October. The month where Pumpkin Spice Lattes rear their highly-caffeinated frothy heads (please just have normal coffee, preferably a Flat White). It is also the month where we get a glimpse at some of the films that will be fighting for the Oscar crown in February. This year is no different and is a nice mix of mid-budget genre movies and “prestige” pictures. From Emily Blunt to a Marvel superhero via some awesome chess playing, this is what we think you should watch before Halloween.
The Girl on the Train
Release Date: 5th October
Starring: Emily Blunt, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett
What’s It About: Whilst comparing one work to another is unfair, The Girl on the Train (TGOTT) is being billed as this year’s Gone Girl. The story follows Rachel (Emily Blunt), an alcoholic divorcee who sees something out of the train window on her way to work.
Why You Should Watch It: Emily Blunt, Emily Blunt, EMILY BLUNT. If you need more convincing (and why would you?) then TGOTT should help fill your psychological thriller appetite and speak to your inner desires — who hasn’t wished to see something odd during their morning commute? The cast is stacked with dependable actors and is based on a book that set the Internet on fire in 2014. Tate Taylor is a solid, if unspectacular, director after helming The Help and Get on Up, so it should be interesting to watch him tackle this type of material.
The Greasy Strangler
Release Date: 7th October
Starring: Michael St. Michaels, Sky Elobar, Elizabeth De Razzo
What’s It About: An oily killer who stalks people at night.
Why You Should Watch It: Okay, this is the type of movie you should watch before having a shower and preferably without having any delusions that this is high art. Jim Hosking’s debut is a horror-comedy that looks disgusting and made some people at Sundance say: “Oh hell no!” Some critics have labelled it an “endurance test” but if you’re in the right frame of mind, it’s probably a “fucked up treat”. Also, it’s Halloween this month, treat yourself with some depravity.
Release Date: 14th October
Starring: Sasha Lane, Shia LaBeouf, Riley Keough
What’s It About: A young girl from a troubled background goes on a road trip with a travelling sales crew. It’s a coming-of-age movie that features hard partying and young love.
Why You Should Watch It: Well, Andrea Arnold is yet to make a bad film and Shia LaBeouf is always watchable even if he does come across as a bit nuts (interesting trivia, during the filming of American Honey, LaBeouf got two matching tattoos of Missy Elliot on his knees). The film had a lot of buzz out of Cannes and whilst it has been usurped by the likes of La La Land, pretty much every critic agrees that newcomer Sasha Lane’s performance is fierce.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Release Date: 21st October
Starring: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Aldis Hodge, Danika Yaros
What’s It About: This adaptation of Lee Child’s 18th Jack Reacher novel follows Reacher as he springs a friend out of military prison and attempts to prove she was set up.
Why You Should Watch It: Whatever you think of him, there is no denying Tom Cruise does his schtick really, really well. He is a singular entity within Hollywood and knows what people want from him. This is also his first sequel outside of Mission: Impossible so there must be something going on. Hopefully, the film isn’t as generic as its title and follows its predecessor’s footsteps by being smart, sassy and brutal. Hell, any film that includes a line as pulpy as “maybe I rip your arm off and beat you to death with it” needs to be seen.
The Queen of Katwe
Release Date: 21st October
Starring: Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, Madina Nalwanga
What’s It About: A child living in the Ugandan slum, Katwe, uses her prodigious chess skills to create a bright future and escape a life of poverty.
Why You Should Watch It: Disney doesn’t often release live-action cinema under its original banner, so it is nice to see them throw their considerable weight behind a story that isn’t often told. It’s a different type of sports movie and is the type of film needed right now — not every story has to be about white men and told by white men. Expect a life-affirming experience when you enter the cinema to watch this.
Release Date: 25th October
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Mads Mikkelson, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams
What’s It About: Arrogant surgeon, Dr Strange, travels the world to expand his mind and learn how to bring the superhero smackdown.
Why You Should Watch It: Another entry in the MCU so you should sorta know what that means — a nice, fun, risk-averse movie. Oh. Wait. What? Unlike most of the MCU, Doctor Strange has been different from the beginning. The casting of Tilda Swinton as an Asian character sparked whitewashing outrage and pretty much everyone involved says this film is different. Marvel always say this, so we’ll have to wait and see but the film seems to be playing by a different rulebook.
Best of the rest:
Also out is Inferno (14th October) where Tom Hanks returns as Professor Robert Langdon to solve a mystery with his knowledge of the European cultural canon. For those looking for a more mainstream horror hit than The Greasy Strangler, Ouija: Origin of Evil is out on 21st. Cannes Palm D’or winner, I, Daniel Blake, is also on wide release from the 21st.