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Whether you’re in the mood for one of the many horror movies hitting theaters in these weeks leading up to Halloween, or the critically-acclaimed dramas that are going to start popping up during the upcoming “Oscar season,” October is that rare time of the year where there truly is something for everyone in theaters, and the following films are just a few of the many that promise to entertain audiences.
Release Date: Oct. 2, 2015.
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Plot: After being left behind when a manned mission to Mars is interrupted by a vicious storm, astronaut Mark Watney (played by Matt Damon), is left to survive by himself on the inhospitable surface of Mars while his friends and family on Earth struggle with the measures it would take to bring him home.
Buzz: Although it often has been said that director Ridley Scott has lost his artistic touch over the last few years, it’s pretty hard to believe that the director of “Blade Runner” and “Alien” made films like “Exodus: Gods and Kings” and “The Counselor.” However, many critics have been calling “The Martian” not only one of the best movies of the year, but also one of Scott’s best films in a long time. If Ridley Scott is one thing, it’s a master of the technical aspects of filmmaking. All he needs to compliment his expertise is a good script and good cast, and with Drew Goddard adapting Andy Weir’s much-loved science-fiction book and a cast consisting of Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels and Donald Glover (just to name a few), fans of intelligent sci-fi and action-packed movies may just find the best time they have in theaters this year.
Release Date: Oct. 9, 2015.
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Plot: A dramatization of the events surrounding French daredevil Philippe Petit’s infamous high-wire stunt of walking between the two towers of the World Trade Center, with no safety harnesses or nets to protect him from the 1,350-foot drop.
Buzz: Even though it’s been many years since he’s directed classics like “Forrest Gump” and the “Back to the Future” trilogy, few filmmakers working today have the knack for consistently creating engaging, entertaining, but also deeply-human dramas like Robert Zemeckis, so putting him behind the story of one of the most interesting performance artists in American history almost guarantees a good film. The subject matter itself is also well-proven in the movie world, with the 2008 documentary on the subject “Man on Wire” winning the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
Release Date: Oct. 16, 2015.
Directed by: Rob Letterman
Plot: New-in-town Zach (played by Dylan Minnette) is shocked to find out that one of his new neighbors is famous horror author R.L. Stine (Jack Black), but the biggest shock comes when Stine’s manuscripts for his “Goosebumps” books are opened, releasing every villain from the series to wreck havoc on their unsuspecting town.
Buzz: This may be the most obvious odd-one-out among the Halloween season batch of horror movies hitting theaters this month, but with a healthy pinch of ’90s nostalgia and a hefty dose of Jack Black, “Goosebumps” shouldn’t have much trouble finding its audience.
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Plot: In the aftermath of a personal tragedy, a young author (played by Mia Wasikowska) retreats to the home of her mysterious new husband (Tom Hiddleston), though the manor of Crimson Peak has some mysteries of its own, and not all of them are quite of this world.
Buzz: Like “Goosebumps,” “Crimson Peak” may be a bit of a departure for audiences seeking a straight-up horror movie, but with a repertoire including films as fantastic and dark as “Pan’s Labyrinth” alongside action movies as imaginative and intense as “Hellboy” and “Pacific Rim,” Guillermo del Toro may be one of the best directors in the business today when it comes to dropping viewers into awesome, beautiful cinematic worlds and letting the terror come naturally.
“Bridge of Spies“
Release Date: Oct. 16, 2015.
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Plot: In the height of the Cold War, an American pilot is shot down and taken prisoner by the USSR, leading to a tense stalemate between the United States and Soviet governments as they negotiate the exchange of prisoners-of-war, with an American lawyer (played by Tom Hanks) caught in the crossfire.
Buzz: Spielberg’s name is probably the most well-known of any director in modern history, though probably not as many cinema-goers would be able to separate the director of such dark, mature films as “Saving Private Ryan” and “Schindler’s List” from the director of the eternally uplifting affairs as “E.T.” or “Jurassic Park.” As if the presence of dark-comedy auteurs Joel and Ethan Coen on the list of screenwriters for this film isn’t enough of an indicator, this will probably fall pretty firmly on the dark side of the Berg’s filmography, though the ever-wonderful Tom Hanks in his first reunion (acting-wise) with Spielberg since “Saving Private Ryan” alone should be worth the ticket price.
“Beasts of No Nation”
Directed by: Cary Fukunaga
Plot: Agu (played by newcomer Abraham Attah), a young West African boy orphaned by the brutal civil war tearing through his country is taken in by a brutal group of mercenaries and their charismatic leader (Idris Elba).
Buzz: The film seems to have gotten more buzz for its unique form of distribution (it’s being released on Netflix and in theaters simultaneously), but few filmmakers currently have the career trajectory possessed by Cary Fukunaga, whose skillful direction of the first season of HBO’s hit show “True Detective” has made him one of the most in-demand men in the business. Now he brings all of that ominous style and substance to this story, which is already turning out to be one of the most interesting films of this year.
Release Date: Oct. 23, 2015.
Directed by: Danny Boyle
Plot: A behind-the-scenes look at the life of infamous co-founder of Apple (played by Michael Fassbender), focusing on his personal and professional lives in the years immediately leading up to the release of the first Macintosh computer.
Buzz: Though a veteran director in the form of Danny Boyle and a stellar cast including Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet and Seth Rogen are nothing to take for granted, few would deny that the real appeal of this movie is its screenwriter Aaron Sorkin whose past works on classic movies like “The Social Network” and “A Few Good Men,” along with television like “The West Wing” and “The Newsroom” have more or less made him a legend among Hollywood’s screenwriting elite, and nothing will make a better pseudo-successor to “The Social Network” than another warts-and-all story of one of the greatest pioneers in the history of modern technology.
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