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15 Films to See in October

Written by on October 1, 2018 

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After hearing about a handful of festival titles for at least the past month (and perhaps beyond), a number of much-acclaimed films arrive in October alongside a few essential documentaries, and more. For the better half of the month we’ll also be continuing to cover the 56th New York Film Festival and one can our reviews here.

Matinees to See: The Hate U Give (10/5), Studio 54 (10/5), The Happy Prince (10/10), The Sentence (10/12), Thunder Road (10/12), Sadie (10/12), Apostle (10/12), Beautiful Boy (10/12), The Kindergarten Teacher (10/12), What They Had (10/19), and Galveston (10/19)

15. Bad Times at the El Royale (Drew Goddard; Oct. 12)

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It’s been too long since Drew Goddard’s inventive debut The Cabin in the Woods, but thankfully the director is returning this month. Bad Times At The El Royale follows a group of shady characters–played by Chris Hemsworth, Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, and more–as they descend on a rundown hotel in a 1960s California. Reactions were divided upon its first festival premieres last week, but after his debut, we’re all in when it comes to entering another Goddard universe.

14. Life and Nothing More (Antonio Méndez Esparza; Oct. 24)

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After touring the festival circuit for over a year, one of the most authentic dramas I’ve seen in 2018 will arrive this month. C.J. Prince said last year, “Antonio Méndez Esparza’s sophomore feature is a social realist triumph, and one of the year’s true hidden gems (it came and went quickly during the fall festival circuit, where only a handful of critics caught it). Taking place in northern Florida, it follows single mother Regina (Regina Williams, one of the year’s best performances) as she tries to hold down a job at a diner, deal with her rebellious teenage son, and raise her four-year-old daughter while trying to stay afloat. Esparza directs with a simple approach, keeping the camera locked down and providing brief impressions of his characters’ lives to evoke the daily struggle of their existence (the editing, using elliptical cuts to emphasize the way characters inhabit spaces over temporal concerns, is phenomenal).”

13. Shirkers (Sandi Tan; Oct. 26)

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Winner of the World Cinema Documentary Directing Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Sandi Tan’s documentary follows the director revisiting her past as she embarked on shooting a film back in the early 90s in Singapore. However, the footage was stolen and the film never came to be. Dan Schindel said in his review, “Tan compares shots of buildings once under construction to the finished structures, or to now-shuttered locations, or to things that have replaced what once was there entirely. People age or de-age in a blink; reminisce becomes a dialogue between what one dreams for themselves and what they actually become. It evokes legitimate wistfulness for the movie that could have been; Shirkers might not have been a masterpiece, but from the footage it looks well-shot, compelling, and imaginative.”

12. The Guilty (Gustav Möller; Oct. 19)

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Another Sundance winner finally arrives this month. “The Guilty is an exhilarating, minimalist thriller that effectively sinks its hooks in, despite its bland, melodramatic title. In the vein of Locke and My Dinner with Andre, it isn’t exactly a one-man show fronted by Jakob Cedergren, but works as well as it does thanks to director Gustav Möller’s taut editing, voice cast, and sound effects that create a haunting scene halfway through the film without a drop of onscreen blood,” John Fink said in his review.

11. Mid90s (Jonah Hill; Oct. 19)

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After working with a number of accomplished directors, from Martin Scorsese to the Coens to Quentin Tarantino, Jonah Hill makes his directorial debut with Mid90s. Jared Mobarak said in his review from TIFF that although the film can ring hollow, “Suljic is an absolute delight with an infectious smile oozing the sort of authenticity you generally only see in reality. I loved his excitement whenever crossing the threshold of another act for which he’s way too young because he lights up like he probably hasn’t in years.”

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