Festival season and, by extension, awards season are upon us! We’re on the fast track through the end of the year to see all the best that Hollywood has to offer in rapid succession. This October is no exception, and the slate of films on the horizon is one of the strongest fields in recent memory.
We’re limiting ourselves to seven. Check out our picks for the films you absolutely cannot miss in October 2019.
Director: Todd Phillips
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Zazie Beetz and Robert De Niro
Official Synopsis: An original, standalone origin story of the iconic villain not seen before on the big screen, this is a gritty character study of Arthur Fleck, a man disregarded by society — and a broader cautionary tale.
Why watch it: Where to even begin with a film like this one? Let’s see… it’s a festival darling, an early recipient of Oscar hype, and the center of some of the most unique discourse seen in recent years. The Joker is an icon of our culture and he’s being shown to audiences in an entirely new way. Some critics have called it the “anti-comic book movie” and we don’t know about you, but we’re dying to see what all the buzz is about. We’re sure it will bring a smile to our faces!
“Joker” takes the stage at a theater near you on October 4!
“Lucy in the Sky”
Director: Noah Hawley
Starring: Natalie Portman and Jon Hamm
Official Synopsis: Astronaut Lucy Cola returns to Earth after a transcendent experience during a mission to space, and begins to lose touch with reality in a world that now seems too small.
Why watch it: This rocket ship flies clear to the moon on star power alone. Natalie Portman promises a dramatic portrayal of an emotionally rich story. Her fellow cast members, including Jon Hamm, Dan Stevens and Nick Offerman, practically guarantee that the film will be delightfully watchable. What happened to Lucy, way up there? We can’t wait to find out!
Go higher with “Lucy in the Sky,” in theaters October 11.
“The Addams Family”
Director: Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon
Starring: Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz and Finn Wolfhard
Official Synopsis: An animated version of Charles Addams’s series of cartoons about a peculiar, ghoulish family.
Why watch it: Don’t forget that, in addition to being festival season, it’s also the spooky season! Not looking to be swept up in the latest drama? That’s what “The Addams Family” is for! The cast is perfect, the animation is kooky, and it just looks like good old-fashioned fun. This particular incarnation of the famous, freaky family seems to be designed with the young ones in mind and will be a perfect family activity for the Halloween season.
“The Addams Family” comes to theaters on October 11. Let’s get spooky!
“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”
Director: Joachim Rønning
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Michelle Pfeiffer and Elle Fanning
Official Synopsis: Maleficent and her goddaughter Aurora begin to question the complex family ties that bind them as they are pulled in different directions by impending nuptials, unexpected allies and dark new forces at play.
Why watch it: The 2014 live action “Maleficent” was a pleasantly surprising re-imagining of the origins of one of cinema’s greatest villains. Angelina Jolie is ideal for the role of the Mistress of Evil and, on this merit alone, one can’t help but look forward to seeing her return to the part. With “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” audiences are entering uncharted territory and a totally new and original story. What’s not to love?
“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” flies into theaters on October 18.
Director: Taika Waititi
Starring: Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Taika Waititi, Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell
Official Synopsis: A young boy in Hitler’s army finds out that his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their home.
Why watch it: Can Taika Waititi do any wrong? We think not. This film is charming the pants off of festival audiences and critics alike and will surely be a topic of discussion once award nominations start rolling out. There is a timeliness to the film that makes the subject matter feel both important and weighty, while also in desperate need of being laughed at. If anyone can strike the balance, it’s the man behind technicolor Jeff Goldblum.
“Jojo Rabbit” marches into theaters on October 18.
“Zombieland: Double Tap”
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin and Rosario Dawson
Official Synopsis: Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita and Little Rock move to the American heartland as they face off against evolved zombies, fellow survivors and the growing pains of a snarky makeshift family.
Why watch it: Ten years after the breakout success of “Zombieland,” we finally get the sequel that folks actually wanted! The gang is back, the zombies are new and improved, and the adventure continues! We like to think that this is the perfect film to relax with right before you get the pants scared off of you at a haunted house. Keep it spooky and don’t forget the Double Tap.
“Zombieland: Double Tap” shambles into theaters on October 18.
“The Current War”
Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Starring: Tom Holland, Tuppence Middleton, Michael Shannon and Benedict Cumberbatch
Official Synopsis: This is the dramatic story of the cutthroat race between electricity titans Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse to determine whose electrical system would power the modern world.
Why watch it: What’s that smell? Ah yes, it’s the distinctive smell of Oscar bait — and we love it! Let’s reference the recipe for the film, shall we? Dynamic cast full of Hollywood favorites? Check! A never-before-told story of some insanely cool historical event? Check! Period costuming? And check! More than just checking off boxes, “The Current War” provides context to some studio drama. The film was lost in the waves of Harvey Weinstein’s fall and given an extended deadline and a new lease on life. Was it enough to zap some energy into the film? Will it electrify audiences at the peak of awards season? Well, that’s why it’s a must-see!
See what the buzz is about and see “The Current War” on October 25.
What are you seeing in October? Any films we missed? Let us know in the comments!
Featured image credit: Disney Pictures
Caitlin is a lean, mean writing machine based in Austin, TX. Her love of film began when she was shown “Rosemary’s Baby” way too early in life. She currently serves as the Lead Film Contributor for Shuffle Online; other notable bylines include The Financial Diet and Film Inquiry. Caitlin is a member of the Online Association of Female Film Critics and the Women Film Critics Circle.