Saturday, September 30, 2017

But I Digress... Kings, States, Comedy and Critics

Movie Name/Year: Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)
Tagline: Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Length: 141 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Marv Films, Shangri-La Entertainment, TSG Entertainment
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writer: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn, Mark Millar, Dave Gibbons
Actors: Taron Egerton, Edward Holcroft, Mark Strong, Hanna Alstrom, Calvin Demba, Thomas Turgoose, Tobi Bakare, Julianne Moore, Keith Allen, Tom Benedict Knight, Colin Firth, Michael Gambon, Sophie Cookson, Bjorn Granath, Lena Endre, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Elton John, Jeff Bridges, Pedro Pascal, Poppy Delevingne, Bruce Greenwood, Emily Watson, Mark Arnold
Stunt Doubles: Rick English, Aaron Gassor, Andy Lister, Casey Michaels, Justin Pearson, Tilly Powell, Michael Brian Rawlins, Douglas Robson, Luke Scott, Arran Topham, Joe Watts

Spoiler Free - Nothing outside of what the trailer shows has been mentioned.

If you read my Top 20 article for September, then you know just how much I loved the first Kingsman film. I adored it so much that I indicated I wanted to be married to it. Not an actor in it, the entire film.

Kingsman, as a series, is just so delightfully campy. It’s what the original Bond stories inspired to be… with characters like Jaws and Pussy Galore. We have a new Bond now, one that’s serious and all action all the time. Kingsman injects the humor back into the action.

Now, I’m the kind of person that believes any genre can be made better with a touch of humor.

Humor lightens the blow of dramatic moments, like in SLC Punk (1998). It can also take the bite out of gore, such as with The Cabin in the Woods (2012). Comedy doesn’t change the genre, however. Both those films were very much a drama and a horror, respectively. The laughter made them easier to swallow, but it also made them great and memorable.

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) was the epitome of how an action film can utilize humor to elevate itself above the competition. The fight choreography was unforgettable and the story was made so much better by characters that weren’t flawless. There’s nothing I hate more than a flawless character. Who the fuck can relate to that?

Another thing the first film did right, was the antagonist.

Let me pull back the curtain a little bit and explain a writing rule to you. If you want to write a great antagonist, you have to remember that the bad guy doesn’t usually believe he’s a bad guy. In his mind, he’s doing the right thing. Maybe he knows that the “right thing” involves doing some morally repugnant things, but the ends justify the means. If you write a bad guy well enough, the reader/audience shouldn’t be confident that they don’t agree with him. It should be a difficult choice between the sides of good and bad.

I learned that rule the hard way. Through many editors with many red pens.

Kingsman did that right. At least, from my perspective.

In fact, Kingsman did so much right, that I was a little bit nervous to go out and see the second one. We’ve all been the victims of sequel-itis before. We see a great film, we shell out the money for the second, and we get The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997).

Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, Stardust, X-Men: First Class) and Jane Goldman (X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass, Stardust) did not succumb to the horrific sequel-itis.

I had so much fun watching Kingsman: The Golden Circle. I am absolutely sure that I made the right choice by buying a ticket.

It was still a wonderfully campy look at a Bond-like film. I think it was the perfect follow up. Not only do we see the Kingsmen again, but we learn that there are other organizations out there with similar goals.

I loved what they did with the Statesmen. You can clearly see, even better than before, what they were trying to do with stereotypes. The gentlemen of England represent the way the rest of the world looks at that country. Naturally, who was best to represent the US? Cowboys. It fit astonishingly well. That’s how the world views us – whether we’re from Texas or Maine. We’re all cowboys to them.

The idea of the Statesman opens up so much potential for future Kingsman films. It indicated that there could be other versions from other lands. If worked correctly, the series could turn into a tour of various cultures that speak to people who otherwise might not be interested.

That aside, the movie itself was fantastic.

I know it hasn’t gotten the best critic ratings… but I urge you to look a little closer at what those critics say.

I’ve spoken before about the difference between how a general audience member and a critic watch a film. Different things are going to affect them differently.

I did some reading before I sat down to write tonight. I found a lot of the complaints actual critics have against the second Kingsman was that it was too violent or too smug. Did… did they see the first one? That’s kind of the point. Neither of those things was a mistake… it’s part of the joke.

Still, because of that winking smugness, critics feel the film borders on parody and… well… critics don’t like parodies. Most parodies are badly rated by critics. Pull up Rotten Tomatoes and start searching. Hell, even Spaceballs (1987) only has a 57% rating.

I’ve talked about this parody issue before, but I’m not going to go further into it here, because regardless of what the critics think, the truth is very simple: Kingsman is not a parody. It’s an action/spy film with comedy injected into it. Yes, it’s campy, but not to a Scary Movie (2000) level.

When you look up the reviews take careful note of the difference between what the critics and what the audience thinks. Although the critics put Kingsman in a mediocre place, the audience vehemently disagrees.

That’s one of those reasons we here at Trust the Dice have labeled ourselves fan girls, not critics. We watch films because we love them. We may not like everything we see, but we still watch from an audience perspective. We’re not jaded enough to watch from the perspective of a critic.

My final thought on Kingsman: The Golden Circle is that it was so very worth seeing - even in theaters. I did enjoy the first one more, but the second one was still very much in the same feel and I was either laughing or cringing (in the best way) every single moment I was watching. I may even go out and watch it again. I’m definitely going to wind up purchasing it.

The third film in this franchise has been announced and I’ll be seeing that one in theaters, too.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 50%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 72%
Metascore - 44/100
Metacritic User Score – 6.9/10
IMDB Score – 7.3/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating – 4.5/5

Movie Trailer:

Friday, September 29, 2017

Top 20 Movies to Look Out For In October (2017)

According to: Cat

20 – American Satan (10/13)

Tag Line: Rock & Roll is Where God and the Devil Shake Hands.
Production Companies:  Sumerian Films, Jeff Rice Films, Intrinsic Value Films
Director:  Ash Avildsen
Writers:  Ash Avildsen, Matty Beckerman
Actors:  Andy Biersack, Malcolm McDowell, John Bradley, Booboo Stewart, Denise Richards, Drake Bell, Mark Boone Junior, Tori Black, Sebastian Bach, Bill Goldberg
Genre:  Drama, Music, Thriller
Rated:  R
Length: Unknown

IMDb Blurb: A young rock band, half of its members from England and half from the U.S., drops out of college and moves to the Sunset Strip to chase their dreams. 

This month, I had a rather difficult time putting my Top 20 list together. Sometimes that happens when there’s a shortage of movies that really ‘belong’ on the list; but not this time. There were too many that excited or intrigued me. There are several that couldn’t make the cut simply because I had to narrow it down. Selina has a few of those on her own list.

That being said, including this movie was never a question. I placed it at #20 because I realize it likely won’t have a huge box office showing, and it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Regardless of that, I think it’s brilliant. Yes, the film is going to be riddled with satanic symbolism, occult references, and the like. I don’t feel that it’s glorifying that sort of thing, however. You’re not going to catch a case of Satanism from watching the movie – and the fact that they used a metal band as a vehicle for this story is simply feeding into those old stereotype perceptions in order to strike a chord with the audience. Besides, metal music has always enjoyed playing to those tropes as a big flipped birdie at those being judgmental, etc.

This movie is a modern day retelling of a German folk-tale hundreds of years old. The film is a story about Faust. It’s actually a morality play told over and over throughout generations and in every sort of artistic medium you can imagine. The tale was especially popular during the Renaissance. The film’s fictional band’s lead singer is Johnny Faust – the folklore figure is Johann Faust. You get the picture. There are consequences to taking shortcuts on the path to get ahead.

I could probably fill up an entire full-length article on why I’m geeking out over this movie and feel it’s worth a shot – but I’ll try to keep it narrowed down to 2 final things to share with you. 

First, the cast is insane. Malcolm McDowell (Silent Hill: Revelation, Kids vs. Monsters, Death Race 2050) is no stranger to Mephistopheles, as he has portrayed the devil in a relatively recent movie, Suing the Devil (2011). He’s also no stranger to metal, as he had a voice role in the Cartoon Network series Metalocalypse (2007-2012). Other cast members of note include Booboo Stewart (The Last Survivors, He Never Died, Descendants), Mark Boone Junior (Halloween II, Sons of Anarchy, Ghost House), John Bradley (Traders, The Last Dragonslayer, Game of Thrones), Bill Goldberg (The Longest Yard, Kill Speed, Check Point), and Sebastian Bach (Gilmore Girls, Rock of Ages, Deserted).

Finally, the music from the soundtrack sounds awesome. This movie’s lead, Andy Biersack (Alive and Burning, Legion of the Black, Average Joe), is actually lead vocalist in a real metal band called the Black Veil Brides. As I was looking up the trailer, I found an interview with him. You can watch it here.

I know I got a little verbose on this one, but I simply couldn’t help it. I want this movie to get a fair shake, and so many judge by the title and the poster without digging deeper.

19 – Happy Death Day (10/13)

Tag Line: Get Up. Live Your Day. Get Killed. Again.
Production Companies: Universal Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, Digital Riot Media, Vesuvius Productions
Director: Christopher Landon
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Actors: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Charles Aitken, Laura Clifton, Rachel Matthews
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Rated:  PG-13
Length: 96 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A college student relives the day of her murder with both its unexceptional details and terrifying end until she discovers her killer's identity. 

This movie looks like an alternate dimension horror version of Groundhog Day (1993). Instead of learning how to be a better person to break the loop, our victim has to figure out who is killing her. I like the yin-yang of the birthday being the ‘death day’ as well.

Director Christopher Landon (Burning Palms, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) has shown that he has a handle on suspense and scares, as well as a good sense of humor mixed into his macabre. 

The bad guy’s mask is ultra-creepy, and will likely give me some serious chills from now on when I see the ‘big baby head’ in Phineas and Ferb (2007-2015) episodes. I can’t wait to figure out who’s wearing it.

18 – My Little Pony: The Movie (10/6)

Tag Line: Friendship comes in many colors.
Production Companies: Lionsgate, Allspark Pictures, DHX Media
Director: Jayson Thiessen
Writers: Meghan McCarthy, Joe Ballarini, Rita Hsiao, Michael Vogel, Lauren Faust, Bonnie Zacherle
Actors: Emily Blunt, Kristin Chenoweth, Liev Schreiber, Michael Pena, Sia, Taye Diggs, Uzo Aduba, Zoe Saldana, Tara Strong, Andrea Libman, Nicole Oliver, Tabitha St. Germain, Cathy Weseluck
Genre: Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Animated, Adventure
Rated:  PG
Length: 104 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A dark force threatens Ponyville, and the Mane 6 embark on an unforgettable journey beyond Equestria where they meet new friends and exciting challenges on a quest to use the magic of friendship to save their home. 

This is the movie my daughter is currently most excited to see in October. She’s seen all the series episodes and even the strange straight-to-video (and TV) movies where the ponies are all ‘real girls’ in an alternate universe. Thankfully, I’ve read that this movie won’t be referencing those at all. 

Instead, the movie is supposed to be a lot of bang for your buck; as the production team is said to have worked hard to exceed expectations so that this film doesn’t come across as merely a long episode of the series that just happens to be playing in a movie theater. I’m crossing my fingers for it. All told, it's a great positive movie for the kids in a season traditionally deluged with a lot of grim and grisly things that aren't for all ages.

17 – Breathe (10/13)

Tag Line: With Her Love, He Lived.
Production Company: Imaginarium Productions
Director: Andy Serkis
Writer: William Nicholson
Actors: Andrew Garfield, Claire Foy, Tom Hollander, Stephen Mangan, Hugh Bonneville, Dean-Charles Chapman, Amit Shah, Ben Lloyd-Hughes
Genre: Biography, Historical drama, Romance
Rated:  PG-13
Length: 117 minutes

IMDb Blurb: The inspiring true love story of Robin and Diana Cavendish, an adventurous couple who refuse to give up in the face of a devastating disease. Their heartwarming celebration of human possibility marks the directorial debut of Andy Serkis. 

With so much awfulness going on in the world right now, it’s good to have some inspirational stories now and again. If anyone’s looking for something other than the usual October horror fare, this would be a good addition to your options.

Not only is this based on a true story, but the son of the couple portrayed in the movie is one of the producers! So not only do you have a wonderful love story, part of the best thing about it is that these events actually happened. It’s reaffirming proof that silver linings can be found, and all that. 

16 – Goodbye Christopher Robin (10/13)

Tag Line: Inspired by the True Story
Production Companies: DJ Films, Fox Searchlight Pictures
Director: Simon Curtis
Writers: Frank Cottrell Boyc, Simon Vaughan
Actors: Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie, Kelly Macdonald, Alex Lawther, Will Tilston, Stephen Campbell Moore, Vicki Pepperdine, Richard McCabe
Genre: Biography, Historical drama
Rated:  PG
Length: 107 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A behind-the-scenes look at the life of author A.A. Milne and the creation of the Winnie the Pooh stories inspired by his son C.R. Milne. 

I tell you that there’s a high chance I might cry while watching this one. Here we have the touching story of the inspiration behind the beloved stories of our childhood. Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger, and friends were all staples of my youth – and my daughter’s. One of my favorite vacation pictures of all time was a picture of my teenage self with Eyeore at Disney World. I digress…

This movie looks like it will give a fascinating and touching glimpse into the life of the author and his family, as much as giving an inkling of how those tales came about. I think it will resonate with all ages while tugging at our heartstrings at the same time.

15 – Tragedy Girls (10/20)

Tag Line: Friends who slay together, stay together.
Production Companies: It's The Comeback Kids, New Artist Pictures, Ardor Pictures, Dawn's Light
Director: Tyler MacIntyre
Writers: Chris Lee Hill, Tyler MacIntyre, Justin Olson
Actors: Alexandra Shipp, Brianna Hildebrand, Josh Hutcherson, Craig Robinson, Kevin Durand, Jack Quaid, Timothy V. Murphy, Nicky Whelan
Genre: Horror, Comedy
Rated:  R
Length: 90 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Tragedy Girls, a twist on the slasher genre following two death-obsessed teenage girls who use their online show about real-life tragedies to send their small mid-western town into a frenzy and cement their legacy as modern horror legends. 

Here’s a modern tale poking at how much importance today’s youth seem to be placing on social media and its role in their lives. As with anything, some people take things far more seriously than they should. I like when cautionary tales are cloaked within dark comedy. Hell, I just love dark comedy.

I haven’t seen any of Tyler MacIntyre’s (Whiskey Jacks, Flicker, Patchwork) other work, but I’m interested to see his vision for this story. Quite a bit of his IMDb credits are attributed to film editing, and I’m curious how that impacts his storytelling as a director. 

14 – The Mountain Between Us (10/6)

Tag Line: What if your life depended on a stranger?
Production Companies: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Chernin Entertainment
Director: Hany Abu-Assad
Writers: J. Mills Goodloe, Charles Martin, Chris Weitz
Actors: Kate Winslet, Idris Elba, Beau Bridges, Dermot Mulroney, Linda Sorensen, Vincent Gale, Marci T. House, Dania Nassar
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Rated:  PG-13
Length: 111 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Stranded after a tragic plane crash, two strangers must forge a connection to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow covered mountain. When they realize help is not coming, they embark on a perilous journey across the wilderness. 

After baking in the sweltering summer heat here in the Deep South, a survival movie set in snowbound mountains looks like a welcome chilly vacation. Putting my longing for cooler temperatures and intention to find them vicariously via film aside, this does look like an interesting movie.

One thing’s for sure about small-cast and intensely character focused movies is that they either work or they don’t. I’m looking forward to seeing the dynamic in the on-screen rapport for Kate Winslet (Revolutionary Road, The Dressmaker, Collateral Beauty) and Idris Elba (Prometheus, Beasts of No Nation, The Take) – beyond the snippets of scenes the trailers in heavy TV rotation currently show. 

There are two stranded-in-snow survival movies coming out this month. I honestly liked the premise of both, but leaned in this direction for my list because of my curiosity. There can only be one…on the list. I fully intend to watch both of them eventually and compare my takeaway from each. 

13 – The Foreigner (10/13)

Tag Line: Never push a good man too far.
Production Companies: STX Entertainment, SR Media, thefyzz, Arthur Sarkissian Productions, Huayi Brothers, Quidam Studios
Director: Martin Campbell
Writers: David Marconi, Stephen Leather
Actors: Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan, Ray Fearon, Rory Fleck Byrne, Stephen Hogan, Michael McElhatton, Katie Leung, Charlie Murphy
Genre: Thriller, Action
Rated:  R
Length: 114 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A humble businessman with a buried past seeks justice when his daughter is killed in an act of terrorism. A cat-and-mouse conflict ensues with a government official, whose past may hold clues to the killers' identities. 

All you really had to say was ‘Jackie Chan (The Forbidden Kingdom, The Spy Next Door, Railroad Tigers)’ and I’m in. Seriously. I would watch anything that man is in. He’s funny and his action work is crazy good. Now add to that Pierce Brosnan (Salvation Boulevard, No Escape, The Son) getting to use his native Irish accent? Pardon me while I bounce in my seat in giddy glee a moment. 

In all seriousness, however, this is a movie about a rather sobering topic. Terrorism took a man’s child and all he wants is justice for her death in the face of an indifferent ‘system’ and miles of red tape. This one’s another that’s likely to earn a few tears along with sympathetic indignation for the main character’s situation.

The trailers seem to spin it like the bereaved father starts making some shady choices to bring justice to the bad guys through vigilantism – but I’m curious to see how that actually plays out. How much of a gray area is he going to traverse or does he flat out cross the line in his pursuit? 

12 – Suburbicon (10/27)

Tag Lines: A little slice of heaven.
Production Companies: Dark Castle Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Mike Zoss Productions, Silver Pictures, Black Bear Pictures, Huahua Media, Smokehouse Pictures
Director: George Clooney
Writers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, George Clooney, Grant Heslov
Actors: Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac, Glenn Fleshler, Alex Hassell, Marah Fairclough, Megan Ferguson, Noah Jupe
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Rated:  R
Length: 105 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A home invasion rattles a quiet family town. 

As I watched this trailer, I thought to myself that this might be what it would look like if the mob had invaded the movie Pleasantville (1998). Of course, the two films couldn’t be more different in premise – but there is seemingly the common theme of the stereotypical ‘quiet community’ being shocked at events unfolding.

Of course, there was a lot of tilting my head and wondering what I was watching, too. There’s some dark comedy underlying the more serious plot tones here. Some of it is more subtle than others. There’s no missing that scene in the trailer of Matt Damon (Contagion, Interstellar, Jason Bourne) riding the too-small bike down the street – you just have to laugh at the absurdity.

Then you have scenes that are so deadpan, and underneath the surface lurks so much madness that it gives you the chuckles. Maybe that’s just my twisted sense of humor – but really, I think that’s how George Clooney (Leatherheads, The Ides of March, The Monuments Men) rolls. 

11 Only the Brave (10/20)

Tag Line: It's not what stands in front of you, it's who stands behind you.
Production Companies: Di Bonaventura Pictures, Black Label Media, Conde Nast Entertainment
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Writers: Ken Nolan, Eric Warren Singer
Actors: Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, James Badge Dale, Taylor Kitsch, Jennifer Connelly, Andie MacDowell, Alex Russell
Genre: Adventure, Biography, Drama
Rated:  PG-13
Length: 134 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A drama based on the elite crew of firefighters from Prescott, Arizona who battled a wildfire in Yarnell, AZ in June 2013 that claimed the lives of 19 of their members. 

Firefighters, especially those literally out in the trenches fighting forest fires, rarely get a lot of media recognition – except when something horrible happens. Unfortunately, this is based on one of those sad but true tales.

I think the cast they’ve picked for this movie is just amazing. I know I’m going to need tissues handy. I have a distinct feeling that there will be some ugly tears going on by the end of this, quite possibly on par with my waterworks while watching Always (1989).

My hope is that the performances and writing are equally on par with or better than the heartstring-tugging of yesteryear, as a fitting tribute to the hot-shot team that this film is based on.

10 – Marshall (10/13)

Tag Line: His Name Means Justice
Production Companies: Chestnut Ridge Productions, China Wit Media, Starlight Media, Super Hero Films
Director: Reginald Hudlin
Writers: Jacob Koskoff, Michael Koskoff
Actors: Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Sterling K. Brown, Dan Stevens, James Cromwell, Keesha Sharp, Roger Guenveur Smith
Genre: Historical Drama, Biography
Rated:  PG-13
Length: 118 minutes

IMDb Blurb: About a young Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, as he battles through one of his career-defining cases. 

Before Chadwick Boseman (42, Get On Up, Message from the King) is seen on the big screen playing the feline-themed superhero, we all get the treat of seeing him play a hero based in reality rather than comic pages.

There are a lot of historical biography dramas on my list this month – far greater than usual. It’s not always my thing. This time around, however, each of these has spoken to me in a significant way. 

I really enjoyed the trailer for this one – obviously not the persecution and oppression shown within it but the fighting spirit of the movie’s namesake in standing up for Justice. The fact that they’re incorporating more dynamic elements with the story, such as Thurgood Marshall getting to kick some harasser ass, has me really looking forward to watching. 

I feel the story is significant enough I would watch it anyway without the more exciting aspects, but you can only watch so many movies set in court rooms where everyone just stands (or sits) and talks through the whole thing without deciding a nap might be more productive. I am fairly certain this film will not fall into that trap. 

I’m also glad to see Josh Gad (The Wedding Ringer, Pixels, Beauty and the Beast) getting to show a bit more of his range. This is likely the most serious role I’ve seen him in to date.

9 – The Snowman (10/20)

Tag Line: Soon the first snow will fall, and the hunt for a killer begins.
Production Companies: Universal Pictures, Working Title Films, Another Park Film, Perfect World Pictures
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Writers: Hossein Amini, Peter Straughan, Søren Sveistrup, Jo Nesbø
Actors: Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, J.K. Simmons, Val Kilmer, Chloë Sevigny, Toby Jones, Sofia Helin
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Crime Drama, Horror
Rated:  R
Length: 125 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Detective Harry Hole investigates the disappearance of a woman whose pink scarf is found wrapped around an ominous-looking snowman. 

The trailer for this movie reminded me a lot of the feeling evoked while watching Se7en (1995) for the first time. This, too, seems to be a demented scavenger hunt game of cat and mouse between investigators and the killer; and it promises to bring quite a lot of heightened suspense, a sense of ominous foreboding, and quite a few thrills. Of course, Tomas Alfredson (Four Shades of Brown, Let the Right One In, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) is excellent at crafting such an environment.

I’m excited to see Michael Fassbender (The Light Between Oceans, Assassin's Creed, Alien: Covenant) in a ‘good guy’ role as the lead detective in this story. His partner in the investigation is played by Rebecca Ferguson (The White Queen, The Girl on the Train, Life). I am really excited to see her in this and am interested in seeing the dynamic she and Fassbender bring to the screen together.

This one checks all my pre-Halloween boxes – it’s a two-for-one with a cold setting as a backdrop to a horror movie. Win-win. 

8 – Jungle (10/20)

Tag Line: Nature Has Only One Law - Survival
Production Companies: Babber Films, Cutting Edge Group, Screen Australia, Screen Queensland
Director: Greg McLean
Writers: Yossi Ghinsberg, Justin Monjo
Actors: Daniel Radcliffe, Thomas Kretschmann, Alex Russell, Joel Jackson, Lily Sullivan, Jacek Koman, Yasmin Kassim, Luis Jose Lopez
Genre: Adventure, Thriller
Rated:  R
Length: 115 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A group of friends join a guide for a trek into the Bolivian jungle, searching for an Indian village. The men soon realize that the jungle is a difficult place to be. 

This looks to be a rather intense tale of man vs. the wilderness – and it will likely be making my skin crawl for quite a while after I watch it, if the trailer’s buggy penchant is any indication.

The amazing thing is that this movie is based on a memoir. The fact this is based on a true story of what happened to Yossi Ghinsberg, which is the lead character played by Daniel Radcliffe (The Woman in Black, Trainwreck, Swiss Army Man), is quite alarming and also impressive. Not many could go through what he did and come out the other side able to tell the tale.

7 – The Death of Stalin (10/20)

Tag Line: Everybody wants a piece.
Production Companies: Free Range Films, Main Journey, Quad Productions, Title Media
Director: Armando Iannucci
Writers: Armando Iannucci, David Schneider, Ian Martin, Peter Fellows, Fabien Nury, Thierry Robin
Actors: Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Jason Isaacs, Steve Buscemi, Michael Palin, Rupert Friend, Jeffrey Tambor, Richard Brake, Paddy Considine
Genre: Historical drama, Biography, Comedy
Rated:  NR
Length: 106 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Follows the Soviet dictator's last days and depicts the chaos of the regime after his death. 

Is it wrong of me to have laughed as hard as I did while watching the trailer for this movie? Nah. I think that was the point, right? Even if the teaser showed all the funniest bits, this would still be hilarious enough to thoroughly enjoy – though, I seriously doubt that was the case. There’s likely to be quite a lot more fun in store. 

Honestly, they sold me when I realized Michael Palin (Monty Python Live (Mostly), Absolutely Anything, Clangers) was in this movie. There were so many shades of Python in that brief couple of minutes. I’m quite excited to give this a watch.

6 – Geostorm (10/20)

Tag Line:  Brave The Storm.
Production Company: Warner Bros., Electric Entertainment, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Skydance Media
Director: Dean Devlin
Writer: Dean Devlin, Paul Guyot
Actors: Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Alexandra Maria Lara, Daniel Wu, Ed Harris, Andy Garcia, Adepero Oduye, Jeremy Ray Taylor
Genre: Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
Rated:  PG-13
Length: 109 minutes

IMDb Blurb: When the network of satellites designed to control the global climate start to attack Earth, it's a race against the clock to uncover the real threat before a worldwide geostorm wipes out everything and everyone. 

With the wry humor opener in the trailer with the line "Sorry about that. I literally had to fly in from outer space…” I knew that I had to see this movie. Aside from the burr in Gerard Butler’s (Gamer, Machine Gun Preacher, London Has Fallen) voice as he offered that apology to impatient politicians, this movie looks totally bananas. I mean that in a good way.

Climate manipulation has long been the stuff of science fiction. In times like these where we’ve suffered back to back severe hurricanes, rampant wildfires, and powerful earthquakes – it seems like a great thing to be able to just zap the atmosphere from space to get at least the weather aspects of the planet under control – that is, until the technology falls into the wrong hands.

This movie explores that ‘what if’ scenario and gives it the heroic chance to save the world at the zero hour treatment.

5 – Gnome Alone (10/13)

Tag Line: Little Dudes, Big Trouble.
Production Companies: Vanguard Animation, 3QU Media, Cinesite
Director: Peter Lepeniotis, Shelly Shenoy
Writers: Jared Micah Herman, Robert Moreland, Kyle Newman, Michael Schwartz, Zina Zaflow
Actors: Becky G, Josh Peck, Olivia Holt, George Lopez, Patrick Stump, Madison De La Garza, Jeff Dunham, Tara Strong, David Koechner, Nash Grier
Genre: Comedy, Animated, Fantasy, Family
Rated:  PG
Length: Unknown

IMDb Blurb: When Chloe discovers that her new home's garden gnomes are not what they seem, she must decide between the pursuit of a desired high school life and taking up the fight against the Troggs.

I shouldn't have to make a hard sale here. It's another movie generally safe to take the kids to in a month full of seasonally topical adult movies. I love a good Halloween horror movie extravaganza, but that isn't for everyone. 

Aside from 'yay it's a kid's movie,' this animated tale adds the appeal of something you don't see every day. Garden gnomes don't get much attention these days. I can't say that I've seen this done before. We've had an HBO cartoon about gnomes running around the forest and taking care of animals, and gnomes living out a modern fanciful version of Romeo and Juliet. I think it's time for more gnomish defenders!

The movie looks adorable - 'nuff said.

4 – Better Watch Out (10/6)

Tag Line: You might be home, but you're not alone.
Production Companies: Storm Vision Entertainment, Best Medicine Productions
Director: Chris Peckover
Writers: Zack Kahn, Chris Peckover
Actors: Patrick Warburton, Virginia Madsen, Olivia DeJonge. Dacre Montgomery, Levi Miller, Ed Oxenbould, Aleks Mikic, Tara Jade Borg, Brendan Clearkin, Tricia Mary Hennessy
Genre: Comedy, Horror, Thriller
Rated:  R
Length: 85 minutes

IMDb Blurb: On a quiet suburban street, a babysitter must defend a twelve-year-old boy from intruders, only to discover it's far from a normal home invasion. 

Finally there’s a reason for Christmas music to be ok before Halloween. Sure, the season in the film is a bit early in the lineup of holiday theme movies – but it’s a horror flick so that makes it just in time for the scariest time of the year.

This film looks like it blends a great combination of humor and terror. I liked one of the quotes, as attributed to Ain’t it Cool News, that flashes through the trailer to describe the movie as "Home Alone [1990] meets The Strangers [2008]." That’s exactly the take-away I got from it.

It looks like lots of fun, and I can’t wait to watch.

3 – Killing Gunther (10/20)

Tag Line: They're Out to Change the Killing Business
Production Companies: Folktale Productions, Ingenious Media, Miscellaneous Entertainment, Miscellaneous Entertainment, Rookfield Productions, Rowdy Row Productions, RuYi Media, StarStream Media, WWKG Productions
Director: Taran Killam
Writes: Taran Killam
Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bobby Moynihan, Hannah Simone, Cobie Smulders, Paul Brittain, Amir Talai, Aaron Yoo, Ryan Gaul
Genre: Action, Comedy
Rated:  R
Length: 93 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A group of eccentric assassins are fed up with Gunther, the world's greatest hitman, and decide to kill him, but their plan turns into a series of bungled encounters as Gunther seems to always be one step ahead. 

This is the kind of movie I love seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Last Stand, Sabotage, Maggie) in. He thrives in the action-comedy environment like you wouldn’t believe. This film seems to take the best of both worlds.

There seems to be plenty of explosions, and action elements – yet, at the same time, the misfit gang of would-be assassins bring an element of parody to the table. This is the sort of movie that makes you root for the ‘bad guy’ a bit – considering the trailer sets Schwarzenegger’s character up to be just that. I can’t wait to see how this turns out, and if Gunther is successful in terminating the goof-ridden goon squad that’s after him. 

2 – The Osiris Child Science Fiction Volume One (10/6)

Tag Lines: They escaped from prison, but they can't escape what's outside of it.
Production Companies: Storm Vision Entertainment, Eclectik Vision, Storm Alley Entertainment, Cutting Edge
Director: Shane Abbess
Writers: Shane Abbess, Brian Cachia
Actors: Kellan Lutz, Daniel MacPherson, Isabel Lucas, Rachel Griffiths, Temuera Morrison, Luke Ford, Teagan Croft
Genre: Science fiction, Action, Thriller
Rated:  NR
Length: 95 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Set in the future in a time of interplanetary colonization, an unlikely pair race against an impending global crisis and are confronted by the monsters that live inside us all. 

I adore science fiction, so it should be no surprise that genre is dominating my list this month. Though, I think this film is deserving. It looks like some serious entertainment across the board between action, visuals, and emotions.

The quest of a parent to save their child is always a bit gut-wrenching on top of that. Then you add in the unlikely alliance, and that’s a formula for potential greatness. Of course, there are always chances to bungle things, but I hold out hope that this movie will live up to the trailer.

1 – Blade Runner 2049 (10/6)

Tag Line: From the director of Arrival.
Production Companies: Columbia Pictures, Bud Yorkin Productions, Alcon Entertainment, 16:14 Entertainment,  Scott Free Productions, Thunderbird Entertainment, Torridon Films, Warner Bros.
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writers: Hampton Fancher, Michael Green, Philip K. Dick
Actors: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, Dave Bautista, Jared Leto
Genre: Science fiction, Thriller
Rated:  R
Length: 164 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A young blade runner's discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard, who's been missing for thirty years. 

Why is this movie my #1? Harrison Ford (Firewall, 42, Ender's Game) – end of story. I’m fairly giddy about this film, though, so I’m glad to deluge you with more.

I’ve heard enough misunderstandings and misinformation circulating about this movie, so I’m inclined to clear things up if I can.

First – this isn’t a reboot. Hollywood is supper click-happy on approving remakes and reboots these days, but this is a legitimate sequel that is carrying on the story after the first Blade Runner (1982) leaves off.

I’d say that the movie is in good hands, considering that the original’s director Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Prometheus, The Martian) is an executive producer on this project. Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Sicario, Arrival) is directing this installment, and his work is well known, well done, and gripping.

I’m dying to learn the connection between Ford’s character, Decker, and the new character introduced by Ryan Gosling (The Ides of March, Gangster Squad, La La Land). The fact that Jared Leto (Mr. Nobody, Dallas Buyers Club, Suicide Squad) is playing a villain is also icing on the cake.

If you have any doubts left as to whether or not this sequel will honor the original – check out this side by side of the trailers which was put together by IMDb by clicking here. This movie looks like it’s going to be worth every penny of my ticket price.

Movies to Look out For
According to: Selina

Nightworld - 20
78/52 - 19
Trafficked - 18
Better Watch Out - 17
Jungle - 16
6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain - 15
Gnome Alone - 14
The Foreigner - 13
A Silent Voice (Koe no Katachi) - 12
The Death of Stalin - 11
BPM (Beats Per Minute) - 10
Killing Gunther - 9
Tragedy Girls - 8
Goodbye Christopher Robin - 7
Marshall - 6
The Osiris Child - 5
Suburbicon - 4
Thank You For Your Service - 3
Geostorm - 2
Blade Runner 2049 - 1