Books, Film & TV Tuesday, October 9th

Movies This Month: October

Books, Film & TV Tuesday, October 9th

Movies This Month: October

October marks the end of the giant sharks and lycra super-suits of Summer Blockbuster Season and brings on some of the movies likely to be making an appearance at the Oscars in four months’ time. There’s also some cool big-screen Halloween stuff going on later this month.

Here’s our picks.

(There is also also the brand, spanking new B2 mini-film fest which will be taking over Hereford for a weekend at the end of the month – but we’ll be breaking down the screenings and screenwriting workshops in a standalone article on the site – until then, peek at the listings here.)

BLOCKBUSTERS

A Star Is Born (15)

A big contender for Date Movie Of The Year, along with several other (real) Oscar categories in February, Bradley Cooper debuts in the director’s chair and stars as a bearded, boozed-up country singer who sees something special in a young songwriter (Lady Gaga, sans meat dress and general alter ego). Plenty of Hollywood schmaltz, yes, but just the right amount of heart to hit the high notes with critics and send its audiences home singing the film’s songs for the next week. It opens in the UK on Oct 4 and will be showing at the Odeon in Hereford.

First Man (12a)

Hitting the Odeon the week after A Star Is Born, the Neil Armstrong Goes To The Moon story looks set to go toe-to-toe with it all the way to the Oscars, with First Man many critics' early favourite for Best Picture. Damien Chazelle (Whiplash, La La Land) tells the story of a quiet engineer at NASA and how he became the face, and the voice, of humanity’s most-conspicuous moment.  You can see his small steps and giant leaps at the Odeon in Hereford from Friday 13th (book tickets through the Advance Dates tab).

Bohemian Rhapsody (12a)

Talking of iconic figures of 20th-century culture….

One of the best in-theatre trailers you’ll see in a long time, the hype train is building up speed on this Freddie Mercury biopic. If anything, it’s weird that we haven’t had a definitive Freddie biopic before now, but the brilliant Mr Robot star Rami Malek pulls on That Yellow Jacket on October 24 in a film Brian May said has been ten years in the making. Must-see for Queen fans, should-see for anyone else. Also on at the Odeon. 

MARVEL

Venom (15)

You’ve probably heard about this one. And, what you’ve heard probably isn’t that good. It would seem hard to screw up the pairing of Venom – a much-loved Marvel anti-hero, anti-Spiderman, always-cool-looking, sometimes-bad guy – with Tom Hardy in full blown Tom Hardy With An Accent Mode, and Emimen banging on the soundtrack. And yet *shrug emoji*.

In truth, it’s not that bad, at the very worst its fun, and there are a load of really good scenes worth seeing on a big screen, but fans of the comics should set their expectations more in line with Doctor Strange than Deadpool. It's out from the first weekend of October at the Odeon.

 

EVENTS

Horrorford outdoor screenings

We’ll have much more on this in the run-up to the event, but this collaboration from Visit Herefordshire and Rural Media is bringing Halloween screenings out in to dark (where things go bump in the night).

On the 31st , Oakchurch is hosting a double-feature with Romero’s 80’s gore-fest Day of the Dead preceded by a more family-friendly film being voted for on Facebook (Hocus Pocus currently leads Ghostbusters). And then on the 2nd and 3rd there’s a pair of events at a country house in Colwall, starting with the 50th anniversary of Witchfinder General followed by the Sami Raimi’s classic Evil Dead. On the Saturday it’s The Devil Rides Out – another 50th anniversary screening – followed by Eden Lake, one of the best Brit horror films of the last ten years.

You can head over here to vote, or get more info on what to bring, how to get there and general policy on dressing up as Bette Midler.

They Shall Not Grow Old w/ Q + A with Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson – who made his name filming epic battle sequences, albeit featuring orcs and hobbits – has spent years restoring archive footage of The Great War for his documentary They Shall Not Grow Old.  Using images and footage now more than 100 years old, and the voices of those who were there, Jackson puts over the very human reality of the front line, during the most costly war in modern memory. This screening, which runs 150 minutes in total, also features a Q + A from the London Film Festival with Jackson and Mark Kermode, and will be playing at the Odeon in Hereford on Tuesday 16.

In Our Hands (tbc)

This eco-doco looks at the strained (and perhaps) broken relationship between food and farming, following the chain of bad diet back to the thousands of farms closing every year. The screening at the Courtyard on October 25 is being organised by Herefordshire’s Green Network, who will also be hosting a discussion afterwards. Info here.

 

INDIE COOL

Bad Times at the El Royale (15)

Sometimes it’s hard to place movies in particular subsections for this column.

But when you’ve got a section called Indie Cool, and you’ve got a late-60s noir, written by the Cabin In The Woods director, and featuring Jon Hamm checking in to an aging Nevada hotel in a checked blazer, it’s not so hard. Bad Times is an ever-expanding opus of cool and pastiche and tension and big name Hollywood stars, set almost all in one place, in an era when even the priests smoked, and especially those ones played by Jeff Bridges.

Drew Goddard is among the best writers around when it comes to mixing comedy with the kind of drama that threatens its characters almost constantly. His latest offering hits the screens in Hereford on the second weekend of October.

A Simple Favour (15)

This featured as the Screen Unseen film a few weeks’ ago and the Gone Girl-y thriller that stars Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively and has got some love from critics, even if it’s not going to leave you walking out of cinemas genuinely thinking about what happened to Amazing Amy. Paul Feig – yep, Bridesmaids’ Paul Feig -  heads it up, and you can check it out from the first weekend of October at the Odeon.  

The Florida Project (15)

Very much in the ICYMI category, but still worthy of a shout out. 2017’s The Florida Project gets a showing at Ledbury on the 26th , and is as sure as any film to put some sunshine in your day. Sean Baker’s camera has always found colour and life, and framed the best of the human experience hand-in-hand with the struggles that make it worth it. Here it follows a young girl and her mum in, mostly, a Motel complex a stone’s throw from Disneyland, just trying to work it all out.

 

DOCOS

Pope Francis - A Man Of His Word

In 1999 German documentary filmmaker Wim Wenders directed a rich cinematic profile of an aging and beloved institution of Cuban music, the Buena Vista Social Club. Now he’s doing it for the papacy.

Criticism of the documentary has centred on the fact that Wenders asks no harder questions of God’s Representative On Earth as he hid of slide guitarists, and yet it’s still a rare glimpse in to the world of a Pope regarded by many to be reforming the office in a way few before him would have even attempted.  Pope Francis – A Man of His Word, screens at the Courtyard in Hereford on October 10 and 11.

 

FOREIGN LANGUAGE (BUT STILL GOOD)

Les Guardiennes (15)

While Peter Jackson’s documentary looks at the World War we know – men and mud on the frontline – Les Guardiennes (The Guardians) is a portrait of the women in rural France those men left behind. Beautifully shot and critically-lauded, it’s a study of character, of family and of a particularly rural femininity. The Courtyard has three screenings between October 12 – 18.

Tehran Taboo (15) 

Also at The Courtyard – once again killing it with its programming this month – is the latest animated feature from Iran. This isn’t a cartoon. This is a 15-rated portrait of sex, drugs and strong-willed women just outside of the watchful eye of Tehran’s religious leaders. You can go and see it from Friday 19.

 

NT SCREENINGS

Funny Girl

Sheridan Smith – Smithy’s sister in Gavin and Stacey, and a wonderfully-charismatic stage actress – takes on Barbra Streisand’s iconic role as Fanny the music hall singer. It’s had five-star reviews in the West End and is getting an NT Live screening on October 25 - you can catch it at Richard Booth’s Cinema in Hay.

King Lear

A tragedy that features an aging king’s descent in to madness and issues with nepotism seems pretty relevant right now, even if Lear never opened any golf clubs in Scotland. It’s one of theatre’s most iconic roles, and it’s being taken on for this NT screening on the October 9 (and a repeat on the 18th) by arguably Britain’s most iconic actor, Sir Ian McKellen. Watch it at the Courtyard in Hereford.

 

KIDS

Teen Titans Go! To The Movies (PG)

If you haven’t heard of them, Teen Titans GO! are the best DC comics characters to make it to screen since Heath Ledger’s Joker (and a lot less creepy). The madcap, cool, colourful and kindergarden-age crime fighters get their big screen debut in Teen Titans Go To The Movies with Nicolas Cage and Kristen Bell doing the voices. A great kids film (for adults to enjoy as well) – the Courtyard is also putting on pre-film activity before the matinee screening on October 27.

Mowgli (PG)

You’ll have to go some to convince me that there’s a better version of the Jungle Book than the ’67 King of the Swingers, Jungle VIP cartoon version, but if anyone can do it, it’s Andy Serkis - who has made a career bringing to life some of literature’s most-famous beasts and creatures. His live-action film Mowgli – which stars Cate Blanchett as Kah the python, and Christian Bale as Bagheera – was slated for a late-October release, but with Netflix buying the distribution rights, that is now up in the air. Keep checking the Odeon’s listings for updates.

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