5 Films to catch this October

Eva Mackevic

A heart-warming, old-school buddy comedy leads our top cinema picks this October...  

Film of the month: The Peanut Butter Falcon 

Here’s a film that’s 100 per cent pure, unadulterated joy—a modern Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Fin tale that puts the adventure film genre back on the map. We’re thrown in at the deep end from the get go as we find ourselves in a retirement home where a young man with Down’s syndrome, Zak (newcomer Zack Gottsagen who has Down’s syndrome in real life), plots an elaborate escape with the help of one of his elderly pals. As she causes a commotion pretending to choke over lunch, Zak bolts through the door, only to be taken down by one of the caretakers outside—a stunt that gets him labelled as a “flight risk”.

The reason he wants out is to fulfil his dream of becoming a professional wrestler, inspired by an ancient VHS tape he watched countless times at the care home. One day, his mission to break free finally proves successful and he sets out on a journey to find a wrestling school wearing nothing but his underwear. On his way, he meets a gruff but good-natured crab-fisher, Tyler (Shia LaBeouf) who’s also on the run for his own—much more slippery—reasons. As expected, the two form a deep bond and become inseparable travel companions. It’s a sweet and wholesome story whose big heart will cut through any cynicism.

 

Hotel Mumbai 

Based on the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, this nailbiting thriller takes place at the opulent Taj Mahal Palace Hotel on that fateful day. Amidst bloodshed and chaos, we follow a few of the people caught up in the pandemonium: a kind, young waiter (Dev Patel), a married couple travelling with their infant son (Nazanin Boniadi and Armie Hammer) and a cliched ex-Soviet operative (Jason Isaacs), among many others.

Though the film never misses a chance to go down a tacky thriller trope, it does tell this horrific story with a gripping intensity that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat.

 

Judy 

Renee Zellweger is thirsty for another Oscar as she slips into the shoes of one of the most iconic entertainers who ever lived, Judy Garland. And while she does it with meticulous skill, she goes a bit heavy on the great actress’ trademarks like the characteristic midwestern accent and her masculine poise to the point of caricature. Though a spirited biopic, Judy would have benefitted from a more understated central performance.

 

American Woman 

Though she’s been on the film circuit for quite some time now, Sienna Miller has largely shied away from leading roles, often oscillating on the outskirts as a complacent wife or a “manic pixie dream girl.” Until now. In American Woman, she stars as a single mother who’s knocked sideways when her teenage daughter goes missing, leaving her to care for her young grandson.

Little does she know, it’s just the beginning of an onslaught of merciless trials that are coming her way. It’s a complex role that requires careful layering and balance, and Miller wears it like a glove. An empathetic, bittersweet musing on motherhood, family bonds and “making due of what’s left”, this drama will speak to your most human core.

 

Non-Fiction 

Juliette Binoche leads a superb cast in this clever, sexed-up French comedy about a group of bohemian intellectuals inhabiting the toothsome Parisian publishing world. You can tell director Oliver Assayas is a big Woody Allen fan by the way the film emulates his witty dialogue, neurotic tone and alluring affairs; yet he never quite nails Allen’s light-heartedness and absurdism, instead obsessing over minuscule nuances of book publishing and overdone self-references. The flair and style Assayas does it with still make for one scrumptious watch though.