Every year when fall comes around, and Halloween is approaching, I have a certain image in my mind of how the October movie list should look. Horror flicks, fun animated spookiness or essentially the collected works of Tim Burton. Inevitably that doesn’t happen. But all things considered, this year’s October movies are a pretty festive bunch. Tim Burton may be missing, but there’s plenty of Halloween fun to pick from. Here’s our full October movie preview.
October 4th– Joker
It’s a comic book movie, but it’s not. Joker has Joaquin Phoenix playing Arthur Fleck, a man so down on his luck and ostracized that he turns into a version of the criminal mastermind we know from Batman lore. Now the Caped Crusader does not appear in this movie, but his dad Thomas Wayne does. So there will be some familiar elements. Expect the film to earn its R rating as it has sparked a heated debate over the realism in depicting mental health issues and violence.
October 11th– The Addams Family, Gemini Man, Jexi
It’s been a while since we’ve seen a new iteration of The Addams Family. This updated version is an animated feature for the characters who have been depicted in comic-strip, television sitcom and live-action film formats over the decades. The plot has the macabre family moving to New Jersey and facing off with modern day technologies and problems. Oscar Isaac and Charlize Theron lead the star-studded voice cast.
Gemini Man stars Will Smith and Will Smith as Henry Brogan and… a clone of Henry Brogan. Brogan is a middle-aged and damaged hitman who is targeted by his own government. The assasin sent to take him out is his clone that he didn’t know existed. That character is a digitally de-aged version of Smith, a production technique we’re seeing more and more in movies these days.
Adam Devine is having phone trouble in Jexi. The title references the fictional Siri equivalent on Devine’s phone that starts out as a helpful assistant before becoming obsessive and demanding his love. The comedy is a clear commentary on our obsession with connectivity and technology in the digital age. But it also looks funny, which is good. If you’re going to insult our phones, you better be funny too.
October 18th– Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Zombieland 2: Double Tap
It’s been five years since Angelina Jolie donned her horns, but she’s back for Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. Elle Fanning also returns as Aurora, who now wants to get married. Maleficent, her godmother, isn’t too keen on it. A battle ensues with the evil queen facing off with the not-as-evil queen (Michelle Pfeiffer). It’s quite unclear at this point who the audience is supposed to be rooting for.
The five-year gap between Maleficent films is only half the hiatus between Zombieland and its sequel, Zombieland 2: Double Tap. The star-studded cast, who have only grown in status over those ten years, are all back to take on more zombies and plenty of human threats while exploring the all but abandoned United States. Woody Harrelson stars alongside Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin.
October 25th– Black and Blue, Countdown, The Current War: Director’s Cut
Naomie Harris plays a rookie cop in an inner-city in Black and Blue. When she attempts to provide back-up for her partner and captures corrupt officers murdering a drug dealer on her body cam, she must escape the police and navigate the community, who don’t trust law enforcement. Tyrese Gibson, Frank Grillo and Mike Colter co-star.
A second movie about our phones this month, Countdown is a much creepier entry. A popular new app will tell you how long you have left to live. It seems like fun until people get very short countdowns and die at those exact moments. One woman (Elizabeth Lail) is only given a few days to live and attempts to solve the mystery of what is really happening to these people. The trailer shows a creepy monster hand involved. Apparently even demons have iPhones these days.
The historical drama, The Current War has been delayed since 2017 because of the involvement of disgraced film executive Harvey Weinstein. Now after being shifted around and some re-editing, the movie is finally getting a wide release as The Current War: Director’s Cut. As for the plot, it follows the cutthroat rivalry to introduce electricity to the world. The main players include Thomas Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch), Nikola Tesla (Nicholas Hoult), George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) and Samuel Insull (Tom Holland).
As mentioned earlier, I’m looking for movies to get in the Halloween spirit. So my picks for the month are Zombieland 2 and The Addams Family. Both fall on the fun side of the spookiness spectrum and that’s enough to sell me.