With awards season continuing, October sees more high-quality prospects and a few likely low-quality scary flicks in time for Halloween. One clear must-see stands above the rest. Check out our list below.


10. Red (Robert Schwentke; Oct. 15th)

Synopsis: When his idyllic life is threatened by a high-tech assassin, former black-ops agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) reassembles his old team in a last ditch effort to survive.


Why You Should See It: We’ve seen The Losers, The A-Team and The Expendables this year already. Now the all-star older generation action flick is here. Willis, Malkovich, Freeman and Mirren headline what should be a fun, mindless romp.

9. The Company Men (John Wells; Oct. 22nd)

Synopsis: A drama centered a year in the lives of three businessmen (Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones) who look to what’s next in their lives after being laid off by their company.


Why You Should See It: Veteran indie producer John Wells makes his feature directorial debut with this tale of economic collapse. A stellar cast and solid Sundance Film Festival response make this a top pick.

8. It’s Kind of a Funny Story (Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck; Oct. 8th)

Synopsis: A clinically depressed teenager (Keir Gilchrist) gets a new start after he checks himself into an adult psychiatric ward, where he bonds with one patient (Zach Galifianakis) and sparks with another (Emma Roberts).


Why You Should See It: Coming off two of my favorite films in the previous decade, Half Nelson and Sugar, I was looking forward to Boden and Fleck’s comedy/drama. It doesn’t quite hit the high notes of their previous work, but there is a lot to admire. You can check out our TIFF10 review here.

7. Carlos (Olivier Assayas; Oct. 15th)

Synopsis: The story of Venezuelan revolutionary, Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, who founded a worldwide terrorist organization and raided the OPEC headquarters in 1975 before being caught by the French police.


Why You Should See It: This 5.5 hour epic is getting downgraded to a mere 2 hours and 20 minutes for a theatrical release. We aren’t sure how that will translate, but the original cut is worth the time put it in. Check out our NYFF10 review here. Sundance Channel is also presenting the full cut as a 3-Part miniseries, so stay tuned for that.

6. Freakonomics (Oct. 1st)

Synopsis: A handful of documentary filmmakers explore the subject of incentive-based thinking.


Why You Should See It: Steven D. Levitt‘s bestselling book was turned into a documentary features sections by Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me), Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room), Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing (Jesus Camp), Eugene Jarecki (Why We Fight) and Seth Gordon (The King of Kong). If that all-star line-up doesn’t get you excited, check out our Tribeca review.

5. Jackass 3-D (Jeff Tremaine; Oct. 15th)

Synopsis: Johnny Knoxville and company return for the third installment of their TV show spin-off, where dangerous stunts and explicit public displays rule.


Why You Should See It: The footage screened at Comic-Con and Fantastic Fest have proved the boys are back with vengeance. It’s going to messy, ridiculous fun…all in 3D.

4. Let Me In (Matt Reeves; Oct. 1st)

Synopsis: Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is an alienated and bullied 12-year-old who builds a tentative friendship with his mysterious new neighbor, Abby (Chloe Moretz). Only socializing at night and seemingly immune to the winter climate, Abby reveals her true nature to Owen after her father (Richard Jenkins) disappears and a series of murders grips their town.


Why You Should See It: While I didn’t love this adaptation, it certainly is something special for one that hasn’t seen the original. In fact, it may be one of your favorite films of the year.

3. Monsters (Gareth Edwards; Oct. 29th)

Synopsis: With half of Mexico serving as an alien quarantine zone, an American journalist (McNairy) heads across the border into dangerous territory to find his boss’s daughter (Able) and bring her back home.


Why You Should See It: Currently available on demand, this relationship drama with hints of sci-fi is being heralded for its tiny $15,000 budget. I’m interested to see what newcomer Gareth Edwards has in store and after Cloverfield, I’m all for alien films from this personal perspective.

2. Inside Job (Charles Ferguson; Oct. 8th)

Synopsis: A comprehensive analysis of the global financial crisis of 2008.


Why You Should See It: Narrated by Matt Damon, this doc has been getting fantastic reviews across the board for its in-depth breakdown of our recent economic downfall. Forget Saw 3D or Paranormal Activity 2, this is the scariest film of the month.

1. The Social Network (David Fincher; Oct. 1st)

Synopsis: Harvard undergraduate Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) recruits some of his classmates to develop the social networking website, Facebook. The endeavor, however, leads to a messy fallout with friend and co-founder, Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield).


Why You Should See It: From my review: “Just as Fight Club captured the zeitgeist of the time, The Social Network personifies the fast-paced, free-flowing information network of this generation. Fincher’s technical prowess is unmatched as he brings to life the real hero of the film, Sorkin’s meticulously engineered script. Those that think this is just a by-the-numbers story of Facebook will be gravely mistaken as Fincher’s friend request is one worth accepting.” Even after a second viewing, this is one of the absolute best of the year. I’ll be in theaters for a third time this weekend.


Tamara Drewe (Stephen Frears; Oct. 8th)

Synopsis: A young newspaper writer (Gemma Arterton) — once an ugly duckling — returns to her hometown in the English countryside, and causes a stir among the locals.


Why You Should See a Matinee: Arterton is one of the most gorgeous leading ladies of recent and has shown talent in her thriller The Disappearance of Alice Creed. Now, she seems to be having a bit of fun in Frears’ light comedy.

Secretariat (Randall Wallace; Oct. 8th)

Synopsis: The life story of Penny Chenery (Diane Lane), whose racehorse, Secretariat, won the Triple Crown in 1973.


Why You Should See a Matinee: The tale of horse racing looks like painful by-the-numbers Oscar bait, but I’m holding out hope the film takes a different mold than the trailers.

Conviction (Tony Goldwyn; Oct. 15th)

Synopsis: A single mother (Hilary Swank) spends nearly two decades putting herself through law school in order to overturn her brother’s (Sam Rockwell) unjust murder conviction.


Why You Should See a Matinee: As expected, Sam Rockwell shines in this conventional biopic. Like Swank’s last Searchlight effort, Amelia, this will likely get forgotten come Oscar time.

Hereafter (Clint Eastwood; Oct. 15th)

Synopsis: A supernatural thriller centered on three people — a blue-collar American, a French journalist and a London school boy — who are touched by death in different ways.


Why You Should See a Matinee: Eastwood’s latest features an excellent initial two-third’s that falls flat on its face as the resolution is a frustrating mess. It certainly is a step above Invictus, but you can check out my full TIFF10 review if you are hesitant.

Paranormal Activity 2 (Tod Williams; Oct. 22nd)

Synopsis: Plot unknown — a sequel to Oren Peli’s no-budget blockbuster, in which a couple became increasingly disturbed by a nightly demonic presence in their new home.


Why You Should See a Matinee: Can they repeat the success? With the same marketing plan, Paramount certainly hopes so. The trailer definitely scared the piss out of me, so its a step in the right direction.

Nowhere Boy (Sam Taylor-Wood; Oct. 8th)

Synopsis: A chronicle of the early life of John Lennon (Aaron Johnson) in 1950s Liverpool, from his relationship with his aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas) and estranged mother (Anne-Marie Duff), to the foundation of The Quarrymen.


Why You Should See a Matinee: Starring Kick-Ass before he donned the suit, this story of John Lennon makes no mention of The Beatles. Instead we get the often overlooked story of his early days.

Stone (John Curran; Oct. 8th)

Synopsis: A convicted arsonist (Edward Norton) uses his wife (Milla Jovovich) as a device to secure his release by getting her to seduce the aged parole officer (Robert De Niro) in charge of his case.


Why You Should See a Matinee: Ho-hum reviews from its TIFF premiere make me a little less excited for this drama, but with De Niro and Norton together I’d recommend eventually checking it out.


Expanding from last month:

Enter The Void
Waiting For Superman
Never Let Me Go

Also opening:

Oct 1st:

Case 39
As Good As Dead
Chain Letter
Hatchet II
Nine Nation Animation

Oct. 8th:

Life as We Know It
My Soul to Take
I Spit on Your Grave
It’s a Wonderful Afterlife

Oct. 15th:

Carmo, Hit the Road
I Want Your Money
The Trouble with Terkel

Oct. 22nd:

The Taqwacores

Oct. 29th:

Saw 3D
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
Inspector Bellamy
Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields
Welcome to the Riley’s
Wild Target

What are you watching this month?

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