The end of 2013 approacheth. Luckily, with it comes a slew of interesting movies. Some are potential awards contenders, plenty more aren’t, but undoubtedly there’s a reason to get excited about each.
We gave a short rundown of the end of the year a little while ago, but that before the fall festivals rolled into town, and there have been quite a few changes since then. Therefore we humbly present:
THE 2013 FINAL QUARTER MOVIE GUIDE
PART 1: OCTOBER
(Part 2: November and Part 3: December coming soon)
10/4 – Gravity
What is it? It’s the first movie since Children of Men from director Alfonso Cuaron, and stars George Clooney and (more importantly) Sandra Bullock as a pair of astronaut scientists who must struggle to survive after their craft is wrecked by space debris.
You might be interested if… you liked Cast Away. While Robert Redford’s All is Lost (more on this below) is a more direct corollary, substituting space for the sea is at a minimum visually striking. Add the strong cast and director to extraordinarily positive review of both the technical filmmaking and the performances, and this would appear to be one not to miss. It might even be one of the few films worth seeing in 3D.
10/4 – Runner Runner
What is it? An action-thriller starring Justin Timberlake as a brilliant, but financially struggling student who gets caught in the web of an online poker mogul played by Ben Affleck and learns firsthand both the rewards and dangers of playing hopscotch with the law.
You might be interested if… you’re a fan of crime movies looking for some fun. This has the look of something in between Ocean’s 11 and The Godfather. It’s success probably depends on how smart the script actually turns out to be, but at the very least, watching Ben Affleck showcase his darker side sounds pretty enjoyable.
10/4 – Metallica: Through the Never
What is it? It’s a concert movie with a narrative film twist. Dane Dehaan (Chronicle) plays a roadie who sees a simple task turn out of control. All driven, of course, by a Metallica soundtrack.
You might be interested if… you like Metallica and/or post-apocalyptic, twilight-zone-ish madness. This is a movie that certainly doesn’t look like many others out there. Probably not for the faint of heart, though.
10/4 – Parkland
What is it? A panorama of the JFK assassination about the people surrounding the event rather than the first family itself: the doctors and nurses at Parkland Hospital, the secret service agents in charge, the family of the assassin, the man who caught the footage of the shooting on tape.
You might be interested if… you’re a history junkie. The picture was only moderately reviewed, but if a little melodrama doesn’t bother you, this could be a great way to measure the impact of the Kennedy assassination. Be warned, however: this does not veer (heavily, at least) into conspiracy theories. If that’s what you’re seeking, you may have to wait a while longer.
10/4 – All is Bright
What is it? Believe it or not, this is when the Christmas movies start rolling in in 2013. This dramedy follows an ex-con played by Paul Giamatti who sells Christmas trees with an old friend, played by Paul Rudd. It’s a classic odd-couple pairing, and chaos naturally ensues as their plan to get rich on the season unravels.
You might be interested if… you loved Sideways. Like the 2004 Oscar winner (for best adapted screenplay), All is Bright positions Giamatti as a crotchety man watching himself slip past middle age in an indy picture that’s as much about character struggles as laughs.
10/4 – A.C.O.D
What is it? A movie that (comically) tackles the effects of divorce during childhood on a generation that has now reached adulthood. Adam Scott must deal with his still feuding parents as they attend his younger brother’s wedding.
You might be interested if… you like the ensemble cast of Scott, Richard Jenkins, Catherine O’Hara, Amy Poehler, Jessica Alba, Jane Lynch, Clark Duke, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. It promises to mix laughs and heart while directly addressing a subject not many films have.
10/4 – Linsanity
What is it? A documentary of the rise of basketball player Jeremy Lin from high school player who was barely recruited to an NBA star. Filming started when Lin was still a player at Harvard. It also deals with the role of faith in Lin’s life.
You might be interested if… you’re a basketball fan, particularly a New York Knicks or Houston Rockets fan. The sheer unlikeliness that this documentary would become what it is is pretty compelling as well. The crew started filming just to make a webseries about an Asian-American basketball player, and ended up with a feature about an NBA star.
10/4 – Grace Unplugged
What is it? A sheltered Christian teen and prodigious musical talent want to experience more, and gets her chance when a music producer wants to make her a mainstream star over the objections of her father, who nearly destroyed himself with his own turn at the rock and roll lifestyle.
You might be interested if… films like Fireproof, Soul Surfer, and Chasing the Giants were your cup of tea.
10/11 – Machete Kills
What is it? A shockingly star-studded, irreverant, ultraviolent grindhouse sequel to 2010’s Machete. Danny Trejo reprises his role as the titular Rambo-type figure.
You might be interested if… you loved the first Machete, or Robert Rodriguez movies in general. The man (oddly enough) behind both the likes of Grindhouse and Spy Kids has a particular style, and if you like his superviolent adult films, there’s probably more to love here than ever with a cast that includes Charlie Sheen, Lady Gaga, Sophia Vergara, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodrigues, Mel Gibson, Antonio Banderas, and Cuba Gooding, Jr.
10/11 – Captain Phillips
What is it? An accounting of the hijacking of the American cargo ship Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates in 2009.
You might be interested if… you want to see Tom Hanks’s most serious acting role in years and/or you like Paul Greengrass, the director behind similar true story United 93, and The Bourne Supremacy and Ultimatum. As those who have seen early screenings (it just made its official world premier at the New York Film Festival) can attest, Greengrass excels at capturing the tension in this kind of story.
10/11 – CBGB
What is it? An accounting of the man known as the Godfather of Punk and his bar where bands like The Ramones, Blondie, The Police, The Talking Heads, and more got their start.
You might be interested if… you love this music. mxdwn Movies recently got a chance to see this picture, and while there are some issues with the story and filmmaking, it all holds together well enough that you probably won’t care if these bands provide the soundtrack to your life.
10/11 – Zero Charisma
What is it? An earnest indie comedy about nerd culture, specifically the level of commitment and fanaticism that can often go into Dungeons & Dragons style tabletop games.
You might be interested if… you have any interest in this kind of thing. And I mean ANY interest. By all appearances, it lampoons this sort of culture every bit as much as it celebrates it. Be prepared – this is not a studio picture by any means. If you’re used to the polish of a multi-million dollar feature, this may come as a bit of a shock to your system.
10/11 – Escape From Tomorrow
What is it? Likely the oddest movie you’ll see all year, it was shot guerrilla style (without permit) in Disney theme parks, and follows one man’s nightmares after learning he’s been laid off while on vacation with his family.
You might be interested if… you want to see the happiest place on earth in a whole new light and like a trippy psychological thriller. The fact that this film is even getting a release is somewhat incredible. Undoubtedly there will be a novelty factor at play.
10/11 (limited), TBA (wide) – Romeo and Juliet
What is it? A fresh period adaptation of the classic play that mixes the Shakespearean text with new dialogue. The cast is headed by Oscar nominee Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit).
You might be interested if… you’re a teenager. This doesn’t appear to be shooting for the classic fan of the bard in the same way that Joss Whedon’s modern set, but classically worded, Much Ado About Nothing did earlier this year. Instead, it would seem to play up immediate relevance of its teenage characters, mixing romance and action for a pic angling for commercial success.
10/11 – The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete
What is it? A story of friendship between two young inner-city children who must survive on their own in a world torn down by drugs and violence.
You might be interested if… you liked Faster, Notorious, or Men of Honor, as Mister and Pete comes from the same director, George Tillman, Jr. Tillman also produced the Barbershop movies, and you can expect Mister and Pete to tonally come down somewhere between those comedies and his more serious directorial efforts, reflecting the childlike optimism of the protagonists.
10/16 – Kill Your Darlings
What is it? Daniel Radcliffe, Dane Dehaan, and Jack Huston star as Alan Ginsberg, Lucien Carr, and Jack Kerouac in their college days. The three poets went on to become some of the greatest of the Beat Generation.
You might be interested if… you love any of these poets, certainly, but the film also evinces a considerable amount of The Social Network-style flair (albeit a 1940’s version), and appears to have thriller elements along the lines of A Beautiful Mind or Zodiac.
10/18 – Escape Plan
What is it? Another Schwarzenegger/Stallone team up, this time positioning Sly as a master prison breaker/designer who gets in over his head when parties unknown trap him in a prison he’s supposed to be testing.
You might be interested if… you’re on board with the Stallone renaissance. This may be the cerebral cousin to The Expendables, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of overly muscular men beating the snot out of one another.
10/18 – Carrie
What is it? A remake of the classic Stephen King adaptation, this time starring Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore as Carrie and her mother.
You might be interested if… you liked the first one, like Stephen King, or like horror movies that don’t immediately devolve into slasher gore-fests. That doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of blood in Carrie, but there’s potential for something a bit more satisfying on the way there.
10/18 (limited), TBA (wide) – 12 Years A Slave
What is it? An adaptation of the famous slave narrative by Solomon Northrup, a free black man who was kindnapped, sold into slavery, and spent twelve years in bondage before being freed.
You might be interested if… you want to see a film likely high on the list for Best Picture and some of the acting awards. 12 Years A Slave premiered to universal praise from both critics and audiences, but is not for the faint of heart. It has a no-holds-barred approach to rendering the horrors of slavery, reputedly matching last year’s Django Unchained tit for tat if not slightly exceeding it.
10/18 – The Fifth Estate
What is it? The story of the rise of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, based on a book by former WikiLeaks spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg, played by Daniel Bruhl.
You might be interested if… you want to see what all the fuss is about. Assange has very publicly contested the voracity of The Fifth Estate‘s portrayal of himself and his site.
10/18 – All Is Lost
What is it? A man, or rather “Our Man,” as he is credited (played by Robert Redford) is sailing alone when his ship is wrecked and he’s forced to cast off on his life raft.
You might be interested if…. you want to see Robert Redford. A lot. He’s the only character in the movie, and as he’s alone, has very few lines of dialogue. The film was very well received at Cannes, and Redford is expected to vie for his first acting Oscar (he’s only won as a director previously).
10/18 – Paradise
What is it? The premise sounds shockingly similar to Grace Unplugged: sheltered church girl runs off to experience the world. The difference? This movie’s a comedy starring Julianne Hough, Octavia Spencer, and Russell Brand.
You might be interested if… you want a less raunchy Hangover by way of less sexual The To-Do List. Spencer and Brand play a Las Vegas singer and bartender who help the wet-behind-the-ears Hough accomplish everything on her “napkin of sin.” For those who worry about Brand doing his same crazy shtick, he doesn’t look quite as toned down as Will Ferrell did in Stranger Than Fiction, but he’s at least on the same continuum.
10/25 (limited) – Blue is the Warmest Color
What is it? It’s the winner of the Cannes film festival earlier this year – and also the most controversial film to hit theaters. It got slapped with an NC-17 rating for its sexual content, so not many theaters will show it this French love story about two lesbian teenagers.
You might be interested if… you trust Steven Spielberg more that film’s director – Spielberg headed the jury which handed Blue its Cannes prize, but the film’s director, Abdellatif Kechiche, recently said he doesn’t think his film should even be released – and don’t mind the extreme quantities of sexual content.
10/25 – The Counselor
What is it? Cormac McCarthy’s novels have provided the basis for a number of films, including a Best Picture winner (No Country For Old Men). The Counselor is his first feature screenplay, and follows a lawyer’s (Michael Fassbender) decent into the world of the drug trade. Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, and Cameron Diaz also star.
You might be interested if… any of the above sounds like a good combination, particularly in conjunction with direction by Ridley Scott.
10/25 – Bad Grandpa
What is it? A new film from the Johnny Knoxville and the Jackass boys, which follows a cross country journey by a boy and his wildly offensive grandfather.
You might be interested if… you loved Jackass and Borat. Bad Grandpa purports to similarly approach people on the street without telling them the Grandpa’s offensive antics are an act.