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“Gone Girl” and “Fury” lead October movies

“Gone Girl” and “Fury” lead October movies

“Gone Girl” and “Fury” lead October movies
October 02
00:22 2014

Joshua Knopp / News Editor

Oct. 3

“Annabelle”

Ew.

True blue horror movies have become less frequent during Halloween season. There are only two this year, and sadly, “Annabelle” is one of them. This film is a prequel and spin-off to last summer’s hit “The Conjuring,” telling the story of that ultra-creepy doll from the first part of the film. The sequel is always worse, the prequel is always a lot worse and the spin-off is always not even in the same ballpark, and all of these rules apply doubly to horror movies. Plus, “The Conjuring” wasn’t even that good. “Annabelle” doesn’t share any of the creative staff or cast. “Conjuring” director James Wan is returning as a co-producer, which means he did essentially nothing, and you know Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga will return for a corny cameo. It’s going to be dull, it’s going to be corny, it’s going to be a train wreck. Don’t waste your time.

“Gone Girl”

Interesting…

“Gone Girl” is one of the big fish this month. Directed by David Fincher, the film stars Bat Affleck – sorry, Ben Affleck – as Nick Dunne, a bar owner whose wife vanishes. Dunne deals with the stress of a missing lover and accusations that he’s the one who made her go missing. It also features perfect human Neil Patrick Harris as a love rival and Reese Witherspoon, inexplicably, as a producer.

The thriller has generated a ton of buzz without giving away any details through its intense but obtusely vague advertising campaign and critical acclaim coming from the New York Film Festival Sept. 26. Writer Gillian Flynn also penned the 2012 bestseller on which the movie is based, but he’s said the film will differ from the book, presumably to make room for more grotesque violence, because Fincher gets off on that kind of thing. The mystery film is, aptly, a mystery at this point, but a hotly anticipated one.

Oct. 10

“The Judge”

Maybe, if you’re bored.

“The Judge” is an easy sell. Robert Downey Jr. is a wicked-talented defense lawyer who only represents guilty clients. Robert Duvall is his father, a judge who didn’t leave his sense of preponderance in the courtroom while raising his child. The two are thrust together when Duvall’s character is charged with murdering a guilty man who he set free. Billy Bob Thornton plays the prosecution. Director David Dobkin did “Wedding Crashers” way back when in 2005. Who knows if it will really be any good, but it looks tough to mess up.

“Dracula Untold”

Maybe, if you’re really bored.

Ostensibly based on Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” “Dracula Untold” is a fictional account of Vlad III Dracula, known as Vlad the Impaler for his cruelty to captured enemies, who reigned in Transylvania in the late 15th Century. Stoker named his vampire after Vlad, and that’s basically their only connection and the only reason the Impaler is at all known today. Realistically, any glimmer of actual history is way too much to hope for. The film will deliver on Luke Evans doing impossible martial arts in full battle armor and faux-dark pop from Lorde. It should essentially be a 92-minute version of the commercial, and if that’s all you want from a movie, well, more power to you. At least it won’t be too long, and it will feature the wonderful Dominic Cooper as villainous Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II.

“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”

Maybe, if your kids are bored.

Based on the classic pre-school kids’ book that everyone loved slightly less than “Where the Wild Things Are,” this book is just as much of a stretch to adapt into a film as the latter one was. But, that adaptation worked out really well, and Alexander will feature Steve Carell in a lead role. Plus, children’s movies are normally pretty hard to mess up. Director Miguel Arteta was behind sleeper hits “Cedar Rapids” and “Youth in Revolt” in 2011 and 2010.

Oct. 17

“Fury”

Oh boy.

This is October’s other big one. Simply titled, ferociously marketed and very well-cast, the film stars Brad Pitt as Don “Wardaddy” Collier, the leader of a tank squad who receives a new gunner, Norman “Cobb” Ellison (Logan Lerman), who doesn’t like killing people but enlisted anyway, for some reason. Everything about this movie looks, just, fantastic. From the stars to the tagline, “War never ends quietly,” it looks like a simple, well-put-together war film that shouldn’t need any more of a hook than that.

“Men, Women and Children”

Yes.

“Juno” and “Up in the Air” director Jason Reitman’s next film follows an ensemble cast, highlighted by Jennifer Garner, Ansel Elgort, Adam Sandler and Dean Norris, through the younger characters’ late high school days and chronicles how the internet changes their lives and relationships. The film will be first released Oct. 3 in five theaters, then expand on Oct. 10 and may be available at the Angelika at that date. Its nationwide release is Oct. 17. The release schedule almost guarantees a few Oscar nominations, because the Academy values that sort of thing more than actual quality, but Reitman has a well-earned reputation as a thoughtful filmmaker and this movie looks good. Don’t get caught texting in this one.

“Book of Life”

Si.

“Book of Life” is a charming-looking, animated, Dia de los Muertos-themed kids’ movie. In it, Manolo (Diego Luna) must journey back from the Land of the Dead to reunite with his love interest, Maria (Zoe Saldana). Maria is also being courted by Joaquin (Channing Tatum), and there’s some sort of saving-the-town story arc. The previews aren’t really clear. But it looks well animated and possesseds some degree of originality, in both story and style. It may be the most on-point movie of the Halloween season.

“The Best of Me”

Why?

Poor placement in the year for an over-sappy romance movie? Check. Based on a Nicholas Sparks novel? Check. Way too long? 146 minutes. Check. Trailer so nauseatingly sappy and generic you can barely stand the two of those minutes that are supposed to be the most tantalizing? Check. Title part of a canned line from said trailer? Check. James Marsden getting cheated on? Check. White people almost kissing on the poster? Check. Two pair, actually. It’s white people almost kissing-ception. Obviously going to make a couple Dumpsters full of money despite being a terrible waste of time and energy? Check.

Oct. 24

“Ouija”

N … O

The only other real horror movie of the season, “Ouija” is a movie about a haunted Ouija board that kills people. It’s going to be just like every other horror movie ever made, and there’s no reason to see it.

Oct. 31

“Nightcrawler”

Woah!

Great-looking Halloween film that hasn’t been advertised as much as it deserves, the movie stars Jake Gyllenhaal as an extremely creepy crime reporter with a penchant for beating LAPD to the scene of the crime. As the film goes on, his character gets in deeper and deeper trouble with the police department as his drive to get the story causes more and more trouble. This movie has come out of nowhere as writer/director Dan Gilroy’s directorial debut, and almost his writing debut – his only credits are a few co-writing jobs and 2005 flop “Two for the Money.” Producer credits include Gyllenhaal and Gilroy’s much-more-successful brother, Tony, and it was edited by their other brother, John. It looks creepy and bizarre and intense and very interesting. It’s a gamble, but it looks like it will pay off.

Featured Illustration by Jake Bowerman – Senior Staff Illustrator

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