6 months ago
The summer is reserved for popcorn hits, while most of winter is a time for movie execs to burn off all the films they don’t think can be either box office or critical successes.
Fall, though, is when we get the movies that studios actually believe in. Here are 10 for this month, offering action, suspense, and horror in equal measure. Some you’ve probably been anticipating, others you may not have heard of but will now want to watch. Hit the multiplex as soon as possible.
The Girl on the Train
Release date: October 7
Cast: Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Theroux, Lisa Kudrow
Director: Tate Taylor
What You Need to Know: Only published in 2015, Paula Hawkins’ novel became such a sensation that the studio rushed the film from the page to the cinema in near-record time. Starring in the thriller about a woman who sees something shocking from a train, Blunt has been earning raves for her performance.
The Birth of a Nation
Release Date: October 7
Cast: Nate Parker, Gabrielle Union, Armie Hammer, Jackie Earle Haley
Director: Nate Parker
What You Need to Know: Easily the most controversial film of the year. Appropriating the title of D.W. Griffith’s notoriously racist (but still highly influential) movie, this retelling of Nat Turner’s slave uprising was a sensation at Sundance but has since been overshadowed by discussion of its star/director Parker being accused of rape in college: while he was acquitted, his accuser later committed suicide.
Release Date: October 14
Cast: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons
Director: Gavin O’Connor
What You Need to Know: The tale of an obsessive-compulsive accountant doesn’t sound too promising—until you find out that he’s been crunching numbers for drug cartels and assassins. When the Treasury Department comes after him, it’s time for everyone to close the books. Affleck’s performance was the one part of Batman v Superman everyone actually liked, and this is his chance to continue his somewhat unexpected emergence as an action hero (much as pal Matt Damon did years earlier with Bourne).
Release date: October 14
Cast: Rebecca Hall, Michael C. Hall, Tracey Letts, Maria Dizzia
Director: Antonio Campos
What You Need to Know: Okay, a film about a newscaster who killed herself on air isn’t one for a night when you just want to have a little fun, but if you’re looking for a portrait of what it was like to be a woman in the news business in the 1970s, it’s worth a watch.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Release Date: October 21
Cast: Tom Cruise
Director: Edward Zwick
What You Need to Know: The original adaptation of Lee Child’s series about a former Army cop wasn’t terribly successful commercially by Cruise’s lofty standards (barely over $200 million worldwide), but seemed to build a bit of a cult after its release. The second installment reunites Cruise with The Last Samurai director Zwick (best known for his Oscar-winning Glory).
Release Date: October 21
Cast: Kim Min-hee, Kim Tae-ri
Director: Park Chan-wook
What You Need to Know: South Korea’s Park Chan-wook gained international recognition after winning the Grand Prize of the Jury at Cannes for 2003’s Oldboy. Inspired by a novel set in Victorian England, Handmaiden tells the tale of Japanese woman in the 1930s who hires a maid who is part of a plot to steal her employer’s fortune. It’s already received rave reviews.
Release date: October 21
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Jennifer Connelly, Dakota Fanning
Director: Ewan McGregor
What You Need to Know: McGregor’s feature directorial debut is an adaptation of Philip Roth’s acclaimed novel set in 1968, and follows a seemingly perfect couple as their lives crumble after their daughter commits an act of political terrorism to protest Vietnam. (And yes, McGregor is actually Scottish but playing an American man nicknamed “Swede.” Got that? Great.)
Release date: October 28
Cast: Iggy Pop, Ron Asheton, Scott Asheton
Director: Jim Jarmusch
What You Need to Know: Iggy and the Stooges are often credited as the band who paved the way for punk rock. While initially a commercial disaster, lead singer Iggy Pop’s collaborations and friendship with David Bowie helped get the band some much-needed attention, and the Stooges eventually found themselves in the Rock & Rock Hall of Fame. Director Jim Jarmusch (Broken Flowers) turns to documentary filmmaking to celebrate the group. (He previously did so with 1997’s Year of the Horse, about Neil Young and his band Crazy Horse.)
The Eagle Huntress
Release Date: October 28
Cast: Daisy Ridley (narrator)
Director: Otto Bell
What You Need to Know: A 13-year-old nomadic Mongolian girl tries to become the first female to hunt with a golden eagle in the land’s 2,000 years of male-dominated history. (Yes, that old chestnut.) Narrated by Daisy Ridley from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, this unexpected sensation has so far earned surprising acclaim, with particular praise for how it captures the beauty of Mongolia.
Release date: October 28
Cast: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Ben Foster, Omar Sy
Director: Ron Howard
What You Need to Know: The Da Vinci Code continues. It’s Howard’s first movie since his Beatles’ documentary, while Hanks is enjoying one of his biggest box office and critical hits of recent years with Sully.