Despite being months and months away from when we should be revving up the Oscar chats, we’re officially in the season when people start them early. While September was a big month for film festivals, October continues the trend with ones such as the New York Film Festival as we continue to seek out the gems and buzzy options. This month sees the release of some of the buzziest films of the past few months, with returns from directors such as Claire Denis and David O’Russell, as well as a star-focused role for Cate Blanchett in Todd Field’s first film in over a decade.
A lot of the upcoming releases will be seeing a theatrical run, even those produced by streaming services, though there will be some options for watches at home. Most notably, the update on “Hellraiser” with “Sense8” star Jamie Clayton taking on the iconic role.
Cate Blanchett is poised for a major awards season following the buzz surrounding her performance in director Todd Field’s “Tár.” Blanchett plays renowned musician Lydia Tár when she’s days away from recording a symphony that will elevate her career, as she’s faced with an increasing amount of elements that seem to conspire against her success. Our critic, who saw the film at the Venice Film Festival, wrote, “…here’s a timely — and, indeed, timeless — a piece about the corrupting essence of power, exploitation, and the burdensome nature of the crown, elevated by a hydrogen bomb of a performance from Cate Blanchett, inarguably at her best since 2015’s ‘Carol.’”
Release Date: October 7 in theaters via Focus Features.
David O’Russell returns with half of Hollywood in his latest, the 1930s-set “Amsterdam,” which follows three friends after they witness a murder and become suspects themselves. In his first film since 2015’s “Joy,” he rounded up quite the cast, which includes Margot Robbie, Christian Bale, John David Washington, Chris Rock, Anya Taylor-Joy, Rami Malek, Taylor Swift, and more. Our critic praised the craftsmanship of the film, in particular singling out cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, writing, “The filmmaker already loves to move the camera, and with a partner in crime like Lubezki, “Amsterdam” floats, dips, and dives, which fits in a way with its dreamy, allegory-like mood.”
Release Date: October 7 in theaters via 20th Century Studios.
Both television and film are seeing a barrage of remakes and sequels recently, with Hulu’s “Hellraiser” being the latest. Directed by David Bruckner, the film follows a young woman who must confront the sadistic, supernatural forces behind an enigmatic puzzle box responsible for her brother’s disappearance. Based on a screenplay from Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski in collaboration with David S. Goyer, the film stars Odessa A’zion, Jamie Clayton, Brandon Flynn, Goran Višnjić, and more.
Release Date: October 7 on Hulu.
“Decision To Leave”
Let’s keep this simple: South-Korean auteur Park Chan-wook (“Oldboy,” the Vengeance trilogy, “The Handmaiden”) is one of the greatest filmmakers on the planet, so that should be enough for you, but if you somehow need more convincing, his new romantic mystery thriller, starring Tang Wei and Park Hae-il, has been critically-acclaimed by everyone. Chan-wook won the Best Director prize at Cannes, South Korea selected it as its Best International Feature Film for the Oscars, and everyone is raving, so just go do it already.
Release Date: October 14, limited via MUBI.
“Stars at Noon”
Claire Denis returns with the romantic thriller“Stars at Noon” starring Margaret Qualley and Joe Alwyn. Qualley plays a young American journalist stranded in present-day Nicaragua who seduces an Englishman as a means of escape. As their affair continues, she realizes it’s put her in even greater danger. Based on the novel “The Stars of Noon” by Denis Johnson, the script from Denis, Léa Mysius, and Andrew Litvack changes the setting from the Nicaraguan Revolution to the pandemic-era present day.
Release Date: October 14 in theaters via A24.