Monday, September 29, 2014

Reel Facts & Opinions: The Year in Film 2014 - Episode IX

The temperatures of the 10th month of the year may be cooler, but the heat of Awards Season is beginning to rise. Here are the notable films of October.
It all gets going with…

GONE GIRL – David Fincher (SE7EN, FIGHT CLUB) directs this adaptation of the best-selling novel in which a man’s wife goes missing. Stars Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, and Neil Patrick Harris.
ANNABELLE – This horror flick about a creepy doll which causes shenanigans is loosely based on a true story, and also serves as a spinoff to last year’s THE CONJURING.

THE GOOD LIFE – Philippe Falardeau, who was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language film in 2012, directs this drama about humanitarian efforts in the Sudan. Stars Reese Witherspoon and Corey Stoll.
THE HOMESMAN – Tommy Lee Jones stars and directs this Western in which three women travel across the harsh Nebraska territories. Co-stars Hilary Swank, Meryl Streep, John Lithgow, James Spader, Miranda Otto (THE LORD OF THE RINGS), and Hailee Steinfeld (TRUE GRIT).

THE JUDGE – Robert Downey Jr. stars as a big-shot lawyer who comes home to re-unite with his father. Co-stars Robert Duvall, Vincent D’Onofrio, Billy Bob Thornton, and Vera Farmiga (THE DEPARTED). Directed by David Dobkin (FRED CLAUS).
DRACULA UNTOLD – Luke Evans (THE HOBBIT) stars as the fanged blood-sucker in yet another adaptation of The Count. This CGI-heavy action flick also stars Sarah Gadon and Dominic Cooper (CAPTAIN AMERICA).

WHIPLASH – J.K. Simmons (SPIDER-MAN) plays a hard-nuts music teacher who whips a young jazz drummer into shape. Co-stars Miles Teller
KILL THE  MESSENGER – This stylish period-piece is based on the true story of journalist Gary Webb who uncovered the CIA/Contra scandal in the 1980’s. Stars Jeremy Renner, Barry Pepper, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ray Liotta, Oliver Platt, Michael Sheen, Robert Patrick, and Andy Garcia.

FURY – David Ayer, who is best-known as the writer for the Oscar nominated TRAINING DAY (2001), directs this WWII film centered around a tank crew. Stars Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, and Jason Isaacs.
THE BEST OF ME – Michelle Monaghan (MY WEEK WITH MARILYN) and James Marsden (X-MEN) star as two former high school sweethearts who are reunited after 20 years.

BIRDMAN – Michael Keaton plays a former superhero-playing actor who tries to mount a comeback. He is joined by Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone, and Naomi Watts. Directed by Alejandro Gozalez Inarritu (BABEL).
YOUNG ONES – This science fiction drama in which water is hard to find stars Michael Shannon (TAKE SHELTER), Nicholas Hoult, Elle Fanning, and Kodi Smit-McPhee.

JOHN WICK – Keanu Reeves plays an ex-hitman who his pursued by an old friend. Stars Bridget Moynahan, Willem Dafoe, John Leguizamo, Ian McShane, Adianne Palicki, and Jason Isaacs.
23 BLAST – Dylan Baker, who played Dr. Connors in the original SPIDER-MAN films, takes a turn in the directors’ chair in this true story about a high school football player who goes blind…and still plays the game.

NIGHTCRAWLER – In this creepy crime thriller, Jake Gyllenhaal plays an underground free-lance crime journalist. Co-stars Rene Russo and Bill Paxton.
BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP – In this adaptation of the best-selling novel, Nicole Kidman plays a woman who loses her memory after a car accident. Co-stars Colin Firth (THE KING’S SPEECH), and Mark Strong.

HORNS – Daniel Radcliffe (HARRY POTTER) stars in this fantasy/horror flick in which a young man is accused of killing his girlfriend, and then discovers his paranormal abilities…including devil horns protruding from his head. It is based on the novel of the same name, and co-stars Juno Temple and Heather Graham.

Next month, Episode X looks at the month of November; as the Year in Film 2014 enters its final two months.

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