The PopMatters Fall Movie Preview - October 2013

October sees the arrival of several Oscar contenders, including the story of astronauts trapped in space, a free man sold into slavery, an American boat captain vs. Somali pirates, and another skipper alone against the elements. Toss in the usual commercial suspects and you've got quite a movie month.

Director: Alfonso Cuaron

Film: Gravity

Cast: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney

MPAA rating: R

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4 October

When you consider the praise it's been receiving and the awards season buzz surrounding its release, it's hard to imagine that there was ever a time when Alfonso Cuaron's follow-up to Children of Men was in question. Word of mouth alone should have generated significant studio interest. Yet the film had a hard time finding a cast and backers seemed skittish about funding a project that only featured two main roles and required such meticulous behind the scenes preparation. The result, however, speak for themselves. Gravity is a rousing entertainment that reconfirms Cuaron's auteur status as well as his future as a solid cinematic voice.

Director: Brad Furman

Film: Runner Runner

Cast: Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck, Gemma Arterton, Anthony Mackie

MPAA rating:

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4 October
Runner Runner

Let's just call this entry "better luck next time" and be done with it, shall we? Justin Timberlake has a new album out and a co-starring role in the Coen's Cannes smash Inside Llewyn Davis. Ben Affleck has another Oscar for Argo, a great deal of commercial good will, and an upcoming turn as the Caped Crusader in Man of Steel 2. And Gemma Arterton? Well, she's attractive enough. Apparently, none of these actors are worthy of the awful material provided to them by writers Brian Koppelman and David Levein and director Brad "The Lincoln Lawyer" Furman. Critics are calling it bland and boring. It is.

Director: Stu Zicherman

Film: A.C.O.D.

Cast: Adam Scott, Richard Jenkins, Catherine O'Hara, Amy Poehler, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clark Duke, Ken Howard, Jessica Alba, Jane Lynch

MPAA rating: R

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4 October

When he was young, Adam Scott's Carter was part of a study centering on children of divorce. His presence in a bestselling book on the subject becomes the fodder for some intriguing indie humor, especially when our now grown man is asked to return as part of a follow-up. With support from such fine comedic actors as Richard Jenkins, Catherine O'Hara, Jane Lynch, and Amy Poehler, and an unusual premise, this could be a solid sleeper hit. Of course, with everyone concentrating on the wannabes of Awards Season, this could get lost in the mix.

Director: Peter Landesman

Film: Parkland

Cast: James Badge Dale, Zac Efron, Jackie Earle Haley, Colin Hanks, David Harbour, Marcia Gay Harden, Ron Livingston, Jeremy Strong, Billy Bob Thornton, Paul Giamatti

MPAA rating: R

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4 October

Fifty years ago, one of the most horrendous events in the history of the United States occurred. On November 22, 1963, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was visiting Dallas, Texas when his motorcade was ambushed and he was shot, dead. Before dying, he was taking to Parkland Memorial Hospital, and its ancillary information like this, including an entire "day in the life" dynamic for famed home movie maker Abraham Zapruder, that hopes to set this film apart from the whole JFK/conspiracy theory approach others have taken with the material. On the downside? Zac Efron plays the attending physician in the ER.

Director: Dario Argento's Dracula 3D

Film: Dario Argento's Dracula 3D

Cast: Thomas Kretschmann, Marta Gastini, Asia Argento, Unax Ugalde, Miriam Giovanelli, Rutger Hauer

MPAA rating: R

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4 October
Dario Argento's Dracula 3D

He's the Master of Italian Suspense, an artist as vital and vibrant as Alfred Hitchcock (the director he's most often liked to). Over the last few years, however, Argento's cache has crashed. Mother of Tears failed to fulfill the promise of the other two movies in his proposed trilogy (those being Suspiria and Inferno) and the self-referential Giallo also fell flat. Now Argento is embracing the current cinematic gimmick of 3D and telling a classic tale of a certain neckbiter and the vampire hunter hellbent on destroying him. Reviews have been brutal, but we're willing to cut the man some slack. He's Dario Argento, after all.

Director: Stacie Passon

Film: Concussion

Cast: Robin Weigert, Maggie Siff, Johnathan Tchaikovsky, Ben Shenkman, Janel Moloney, Emily Kinney, Laila Robins

MPAA rating: R

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4 October

The premise here practically reeks of irritating indie ambition. A lesbian, living a normal life with her partner and her son, is suddenly struck by a baseball. While recovering from the titular malady, she decides to throw her life away and become an escort. Right. Like this happens every day in real life. No matter, as those who've actually seen it argue that it's actually pretty good. Writer/director Stacie Passon is a feature film novice, but early reviews have her living up to the hype. While not for everyone's taste, one imagines the arthouse crowd cottoning to what this movie has to say.

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Photo courtesy of Matador Records

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