September, a month of largely uninspiring cinema, is almost over, and October is starting with a bang. With the exception of whatever week Christmas is on (because, you know, Star Wars + Christmas), this could well be the most exciting week of the year (so long as you like spaceships and Shakespeare – but obviously not mixed together). Matt Damon gets left behind on an inhabitable planet again (I think Hollywood are trying to send a message); Robert DeNiro does… I don’t know, stuff – he’s Robert DeNiro, he can do what he wants – Michael Fassbender paints himself blue and swings a sword around; and Joseph Gordon-Levitt walks a tightrope between the twin towers. Intrigued yet?
First up this week is one of those rare blockbuster films not released on Friday. The Martian, is another sci-fi epic from director Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator) based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Andy Weir. Starring the cast of Interstellar and Sean Bean, The Martian tells the story of a man stranded on Mars, and having to find a way to survive there for months and even years until rescue can arrive. Upon its premiere at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, the film has been hailed as a return to form for Scott, whose outings in previous years had fallen some way from the excellence that defined the first decade of his career. It will also (hopefully) become the third film in as many years to be about space travel and be critically and commercially successful, which is awesome. The film opens on Wednesday – go see it!
Our second film is a smaller one, a documentary named 3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets, which looks at a shooting in 2012 in America and its aftermath. Made by director Marc Silver (Los Invisibles, Who is Dayani Crystal?), the film was selected for the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award at Sundance in 2015 (losing to The Wolfpack), and has received enormous praise from critics, focussing particularly on its handling of the racial issues that dominate the shooting, and on the film’s gorgeous aesthetics. It receives limited release on Friday.
Another biggie out this week is The Intern. Directed by Nancy Meyers (The Parent Trap, The Holiday), and starring Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway (I think you know who they are), The Intern is, surprisingly, a film about an intern. More specifically, it’s about an old guy who interns at a fitness company, and all the hilarity that presumably ensues. Having already opened last week in the US, the film has performed in a way that can best be described as ‘meh’ – it just failed to make back its budget, and received mixed praise from critics. It may not be the film of the year, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. It is released in the UK on Friday.
A third big film this week (aren’t we lucky?) is a new cinematic adaptation of Shakespeare’s Scottish play (*whispers quietly* Macbeth *is immediately struck by lightning*). Directed by Justin Kurzel, his second film looks to be even better than his first (the critically-acclaimed Snowtown), having competed for the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2015 (losing to Dheepan) and starring two of the finest actors of the moment – Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. The film has received universal acclaim from critics, and – I mean, just watch the trailer, it’s like Shakespeare spent the summer listening to loud music and guzzling steroids. The film is released on Friday and for the second time this week: go see it!
If you’re still not quite satisified with an already enormous week, there’s a little bit of razzmatazz left over in the form of The Walk, a biopic of some crazy bastard who walked a tightrope between the two World Trade Centre towers in 1974, based on the Oscar-winning James Marsh documentary Man On Wire. Made by Robert Zemeckis, who I guarantee made at least one of your favourite films (Back to the Future, Forrest Gump etc.), and ol’ Joe Gordy-Levitation (Joseph Gordon-Levitt in case you didn’t twig) from the likes of Looper, Inception and (500) Days of Summer, the film premiered at the New York Film Festival last week, where it received largely positive reviews. It’s released on Friday, and it’s in IMAX, so that could be cool.