October Movie Guide: 15 Films to Watch Out For

The Oscar race is officially on, Tim Burton remakes one of his own films, and it's Liam Neeson's turn to get taken.

William Bibbianiby William Bibbiani

 

October is always an eclectic month for movies. The sudden deluge of horror movies is in direct competition with high profile Oscar contenders, and a few wild cards always try to sneak in and steal some of the broad comedy and action-loving audiences away from them. This month is no different, with Frankenweenie, Sinister, Paranormal Activity 4 and Silent Hill: Revelation 3D competing for holiday-themed outings at the multiplex, The Paperboy, Argo and The Sessions staking their claims at the upcoming Academy Awards, and Taken 2, Here Comes the Boom and Alex Cross just hoping you'll notice them amidst the hooplah. Which ones are actually going to be worth your time? Read on, faithful Cravers, and mark your calendars accordingly…
 

Frankenweenie (Rated PG)

Starring: Charlie Tahan, Martin Landau, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Winona Ryder

Directed by: Tim Burton

Release Date: October 5

Tim Burton remakes his own 1984 short film about stop-motioned animated feature about a boy who resurrects his dog, inspiring the neighborhood to form an angry mob.

CraveOnline’s Call: It’s really wonderful to see Tim Burton return to a subject matter he really cares about. The original Frankenweenie remains one of Burton’s most emotional films, and with all the magic of stop-motion at his command this time he’s done a remarkable job of kindling that old flame. He’s padded the story a bit, but it’s all in service of a pro-science message that, along with the heartbreaking storyline, runs sweetly counter to the original Frankenstein movie it pays homage to. Frankenweenie is Burton’s best film in many years.

 

The Paperboy (Rated R)

Starring: Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman, John Cusack

Directed by: Lee Daniels

Release Date: October 5

The director of Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire is back with another look at a grotesque social underbelly, this time revolving around two reports (McConaughey and Efron) enlisted to help free a death row inmate (Cusack) by his sleazy fiancée (Kidman).

CraveOnline: Daniels has an Oscar nomination in his pocket but we’re not sure we’re entirely behind all his films, which often marry illicit scuzz with unnecessary pretention. The acting will probably be impressive, but you may want to ask yourself if you actually want to sit through another Lee Daniels joint before you buy your ticket to The Paperboy.

 

Taken 2 (Rated PG-13)

Starring: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen

Directed by: Olivier Megaton

Release Date: October 5

After tearing through Europe to rescue his kidnapped daughter in 2008’s Taken, the tables turn and the families of the men he murdered come back for revenge on Liam Neeson, taking him hostage and forcing his daughter to rescue him this time.

CraveOnline’s Call: Taken is one of our favorite action films of the last ten years or so, and the sequel’s premise is just grounded enough to make us excited. The only downside is the presence of director Olivier Megaton, who, after directing sub-par two action films for Luc Besson (including the rather awful Transporter 3), has not yet earned our trust. We’ll see it anyway, but we’re not getting our hopes up too far.

 

Wuthering Heights

Starring: Kaya Scodelario, James Howson, Oliver Milburn

Directed by: Andrea Arnold

Release Date: October 5 (New York), October 12 (Los Angeles)

The latest adaptation of Emily Bronte’s tragic romance comes from Academy Award-winning director Andrea Arnold, who restages the costume drama as a bleak emotional saga.

CraveOnline’s Call: Having already seen the new Wuthering Heights, we can tell you that this is not your parents’ costume drama. It’s an earthy, sensual film that highlights the psychological tragedy of Bronte’s work, and evokes positive memories of Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven. Excellent, award-worthy work. If you have any interest, you should see it.

 

Argo (Rated R)

Starring: Ben Affleck, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin

Directed by: Ben Affleck

Release Date: October 12

Ben Affleck directs and stars in a based-on-a-true story about a CIA plot to stage a fake movie production as a smokescreen to smuggle American hostages out of Iran in 1979.

CraveOnline’s Call: Ben Affleck’s third film takes him out of the criminal underworld and onto the international scene. The plot of Argo sounds like it could have been a bad comedy (remember The Last Shot? No, we didn’t think so…), but Affleck’s proven himself behind the camera and advance buzz is strong. He’s earned the benefit of the doubt. Fingers crossed that he doesn’t screw it up.


 

Here Comes the Boom (Rated PG-13)

Starring: Kevin James, Salma Hayek, Henry Winkler

Directed by: Frank Coraci

Release Date: October 12

A mild-mannered teacher (James) tries to raise money for his school by joining an MMA tournament.

CraveOnline’s Call: Trailers for Here Comes the Boom can’t seem to decide if it’s a goofy comedy or a sincere underdog sports story with a relevant social message. Either way, it looks like the Joel Edgerton half of Warrior without any of the plausibility. It might be relatively harmless, it might have its heart in the right place, but it doesn’t seem to be very funny. Unless the reviews are ecstatic, give it a pass.

 

Seven Psychopaths (Rated R)

Starring: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson

Directed by: Martin McDonagh

Release Date: October 12

An alcoholic screenwriter (Farrell) gets swept up in a comedy crime saga exactly like the one he’s currently writing.

CraveOnline’s Call: We loved In Bruges, Martin McDonagh’s first crime comedy will Colin Farrell in the lead, but his follow-up thinks it’s far cleverer than it is, refusing to do anything original without winking to the camera first… and afterwards. It’s pretty funny, but in a very callous, surface only manner. Seven Psychopaths is for diehard crime comedy fans only.

 

Sinister (Rated R)

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, James Ransone, Vincent D’Onofrio

Directed by: Scott Derrickson

Release Date: October 12

A writer (Hawke) becomes obsessed with the real-life murders that occurred in his new house, unwittingly placing his family in the path of a supernatural creature.

CraveOnline’s Call: It doesn’t look bad, but Derrickson’s latest thriller (he also helmed The Exorcism of Emily Rose) doesn’t seem to stand out just yet either. Ethan Hawke is an underrated performer who can probably sell the reality of the horror genre, but does he have anything to work with. We suggest waiting for the reviews before making your decision. This could go either way.

 

Alex Cross (Rated PG-13)

Starring: Tyler Perry, Matthew Fox, Ed Burns, Rachel Nichols, Jean Reno, Cicely Tyson

Directed by: Rob Cohen

Release Date: October 19

The Alex Cross series, previously headlined by Morgan Freeman in Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider, gets rebooted with Tyler Perry (Madea’s Witness Protection) in the lead role, taking on a dastardly villain played by Matthew Fox.

CraveOnline’s Call: It’s going to take one hell of a performance, and one hell of a film, to make Perry plausible as an action star. We’re not sure that Rob Cohen, who typically directs middle of the road action films like Stealth and xXx, is the guy to do it. Then again he did make the original Fast and the Furious, and Matthew Fox looks like he’s having a hell of a good time in the villain role, so there’s a chance Alex Cross could be a solid thriller. A small chance.

 

Paranormal Activity 4 (Rated R)

Starring: Katie Featherson, Kathryn Newton, Matt Shively

Directed by: Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman

Release Date: October 19

The plot for the latest Paranormal Activity has been kept under wraps, but it sure looks like another family is being haunted by the demon thing. Again.

CraveOnline’s Call: Paranormal Activity 4 got a mildly positive review from CraveOnline after its sneak preview at Fantastic Fest, but we’re wondering if audiences are finally ready to give up on the low budget franchise that, like Saw before it, tends to offer just more of the same. Then again, if it makes any money whatsoever it will probably be considered a hit. We suggest you only go if you actually want another one of these films every year for the foreseeable future.


 

The Sessions (Rated R)

Starring: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy

Directed by: Ben Lewin

Release Date: October 19

A man in an iron lung (Hawkes) hires a sex therapist (Hunt) to help him lose his virginity.

CraveOnline’s Call: It sounds a lot like Wish 143, an Oscar-nominated live-action short film from a couple years ago, but that film was pretty great, so let’s refrain from calling that a criticism. Advance buzz on The Sessions has been spectacular, with Oscar talk surrounding John Hawkes’ performance in particular. The trailer is very funny and never gets saccharine, an impressive feat for an awards contender. Maybe The Sessions really is the real deal.

 

Chasing Mavericks (Rated PG)

Starring: Gerard Butler, Jonny Weston, Elizabeth Shue

Directed by: Michael Apted & Curtis Hanson

Release Date: October 26

A legendary surfer (Butler) becomes a mentor to a fatherless teen (Weston) who wants to surf one of the biggest waves in the world.

CraveOnline’s Call: Few upcoming films look as conventional as Chasing Mavericks, which looks a lot like The Karate Kid without all that pesky karate (or kung fu, if you’re thinking of the remake). We guess it could be okay, but with so many other sports movies centered around the exact same relationship, that final wave had better be the Humunga Cowabunga from Down Unda to set Chasing Mavericks apart from its more popular peers.

 

Cloud Atlas (Rated R)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Jim Broadbent,
Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon, Jim Sturgess

Directed by: The Wachowskis & Tom Tywker

Release Date: October 26

The directors of The Matrix and Run Lola Run team up to tell a story of interconnecting lives throughout all of human history.

CraveOnline: Well, you can’t say it’s not ambitious. With a sprawling cast and vast expanses of time and space to cover, we trust that The Wachowskis and Tykwer will have a hell of a time filming it all, but will it be the next Intolerance or the next Being Human? Oh, who are we kidding. We’re going to see Cloud Atlas whether it’s a classic or an enormous load of crap.

 

Fun Size

Starring: Victoria Justice, Jane Levy, Johnny Knoxville, Chelsea Handler

Directed by: Josh Schwartz

Release Date: October 26

A pair of high school girls (Justice and Levy) want to go the big party on Halloween night but get sidetracked when the little brother they’re babysitting goes missing.

CraveOnline’s Call: Fun Size looks really, genuinely bad, playing to outmoded high school clichés and using gags like child kidnapping – even with adorable intensions – for laughs. It appears for all the world like the kind of “harmless” teen entertainment that could actually be worse for your young brain than the edgy stuff. We could be wrong, but based on how they’re promoting this, we say no thanks.

 

Silent Hill: Revelation 3D (Rated R)

Starring: Adelaide Clemens, Kit Harington, Sean Bean, Carrie-Anne Moss

Directed by: Michael J. Bassett

Release Date: October 26

After her father (Bean) disappears, Heather Mason (Clemens) returns to the haunted town of Silent Hill seeking answers to the mystery of her identity.

CraveOnline’s Call: The first Silent Hill movie probably remains the best video game movie we’ve had so far, but it wasn’t that good, so new director Michael J. Bassett has a pretty fair chance of impressing us with his new version. He seems to really care about the source material too, if our interview was any indication, but can he make a genuinely frightening film in 3D, where the temptation to spew gore at the camera is almost irresistible? We’re adopting a “wait and see” attitude, but hey… Silent Hill 2 was the best video game in the franchise. Maybe the movies will follow suit.
 

Disclaimer: Release dates, and our opinions, are subject to change.