The 10 Must See Movies of October 2013

By  · Published on October 1st, 2013

It’s October, which means awards season has officially commenced. Last month gave us a taste with Ron Howard’s Rush, Hugh Jackman yelling in Prisoners, and, last but not least, Luc Besson’s The Family. Maybe not that last one so much, but the other two weren’t a shabby way to kick things off.

This month has two movies in particular that should blow socks off while also causing a few tears to flow in the process. They’re the obvious suspects, but they both pack awfully heavy punches. There’s also a little talked about science-fiction-ish movie you may want to check out this weekend as well…

But there’s more than three movies to see this month. So, without further ado, here are the ten must-see movies of October 2013:

Gravity

Opens October 4th

The hype for this movie could not have reached greater heights. James Cameron praised it as “the greatest movie set in space,” and while I wouldn’t go that far, Gravity’s praise is well-earned. Alfonso Cuaron’s space thriller is a tight 90 minute ride. It doesn’t have the nuance, emotion, or strong character work from Children of Men, but, to be fair, Cuaron’s ambitions here are different. This is a pure popcorn movie that dazzles sequence after sequence.

Read the review

The Dirties

Opens in limited release and on VOD October 4th

Any current or former high school film nerd should relate to director and star Matthew Johnson’s debut film, especially if you faced your share of bullies for your nerdom. The Dirties is about those kind of nerds who live their lives off movie quotes, and who reach their breaking point with their antagonists. The dark turn towards the end may cause the film to go off the rails, but what comes before it is a solid dark comedy.

Runner Runner

Opens October 4th

Thus far the critics haven’t been kind to this one, but my hopes remain intact. The pairing of director Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer) and screenwriters Brian Koppelman and David Levien (A Solitary Man) is promising. The thriller starring Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck, and, one of the best actresses around, Gemma Arterton, has classy popcorn movie written all over it, in spite of the disheartening reviews.

Captain Phillips

Opens October 11th

“By the time the film reaches its inevitably heart-stopping conclusion, Tom Hanks has similarly reached another level in his performance, the impact of which resonates long after the credits come up,” said Kate Erbland, after seeing Paul Greengrass’s latest at New York Film Festival.

She couldn’t be more on the money. Hanks, playing Captain Phillips, gives one of his most assured performances to date. Greengrass is now an old pro when it comes to intensity, but with the thanks of Hanks and an inspiring true life story, it’s an emotional experience with a keen level of intimacy.

Read the review

Escape from Tomorrow

Opens in limited release and on VOD October 11th

Allison Loring was not a fan of Escape from Tomorrow at this year’s Sundance, but her log line for the film sold me, “Escape from Tomorrow is certainly not for everyone, but it is a trip watching a man breaking down in a place created to escape your problems and troubles, not draw them out.”

A black-and-white art house mind trip secretly shot at Disney World is a world that should be worth visiting.

Read the (more enthusiastic Fantastic Fest) review

Carrie

Opens October 18th

To scoff at a remake of Brian De Palma’s Carrie is expected. If a lesser filmmaker was behind this, then writing it off completely would be understandable. But your atypical gun-for-hire this ain’t. Even though Kimberly Peirce has only made two movies – Boys Don’t Cry and Stop-Loss – they were works of passion. She could bring personality to a potentially banal remake. Plus, the original movie isn’t without its flaws – so much time is spent with far less interesting side characters – so a more Carrie-centric story, played by Chloe Moretz, is welcomed.

All is Lost

Opens October 18th

Robert Redford. Stranded at sea. 100 minutes. Who else better to spend some alone with than Robert Redford? The icon has been earning rave reviews for his performance ever since the film premiered at Sundance. The director behind Margin Call couldn’t have given Redford a better chance to show he’s still got it, only allowing his character a few lines amongst the terrors at sea.

Read the review

12 Years a Slave

Opens October 18th

Before Steve McQueen’s new picture has even come out it’s already been hailed as a masterpiece. The reason why: it’s an emotional powerhouse boasting a long line of excellent performances and no shortage of great scenes. While I wouldn’t go as far to say it’s is a masterpiece, it’s certainly achievement from McQueen and all involved. The story of a free man, Solomon Northup’s (Chiwetel Ejiofor), sold into a slavery is an epic and moving tale.

Read the review

Blue is the Warmest Color

Opens October 25th

It took four editors to shape this three hour love story into the final film. Apparently director Abdellatif Kechieche pushed his two actors, Léa Seydoux (Midnight in Paris) and Adèle Exarchopoulos, with a countless number of takes and plenty of manipulation. But, from what’s been said, Kechieche’s methods led to an intense and beautiful result about love and desire.

Read the review

The Counselor

Opens October 25th

Sir Ridley Scott is generally only as good as his material. With The Counselor, he has the first produced script from Cormac McCarthy (The Road) under his arm. With Scott and McCarthy in the mix, it’s no surprise a stellar cast came running: Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, and more. The trailers for the crime picture have been visually evocative and refreshingly vague. The odds are in Scott’s favor to payoff on that enticing mystery.

Honorable Mentions: Kill Your Darlings, All is Bright, Shepard & Dark, Haunter, All The Boys Love Mandy Lane, and Zero Charisma

Longtime FSR contributor Jack Giroux likes movies. He thinks they're swell.