“Moonlight” and “Newtown”: Films to see in October

Welcome to October! We’re in the fourth quarter of the year now, which is crazy to think about. It’s the point in the year where fall festival season dovetails into awards season, with the precursors on there way before long. As such, the throng of Oscar hopefuls is coming next month, though there are still some October releases that are definitely vying for the Academy to notice them. I’ve collected the top releases for this month and shared them with you below, so check them out and stay tuned for more on many of these. Especially in one or two cases, this is just the beginning…

Here now are the best cinematic bets for October:

10. The Late Bloomer – Kevin Pollack makes his directorial debut with a really high concept comedy. I have a link but haven’t watched it yet, though I’ve been curious about it for a very long time. It’s likely nothing to go nuts about, but I wanted to spread the word, as the Trailer is pretty funny.

9. The Girl on the Train – I see this one later on tonight, so I’ll know then if Emily Blunt and company is worthy of awards attention. Look for a piece here in the coming days, but even without Oscar glory, I’m sure this will do well. After all, it’s an adaptation of a really high profile book. Stay tuned for more on this one!

8. American Pastoral – The first directorial outing for Ewan McGregor was at one point put forward as an Academy Award player. Then, it screened on the festival circuit and was kind of shot down, but I’m still intrigued by it. If nothing else, we’ll see how McGregor fares as a filmmaker…

7. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back – Tom Cruise’s “other” franchise gets its first sequel this month. I liked the first one and dig Cruise, so count me in. The ambitions here are pretty small and surface level, but hey, sometimes there’s nothing wrong with that. This just aims to be a fun action flick.

6. The Birth of a Nation – I’ll be writing more about this one in a day or two, so I won’t get into it much here. Just know that it’s a bit of a powder keg of a film. Nate Parker, controversy aside, is a talented filmmaker though, know that. As for the rest, just sit tight until my full article hits.

5. In a Valley of Violence – This Western comes from emerging genre/horror master Ti West. I’ve heard decently good things, so that’s always a plus. Ethan Hawke is one of the stars, and give or take the remake of The Magnificent Seven, he just feels made for this sort of a role. Again, nothing Oscar worthy, but likely the sort of smaller flick that many of us can dig on.

4. Certain Women – I see this film today at the New York Film Festival, so I can’t quite vouch for it just yet. It does co-star Laura Dern and Kristen Stewart, among others, which is a nice pedigree. Stewart likely will get more buzz for other works, but don’t sleep on this little one either…

3. The Accountant – As a Ben Affleck fan, I’m down for anything he does. This oddly high concept action film probably is just that, but I’m curious to see if it offers anything more. The cast is top notch and filmmaker Gavin O’Connor knows what he’s doing, so the pieces are in place for something pretty enjoyable. We shall see!

2. Newtown – I saw this documentary last week and it absolutely shattered me. A doc about the human aftermath of the infamous school shooting will make you cry, I can promise you that. If voters are able to sit down and watch it, it’ll be an Academy Award nominee in Best Documentary Feature. Time will tell, but keep it in mind…

1. Moonlight – Easily one of the best movies of the year so far, I’ll have a separate piece on it soon, so be on the lookout for that. It should be an Oscar contender in a number of categories, mark that down. It’s small, but incredibly powerful. Barry Jenkins just became a filmmaker to watch out for. I can’t wait to tell you all more about it before the month is out!

newtown movie
Honorable Mentions: 31, 37, Blue Jay, Christine, Desierto, The Handmaiden, Inferno, Keeping Up with the Joneses, Tower, and Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience

Be sure to check out these various films all throughout the month of October!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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