Pick of the Litter – October 2016

BLOCKBUSTER OF THE MONTH

Inferno

Inferno

(Columbia) Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Ben Foster, Omar Sy. Professor Robert Langdon, hero of author Dan Brown’s best-selling novels, returns to the big screen in this third film in the Langdon series that started with The DaVinci Code, continued with Angels and Demons and now comes this one. Langdon wakes up in the hospital with amnesia and with the aid of a neurologist, tries to recover his memories. He begins to discover that in researching the writer Dante Alighieri he had stumbled on a horrifying plot with global consequences that may well see half the human race wiped out in an extinction-level pandemic. October 28

INDEPENDENT PICKS

The Great Gilly Hopkins

The Great Gilly Hopkins

(Lionsgate Premiere) Sophie Nélisse, Kathy Bates, Glenn Close, Julia Styles. Every so often I see a trailer that just grabs me. I know it shouldn’t; I know I’m probably the only critic on Earth who is as fascinated by the prospects of this movie as I am, but nonetheless here it is among the most anticipated movies for the month of October. In it, an angry young foster care girl is on her “last chance” assignment in the home of a somewhat eccentric older woman who helps her get past her rage and have a chance to find happiness, until one of her actual blood relatives shows up. I know, I know, it sounds manipulative and maudlin and yet the terrific cast and just something about the trailer just caught my attention. I may be wrong, but this might end up being a bit of a sleeper. October 7

Newtown

Newtown

(Abramorama) Sally Cox, Mark Barden, Dr. William Begg. As the process of tearing Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut down, the residents of the small town reflect on the horrible events of the day that thrust them into the world spotlight. As survivors of the attack, first responders and parents of the children murdered talk about how they’ve coped over the years, the town rallies together to get gun legislation passed. October 7

Certain Women

Certain Women

(IFC) Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams, Laura Dern, James Le Gros. Four women in a small Northwestern town blaze trails of independence and fortitude in a town where women are expected to maintain traditional values. Director Kelly Reichardt, one of the most compelling voices in independent cinema today, weaves the tales together from Maile Meloy’s short stories into a tapestry that is not only rich and rewarding, but gives us a State of the Union address for American women in 2016 in a gentle but compelling way. October 14

Christine

Christine

(The Orchard) Rebecca Hall, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, Timothy Simons. One of two movies about Christine Chubbuck, the Sarasota news anchor who in a shocking moment committed suicide live on the air during a newscast on July 14, 1974. The performance by Rebecca Hall is said to be perhaps her best ever. The movie shows the evolution of local television news and how this one event changed how we view the local news forever. This is one of two films about the incident that played at Sundance earlier this year. October 14

The Handmaiden

The Handmaiden

(Magnolia) Min-hee Kim, Tae Ri Kim, Jung-woo Ha, Jin-woong Jo. In colonial Korea of the 1930s, a young Japanese woman lives on a secluded estate and a young Korean girl is assigned to be her handmaiden. Unknown to the lady of the estate, her new servant is actually part of a plot to defraud her of her sizable inheritance. However, the situation soon becomes highly sexually charged as the conman – known only as the Count – becomes entangled with both women. This is the latest from visionary director Park Chan-wook who has given us some of the best movies of the past decade. October 21

Gimme Danger

Gimme Danger

(Magnolia/Amazon) Iggy Pop, James Williamson, Jim Jarmusch, Ron Asheton. When it comes to rock and roll, some bands define rock and roll. Iggy Pop, however, is rock and roll. Irreverent, uncompromising and in your face, the music of Iggy and the Stooges was like a supersonic jet in an era of biplanes and he presaged the glam movement, the punk movement and the indie rock movement. That’s a lot of movements. Jarmusch, one of the most respected directors on earth, is both behind and in front of the cameras for this one. October 28

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