I’m just going to come out and say it – if you only see one movie this month, make it Sicario! Starring Brit actress Emily Blunt, and directed by French Canadian Denis Villeneuve, Sicario (meaning ‘hitman’ in Spanish) is a pulse-racing and discomforting FBI crime thriller. The film — quite rightly — suggests that the American government is just as dangerous as the Mexican drug cartels – we’re just better at hiding it. It’s impeccably made and is a rare five-star film that everyone ought to see once it expands into nation-wide release after a couple of weeks of red-hot box office in arthouses. You could also go and see Matt Damon in The Martian, which may just be the first ever really good movie about Mars.
And because you’ve seen that, you’ll probably just want to stay at home and watch Netflix for the rest of the month. Look, you won’t hear any argument from me, so here are some recommendations based on the movies playing in cinemas this October.
The Walk (October 2)
If you want to deliberately give yourself a vertigo-induced headache, go see Robert Zemeckis recreate the story of tightrope walker Philippe Petit’s walk between the World Trade Center buildings. And in 3D, no less! Save yourself the nausea and just watch Man on Wire (2008), the Oscar-winning documentary that the Joseph Gordon-Levitt vehicle is based on. There’s a reason it’s considered one of the greatest documentaries ever made and that’s because it’s really, really good.
Man on Wire is available to stream on Netflix and Amazon, and to rent on iTunes, Vudu and Sony.
Pan (October 9)
Oh, boy! To say the early reviews of Pan have been bad is putting it mildly. Directed by normally quite-reliable British director Joe Wright – known better for his gorgeous period literary adaptations starring Keira Knightley, like Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, and Anna Karenina – this Peter Pan prequel looks like one ungodly mess. It looks so bad that the NBC live theatrical performance from last year looks preferable (okay, maybe that’s going too far). It comes 12 years after the last big adaptation of this story for the big screen, P.J. Hogan’s Peter Pan (2003), and that film is by far the superior title. It’s magical and delightfully made. Roger Ebert gave it four stars out of four, guys!
Peter Pan is available to stream on Starz and Encore, and to rent on iTunes, Vudu and Sony.
Crimson Peak (October 16)
Oh sure, who doesn’t love a bit of grand, opulent, Gothic horror to liven up their October month? Well, it would seem, the critics. Many have been left cold and disappointed by Guillermo Del Toro’s latest horror concoction, which is sad news for fans of fright since the mainstream horror genre has been having a hard time coming up with anything that people care about lately. I mean, M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit is probably the best one in national release! Yikes. Anyway, stay and home and get creeped out with a classic like Robert Wise’s The Haunting (1960). It never fails to disappoint. Otherwise, you likely missed Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (2010), starring Guy Pearce, at the cinema so give it a shot now. It’s small, but nifty, and likely better value than $18 for a ticket to Del Toro’s CGI ghost show.
The Haunting and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark are available to rent on iTunes and Sony.
Burnt (October 23)
Did you even know Bradley Cooper was starring in a movie called Burnt? One in which he plays a drug-addicted, diva-behaving chef, of all things? I bet you didn’t. So why start caring now? Watch Big Night (1996) instead and feel much better. This film, co-written and co-directed by Stanley Tucci of all people, is about the staff of a restaurant who have one night – one big night, you could say – to save their business. It won a bunch of awards in its day and is a delight of a film.
Big Night is available to stream on Netflix.
The Last Witch Hunter (October 23)
What is this nonsense? As hard as it is to believe, Vin Diesel is actually still making movies today that aren’t in the Fast and the Furious franchise. This one co-stars Elijah Wood and Michael Caine in what is surely his most transparent case of cheque-cashing since Jaws: The Revenge 30 years ago. Do yourself a favor and avoid all the witch hunters (that includes Hansel and Gretel) and instead scare yourself silly with an actual good witch movie – Mario Bava’s black-and-white classic, Black Sunday (1960). What are you still doing here? Go! Go and watch!
Black Sunday is available to stream on Netflix, Epix, and Fandor.