Grit Blogs > The Open Book

A Scary Movie Month

By Jean Teller, Sr. Assoc. Editor

Tags: A Serious Man, Zombieland, Whip It, The Invention of Lying, Couples Retreat, Where the Wild Things Are, Law Abiding Citizen, New York I Love You, Amelia,

Jean TellerAlthough it makes me sad, I have to say it: October is going to be a lousy month for movies. I see four or five that may, repeat may, make it to my must-see list, and a whole bunch that I know I won’t even rent. How sad is that!

Since I have so few favorites this month, I’m listing a number of films that might capture your attention, as well as the few I’ll probably see. To tell you the truth, I’m not going to as many movies as I used to; not sure why, probably time and money.

A Serious Man: The latest from the Coen Brothers, A Serious Man looks fairly interesting, although I have to say I’m not a major Coen Bros. fan. Dubbed a black comedy, the film is set in 1967 and follows a Midwestern professor as his life comes apart. Rated R, A Serious Man opens in limited release October 2.

Zombieland: Starring Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson, Zombieland may be a hoot to watch. The trailers offer some humor, and Harrelson is always fun. I’m just not sure I can handle any entire zombie movie, although I hear those zombies are fairly funny. Rated R (and parts of the website are age restricted as well), Zombieland opens October 2.

Whip It stars Ellen Page and Drew Barrymore (who also directed).

Whip It: One of the movies I may try to catch in the theater, Whip It stars Ellen Page and Drew Barrymore. Barrymore also directed and served as executive producer. A coming of age film, this one has a bit of a twist: young Bliss Cavendar (Page) discovers life and happiness while whipping around a roller derby rink. The Texas teen joins the Hurl Scouts, a team already populated by Maggie Mayhem (Kristen Wiig), Bloody Holly (Zoe Bell) and Smashley Simpson (Barrymore). I used to enjoy watching roller derby when I was much younger; we’ll see how this one unfolds. Rated PG-13, Whip It opens October 2.

The Invention of Lying: Set in a world where everyone tells the truth all the time, the movie follows writer Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais, who also co-wrote and co-directed) through his mundane life and his realization that lying is the way to go. The film also co-stars Jennifer Garner, Jonah Hill, Jeffrey Tambor, Rob Lowe, and the always funny Tina Fey. Rated PG-13, The Invention of Lying opens October 2.

Couples Retreat is the latest comedy from Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau.

Couples Retreat: While I like both Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau, and I’m doubly impressed that they co-wrote the script, I’m not a huge comedy fan. Couples Retreat also stars Kristen Bell, Jason Bateman, Malin Akerman, Kristin Davis, Faizon Love, Kali Hawk and Jean Reno. Four couples head to a resort, and only one couple knows that therapy sessions are mandatory for this vacation – I’m not sure this will end up be all that humorous. Rated PG-13, Couples Retreat opens October 9.

Where the Wild Things Are is Spike Jonze's adaptation of Maurice Sendak's classic book.Where the Wild Things Are: Another of the films I may have to see in the theater, this one is Spike Jonze’s take on the childhood classic written by Maurice Sendak. According to theater trailers, Sendak likes the Jonze interpretation, which, in my mind, gives this movie a major boost. Some familiar voices behind the Wild Things (Chris Cooper, James Gandolfini, Catherine O’Hara, Forest Whitaker, Paul Dano and Lauren Ambrose) and a few familiar faces: Catherine Keener and Mark Ruffalo. Newcomer Max Records plays the main character. One thing, during a few early screenings, children were reportedly upset by some scenes in the film. Rated PG, Where the Wild Things Are opens October 16.

Law Abiding Citizen: Have I mentioned I’m a fan of Gerard Butler? In Law Abiding Citizen, Butler portrays a man devastated by the murders of his wife and daughter. Caught up in a justice system he feels is corrupt, the grieving man waits to exact an imaginative revenge on the district attorney (Jamie Foxx) and others who gave the killers a plea bargain. Rated R, Law Abiding Citizen opens October 16. I’ll be at the theaters that weekend.

New York, I Love You is the second in the Cities in Love anthologies.

New York, I Love You: The second anthology in the Cities of Love series (the first was Paris, Je T’aime, which I enjoyed immensely), this film gathers 12 short vignettes (with 12 directors and 12 separate casts) focused on love in the city that never sleeps. A few of the actors: Bradley Cooper, Natalie Portman, Shia LaBeouf, Robin Wright Penn, Orlando Bloom, Hayden Christensen, Christina Ricci and Ethan Hawke. A few of the directors: Fatih Akin, Wen Jiang, Shekhar Kapur, Mira Nair, Natalie Portman, Brett Ratner and Allen Hughes. Stay tuned for three other anthologies set in Shanghai, Jerusalem and Rio de Janeiro. Rated R, New York, I Love You opens in limited release October 16.

Amelia stars Hiliary Swank, Richard Gere and Ewan McGregor.Amelia: Focusing on the relationships in the famed aviator’s life, Amelia stars Hilary Swank, Ewan McGregor, Richard Gere and Chistopher Eccleston. Earhart’s story has always fascinated me, so this is one I’ll probably see in the theater, plus I like everyone involved, including director Mira Nair. Rated PG, Amelia opens in limited release October 23.

While I definitely won’t see these films, I can’t ignore them: Saw VI opens October 23, Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant opens October 23, and Michael Jackson’s This is It opens October 28.

Here’s hoping November’s offerings are a bit better. See ya at the theater!



jean teller
10/7/2009 9:56:12 AM

Dave, The Blob was (and is) the scariest movie I have ever seen. We saw it during a summer kids' movie package when I was about 12 - we were going on vacation the next day, and I didn't get much sleep. I kept imagining the Blob coming up over the end of the bed. Scary stuff! And don't get me started on Jaws! Drive-ins were terrific. My parents used to bundle up the four of us (I have three younger sisters) in our pjs and plenty of blankets in the back seat and head for the drive-in. That's where I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey. Hmm, which reminds me - I don't remember too much of that one. Must add it to the rental list! Many people I know don't even like to go to the theater. There's just something about the movie-going experience - whether it was in a drive-in or in a multiplex - that is magical. I enjoy renting as much as the next person, but I would never give up my going-to-the-movies experiences! Unfortunately, I'm not seeing too many in the next couple of months that strike me as must-sees. I do see a few - mainly science fiction - that I'll try to see in the theaters. Sad days for this movie fan.

nebraska dave
10/7/2009 9:29:19 AM

Jean, the past few years I’ve noticed starting in October it seems the movie viewing takes a turn for the worst. I’m with you on all the saw, vampire, guts and gore movies. Gone are the days when a scary movie meant Alford Hitchcock or the destruction of Tokyo every Saturday night by some giant creature. Who could forget the Blob or Trepids (giant plants). It wasn’t about the blood and gore but the scary music and the suspense of something that might happen. It was about things that made you jump in your seat and spill your popcorn. And really, who could forget the drive-in movie. About 15 years ago when my daughter was 10, my wife and I decided to take her to the last in the area drive-in theatre. The next day we asked her about the experience and she exclaimed, “It was hot, the bathroom was far away, the car was cramped, and the sound was awful. Next time just rent the movie and we’ll watch it at home.” I guess that’s why the last known drive-in for this area is no longer with us. It truly is a wonderful memory to think back and remember the summers when the local drive-in would have buck night. Buck night was a dollar a car. Can you imagine all the kids we could cram into a car. The place became a sea of teenagers. There were no cops or security guards that I know of. There was no fighting or unruly behavior. The only unlawful thing that happened was someone would try to sneak in the exit. Ah, I can’t tell you how I know that one. Good reviews.