So September ended up being underwhelming, a shame really, there’s not much worse as a movie fan when potentially good movies end up being sub par. But fear not movie lovers! For October 2017 is here, bringing with it some potential gems (no, not Jigsaw) to brighten up the multiplexes once again. From the potentially risky return of a science fiction classic, to the newest animation movie universe, by way of an 80s, Italian summer-set, gay romance movie, capped off by a superhero buddy comedy directed by a man from New Zealand, October has a lot of promise and a perhaps even higher expectations to meet. Enough of the jibber-jabber, here are the highlights of October.
Blade Runner 2049, dir. by Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Jared Leto, Robin Wright, Dave Bautista, Barkhad Abdi, Edward James Olmos.
Release date: October 6th.
Revisiting beloved movies a long time past their initial release is always a risky prospect; sometimes it works (Mad Max: Fury Road, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Toy Story 3), a lot of times it doesn’t (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Dumb and Dumber To, Independence Day: Resurgence, Zoolander 2, every Terminator movie after Judgement Day, I could go on). For obvious reasons, apprehension is high for Blade Runner 2049. It’s been 35 years since Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic Blade Runner hit screens, in this time Blade Runner has influenced sci-fi films in their dozens and has set a nigh unbeatable bar in the genre. It falls not on Scott’s shoulders to bring it back however, probably for the best after the lukewarm reception to both Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, but on those of Academy Award nominee Denis Villeneuve, perhaps the most sought after and in-form director in Hollywood. Villeneuve boasts a filmography including Prisoners, Sicario and Arrival, it could be argued that the man is yet to make a bad movie but more importantly he bears all the suitable qualities to direct a Blade Runner film; fantastic visuals, great actors providing great performances, thought provoking themes, he is carving himself a reputation as a master craftsman. But Villeneuve is not in the foxhole on his own, the living legend Harrison Ford is back, sharing lead credits with the superb Ryan Gosling, and anchored by a supporting cast including Jared Leto, Robin Wright and Dave Bautista. With cinematographer Roger Deakins shooting the movie and Hans Zimmer contributing to the score, the individual pieces are all there for Blade Runner 2049 to be worthy of the Blade Runner mantra, lord knows the pressure is high.
The LEGO Ninjago Movie, dir. by Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher and Bob Logan
Starring: Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Michael Peña, Kumail Nanjiani, Abbi Jacobson, Zach Woods, Fred Armisen, Jackie Chan, Olivia Munn.
Release date: October 13th.
Who’d have thought that LEGO could ever have its own cinematic universe? After the “damn-I-thought-it-could-be-good-but-not-that-good” LEGO Movie in 2014 established the LEGO-verse and clearly set out its style, this year’s LEGO Batman Movie was equally as endearing and successful, now LEGO and Warner Bros. are back with another addition to the LEGO-verse, The LEGO Ninjago Movie. Admittedly, it’s less of a stacked voice cast as its predecessors, but the talent is undeniably there (Kumail Nanjiani may be one of 2017’s top breakout stars), the trailers promise the same gorgeous and innovative animation style and, above all, the humour. The humour is the hook for older viewers and it hasn’t missed yet; the fourth wall is mercilessly obliterated, the visual gags are both bonkers and hilarious, the call back jokes work wonders and the voice talent delivers it all fantastically. After the “who-asked-for-this?” Cars 3, the underwhelming Despicable Me 3 and the critically annihilated Emoji Movie, we’re overdue a good animated movie; here’s hoping that The LEGO Ninjago Movie can be that movie.
Call Me by Your Name, dir. by Luca Guadagnino
Starring: Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Esther Garrel.
Release date: October 27th.
The Autumn/Winter movie season usually heralds one thing for sure in the film calendar – films with Oscar buzz. In the UK, the heavy hitters don’t tend to arrive until January, but a few are gifted to us early from time to time; Call Me by Your Name is that movie for 2017. Ever since its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this, Luca Guadagnino’s 80s-set Italian summer love story has been at the forefront of the Oscars conversation, both critics and audiences instantly fell in love with the Italian director’s follow up to the avant-garde summer romance A Bigger Splash. By all indications Call Me by Your Name shares a lot in common with A Bigger Splash; vibrant visuals, surprising romances, stellar performances and an adoration for all things music, summer and Italy. Guadagnino’s direction, the screenplay and the film itself are being hotly tipped for nominations in their respective areas, as is Armie Hammer, in what many are calling his best role since he burst onto the scene in 2010’s The Social Network, along with young Timothée Chalamet and Michael Stuhlbarg. A summer-set love story to melt away the autumnal haze, Call Me by Your Name is playing at the London Film Festival in October, so expect even more buzz to filter through after it undoubtedly wows British critics and truly begins its march towards the Academy Awards.
EDITOR’S PICK: Thor: Ragnarok, dir. by Taika Waititi
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Anthony Hopkins.
Release date: October 24th.
A Thor and Hulk road trip movie in which Cate Blanchett stars as the villain, directed by the genius who brought us Hunt for the Wilderpeople and featuring Jeff Goldblum… if that isn’t the greatest movie pitch of 2017 then I don’t know what is. One needs to remember, however, that Thor has had a tough time in the MCU; Chris Hemsworth is perfectly cast and his films have brought us the best and most beloved villain in the form of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, but whilst Hemsworth has shone in both Avengers movies, his own films have sputtered a bit. 2011’s Thor was a solid introduction to the character and was effectively directed by Kenneth Branagh, but 2013’s Thor: The Dark World is viewed as perhaps the MCU’s worst offering to date, director Alan Taylor even went as far to say that he would not wish his experience on the film upon anyone. But in a step to give Thor the movie he, and more importantly Chris Hemsworth, deserves, Kevin Feige and Marvel have pulled out all the stops. Mark Ruffalo’s beloved and definitive Hulk is in, Loki is back, Idris Elba’s Heimdall returns, veterans Jeff Goldblum and Karl Urban are on board, rising star Tessa Thompson is too, and Cate Blanchett, perhaps the greatest actress of the 21st century, is in as big bad Hela, the goddess of death. Marvel’s mega movie project is in more than capable hands with Taika Waititi helming the project, much like Denis Villeneueve he is a director in form having previously brought us What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, and arguably does not have a bad credit to his name thus far. Thor: Ragnarok looks totally bonkers and Waititi is the perfect man to handle it, this is a cosmic road trip, buddy comedy, action, fantasy bonanza playing its own different ball game, lets hope that Marvel finally does right by Hemsworth and his beautiful golden locks.