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If you want to catch everything that looks promising in the world of film and television in October you’re going to be extremely busy. The intriguing projects just keep coming, whether they’re a prequel to one of the greatest TV shows ever made, a James Bond swan song, or the hotly anticipated return of a popular and unpredictable drama of backstabbing and finance. And if you want a strange twist on the superhero movie, October has that, too. Let’s start there.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage (Theaters, October 1)
A film based around a Spider-man villain (but with Spider-man nowhere in sight), 2018’s Venom was a weird project from the start. But the best parts of the movie just leaned into the weirdness, letting star Tom Hardy turn the story of an alien symbiote who takes over the body of a disgraced journalist into a weird buddy comedy. This sequel adds Woody Harrelson as an even nastier symbiote, so don’t expect it to be any less weird. See tickets and showtimes here.
The Many Saints of Newark (Theaters / HBO Max, October 1)
We’ll never know definitively what became of Tony Soprano after the abrupt cut to black in the series finale of The Sopranos. But while we can’t be sure about Tony Soprano’s ending, this prequel will fill in some of the blanks about his beginnings. Co-written by Sopranos creator David Chase and directed by series veteran Alan Taylor, the film revisits some formative episodes in the life of young Tony Soprano (Michael Gandolfini, son of James Gandolfini). Vera Farmiga co-stars as Livia Soprano, an essential element to any Tony Soprano origin story. Watch on HBO Max here.
Titane (Theaters, October 1)
There’s no way to summarize the plot of Titane without making it sound like made-up. Suffice to say that this second film from Julia Ducournau, who made her debut with the cannibalism drama Raw, won the Palme D’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival after playing for crowds who couldn’t believe what they were seeing. Also, the film’s protagonist Alexia (Agathe Rousselle) has sex with a car and that’s apparently not even the weirdest part of the movie. See tickets and showtimes here.
Maid (Netflix, October 1)
Margaret Qualley has long been a standout in whatever films and TV series in which she’s appeared, so it’s nice to see her getting a lead role in this adaptation of Stephanie Land’s memoir Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive. Qualley plays Alex, a single mother who takes a job cleaning houses in a bid to make ends meet. Qualley’s real-life mother Andie McDowell co-stars as Paula, a woman whose instability and unreliability offers Alex little in the way of support. Watch on Netflix here.
No Time To Die (Theaters, October 8)
At long last: Bond. The 25th James Bond movie — not counting a handful of films that aren’t part of the proper series — was supposed to debut nearly two years ago. Production delays pushed it back to the spring of 2020 and, well, we all know what happened next. But, barring any unforeseen circumstances, Daniel Craig’s fifth and final appearance as 007 will soon reach theaters. Arriving, however belatedly, the heels of the disappointing Spectre, it represents a chance for Craig to go out on a high note before surrendering the role to the next 007. Rami Malek steps into the bad guy role and both Léa Seydoux and Christoph Waltz reprise their Spectre roles. See tickets and showtimes here.
Lamb (Theaters, October 8)
A24 has been coy in its marketing of this first feature by Icelandic director Valdimar Johannsson starring Noomi Rapace and Hilmir Snær Gudnason as a pair of sheep farmers who discover… something. Johannsson insists it’s not a horror movie. Early reviews have compared it to Robert Eggers’ The Witch, which decidedly is a horror movie. Either way, it looks extremely intriguing and eerie enough to make ideal Halloween season viewing.
The Rescue (Theaters, October 8)
In the summer of 2018 a team of twelve junior soccer players and their coach became trapped in a cave with no means of escape after a heavy rainfall. Their predicament, and eventual rescue, became an international news story and now the subject of a documentary that details just how difficult the effort was and how easily it could have gone wrong.
Dopesick (Hulu, October 13)
Based on Beth Macy’s Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company that Addicted America, a sprawling, non-fiction look at the opioid crisis, this six-episode miniseries traces the history of OxyContin from its emergence as a reported “miracle drug” to a national addiction. Michael Keaton stars as a doctor caught in the middle of the trouble, leading an all-star cast that includes Rosario Dawson, Peter Sarsgaard, Kaitlin Dever, and Michael Stuhlbarg. Barry Levinson directs, continuing a run of fact-based projects that also includes The Wizard of Lies and Paterno. Watch with a 30-day free trial to Hulu here.
Guilty Party (Paramount, October 14)
What do you do when you’re a disgraced Colorado journalist who’s seemingly run out of options? If you’re Beth Baker (Kate Beckinsale), the protagonist of this new dark comedy created by Rebecca Addelman (New Girl), you try to write the story of your career, no matter what it takes or how much danger it puts you in. Watch with a 7-day free trial to Paramount+ here.
Halloween Kills (Theaters, October 15)
Picking up where 2018’s Halloween left off, this second installment in director David Gordon Green’s revival of the John Carpenter classic follows Michael Myers as he continues his reign of terror. Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie Strode, who remains determined to wipe Myers off the face of the earth no matter what it takes. (But there’s another sequel on the horizon, so don’t count on that happening in this one.) See tickets and showtimes here.
The Last Duel (Theaters, October 15)
Ridley Scott made his directorial debut with the terrific 1977 film The Duellists. Were he any other filmmaker, it would be tempting to look at the 83-year-old’s latest as an attempt to come full circle. Scott, however, has another film coming out this year (House of Gucci) and another in the works, so this adaptation of Eric Jager’s fact-inspired 2004 novel is anything but a swan song. Matt Damon stars as Jean de Carrouges, a 14th century knight who challenges friend Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) to a duel when Carrouges’s wife (Jodie Comer) accuses Le Gris of rape. Ben Affleck and Harriet Walter round out the cast.
Bergman Island (Theaters, October 15)
For much of his life, director Ingmar Bergman lived, and often worked, on the Swedish island of Fårö. Understandably, the place has acquired a certain mystique over the years. It’s also drawn tourists including, in this latest film from Mia Hansen-Løve (Thing to Come), a pair of filmmakers played by Tim Roth and Vicky Krieps. Mia Wasikowska in a story that blurs the line between fantasy and reality. (Bergman did shoot Persona there, after all.)
The Velvet Underground (Theaters/Apple TV+, October 15)
“There’s a joke,” Lou Reed once told the New York Times, “that we didn’t sell many records but that everyone who bought them went out and started a band.” Reed was talking about the Velvet Underground, which arose from the grimiest, artiest corners of Sixties New York to change music despite a short lifespan and limited commercial success. Todd Haynes’s years-in-the-making documentary revisits the band’s story via firsthand accounts, unseen footage and, of course, music. Watch on Apple TV here.
Succession (HBO, October 17)
When we last saw the Roy family back in 2019 it was, well, kind of a mess. Don’t expect that to change with this pandemic-delayed third season, which picks up where the second season left off: with the power struggle to control the Roy empire, and the Roy name, threatening to create a full-on schism. Watch on HBO Max here.
Dune (Theaters / HBO Max, October 22)
In some ways, director Denis Villeneuve has been ramping up to the daunting task of filming Frank Herbert’s sweeping, science fiction classic — a book concerned with everything from ecological destruction, drug addiction, and religion — for a while. Villeneuve followed the thoughtful first contact movie Arrival with Blade Runner 2049, and each new venture into science fiction has just grown larger in scale. This is the second version of the novel to reach the big screen, after David Lynch’s 1984 version. But despite the troubles that met that film, this new take looks like it’s sparing no expense to realize Herbert’s far-future worlds, bringing in an all-star cast led by Timothee Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, and Zendaya to help bring that world to life. Watch on HBO Max here.
The French Dispatch (Theaters, October 22)
Inspired by The New Yorker in general and the magazine’s reporting from Europe in the middle years of the 20th century in particular, the latest from Wes Anderson dramatizes several stories set in the fictional French city of Ennui-sur-Blasé, home to the periodical that gives the film its title. Bill Murray plays the magazine’s editor but it’s almost easier to list stars who don’t appear in the movie than those who do, given that the cast includes everyone from Tilda Swinton to Henry Winkler.
Invasion (Apple TV+, October 22)
How do you offer a new twist on an alien invasion story? If you’re Invasion, you go even bigger than usual. Apple has been putting a lot of money behind its TV projects and this spare-no-expenses take both features a familiar face in the form of Sam Neill, and a sweeping scope, depicting the invasion and its aftermath as seen from various spots around the globe. Watch on Apple TV here.
Curb Your Enthusiasm (Eleventh Season Premiere, HBO Max, October 24)
Before the month ends, Larry David will pick up the adventures of his faux pas-prone alter ego for an eleventh season. Undoubtedly, the many who’ve missed his cringe-inducing encounters will eagerly tune in to see what happens next. Watch on HBO Max here.
Love Life (Second Season premiere, HBO Max, October 28)
Following one character across several romances, Love Life became one of HBO Max’s signature original series when it premiered last year. Anna Kendrick served as that first season’s star. Here she passes the torch to William Jackson Harper, who plays a heartbroken man destined to experience even more romantic ups and downs. Watch on HBO Max here.
Last Night In Soho (Theaters, October 29)
Another highly-anticipated film delayed by Covid-19, the latest from Edgar Wright is a psychological horror film with a time travel twist. Thomasin McKenzie (Leave No Trace) stars as a new arrival in London who finds herself mysteriously connected to a singer (Anya Taylor-Joy) in the age of Swinging London.
Antlers (Theaters, October 29)
The latest from director Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart) stars Keri Russell as an Oregon schoolteacher and Jesse Plemons as a local sheriff, both of who come to suspect some strange goings-on might connect to a local boy and a monster out of local folklore.