October is upon us. The leaves are changing. Sweaters are becoming more abundant. Awards contenders are popping up in theaters nationwide. But those are far from the only films opening throughout the coming weeks. Below, you’ll find every planned theatrical release for the month of October, separated out into films with wide runs and limited ones. (Synopses are provided by festivals and distributors.)
Each week, we’ll give you an update with more specific information on where these films are playing. In the meantime, be sure to check our calendar page, where we’ll update releases for the rest of the year. Stay warm and happy watching!
Week of October 7
The Birth of a Nation
Director: Nate Parker
Cast: Aja Naomi King, Armie Hammer, Gabrielle Union, Jackie Earle Haley, Mark Boone Junior, Nate Parker
Synopsis: Set against the antebellum South and based on a true story, “The Birth of a Nation” follows Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher whose financially strained owner Samuel Turner accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities – against himself, his wife Cherry, and fellow slaves – Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom.
The Girl on the Train
Director: Tate Taylor
Cast: Allison Janney, Édgar Ramírez, Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux, Laura Prepon, Lisa Kudrow, Luke Evans, Rebecca Ferguson
Synopsis:Rachel, who is devastated by her recent divorce, spends her daily commute fantasizing about the seemingly perfect couple who live in a house that her train passes every day, until one morning she sees something shocking happen there and becomes entangled in the mystery that unfolds.
Director: Ava DuVernay
Synopsis: The title of Ava DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing documentary “13th” refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry is laid out by DuVernay with bracing lucidity. With a potent mixture of archival footage and testimony from a dazzling array of activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men, DuVernay creates a work of grand historical synthesis.
Director: Puk Grasten
Cast: Adrian Martinez, Christina Brucato, Evan Fine, Jamie Harrold, Lucy Martin, Maria Dizzia, Michael Potts, Samira Wiley, Sophia Lillis, Thomas Kopache
Synopsis: “37″ is inspired by a true story set in 1964 New York, where several neighbors witness the brutal murder and rape of Kitty Genovese and do not intervene. The film peeks into the lives of three disparate families, the lonely neighbor and the doorman. We understand their decisions not to act, by understanding their day-to-day struggles.
The Alchemist Cookbook
Director: Joel Potrykus
Cast: Amari Cheatom, Fiji Ty Hickson
Synopsis: Young outcast Sean has isolated himself in a trailer in the woods, setting out on alchemic pursuits, with his cat Kaspar as his sole companion. Filled with disdain for authority, he’s fled the daily grind and holed up in the wilderness, escaping a society that has no place for him. But when he turns from chemistry to black magic to crack nature’s secret, things go awry and he awakens something far more sinister and dangerous. [SXSW Film Festival]
All in Time
Director: Chris Fetchko, Marina Donahue
Cast: Jean-Luc Bilodeau, Lynn Cohen, Sean Modica, Vanessa Ray
Synopsis: The past and future collide when Charlie quits his boring banker job to follow his lifelong dream of managing his favorite hometown rock band. With the unexpected support of a nosy neighbor and an eager intern, Charlie risks his bank account and his girlfriend’s love on a crazy idea to bring the band success: holding the first-ever concert for time travelers.
Director: André Téchiné
Cast: Alexis Loret, Corentin Fila, Kacey Mottet Klein, Sandrine Kiberlain
Synopsis: The story of Damien and Thomas, two French teenagers from very different upbringings who go to the same high school but are constantly fighting. When family circumstances bring Damien’s mother, Marianne, to invite Thomas to live with them, the young men are forced to coexist and work through their emerging and complicated desires.
Better Off Single
Director: Benjamin Cox
Cast: Aaron Tveit, Abby Elliott, Chris Elliott, Kal Penn, Kelen Coleman, Lauren Miller, Rogen Lewis Black
Synopsis: When Charlie Carroll quits his job and his girlfriend on the same day, it seems as though he’s finally found freedom. But after a quick dip in the dark waters of the NYC dating pool, Charlie begins to wonder if he’s made a mistake. He’s not equipped for single life. In fact, Charlie might not be equipped for life in general. With no job and no love, Charlie is forced to go on a journey of self-discovery so intense that he begins to suffer from surreal hallucinations, flashbacks, and fantasies. Will he find “the one”? Or did that ship already sail, taking with it his only hopes for relationship sanity?
Director: Alex Lehmann
Cast: Mark Duplass, Sarah Paulson
Synopsis: Meeting by chance when they return to their tiny California hometown, two former high-school sweethearts reflect on their shared past through the lens of their differently dissatisfied presents.
The Greasy Strangler
Director: Jim Hosking
Cast: Abdoulaye N’Gom, Elizabeth De Razzo, Gil Gex, Holland MacFallister, Jesse Keen, Joe David Walters, Michael St. Michaels, Sam Dissanayake, Sky Elobar
Synopsis: This Los Angeles-set tale follows Ronnie, a man who runs a disco walking tour along with his browbeaten son, Brayden. When a sexy, alluring woman named Janet comes to take the tour, it begins a competition between father and son for her attentions. It also brings about the appearance of an oily, slimy, inhuman maniac who stalks the streets at night and strangles the innocent—soon dubbed “the Greasy Strangler.” [Sundance Film Festival]
The Great Gilly Hopkins
Director: Stephen Herek
Cast: Sophie Nélisse, Kathy Bates, Octavia Spencer, Bill Cobbs, Billy Magnussen, Glenn Close, Julia Stiles
Synopsis: Gilly Hopkins has seen more than her share of foster homes and has outwitted every family she has lived with. In an effort to escape her new foster mother Mamie Trotter’s endless loving care, Gilly concocts a plan that she believes will bring her mother running to her rescue. But when the ploy blows up in Gilly’s face it threatens to ruin the only chance she’s ever had to be part of a real family.
Director: Miles Doleac
Cast: Christiane Seidel, James Callis, Jeff Fahey, Miles Doleac, William Forsythe, William Sadler
Synopsis: When a U.S. congressman’s daughter passing through a small town in Mississippi dies in a mysterious triple homicide, a team of F.B.I. agents descends to investigate. But the team’s brilliant but jaded lead agent is battling demons both past and present, while his beautiful, tough-as-nails partner tries to hold him and the case together. They find a struggling and corrupt sheriff’s department, a shadowy and much-feared figure, who seems to be pulling all of the town’s strings from his mansion on the edge of town, and a local victim with a strange connection to a number of the town’s most prominent figures.
Homeland: Iraq Year Zero
Director: Abbas Fahdel
Synopsis: In February 2002, about a year before the U.S. invasion, Iraqi filmmaker Abbas Fahdel traveled home from France to capture everyday life as his country prepared for war. He spent time with family and friends, including his 12-year-old nephew, Haider, as they went about their daily lives, which had come to include planning for shortages of food, water and power. No strangers to war, the Iraqis thought they understood what was coming, and could even manage to be grimly humorous about what they felt would likely be a major and lengthy inconvenience. And then, the war began. When Fahdel resumed filming in 2003, two weeks after the invasion, daily activities had come to a near standstill, the city was overrun with foreign soldiers, and many areas of Baghdad had been closed off to ordinary citizens.
The Late Bloomer
Cast: Beck Bennett, Brittany Snow, J.K. Simmons, Jane Lynch, Johnny Simmons, Kumail Nanjiani, Maria Bello, Paul Wesley
Synopsis: Dr. Pete Newmans is a successful sex therapist whose practice is devoted to helping people re-channel their sexual impulses. When his doctors discover a pituitary tumor that has delayed his onset of puberty for 15 years, Pete undergoes what would normally be years of puberty in a matter of weeks. Mood swings, voice changes, acne and, of course, near uncontrollable erections greet Pete as he tries to navigate life as both a horny 15-year-old kid and a 30-year-old desperate to be a complete man and get the girl of his dreams.
The Lennon Report
Director: Jeremy Profe
Cast: Adrienne C. Moore, David Zayas, Devin Ratray, Evan Jonigkeit, Richard Kind, Stef Dawson, Stephen Spinella
Synopsis: The unheard true story of the moments after John Lennon was shot as seen through the eyes of those who lived it. Alan Weiss, an ambitious young news producer, finds himself in a position to break the biggest story of the year following a violent motorcycle accident. The emergency department at Roosevelt Hospital discovers a John Doe shooting victim is the world’s biggest rock star and struggles to keep the news quiet while working to save his life.
Director: Derrick Borte
Cast: Daniel Huttlestone, Dougray Scott, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Natascha McElhone, Tom Hughes
Synopsis: Thatcher’s England circa 1979 is a land of striking unions and soaring inflation, impacting even 14-year-old Shay as he struggles with bullies, school and housework after his mother abandons their family. When his dad is hospitalized, Shay becomes responsible for his younger sister, and his burdens mirror the chaotic country at large, as does the salvation he feels at seeing The Clash perform. Inspired by music that addresses the poverty and injustices that surround him, Shay meets a girl, dyes his hair and breaks the rules, but it’s his good heart that ultimately wins him the most unlikely of champions: Joe Strummer himself.
Director: Caleb Vetter
Cast: Ashley Shelton, Ben Davies, Chris Massoglia, Christina Grimmie, Olan Rogers, Osric Chau, Shawna Howson, Tessa Violet, Victoria Jackson, Wesley Elder
Synopsis: When an idealist romantic gets fired, he reluctantly accepts the task of breaking up a girl’s relationship for her disapproving mother. Through word of mouth, the one-time gig turns him into a professional “match breaker.” However, he winds up falling for one of his clients, and must balance his secret job and love life.
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life
Director: Steve Carr
Cast: Adam Pally, Andy Daly, Griffin Gluck, Lauren Graham, Rob Riggle, Thomas Barbusca
Synopsis: Rafe has an epic imagination…and a slight problem with authority. Both collide when he transfers to an oppressive, rule-crazy middle school. Drowning in do’s and don’ts, Rafe and his scheming best friend Leo hatch a plan to break every rule in the school’s Code of Conduct. It’s “Ferris Bueller” meets “Home Alone” as their battle with Principal Dwight explodes into chaos both real and imagined. But Dwight displays his own fiendish creativity, striking back at the rule-breakers. Meanwhile, Rafe struggles to hide his misbehavior from Jeanne, the straight-A, overachieving girl of his dreams, and at home, his mother’s boyfriend — a moochy, jack-of-no-trades named Bear — threatens to become his stepfather.
Director: Kim A. Snyder
Synopsis: There are no words of compassion or reassurance that can bring back the 20 children and six educators who lost their lives during the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. In Kim A. Snyder’s searing new film “Newtown,” we are given exclusive access into the homes of those who lost loved ones. They speak candidly about their grief, anger, and disbelief over what occurred and how nothing has changed in regards to our legal response to gun violence. [Sundance Film Festival]
The Red Pill
Director: Cassie Jaye
Synopsis: When a feminist filmmaker sets out to document the mysterious and polarizing world of the Men’s Rights Movement, she begins to question her own beliefs. “The Red Pill” chronicles Cassie Jaye’s journey exploring an alternate perspective on gender equality, power and privilege.
Theo Who Lived
Director: David Schisgall
Synopsis: In the late fall of 2012, Theo Padnos, a struggling American journalist, slipped into Syria to report on the country’s civil war and was promptly kidnapped by al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria. Because he spoke fluent Arabic, his captors suspected he worked for the CIA and, for months, brutally tortured him during interrogation sessions. But his fluency, coupled with his remarkable personal expansiveness, also led to an extraordinary engagement with, and understanding of, his captors. By the time of his release, 22 months later, he had become a confidante of al-Qaeda’s top commander in Syria.
Under the Shadow
Director: Babak Anvari
Cast: Arash Marandi, Avin Manshadi,Bobby Naderi, Hamid Djavadan, Nabil Koni, Narges Rashidi, Ray Haratian
Synopsis: Tehran, 1988: Shideh lives amidst the chaos of the Iran-Iraq war. Having been accused of subversive behaviour and blacklisted from medical college, she is in a state of malaise. Furthermore, her husband Iraj is at war, leaving her alone to protect their young daughter, Dorsa. A missile hits their apartment building and doesn’t explode. Soon afterwards, Dorsa falls ill and her behavior becomes increasingly disturbed. Searching for answers, Shideh learns from a superstitious neighbor that the cursed, unexploded missile might have brought in Djinn – malevolent spirits that travel on the wind. She becomes convinced that a supernatural force within the building is attempting to possess Dorsa. [SXSW Film Festival]
For all the films opening the week of October 14th, see the next page.