One film journalist’s stream-of-consciousness cinematic journey through the pandemic, Part 101
By Laurence Lerman / New York City
Summer is now most definitely behind us– not a great season, moviewise, but that’s yesterday’s news. Now is the time that studios great and small begin to roll out their prestige pictures.
Here they come–the most distinguished and respectable films most likely to garner nominations for the upcoming awards season, which generally runs from November through March. The season includes the Producers Guild Awards, the Directors Guild Awards, the Independent Spirit Awards and the Golden Globes (which are returning to a network broadcast following one year of banishment!), among others. All of this leads up to the Academy Awards, the 95th Edition of which is slated for March 12, 2023. (It’s never too early to prep for The Insider’s annual Academy Awards contest!)
Priming up this season’s prestige were three major film festivals—the mighty Venice, Toronto and Telluride fests—all of which unspooled in September. Between the three of them, a handful of major October releases enjoyed lauded worldwide premieres. They all definitely qualify as prestige pictures, with their distributors already positioning them for award nominations.
There are still a couple of months to go for the rest of the year’s big contenders to arrive, but a pair of them landed in October in the form of the festival favorites Tár and The Banshees of Inisherin. (They join Gina Prince-Bythwood’s The Woman King, a popular festival pic that opened theatrically in September.)
So without further ado, here are 10 movies set for October release which are worth looking into—from arthouse pics and documentaries to star-laden rom-coms and thrillers.
No specific plot details have been revealed yet, but by the looks of the trailer, David O. Russell’s latest offering appears to be a comedy-infused crime flick set in the ’70s involving a trio of friends who are thieves or con artists. It sort of seems like Russell’s 2013 American Hustle, but with even more stars, including Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Rock, Robert De Niro and Taylor Swift.
Onoda: 10,000 Nights in the Jungle
Directed by France’s Arthur Harari, this adventurous bio-pic tells the story of Hiroo Onoda, a Japanese soldier stationed on an island in the Philippines during World War II, who until 1974 was living and laboring under the delusion that the war was still going on. Onoda’s life was also the subject of Werner’s Herzog’s recent bestselling book, The Twilight World.
Triangle of Sadness
A luxury cruise for the rich and beautiful takes a satirically catastrophic turn when a celebrity model couple, Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (Charlbi Dean), find themselves stranded on a desert island and enduring some not-so-Instagramable situations. Woody Harrelson co-stars as the unhinged ship captain. Swedish filmmaker Ruben Ostlund won his second Palme d’Or at Cannes in May for this one (his first was for 2017’s The Square).
It’s been 16 years since actor/filmmaker Todd Field last sat in the director’s chair for Little Children. He finally returns with a psychological drama about Lydia Tár, one of the greatest living classical composer/conductors and the first-ever female chief conductor of a major German orchestra. Oh, and she’s a wholly fictional creation conceived by Field, who also wrote the script. Starring the unstoppable Cate Blanchett, who reportedly knocked ’em dead in Venice.
Decision to Leave
Stylish South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, Stoker, The Handmaiden) won the Best Director Prize at Cannes for this romantic thriller, which focuses on a detective who becomes obsessed with a woman who may have murdered her husband.
The saga of the murderous Michael Myers and his forever obsession Laurie Strode, portrayed by the enduring Jamie Lee Curtis, will finally come to an end this month—or so the filmmakers say! David Gordon Green returns to direct his third (and final?) entry in the franchise, which appears to be as immortal as the boogeyman at its center.
The Banshees of Inisherin
Martin McDonagh’s new film reunites his In Bruges co-stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as buddies whose lives on a remote island off the coast of Ireland take a radical turn when one of them unexpectedly puts an end to their friendship. It’s a McDonagh creation, so acerbic banter is guaranteed.
Ticket to Paradise
Super-duper-stars George Clooney and Julia Roberts romantically and comedically reunite as bitter ex-spouses who come together on the eve of the wedding of their lovestruck daughter (Kaitlyn Dever) to prevent her from making the same mistake they once made.
In 1968 Chicago, a married woman with an unwanted pregnancy and a life-threatening heart condition must navigate an all-male medical establishment unwilling to terminate her pregnancy in order to save her life. This leads her to a group of progressive women led by an activist committed to women’s health who dreams of a day when all women will have access to abortion. Directed by Phyllis Nagy; Elizabeth Banks, Sigourney Weaver and Chris Messina star.
The latest drama by the always provocative James Gray (Little Odessa, Two Lovers) looks at the life of an artistically inclined Jewish boy (Banks Repeta) and his friendship with a Black classmate (Jaylin Webb) in 1980s Queens. Anne Hathaway and Jeremy Strong portray the boy’s parents, and Anthony Hopkins his British-born grandfather.
Laurence Lerman is a film journalist, former editor of Video Business--Variety's DVD trade publication--and husband to The Insider's own Gwen Cooper. Over the course of his career he has conducted one-on-one interviews with just about every major director working today, including Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Clint Eastwood, Kathryn Bigelow, Ridley Scott, Walter Hill, Spike Lee, and Werner Herzog, among numerous others. Once James Cameron specifically requested an interview with Laurence by name, which his wife still likes to brag about. Most recently, he is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the online review site DiscDish.com.