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“First Man” and “A Star Is Born”: Films to see in October

My faithful readers, welcome to the month of October! We’re now entering into the fourth quarter of the year, which is crazy to think about, right? It’s come to the point in the year where fall festival season dovetails into the awards season, with the precursors on their way before too long. As such, the throng of potential Oscar hopefuls is coming in a big way next month, though there are still a bunch of October releases that are definitely vying for the Academy to notice them, including two Best Picture frontrunners. 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 a handful of these cases, this is just the beginning for discussion of them. As an aside, it’s also a month full of actors making their directorial debuts, which is just something interesting to have in the back of your mind…

Here now are the best cinematic bets for the month of October:

10. Venom – This comic book flick has disaster written all over it. I see it tomorrow, so maybe I’ll be in for a surprise, but especially with that 11th hour PG-13 rating, the outlook doesn’t look promising. If it’s of note, you’ll hear about it. Hell, if not, you’ll likely hear about it too…

9. What They Had – I saw this film about a month or so ago and found it to be an effectively emotional drama. Robert Forster steals the show and could be in line for a Best Supporting Actor nomination, he’s that good. It didn’t seem to have a huge profile coming out of the Sundance Film Festival, but that’s just made it effectively fly under the radar…until now, that is.

8. Mid90s – This movie, Jonah Hill’s directorial debut, is likely the Secret Screening at the New York Film Festival this year. As such, it’ll be getting another added boost, hot off of some other festival bows during the past month. The buzz is solid for Hill’s period piece, suggesting he’s got the goods behind the camera. As mentioned above, it’s a month for directorial debuts by actors, so why not keep this one in mind?

7. Suspiria – A first of two high profile horror remakes this month is one of the artier releases for October. Luca Guadagnino wouldn’t seem like the obvious choice to direct this, on the surface, at least. However, the word is that he’s put his own spin on an old classic, crafting something that stands out. When it comes to remakes, that’s always a plus in my book…

6. Beautiful Boy – An acting showcase for Steve Carell and Thimothee Chalamet, this addiction drama hasn’t quite been as widely embraced as expected. Still, the two actors are fully in the Academy Award hunt. It just doesn’t seem like an across the board player. I see it next week, so I’ll be able to say more then!

5. Can You Ever Forgive Me? – One of the flicks that could vie for Oscar attention, especially in terms of star Melissa McCarthy. McCarthy and co-star Richard E. Grant are going to be very appealing to voters this season, that’s for sure. Fox Searchlight may have a real under the radar juggernaut on their hands. There’s a chance this winds up with four or five nominations when the Academy has their say.

4. Halloween – The other horror remake of note this month is the return of Michael Myers, this time under the direction of one time indie darling David Gordon Green. Green is a fascinating filmmaker, so his take on this tale definitely has my attention. Plus, the reviews from the Toronto International Film Festival were quite good, so there’s that too. Jason Blum and company likely have another huge hit on their hands here!

3. Wildlife – I actually saw this film back in the spring and absolutely adored it. Paul Dano’s directorial debut, co-written by Zoe Kazan, is powerful and phenomenally well made. With tremendous performances from Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan, this is the sort of mature literary adaptation that we don’t see enough anymore. Expect another rave from me in the coming weeks…

2. First Man – One of my favorite movies of the year so far, Damien Chazelle’s biopic of Neil Armstrong is, pardon the pun, out of this world. Ryan Gosling is as good as ever, Claire Foy is phenomenal, and Chazelle’s depiction of the space program is absolutely riveting. A dozen nominations for this one wouldn’t be out of the question at all. Sit tight for more in the next week or so.

1. A Star Is Born – I see this film on Wednesday afternoon and can’t wait. The buzz has this as the one to beat at the Oscars, so we’ll see if Bradley Cooper has truly got the goods with his directorial debut, as well as how big an Academy Award force Lady Gaga will be. Stay tuned for my take before the week is out!

Honorable Mentions: Bad Times at the El Royale, Bigger, Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, The Happy Prince, Hunter Killer, and The Oath

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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