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October Release Highlights



As awards season edges ever closer, October can always promise a wonderful mix of surprise fringe hits and highly anticipated awards contenders. So if you have one eye on the Oscars this could be a big month, and an expensive one if you go to the cinema a lot, which you definitely should because piracy is BAD. But cheap. But VERY BAD. The following list is based on the US release dates, which is of course part of the eligibility criteria for Oscar consideration, so we may not get these in the UK for a little while, but keep your eyes peeled for these:

George Clooney in Gravity1. Gravity (Dir. Alfonso Cuaron; Released 4th October)

Ever since its premiere at the Venice film festival, a lot of people have been touting this as a potential biggie next year. The idea of a stripped down cast has been toyed with and tried out in various incarnations and genres, so it’s almost surprising that a space movie in this vein hasn’t really been done by a big studio yet. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are the entire cast, so the movie depends on them, and judging by reactions online they nail it. The concept is interesting enough to turn a few heads, so all it needs is some strong direction and a solid performance from the veteran duo and this film could do quite well indeed.

2. Captain Phillips (Dir. Paul Greengrass; Released 11th October)Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips

Though it looks like Chiwetel Ejiofor is currently the heavy favorite for Leading Actor, Tom Hanks could find himself among the nominees with this solid drama about the hijacking of a cargo ship by Somali pirates, and the subsequent kidnap of its captain and crew. Hanks is obviously no stranger to the academy, while Greengrass was also nominated back in 2007 for United 93. So with the two teaming up for a film that many are excited about, this is definitely one to put in your diary.

3. 12 Years a Slave (Dir. Steve McQueen; Released 18th October)

The current front runner really does look like a cracking film, if the trailer is anything to go by. 12 Years a Slave is the story of Solomon Northup, but most importantly it’s a powerful period drama about slavery in 19th century America. Like Lincoln last year, it is no coincidence that this film is being released around the 150th year of the American Civil War, which became almost entirely a war about slavery. This looks like a brave film to tackle, but reviews have been overwhelmingly positive so far, and it could be that this is the one to beat next year. Just watch the trailer and tell me you don’t get goosebumps.


4. Carrie (Dir. Kimberley Peirce; Released 18th October)

Ok, I know this will not be in the Oscar race, but adaptations of classic movies are always worth some attention. This will either be a stroke of brilliance or a total disaster, but casting Chloe Grace-Moretz in the lead is pretty spot on. I have debated with friends over the choice of Julianne Moore for Carrie’s Mom, but there’s no denying the trailer carries some promise. Remakes do not often get nominated, let alone horror remakes, so it’s a zero chance for awards, but I’m very interested to see it.

The Fifth Estate5. The Fifth Estate (Dir. Bill Condon; Released 18th October)

This biopic bout Julian Assange and the creation of Wikileaks certainly has the credentials for an Oscar run, but whether it will break through a very strong crowd and get noticed is another thing. Director Bill Condon won an Oscar for writing Gods and Monsters and was nominated several years later for writing Chicago, so combined with a strong cast led by Benedict Cumberbatch, who is very much a rising star in Hollywood, this film does have chances. However, I haven’t heard a lot about it, so if it does feature next year it will very much be on the fringes. But an interesting film so soon after the scandal, and it will be interesting to see what they do with it, particularly how they characterize Assange.

6. The Counselor (Dir. Ridley Scott; Released 25th October)

Ridley Scott’s latest outing was shining bright on everyone’s radar a few months back, so it’s certainly one to watch. Like many of the films earmarked this year, it’s about a guy with power and authority who turns to crime. It’s a film about corruption, greed, and I assume the ultimate comeuppance of those in the wrong. Or maybe not. But it does look like a handy excuse for a glitzy period drama with a bit of action. Can’t say it’s one I have strong feelings towards, but who knows what we’ll be saying once we see it.

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