For those disappointed with every sequel, remake and original concept (where there any?) they saw in theaters this summer, the final 2016 quarter is coming to the rescue. After covering our picks for September, it's time to move on and check out October. And what a dense October we have in store! No matter what your genre, there is something for everybody.
October Kickoff: The Birth of a Nation
The month is going to kickoff with a box office wildcard. The Birth of a Nation was an instant sweetheart at Sundance after striking a chord with audiences and critics alike. Fox Searchlight quickly stepped in to acquire the film for $17.5 million, the largest acquisition the festival has ever seen. While the studio first assumed they had a box office hit on their hands, things have gone er, south of recent.
It turns out that The Birth of a Nation has a smart way of showing the effects of rape and violence without showing the actual incident. While it works in the film, what director Nate Parker couldn't keep hidden was his own history with rape. Parker was accused of raping an 18-year-old at Penn State while he was a student in 1999. While some can come to the director's defense with the "he said, she said" defense, there are a few facts that hurt his reputation.
According to reports, Nate continued to harass the same student after the incident occurred. Considering that his bail required him to make no contact with the victim, some now claim that he was in direct violation of his bail. The accusations get worse, with suggestions that Nate Parker literally stalked the victim. Listed as Jane Doe, the victim went from a 4.0 student to dropping out of the University entirely. It was discovered recently that Jane Doe eventual committed suicide in 2012, when she was 30.
Obviously none of this looks good for Nate Parker and, if it doesn't hurt the box office prospects of The Birth of a Nation, it may hurt his chances at getting an Academy Award nom. The film arrives to theaters on October 7th.
Birth of a Nation Alternative: Girl on the Train
If all the drama around The Birth of a Nation puts a bad taste in your mouth, you may want to check out The Girl on the Train instead. Opening to theaters the same weekend, the film is based on the popular novel by Paula Hawkins. How popular? How about 4-star average from just short of 100,000 reviews (all prints) on Amazon?
The thriller also features an insane cast that includes Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Luke Evans, Justin Theroux, Edgar Ramirez and Allison Janney. With this story of ensemble, the film has to be good. Right?
If you are unsure about The Girl on the Train, feel free to check out the film's trailer. Impressed yet?
Intermission: The Accountant
When you hear of a film titled The Accountant, it would be fair to assume it must be boring. Starring Ben Affleck, the thriller is a twist on the profession. Ben Affleck plays an autistic man who uses his genius to clean the books of large organizations, both legal and illegal. But, when dealing with organized crime, Affleck's character is also trained to kick a whole bunch of ass. Queue sniper rifle. Hard to imagine? Watch the trailer...
Though Ben Affleck has taken some unfair flack for Batman v Superman, expect to be impressed with him once again in The Accountant. The film hits theaters October 14th.
American Pastoral vs Monster Calls vs Jack Reacher
October 21st looks to be the most competitive of October. Fortunately for the three big releases, each has something different to offer.
A Monster Calls is based on the popular novel from author Patrick Ness, who was pitched the idea by Siobhan Dowd. Dowd was inspired by her battle with terminal cancer. Unfortunately she lost that battle and never saw the novel come to fruition. The novel itself is a sad, more like tragic, tale of dealing with death before adulthood. Though featuring an impressive cast including MacDougall, Liam Neeson, Toby Kebbell, Felicity Jones and Sigourney Weaver, the story might not be every moviegoers idea of escape. And, in hopes of avoiding depression, audiences may prefer a Tom Cruise actioner.
Cruise returns to the title character in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. The film looks like a fun romp with Cruise back to his familiar role of racing around and kicking ass. Only this time he has Marvel's Cobie Smulders to bring in some estrogen-based badassery. The film isn't going to have you questioning the meaning of life, but should be a fun two-hour escape.
Returning to the drama, we have American Pastoral also hoping to have some box office draw October 21st. When the adaptation entered production we originally weren't all that interested save for the fact that it starred Ewan McGregor, Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning. But then we watched the trailer and were sold. Obviously we have a weakness for trailers, considering, but the adaptation looks to carry some impact. McGregor, Connelly and Fanning also all look to be competing for an Academy nod, so expect an acting tour de force.
Closing Out: Inferno
The latest Robert Langdon installment from Dan Brown has arrived with Inferno. If you've seen either Angels & Demons or The Da Vinci Code, you already know what to expect. Tom Hanks will run around some cool, ancient, tourist locations as he attempts to solve puzzles with his knowledge of history and art. What separates this adventure from the other two is that it features more plot twists on the characters themselves, and the villain is a bit more er, debatable. Langdon is also suffering from amnesia this time around, which only helps to provide more surprises to the audience.
That wraps up October. What do you think? Any films we missed?