I live in the north of England and, as such, find it rather difficult to differentiate between seasons without some helpful signs. One way is to see whatever holiday chocolates they’re peddling at Sainsbury’s and work back from there. A more reliable, yet admittedly more convoluted, way is to see whether films are dumbing down or smartening up. If upcoming movies just want to have a good time and cut loose (possibly footloose) then we’re slap in the middle of summer, baby. If, on the other hand, our cinema offerings are dressing themselves up to the nines and acting all respectable, then we’re promenading down that starlit canal towards the end of the year and awards season. With that in mind, October looks to be scrubbing up mighty fine.
Macbeth – Oct 2nd
Surely you’ve seen the trailer for this already? If not, I’ll just give you a couple of minutes to check it out. It’s fine, I’ll wait.
Seen it now? I know, right? I was sold on the idea of a Michael Fassbender/Marion Cotillard-starring adaptation of Macbeth from those two actors alone, but to see it in action is just, well, damn. There’s no denying ‘The Scottish Play’ has had its fair share of interpretations, but this looks to be a visually-stunning and more-than-worthy take on such a monumental work of literature. What a bloody way to start the month, eh?
Sicario – Oct 8th
You don’t have to know that Sicario director Denis Villeneuve was responsible for bringing us the taught tension of Prisoners and Enemy before going in to see his latest, but it helps. In Sicario, Villeneuve replaces the hum-drum background settings of his previous two with the morally-fudgey and brutally rough war against Mexican cartels. Caught up in the swirling morality and allegiances is FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt), hurled into a black-ops mission into Juarez, Mexico, forced to deal with a suspicious secret agent, Matt Graver (Josh Brolin), and an even-more suspicious Columbian asset known as ‘Alejandro’ (Benicio del Toro). Check out our very own Dave Griffith’s thoughts on the matter here.
The Walk – Oct 8th
Does anybody remember that 2008 academy-award-winning documentary Man on Wire? The unravelling of the tale behind French high-wire artist Phillipe Petit’s attempts to walk between the World Trade Centre towers? No? Not even you at the back? Well if not, fret not, as Robert ‘Yes-I-Made-Back-To-The-Future-Please-Stop-Bothering-Me’ Zemeckis tackles the literal ups and downs of Petit’s infamous balancing act in The Walk. Instead of asking the 66-year-old Frenchman to digitally retrace his steps, The Walk sees none other than the perpetually-young Joseph Gordon-Levitt taking on the task of recreating a walk 1,350 feet in the air. I’d say ‘don’t look down’, but… well… you know…
Suffragette – Oct 12th
There is a certain something you should try to check yourself from mentioning before writing a little bit about something as Oscar-bait-y as Suffragette. It’s nothing about the cast, as the combination of Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl ‘Eats-Awards-For-Breakfast’ Streep is astounding unto itself. It’s not even about the subject matter, as the volatile nature of burgeoning women’s rights at the turn of the 20th century is absolutely nothing to be sheepish or mawkish about. No, the certain something to check before talking about ‘Suffragette’ is not to accidentally click on a link to David Bowie’s classic ‘Suffragette City’ and not be able to think about anything else. Wham, bam, thank you ma’am indeed. Oh for f-
The Program – Oct 16th
Y’know, I kind of forget about Stephen Frears. Not in a bad way, mind you, it’s just that each piece of his body of work is so wildly different from any other part of it that it becomes hard to tell what’s his and what’s not. Heck, better to be eclectic than stagnant, am I right? I say this because in radical departure from his sentimental, slow-burning and academy-award-nominated ‘Philomena’ from 2013 we get The Program: a dramatized version of the investigation into the allegations of doping surrounding Lance Armstrong. Based on David Walsh’s book, Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong we’ll see Chris O’Dowd as Walsh, Ben Foster as Armstrong and sneaky little character bits by Lee Pace and Dustin Hoffman.
Pan – Oct 16th
I can’t tell if Hugh Jackman looks incredible or ridiculous in Pan. Incredibly ridiculous? Maybe that’s a notch too far. In any case, he certainly seems to be drawing attention away from pretty much everything else in what is essentially ‘Peter Pan Begins’. This origin story of how Peter (Levi Miller) came to be so important to Neverland certainly doesn’t skimp on the fantastical nature of the place, even if it does rely on the tried-and-tested-and-oh-so-tired trope of “a hero was prophesized to save us from Hugh Jackman”. Whilst the supporting cast may include Rooney Mara, Garret Hedlund, Cara Delevigne and Amanda Seyfried, you’re probably just going to see it for Hugh Jackman in a wig and what looks to be a dress, aren’t you?
Crimson Peak – Oct 16th
Poor Guillermo del Toro. In the past couple years he’s walked away from The Hobbit, several videogame properties, his pipedream of recreating H.P. Lovecraft’s ‘The Mountains of Madness’ and now there’s rumours abound that production on Pacific Rim 2 has fallen on its big kaiju-punching, robot arse. If only there was something to take his mind off it all, something small and sinister and starring Jessica Chastain and Tom Hiddleston. That’s where ‘Crimson Peak’ comes in. When author Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) marries Sir Thomas Sharpe (Hiddleston), they move into his manor house with his sister (Chastain). But this is a house that remembers. And lives. And bleeds. If you’re a fan of del Toro’s little gothic films, you won’t want to miss this.
The Lobster – Oct 16th
It is the future. Sort of. In a strange, not-quite-dystopia, single people are sent to a place known as ‘The Hotel’ in the hopes that within 45 days they will fall in love with someone, and vice versa. If this doesn’t happen, they will be turned into an animal of their choosing and let loose into the woods. Colin Farrell is one of these terrified single people. He has chosen to be a lobster. This is the set-up for one of the weirdest things you will probably see on general cinematic release this year so far. You mightn’t have heard of its director, Yorgos Lanthimos, before, but based on this, I bet my best betting bits you’ll hear from him again.
Beasts of No Nation – Oct 16th
Unlike a lot of the upcoming awards-bait, you aren’t going to have to look under a rock to find a cosy little indie cinema to watch Beasts of No Nation. It’s not because it’s directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, he of ‘True Detective Series One’ fame, nor is it due to the incomparable star-power of Idris Elba. This is getting pumped simultaneously into your cinemas and Netflix accounts. This might seem an uneasy way to distribute films, but as I’m sure we all know, Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England did the same thing a few years back and nothing’s REALLY changed since. In any case, Beasts of No Nation sees a young boy, Agu (Abraham Attah) brought into the fold of child soldiers in an unsettlingly vague war in an unspecified nation in Africa. Punches will not be pulled.
SuperBob – Oct 16th
I doubt I’m alone in my worry that the heft of superhero films in the movie industry these days is going to collapse under its own weight. There’s no way that Marvel Studios or Warner Brothers are going to keep things going the same way for much longer; they need to mix things up. They need a reminder that you CAN make a superhero film without going over the top all time. They need SuperBob. Written by director Jon Drever and SuperBob himself, Brett Goldstein, SuperBob is about the world’s only superhero on his day off. Yes he habitually saves us all from catastrophe, but deep down he’s just a regular guy who needs a regular break. Maybe even a Kit-Kat.
Spectre – October 26th
You think when Sam Mendes was doing American Beauty and Revolutionary Road he was thinking to himself, “Jeez, I wish I could just film people running in/around/away from explosions and cars and stuff all day. Pew bang pew and all that”? Given how naturally he’s taken to the James Bond franchise, my money’s on “probably”. Spectre sees Daniel Craig’s 007 track down a shadowy organisation that has been pulling strings behind everything his whole life, the eponymous SPECTRE, even if it means having to forego MI6 in order to do it. Ralph Fiennes, Ben ‘I’m-In-Three-Films-This-Month’ Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Monica Bellucci, Andrew Scott and Quentin Tarantino’s favourite actor Christoph Waltz all star. It’s gonna be a big one.