The Film Fix: What’s streaming and in theaters during October
By JONATHAN W. HICKMAN, Special to The Paper
Below are reviews and capsules of various films this month in theaters and/or streaming. Review rating … A “Fix” is recommended with a rating between 6 and 10. A “No Fix” is not recommended with a rating between 1 to 5.
Bros (now playing) – No Fix Rating 7/10 – You’ve seen the rom-com over and over, right? Except, in the case of “Bros,” you haven’t.
“Bros” is a romantic comedy far different than any widely released, major studio movie. You see, the couple at the center of the love affair are two vibrant, attractive, and intelligent men. And they are surrounded by a colorful collection of LGBTQ+ supporting characters.
Ground-breaking as it is, I was surprised by how quickly the shocking sexual elements in “Bros” yielded to the sentimental love story at the movie’s heart. And while sexual content on screen can be provocative and arousing, Producer Judd Apatow and director Nicholas Stoller (see 2008’s “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”) know that this material can also be scorchingly funny.
There are some hilariously explicit sequences in this film, but the thought-provoking, most memorable laughs are the subtle ones. Ever consider a “throuple?” Ever wonder how gay men talk about their sexual encounters? Some answers are provided within.
“Bros” is a movie that straight adults should embrace without reservation. And despite an almost exclusively LGBTQ+ cast, it plays broadly, casting a net over a wide demographic. Even Garth Brooks fans are respected.
House of the Dragon (now streaming) Fix Rating 6/10 – HBO and Amazon delivered dueling fantasy shows in August and September. “House of the Dragon” is the prequel series to the mega-popular “Game of Thrones” series that most other streamers aspire to replicate. Amazon bet big on “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” but HBO managed to position their dragon-powered project as the more adult-skewing option. And while explicit sex and violence are present in “House,” the storytelling isn’t as fully realized as in “Game of Thrones.” But the dragons are impressive.
The School for Good and Evil (October 19) – Charlize Theron leads an impressive cast in this adaptation of the book by Soman Chainani about an enchanted school that tries to keep the balance between, you guessed it, good and evil.
Wendell & Wild (October 28) – Director Henry Selick (see “Coraline” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas”) returns with this animated adventure about two demon brothers.
Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities (October 25) – Horror master Guillermo del Toro hosts an anthology series of sinister stories. The list of directors of episodes includes the auteurs behind movies like “The Babadook,” “Splice,” and “Mandy.”
The White Lotus (Season 2, October 30) – After winning 10 Primetime Emmys with season one, “The White Lotus” returns with a new cast of vacationers. But don’t fear, fresh off her Emmy win, Jennifer Coolidge will appear once again as the ultra-rich Tanya McQuoid.
Shantaram (season 1, the final, October 13) – Fix Rating 7/10 – Charlie Hunnam stars as a man who escapes prison and flees to Bombay. But his proclivities continue, and he gets involved with a new set of criminals and ever-escalating wrongdoing. This period-set dramatic thriller is a bit of a slow burn, but Hunnam is charismatic, and the locations are exotic.
Hellraiser (October 7) – The puzzle box and Pinhead are back! Hulu reboots the scary “Hellraiser” franchise from Clive Barker that made its debut in 1987. The numerous sequels had diminishing returns, but this time around, director David Bruckner (“The Night House”) is at the helm.
Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (now streaming) Fix Rating 7/10 – Like “House of the Dragon,” “The Rings of Power” is the other big-budgeted fantasy epic series of the year. And while “Rings” is more family-friendly than “House,” both shows feature dark themes and violent battle sequences. In terms of scale and look, I give “Rings” the edge, but I suspect fantasy fans will be watching both of them regardless of the reviews.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism (now streaming) – Fix Rating 6/10 – This 1980s-set horror film hits many right notes, especially with the music. The jukebox soundtrack flows freely through this derivative exorcism tale of best friends Abby (Elsie Fisher) and Gretchen (Amiah Miller). When Gretchen is possessed by a demon, Abby has to rid her of the evil. The story is familiar and trades on famous horror films of the past, but the cast is fresh and gets a big boost from a fun Christopher Lowell, who plays a body-builder turned wacky exorcism expert.
Catherine Called Birdy (October 7) – “Girls” director Lena Dunham adapts the book by Karen Cushman about a 14-year-old girl (Bella Ramsey) coping with various suitors in medieval England.
The Peripheral (October 21) – Chloë Grace Moretz stars in this slick-looking series about virtual reality. The story is based partially on a book by William Gibson (see “Neuromancer”). The show is co-directed by Vincenzo Natali, who gave us 1997’s “Cube” and 2009’s “Splice.”
Halloween Ends (October 14) – Director David Gordon Green’s continuation of the 1978 John Carpenter classic draws to a close with one more battle between Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Michael Myers (“The Shape” Nick Castle).
Tár (October 14) – Director Todd Field gives us his first film since 2006’s “Little Children.” The talented film auteur also writes the screenplay for “Tár,” which has Cate Blanchett playing Lydia Tár, one of the greatest living composers/conductors and the first female conductor of a significant German orchestra. The mysterious trailers for this moody drama look to utilize experimental filmmaking techniques.
Jonathan W. Hickman is an entertainment attorney, filmmaker, college professor, and novelist. More about Jonathan can be found by visiting: filmproductionlaw.com. Folks can also follow him at dailyfilmfix.com.