As the winds turn and the leaves fall, what better way to celebrate a rather spooky month than with some spooky movies?
Like always, October boasts a plethora of horror subtypes. If you prefer indie horrors, might I recommend Ladyworld – an all-female re-imagining of Lord of the Flies. Or perhaps you are a Stephen King fan, in which case you are probably already aware of Doctor Sleep, which follows an adult Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor), still traumatised by the events of The Shining. Then again, you might like your jump-scares to be a little less scary; if so, then look no further than an animated incarnation of The Addams Family, with a superb voice cast (including Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron and Nick Kroll, amongst so many more).
Then again, you might not want any horror at all, so something like The Last Black Man in San Francisco (a semi-autobiographical feature about a man who returns to his hometown, only to find that it has changed significantly) or Official Secrets (the true story of whistleblower Katharine Gun, played by Keira Knightley) might be better suited. Whatever the case, there are plenty of movies to look out for this month.
Joker – 4th October
Unlike anything either of them has done before, director Todd Phillips and actor Joaquin Phoenix bring us the origin story of a rather intriguing villain from the DC universe.
“it pays homage to the bleak, dark character studies of the 1970s and 1980s”
In 1980s Gotham City, Arthur Fleck (Phoenix) is a down-on-his-luck clown-for-hire who dreams of being a stand-up comedian. But, as one mistake leads to another, soon the city descends into chaos – while Fleck himself loses his grip on sanity.
Perhaps garnering the most controversy for a film pre-release this year, Joker is definitely going to be divisive. What interests me, however, is how it pays homage to the bleak, dark character studies of the 1970s and 1980s. In particular, Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy and Taxi Driver, which hold similar themes of loneliness and disenfranchisement – not to mention great performances from Robert De Niro. This will certainly be one to watch.
Judy – 4th October
Another character study, though rather different in story and direction, is Judy – about the complicated later life of Judy Garland.
As former child star Judy’s (Renée Zellweger) career begins to stall, she tries to balance her own children and money issues. However, muddying the waters, is a drug issue that Judy has had to confront throughout her life.
This looks like awards bait through and through: there’s nothing Hollywood loves more than a movie about Hollywood (see La La Land and A Star is Born, to name a few) and an actor or actress who pulls out a star turn after a few years away from the limelight (for example, Matthew McConaughey and Nicole Kidman). Judy combines both of these, with critics raving about Zellweger’s talents. If you want to watch a performance that should be a shoo-in for the Academy Award for Lead Actress, then this is not to be missed.
Zombieland: Double Tap – 18th October
If you don’t really care about awards season though, then the sequel to the 2009 surprise zombie comedy hit should be perfect for getting in the Halloween mood.
“it mixed moments of heart with moments of comedy”
Since coming together during the zombie apocalypse, Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) have formed an unlikely family unit over the past ten years. Yet, with Little Rock wanting a “normal teenage life” and news of other survivors, the gang’s tentative balance is soon thrown off-kilter.
One of the best things about Zombieland was how it mixed moments of heart with moments of comedy – and indeed some surprising stylistic choices that added a certain sense of excitement to the film as a whole. Given that audiences will come into this sequel with those expectations, it will be interesting to see whether returning director Ruben Fleischer can keep it up – hopefully he will.
Featured image courtesy of Georgia Butcher.
Image use license here.
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