The Month in Movies: Theaters October 2021
Only six movies in the month of October in theaters, but I did manage to watch thirteen movies on streaming or otherwise. Beats last month by one. Getting this to you guys a little later than I wanted, but time waits for no man. MILD SPOILERS AHEAD!!
My local indie theater was doing a Sunday night screening of the 1978 classic. The place even showed some movie relevant comedy clips before the film from such places as Robot Chicken. My girlfriend had never seen it. It may not be my favorite horror movie, but I do greatly enjoy it. A-. The movie that put Jamie Lee Curtis on the map as a scream queen and one of the most influential horror movies of all time is definitely worth a watch.
No Time to Die
An enjoyable James Bond film if a little long. I felt like the villain, just like the last movie and the second Daniel Craig Bond film, was weak. Spectre did sort of leave a mess to clean up, but they really went about it oddly. By nature of the Daniel Craig era, this puts the movie in the middle of the pack, third of five. That ending is going to take some creative writing to get around if they just don’t completely ignore it. I have a feeling Amazon, the new owner of the Bond franchise by dint of purchasing MGM, will at least put together something enjoyable for the new Bond era. It’s a solid B.
The death toll in this movie is certainly crazy, likely topping almost every major slasher movie outside of Jason X, as Jason did fly a starship through some kind of space station, killing untold dozens if not hundreds or thousands. While some of the kills are creative, the plot is muddled with a weird message for a horror movie. Mob violence usually ends up missing the intended target. So enlightening! Jamie Lee Curtis was largely wasted in this movie, as she is confined to a hospital bed for 95% of it. It should be noted, a location Michael Myers never goes to. Probably because that would have been a massive retread of the second Halloween movie. The Halloween movie this is a sequel to is far superior, about on par with the original. This is a B-, giving it the smallest chance I will ever rewatch it.
The Last Duel
A period piece drama “based on a true story” that is a little long. “Get on with it” is some advice the director could have taken to heart. The acting is good from all involved, especially the female lead. The first of two Ridley Scott movies this year to star Adam Driver. Taking place during the Crusades, Adam Driver and Matt Damon play two noblemen who have been at odds for presumably years and then Adam Driver’s character does the most awful thing imaginable to the female lead, Matt Damon’s character’s wife. This eventually leads to a trial by combat, the titular “last duel.” And that part is excellent, but the build-up really takes its time getting there. Based on the trailer and the bloody title, there was little question that this event was going to happen. They didn’t need to overcook the grenade. I give it a B-.
Last Night in Soho
Edgar Wright does horror but without much in the way of a comedic element. A psychological horror thriller mystery (Edgar Wright movies tend to defy genre specification) with a satisfying conclusion to that mystery but perhaps too happy of an ending. As is to be expected from Edgar Wright, the soundtrack is excellent. This is not his best movie this year, as he also directed the excellent documentary The Sparks Brothers. Oddly enough, my girlfriend and I were the only two people in the theater when we saw this the Thursday night before it officially opened. I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would, but this is a solid B.
The last of the movies I saw in theaters was this messed up horror movie produced by Guillermo del Toro. It is slow in parts, but the horror violence is well done. The climax is dark but a little rushed. And strains suspension of disbelief a little bit. I’m sure a Wendigo has been used as a horror movie monster before, but the Wendigo design in this movie is top notch. If only we could have seen more of it. The acting from the female lead is pretty stilted, and she makes some weird decisions. The cliffhanger ending of sorts can also be seen coming a mile away. Unfortunately, another B-.
ALL OTHER MOVIES
Beyond the thirteen movies, I also finished Reno 911!, outside of the Quibi season. A glorious and hilarious parody of Cops. I really need to get back into Warrior…
The movie of the month goes to Queenpins. A solid A. A comedy “based on a true story” about two women who manage to create a very profitable coupon-running operation. Yes, they essentially smuggle “free product” coupons out of Mexico and sell them. These are the coupons manufacturers send out in relation to customer complaints, which all seem to be printed in the same distribution center. The two female leads are good in their roles, but Paul Walter Hauser and Vince Vaughn steal the show as the duo attempting to take the pair down. I greatly enjoyed this movie. It is streaming on Paramount+.
The Guilty is essentially a bottle episode film that pretty much completely takes place in a 911 dispatcher call center and revolves around a cop under investigation riding the pine at said call center. Played brilliantly by Jake Gyllenhaal, said cop ends up wading into a crisis from one of his callers that he gets way too deeply involved in, for both good and ill. The tension is real, and the answer to what is actually happening is satisfying, even if I put it together before the main character did. What the events of the movie get the cop to do in the end after the crisis resolves is a little too cute by half and the only real criticism I can lob at the movie. I give this movie an A-. You can watch it on Netflix.
The Many Saints of Newark is a prequel film to the acclaimed HBO television series The Sopranos. I watched it on HBO Max because I just didn’t feel the need to go to the theater for it. The film does not really revolve around Tony Soprano, played admirably by the late James Gandolfini’s son Michael. It centers around several key players in the crime family Tony would eventually run with Tony on the periphery. I still need to finish The Sopranos, but I do not feel much information from that series is needed to enjoy the movie. Although the movie did spoil a character death from that series in like the first five minutes. They could easily do several more of these, although the best avenue might be to make them exclusive to HBO Max. This is a solid B.
A movie I give a C- to is Cujo, based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. I did not expect this movie to turn into a bottle episode where a woman and her child are stuck in a car with a rabid dog hounding them. Misery this is not. I knew about the rabid dog, but I did not know that a large chunk of the movie sees the protagonist confined to a car for many days. The movie is too long for the payoff.
Might as well combine these two movies into one entry as they are two parts of the same story. Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One and Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two, both of which I caught on HBO Max, make up the adaptation of one of the most celebrated Batman comics ever written. While I do own it, I have not read it just yet. I do know that this adaptation changes the ending in a somewhat major way and has Batman do something uncharacteristic to how I know Batman operates. I give both films together a solid B.
The Closer is Dave Chappelle’s newest Netflix standup special and presumably his last. I count it as a movie for the purposes of this breakdown. It was funny but not as good as his previous one, Sticks & Stones. I don’t really have that much to say about it without spoiling his jokes. Another solid B for the month.
I watched a couple of noir films with family this month, the first of which was The Street with No Name from 1948. Not that much to say about it, outside of saying it is a cop story dealing with corruption. I give it a B-.
The second of the two noir films was Kiss of Death from 1947. Oddly enough, Richard Widmark is in both of them. I enjoyed this movie much more. It involves a convicted criminal who decides to turn state’s evidence in the hopes of obtaining parole and taking down some bad characters. Richard Widmark, in his first film, is particularly good. I give this a B+.
The Boy Next Door gets a C-. The only saving grace of this movie is that I enjoyed the way the antagonist dies. The acting is hammy for most of the movie, and the antagonist goes from sweet boy to maniac fast enough to give the audience whiplash. A passing grade just barely.
An Extremely Goofy Movie is a sequel to A Goofy Movie and basically the Disney version of Back to School. I had not seen this movie since I caught it on home media around the time it originally came out, but it still holds up for what it is. Does it have some plot holes? Yes, but they are not that glaring. Taking advantage of the popularity of extreme sports and the X Games at the time, the movie is very of its time. Still, it gets a B to B+ from me.
As if committing a massive sin, I caught Dune on HBO Max instead of seeing it in theaters. The main reason was the lack of an IMAX theater in my area. The cinematography is excellent as per usual with Denis Villeneuve films, but I just don’t enjoy his movies as much as everyone else seems to. Just like most of his films, this movie drags in the middle hard. While I will likely see the concluding sequel, this movie gets a C+ to B-.
The final movie I saw outside of theaters this month was Thelma & Louise, a movie I had never seen before. While having one of the most spoiled endings in movie history, I still enjoyed myself knowing where it was going. A bad situation turns into a horrible situation and it all snowballs from there. Geena Davis’ character makes a terrible decision which leads to most of the conflict in the second half. This gets a solid B from me.
And that’s your lot. I have already seen Eternals as of this writing. November has some good releases on the schedule. I hope the movies in theaters turn out better than October, since all the new movies didn’t crack 90.