If one considers last month’s round-up of films such as Prisoners, Rush, and Enough Said as a worthy appetizer for the fall season, October is the main dish. Although we’ve still got a couple of months to go in 2013, these next few weeks bring a few of my favorite films of the year, as well as a few hopeful candidates. Including secretive micro-budget projects, films with barely any dialogue, one that must be seen on the biggest screen possible, and, even, a masterpiece, check out our rundown of the ten must-sees below and let us know what you’re looking forward to in the comments.
Matinees: Let the Fire Burn (10/2), The Dirties (10/4), A.C.O.D. (10/4), All is Bright (10/4), Concussion (10/4), Used to Be Darker (10/4), The Summit (10/4), All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (10/11), The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete (10/11), American Promise (10/18), The Square (10/25)
10. Escape from Tomorrow (Randy Moore; Oct. 13th)
Synopsis: In a world of fake castles and anthropomorphic rodents, an epic battle begins when an unemployed father’s sanity is challenged by a chance encounter with two underage girls on holiday.
Why You Should See It: Secretly shot at Disney, Escape From Tomorrow arrives with more buzz surrounding the production than the film itself, but rightfully so. While Randy Moore‘s narrative is a bit too repetitive — at least in the Sundance cut, which has been since trimmed down — the main draw here is seeing the filmmakers pull off such a task. Our main review is more positive, saying, “there is an abundance of cinematic originality to revel in that [the film] feel like a dizzying teacup ride into madness.”
9. Zero Charisma (Katie Graham, Andrew Matthews; Oct. 11th)
Synopsis: An overgrown nerd who serves as Grand Master of a fantasy board game finds his role as leader of the misfits put into jeopardy when a new initiate enters the group.
Why You Should See It: “This fascinating look at nerd culture, directed by Katie Graham and Andrew Matthews, is spot-on and full of heart,” we said of Zero Charisma after its SXSW premiere. A relatable look at the world of role playing games (not the video game kind, the trailer will have you learn), we added, “You’ve known these characters in real life: the ones that get too into it; the easy going guy that can come in and fit in and the band of friends that stick with long-term friends no matter what they eventually turn into.” The film is now headed to VOD and theaters this month, so if you’re interested in the subject matter, it’s well-worth checking it out.
8. Kill Your Darlings (John Krokidas; Oct. 16th)
Synopsis: A murder in 1944 draws together the great poets of the beat generation: Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs.
Why You Should See It: Dubbed as “Beat Generation: First Class” from a number of journalists following its Sundance premiere, Kill Your Darlings will finally be arriving nine months later in limited release. Led by the strong ensemble of Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, Michael C. Hall, Jack Huston, Ben Foster, David Cross, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Elizabeth Olsen, Kyra Sedgwick and more, we said in our full review it’s “a mostly compelling, if surprisingly standard, biopic.”
7. Captain Phillips (Paul Greengrass; Oct. 11th)
Synopsis: The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.
Why You Should See It: Debuting to a rapturous level of praise, by most accounts, at the New York Film Festival last week, I was a little less enthused by Paul Greengrass‘ Captain Phillips. It’s a tense, well-directed piece of entertainment with a smart structure, but it’s fairly thin experience that didn’t leave much of an impact when all is said and done. Ahead of sneak previews this weekend and a full, partial IMAX release the following, one can see our full review here, where we single out a fantastic performance from Tom Hanks.
6. A Touch of Sin (Jia Zhangke; Oct. 4th)
Synopsis: A startling modern wuxia tale of four outcasts on the margins of a rapidly changing China who channel their underclass rage into a bloody and murderous rampage.
Why You Should See It: China’s most acclaimed director, Jia Zhangke, made his return this past May, when A Touch of Sin — the man’s first feature in five years — premiered at Cannes, receiving strong notices for the coherence of its wide scope and, no less, retaining the concerns which have defined the man’s cinema for over a decade. After being picked up by Koch Lorber, the picture recently stopped by TIFF and is showing at NYFF, which will soon be followed by a limited theatrical rollout this month. – Nick N.
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