This October is about to offer quite the selection to movie-goers, with nearly forty films listed on indieWIRE's October calendar. As an extension of our fall movie preview, indieWIRE has decided to offer the first of three monthly "must-see" lists to make cinematic decision-making as easy as possible. It's also useful simply as an update of the information provided in the fall preview, which was written at a point when much of the fall offerings had yet to be seen. But Venice, Toronto and Telluride changed that, and now buzz is clearer and indieWIRE's "criticWIRE" subsection has many-a-critic-grade for almost all the fall films. So with that in mind, here's five best bets for October:
1. The Social Network (October 1; Columbia Pictures)
What's The Deal? In case one happens to be living under a rock, here's a quick summary: Director David Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin detail the dramatic origins of Facebook with the help of actors Jesse Eisenberg (as Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg), Andrew Garfield (as Eduardo Saverin, Zuckerberg's once best friend and co-founder of Facebook), and Justin Timberlake (as Napster co-founder Sean Parker).
Who's Already Seen It? 6 critics gave it an average of A on the film's criticWIRE page, and made it the highest scoring film in criticWIRE history.
Why is it a "Must See"? While the aforementioned fall preview avoided studio films, it seems clear that "The Social Network" should be an exception to that rule. Studio or specialty, this film is the film of the month, and with scores of critics giving it remarkable reviews (see above), it might just end up being deemed the film of the year. For a largely biographical drama featuring a bunch of young, as-yet-unproven actors - in terms of marketability, at least - to be getting such a stunning amount of mainstream acclaim and attention (and midnight showings on Thursday night, to boot - which is almost exclusively reserved for big budget "event films"), it unreasonable to suggest any other film but "The Social Network" for this top slot.
2. Inside Job (October 8; Sony Pictures Classics)
What's The Deal? Documentarian Charles Ferguson takes on the 2008 global economic meltdown through research and interviews with major financial insiders, politicians and journalists. "You were robbed," the film states, according to indieWIRE's coverage of its world premiere in Cannes. "There was a bank robbery. And the bank robbery wasn’t done by someone who came in with a gun, it was the bank president.”
Who's Already Seen It? 24 critics gave it an average of B+ on the film's criticWIRE page.
Why is it a "Must See"? One of the most anticipated docs of the year, "Inside Job" is the first film to really dig into a rather shocking truth behind the economic crisis. And according to the reaction at its world premiere in Cannes, it does a frighteningly good job. "A masterpiece," wrote The Boston Globe's Wesley Morris. "Scarier than anything Wes Craven and John Carpenter ever made." "Saw XXXVI" be damned, this is the movie you should run to - and from - come Halloween.
3. Carlos (October 15; IFC Films)
What's The Deal? IFC teamed up with the Sundance Channel for a multi-platform release of Olivier Assayas's 5 1/2 hour miniseries. A portrait of the renowned international terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal, IFC will release both the extended, three-part version of the film as well as a shortened versions following Sundance Channel's debut of the full version on television.
Who's Already Seen It? 16 critics gave it an average of B+ on the film's criticWIRE page.
Why is it a "Must See"? Five and a half hours in a movie theater might seem like a bit much, but anyone who saw the film in Cannes seemed to argue the opposite. “'Carlos’ is everything ‘Che’ wanted to be and much, much more—a dynamic, convincing and revelatory account of a notorious revolutionary terrorist’s career that rivets the attention during every one of its 321 minutes," Todd McCarthy wrote on his blog.
4. Let Me In (October 1; Overture Films)
What's The Deal? Based on Swedish writer John Ajvide Lindqvist's book "Let The Right One In," which was already adapted into the popular 2008 film of the same name, "Let Me In" had fans of both frightened Americanization had come to ruin everything... that is, until it starting screening at festivals.
Who's Already Seen It? 19 critics gave it an average of B+ on the film's criticWIRE page.
Why is it a "Must See"? Yes, American remakes of awesome foreign-language horror films usually don't work out, but this is not one of them. Critics out of the Toronto Film Festival seemed to generally find themselves surprised at how well director Matt Reeves ("Cloverfield") and stars Chloe Moretz ("Kick Ass"), Kodi Smit-McPhee ("The Road") and Richard Jenkins ("The Visitor") pulled off this film, and audiences - even those who loved the original - should give the Americanization a chance.
5. Marwencol (October 8; The Cinema Guild)
What's The Deal? Directed by Jeff Malmberg, "Marwencol" follows an upstate New York resident left with brain damage who copes by creating a world of dolls. That's right.
Who's Already Seen Them? 3 critics gave "Marwencol" an average of A- on the film's criticWIRE page.
Why Are They Must Sees? This year's SXSW Film Festival brought us many documentary discoveries, as perhaps best exemplified in this film. Winner of the festival's top juried prize for documentary filmmaking, and a favorite at loads of festivals thereafter, "Marwencol" is a very unique entry into the U.S. documentary filmmaking canon.
Check out indieWIRE's October calendar for a full list of titles, including other worthy films like Gareth Edwards' "Monsters", John Wells' "The Company Men", Frederick Wiseman's "Boxing Gym", Ben Wheatley's "Down Terrace", Julia Bacha's "Budrus", Sam Taylor Wood's "Nowhere Boy", Stephen Frears' "Tamara Drewe", and Lucy Walker's "Waste Land" (all of which would have made an extended version of this list).