After September’s slow movie month, October looks set to be jam-packed with action blockbusters, Oscar hopefuls and the prerequisite family movie.
On the action front is the return of Bryan Mills in ‘Taken 2’. The original racked up US$149 million in the box office but that was in January when competition was slow. Will Neeson’s reprise of the character beat the competition? Opening on the same week will be the funky martial arts flick ‘Taichi 0’ by Stephen Fung and indie comedy drama ‘Celeste and Jesse Forever’.
October also sees Joseph Gordon-Levitt returning to theatres in sci-fi thriller ‘Looper’ while teen-flick ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ sees Harry Potter alumni Emma Watson finally stepping out of those dowdy wizard’s robes. Jennifer Garner stars in the fantasy family film 'The Odd Life of Timothy Green,' , in which she teams with Australian actor Joel Edgerton ('The Warrior') to play a small town couple who have given up on their dream to have a child of their own.
In time for Halloween will be Scott Derrickson’s ('The Exorcism of Emily Rose') ‘Sinister’ starring Ethan Hawke and 'Paranormal Activity 4'; whereas Ben Affleck ‘Argo’ and western crime drama ‘Lawless’ jockey for Oscar attention.
Here are our October picks:
Week of 4 October
The Stars: Famke Janssen, Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace
The Story: Liam Neeson returns as Bryan Mills, the retired CIA agent with a particular set of skills who stopped at nothing to save his daughter Kim from Albanian kidnappers. When the father of one of the kidnappers swears revenge, and takes Bryan and his wife hostage during their family vacation in Istanbul, Bryan enlists Kim to help them escape, and uses the same advanced level of special forces tactics to get his family to safety and systematically take out the kidnappers one by one.
inSing.com says: Liam Neeson evolved into a full-fledged action hero with 2009's sleeper hit ‘Taken’. This time he and his wife find themselves kidnapped in Istanbul, but there's still plenty of room for Neeson's Bryan Mills to punch and shoot his way through an assortment of Euro terrorists. Plus, we know how you want to see Neeson dish out that chilling threat over the phone again.
Also opening: Tony Leung Ka-Fai plays a taichi master in Stephen Fung’s ‘Taichi 0’. ‘The Words’ see Zoe Saldana cozying up with Bradley Cooper whereas Rashida Jones gets friendly with Adam Samberg in ‘Celeste and Jesse Forever’.
Week of 11 October
The Stars: Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
The Story: ‘Looper’ stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Joe, an assassin who kills targets sent back in time by the mob. Things get complicated when Joe is assigned to kill his future self, played by Bruce Willis.
inSing.com says: Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been busy travelling around this year –first zipping through the streets of New York City on a fixie and then travelling through time in ‘Looper’. Like its sci-fi predecessors -- be it novels by Issac Asimov, Phillip K Dick or Ray Bradbury TV movies -- ‘Looper’ is the kind of sci-fi film that will define the genre; it may just be the most compelling sci-fi story of this decade (sorry ‘In Time’). Intelligent, stylish, and complete with a stellar cast (indie fav Gordon-Levitt and tough guy Willis) and deeply layered story, the movie has already earned rave reviews from critics with a 93 per cent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Will ‘Looper’ get director Rian Johnson’s name in the genre’s history books?
Also opening: A busy movie week with the movies like teen flick ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’, horror ‘Sinister’, Disney’s ‘The Odd Life of Timothy Green’ and our very own ‘Sex.Violence.FamilyValues’, directed by Ken Kwek and produced by dance club The Butter Factory.
Week of 18 October
The Stars: Anna Kendrick, Cody Horn, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena
The Story: From ‘Training Day’s screenwriter David Ayers, ‘End of Watch’ sees Michael Pena and Jake Gyllenhaal as a pair of L.A. cops and close friends who work to keep the streets safe. Shot in a found-footage style, the movie follows the duo as they make enemies with a major drug cartel and attempt to lead happy personal lives.
inSing.com says: Director Ayers mines familiar territory in ‘End of Watch’; a gritty look into the lives of cops but amid all the obligatory violence, there are some heart-warming and funny moments in it. On the surface it looks like a film about two cops fighting evil in LA but once you get into the thick of it, you’ll realise that it’s about the bond of friendship and loyalty that Pena and Gyllenhaal’s characters share as officers of the L.A.P.D. Possibly one of the best cop movies we’ve seen so far.
Also opening: Like his Hollywood counterpart Gordon-Levitt with two movies in two weeks, Tony Leung returns again for ‘Cold War’, a Hong Kong cop movie with Aaron Kwok, Charlie Yeung and Andy Lau.
Week of 25 October
The Stars: Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce, Jason Clarke, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy
The Story: Based on author Matt Bondurant's ‘The Wettest County in the World,’ a fictional account of his family in Prohibition-era Virginia, ‘Lawless’ tells of the bootlegging Bondurant brothers, played in the film by Jason Clarke, Tom Hardy and LaBeouf. When Special Deputy Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce) arrives from Chicago, he threatens the brothers' moonshine business.
inSing.com says: Other than mob gangsters, cowboys are another institution of American cinema. Who can forget movies like ‘The Magnificent Seven’, ‘Unforgiven’ and the most recent ‘3:10 to Yuma’? In ‘Lawless’, we see LeBeouf saddle up in a ten-gallon hat in what might be his best performance yet. After starring in films that were big on special effects but low on character, the 26-year-old LaBeouf will likely see many more thoughtful and dramatic roles. The movie also sees a stellar cast – Gary Oldman Guy Pearce, Tom Hardy and Mia Wasikowska – all of whom gave glowing performances. And what makes the movie work is that it manages to combine the western and the gangster drama in a rich and powerful story.
Also opening: If you’re into scares, make sure to catch the fourth instalment of the ‘Paranormal Activity’ franchise. After talking to an empty chair at the Republican Convention, Clint Eastwood plays a cranky dad and baseball scout in ‘Trouble With The Curve’; and Ben Affleck takes over the director’s chair in his political thriller ‘Argo’.
(Note: All release dates are subject to change; all information correct as of press time.)