it is not a total write off. Also of note is that the London Film Festival commences 5th Oct, and although I won’t be seeing many I do have A Monster Calls and Arrival to look forward to. Two award worthy heavy hitters, I won’t be previewing them due to their releases being later in the year, but my thoughts will no doubt arrive pretty soon after seeing them. If you can get any tickets there are tons of great looking films available to watch, so seek them out!!

5th October:

The Girl on the Train

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Starring: Emily Blunt, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans

Director: Tate Taylor

Why You Should See It: Tapping into the same genre leanings as the hugely successful Gone Girl, this adaptation of the immensely popular book by Paula Hawkins has a terrific cast and a firm director in The Help’s Tate Taylor. Featuring a mysterious hook, a big draw for audiences, and what looks to be some relatively erotic content, is leading me to think this could be a mature complex thriller. Blunt is always brilliant to watch and seems to be delivering a performance of real emotional wroughtness. Although she still appears to look remarkably good for an apparent alcoholic. Tell me after watching this trailer that you aren’t intrigued to see it.

Hangover Potential: 4/5

7th October:

War on Everyone

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Starring: Alexander Skarsgaard, Michael Pena, Theo James

Director: John Michael McDonagh

Why You Should See It: All I should have to say to you is From the Director of The Guard and Calvary and that should be enough. Similar to his brother director Martin McDonagh (In Bruges) he brings a distinctly Irish attitude to all his work. Quirky, witty, tonally dark but also incredibly funny, this looks to be continuing that trend. Featuring what may be a ridiculously thin plot, War on Everyone features two corrupt cops conning, shooting and screwing their way through a cast of similarly amoral bastards. The central duo seem to have taken to McDonagh’s particular voice and are having a whale of a time causing mayhem. If the film can translate their good time into our good time then it just may be three for three for McDonagh.

Hangover Potential: 4/5

Blood Father

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Starring: Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty, William H Macy

Director: Jean-Franchois Richet

Why You Should See It: One name, Mel Gibson!! Sorely missed in front of and behind the camera (soon to be rectified with his first directorial release since 2006 with Hacksaw Ridge) Gibson is an immense presence on screen. I understand the reasons behind it all and I’m not at all interested in the terrible personal mistakes he has made over the years. I’m only interested in the work. The work in question is an odd but not entirely surprising choice, this low budget B-movie featuring Gibson’s titular Father. Trying to make up for past mistakes by protecting his daughter from vengeful drug dealers, he will do what it takes to atone for his sins and do right. Hmm I wonder what appealed to him! Gibson has always been a champion for lower budgeted pictures, possibly as his background is riddled with them and I hope this is a small but notable stepping stone to his resurgence.

Hangover Potential: 4/5

The Greasy Strangler

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Starring: Sky Elobar, Michael St. Michaels, Elizabeth De Razzo

Director: Jim Hosking

Why You Should See It: Now this is one film that WILL NOT be for everyone. Debuting at Sundance to boos and walkouts but generating to rave reviews this is one synopsis that defies belief. Ronnie and son Brayden run a walking disco tour(!) when a sexy alluring woman named Janet joins the tour and the two men fight for her attention. Subsequently a figure coated in grease shows up randomly to kill people. Yes that is a real synopsis for a real film. Featuring cartoonish violence, graphic sex and sheer craziness I’m still not sure if I’m even willing to see this. I am not a fan of weird for sake of weird and this reeks of that but with such rave buzz from respectable critics I could be persuaded to open my mind to the insanity. Question is will you?

Hangover Potential: 2/5

Also out 7th Oct:

My Scientology Movie- Louis Theroux goes big screen for a doc about the Scientology movement. Always insightful and incisive, but it’d be tough to beat Alex Gibney’s masterful Going Clear.

Supersonic- A revealing documentary about the Gallagher brothers. This promises to tell all about the sibling rivalry that led to their fallout and the consequent aftermath. I like Oasis but not enough to have to put up with Noel’s face for 90mins.

14th October:

American Honey

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Starring: Sasha Lane, Shia LaBeouf, Riley Keough

Director: Andrea Arnold

Why You Should See It: Opening to rave reviews in several US festivals Brit director Andrea Arnold (Fish Tank) returns with an epic American road trip movie. Telling the story of 16yr old Star (Lane) as she leaves her troubled home to travel the US with a magazine crew selling publications door to door and the adventures that follow. Sounding incredibly flimsy for a solid film plot, especially one that runs for 163mins (something that’s putting me off the film), it is very much a character led piece given added heft from Arnold’s no doubt fierce direction. Sasha Lane could be the breakout here. Spotted by Arnold on a Californian beach and asked to star with no prior film or even acting experience, this is a huge gamble that appears to have actually paid off. Add in the enigma that is LaBeouf as one of Star’s potential suitors, and a cast of unknown authentic actors and you have the potential for something searingly raw, honest and real. Albeit nigh on 3hrs of it!!

Hangover Potential: 4/5

Inferno

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Starring: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Ben Foster

Director: Ron Howard

Why You Should See It: The third outing for Dan Brown’s airport thriller hero Robert Langdon sees a return for Hanks and Howard to another outlandish and utterly ridiculous scenario, this time involving a mysterious plague, hidden messages and historical exposition. Badly written but highly readable as books but generally sluggish and leaden as films. Angels and Demons benefited from a tighter pace and some added action scenes but still wound up as a subpar Indiana Jones. Hanks is ever watchable (but entirely unbelievable as an action hero) and the inclusion of the gorgeous and luminous Felicity Jones is most welcome but once again this all feels a little inert. Its attempts to make an intellectual Indy inspired figure are noble but ultimately feeble, watching a man attempt to deduce a clue in an old painting gets old after the seventh time. I do live in hope that this third go around will finally hit the golden ticket but the evidence isn’t looking strong.

Hangover Potential: 2/5

Storks

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Starring (voices): Andy Samberg, Kelsey Grammer, Jennifer Aniston

Directors: Nicholas Stoller, Doug Sweetland

Why You Should See It: Hailing from the relatively new WB Animation, responsible for the wonderful Lego Movie, this looks to be manic, energetic fun. Cleverly subverting the notion of Storks delivering babies, they now no longer do that but in fact delivering packages for a massive retail conglomerate. You see it’s a satirical indictment of our commercialist obsession. Or it would be if it weren’t for the silly jokes, cute animals and slapstick humour. Look this is a certain type of film designed for a certain audience, but there are a number of laughs to be had from the trailer and the fact that Forgetting Sarah Marshall director is responsible for this means this should add up to a fluffy funny piece of family entertainment, with maybe a little dark streak for us adults.

Hangover Potential: 2/5

21st October:

I, Daniel Blake

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Starring: Dave Johns, Hayley Squires, Dylan McKiernan

Director: Ken Loach

Why You Should See It: A surprise return to directing for Brit kitchen-sink extraordinaire Ken Loach after his apparent retirement a few years back, and an even more surprise winner of the Cannes Palme D’Or earlier this year. A low-fi domesticated look at one carpenter who needs to sign on to Welfare who in turn meets a desperate mother after the same thing. They both find that fighting the incessant red tape is a huge challenge. Loach seems fired up by an unjust system and this looks like a searing angry indictment of a flawed welfare process. Add that to truthful naturalistic acting and this could be a subtly moving powder keg of frustrated emotions. Something must’ve hooked the Cannes jury enough to vote this as their fave and I for one am excited to see it.

Hangover Potential: 5/5

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

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Starring: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, A lot of punching and kicking

Director: Edward Zwick

Why You Should See It: Based on the never-ending series of novels by Lee Childs, this sequel is an adaptation of the 18th(!) book. Reacher finds himself involved in a conspiracy after a close friend (Smulders) is accused of espionage. No real connection to the first film, save Mr Cruise, this looks to be continuing the solid work Chris McQuarrie brought to the first film with less of the overblown intricate action set-pieces seen in Tom’s M:I series and more intimate bare knuckled bruising punch ups. The original was forgettable but enjoyable, one particular car chase is loud clever and old school, and I’m hoping this sticks in the mind more. Cruise is brilliant as always, if not at all as described in the novels, and it is good to see a lower budgeted action picture that prides character and smarts over noise. Zwick is a solid director and the trailers so far have been good if uninspired. It should be a mid-range hit.

Hangover Potential: 3/5

Trolls

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Starring (voices): Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, James Corden

Directors: Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrm

Why You Should See It: All I really know about this new Dreamworks film (Shrek, Kung Fu Panda) is that it has gifted us the eminently catchy  ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’ by Mr Timberlake. Based on the popular childhood toy, one I never quite understood ‘so they have weird faces and tall hair,’ this tells a tale of one Troll, leader Poppy, who joins up with JTs Branch to embark on an adventure outside of their comfortable world. There is nothing so far I’ve seen that has hooked me in. A simple story, uninteresting characters and a universe I’m not interested in. Dreamworks have proven themselves almost equal to the giants of Pixar with the epic Kung Fu Panda trilogy and the moving How to Train your Dragons, but this just seems all colour no substance. I sense a decent sized hit but not much in the way of a potential franchise.

Hangover Potential: 1/5

Queen of Katwe

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Starring: Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, Madina Nalwanga

Director: Mira Nair

Why You Should See It: Disney have made so many inspiring true stories with solid actors and directors, landing every tear inducing moment with extreme precision, that when a new one comes along it can be hard to draw up much enthusiasm. This one has a few aces up its sleeve though. Hailing from director Mira Nair, she who bought Bollywood to the mainstream with Monsoon Wedding in 2002 and subsequently did little of consequence after. This tells the, of course, inspiring tale of 10yr old Phiona who lives in the slums of Uganda with no real hope for the future. Thanks to the support of Oyelowo’s Katende she discovers the game of chess and becomes a natural. The game potentially giving her the prospect of something better. An unusual take on the underdog tale, chess is very rarely the focus of these sort of films, with some fine actors on board. Oyelowo is one of this generations finest performers (his MLK in Selma is triumphant) and Nyong’o finally gets to show off the promise she showed in 12 Years a Slave as Phiona’s mother. This will be her first live action role since that Academy bothering debut performance. Receiving favourable reviews from the US and with a terrific trailer this could be a surprise hit.

Hangover Potential: 4/5

Keeping up with the Joneses

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Starring: Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher, Jon Hamm

Director: Greg Mottola

Why You Should See It: This looks to be a somewhat forgettable comedy. Pushed back repeatedly it finally opens this Autumn against bigger options and with one quite lacklustre trailer to its name. It does, however, have a stellar cast. Isla Fisher is a unsung comedic talent as is the dreamy Jon Hamm (yes I do have a man crush, watch Mad Men and tell me you don’t agree), coupled with the solid skills of a newly slim Galifianakis. Although there is always the danger of Zach going a little OTT and sacrificing any comedic subtlety, a crime levied quite considerably at The Hangover trilogy. Add the beautiful, but comedy newbie, Gal Gadot and the eye of Superbad director Greg Mottola then there may be hope. The plot, featuring Zach and Isla as a married couple realising their new neighbours are spies, is painfully generic and one hopes the script has some laughter gems to offset the familiarity.

Hangover Potential: 2/5

Also Out: 21st Oct

Ouija: Origin of Evil: The horror sequel nobody asked for. The period setting looks fun, but the trailer spoils a quite considerable amount of the scares, I have no interest in this one and if you show the same then they won’t make anymore. So no more words will be written on it.

25th October

Doctor Strange

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Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton

Director: Scott Derrickson

Why You Should See It: Now this is the biggie, Marvel return to screens with something a little different. A chance to enter the spiritual side of the hugely successful MCU, they find themselves back in a slightly more risky area of profitability. A largely unknown character, and a very out there concept (renowned Dr has his hands crushed in a car crash and seeks out mysticism as a means to find purpose) leaves them with an origin story similar to Ant-Man in whether audiences will leap onboard or not. Let’s face it, with the Marvel name attached it’s going to make a certain chunk of money but the studio have made some smart calls to maximise audience potential. A terrific cast led by the almost scarily spot on casting of hot property Cumberbatch, it is hard to think of anyone more suitable for the role (in fact it was revealed today that Marvel actually delayed the film in order to get him to star). Then you have drama darlings like Tilda Swinton (strangely(!) cast as the comics Asian master) and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo. Marvel have always been extremely savvy when it comes to casting and also behind the scenes choices too, Strange is no different. Regular horror director Derrickson is a smart choice, he understands fantastical material and creates effective imagery. Plus in a truly geeky connection one of the scriptwriters happens to be regular Aint it Cool News contributor C Robert Cargill, so the geek credentials will be met. Audiences should also be hooked by the Inception style visuals, trippy and unique, which look to offer things we’ve not seen before. With rumours swirling that the Doctor will appear in next years Thor 3, it seems Marvel could be looking at Strange to play a huge role in the ever growing MCU!

Hangover Potential: 5/5

So not quite as many as September but there are still some good looking films in amongst the filler, plus any month that features a new Marvel film is always a good month.

Till the next drunken movie month….

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