October can sometimes prove a bit of a disappointment in movie terms. Summer – and new releases for the kids – is long past. But we are not quite yet into the run-up to the Christmas blockbuster season. Not to mention the “quick-get-it-out-in-time-for-the-awards” releases.
Still: if you pick your way carefully through the up and comings there is something for most people landing at the Broadway over the next few weeks.
We begin with a most literal landing. First Man, out on 12 October, is the story of the first landing on the moon: or rather, it's a biopic that zooms in on the life and role of First Man on the Moon, Neil Armstrong.
In the absence of the drama of near-disaster Apollo 13, this film is, by all accounts, a pretty faithful examination of the mission, with many critics noting its authentic feel and attention to detail. At the same time, the inclusion of a family focus allows an examination of the back story.
The cast is headed by Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong and Claire Foy in the role of wife Janet. Direction comes from the sure hand of Damien Chazelle, last seen picking up awards for La La Land. But musical this is not – although the soundtrack does feature an uber-retro contribution on moog synthesizer.
Meanwhile, Halloween is coming. No, really, Halloween, the film, is coming. Any connection between time of year and film launch date is, er, purely intentional.
This is the umpteenth contribution to a franchise launched to critical acclaim in 1978 by John Carpenter. Unfortunately, the inevitable happened: the original was followed by a series of absolute stinkers – 9 in total, with Halloween 6 achieving the pretty amazing result of a mere 6% score on Rotten Tomatoes movie site.
This though is different. After a long absence, Jamie Lee Curtis is back to reprise her original role as much put-upon stalkee Laurie Strode: and while the part of the evil man with the axe Michael Myers is now mostly taken by actor/stuntman James Jude Courtney, Nick Castle, who played Myers in the first film also reprises the character this time round.
And lo! The critics have loved it.
Not yet 100% confirmed for the Broadway – and I won't be there if it is: I cannot bring myself to watch horror. But definitely one for the horror fans
Also out in time for Halloween is another follow-up: Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween. First time round was a jolly action jape and despite my forebodings about the horror genre I managed to sit through it and even enjoy. With a PG certificate, this is an attempt to piggyback on that earlier success, with another tense outing for a story based loosely around the characters of R L Stine.
With Jack Black playing the role of the author himself, this is one way to keep the children occupied over half term.
Big film event for the The last week in October is the release of yet another biopic: Bohemian Rhapsody chronicles the years leading up to Queen's legendary appearance at the Live Aid (1985) concert. If you like Queen, Freddy Mercury – or just music from that era, this is likely a good way to pass a couple of hours.
Last up...and heading now into November, is Peterloo. Billed as “the story of the 1819 Peterloo Massacre where British forces attacked a peaceful pro-democracy rally in Manchester”, this is one where the historians seem likely to have as much to say as the film critics. Signs are that they are squaring up already to take opposite sides on this, with some suggesting that this is a rose-tinted/Les Mis view of what “the mob” were about at Peterloo – and others praising it as a valuable contribution to the historical narrative.
At least we can celebrate the fact that the lead production company on this project was not some Hollywood monstrosity – in which case there would surely have been some serious romantic sub-plot and far too much ahistoric flag-waving – but the British Film Institute.
After that, stand by for November, which brings us a relaunch of the Grinch (starring Benedict Cumberbatch), and the next instalment of the Harry Potter prequel, Fantastic Beasts. Also on the horizons, not one, but TWO new Robin Hood movies.