Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to October

“Fury”

Who: Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, Jon Bernthal and Michael Pena
What: As the Allies make their final push, an army sergeant commands a Sherman tank and its five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines.
When: October 17th
Why: I’m not a particularly big fan of war movies, but “Fury” is one of my most anticipated releases of the year. Part of the problem with the genre is that many of the films are practically interchangeable, and that’s something that “Fury” attempts to address with its unique premise, following a solitary tank unit through the final days of World War II. Best known for gritty crime thrillers like “End of Watch” and “Sabotage,” Ayer has apparently placed a large emphasis on being as factually accurate as possible. But while that may be great news for history buffs, the real appeal of “Fury” is the awesome ensemble cast comprised of seasoned veterans, promising up-and-comers and reliable character actors.

“Birdman”

Who: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis and Andrea Riseborough
What: A washed-up actor who once played an iconic superhero must overcome his ego and family trouble as he mounts a Broadway play to reclaim his past glory.
When: October 17th
Why: Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu was part of the Mexican Invasion that occurred during the early naughts along with Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuarón, but after his 2006 film “Babel,” the once-promising director practically disappeared. Though 2010’s “Biutiful” was nominated for two Oscars thanks to a late push from the studio, “Birdman” marks Iñarritu’s return to Hollywood in grand fashion, earning such great acclaim during its run on the festival circuit in Venice and Toronto, that many insiders already have it pegged for a spot on the Oscar ballot. “Birdman” looks to be nothing if not unique, a sort of dark comedy version of “Black Swan” about celebritydom and crisis of identity that features an excellent cast, including the rather brilliant casting of Michael Keaton in the lead role.

“John Wick”

Who: Keanu Reeves, Adrianne Palicki, Willem Dafoe, Ian McShane and Alfie Allen
What: A former hit man is pursued by an old friend who was contracted to kill him.
When: October 24th
Why: I was originally going to write about Lynn Shelton’s sweet coming-of-age comedy “Laggies,” but after hearing so many great things about “John Wick” after its debut at this year’s Fantastic Fest, it seemed crazy not to highlight that film instead. The movie wasn’t even on my radar until about a week ago, and though it sounds like a cheesy direct-to-video movie in just about every way, early reaction has been extremely positive, pegging “John Wick” as an entertaining B-movie fueled by some killer action sequences and a great performance by Keanu Reeves. Some people have called it Reeves’ best movie since “The Matrix,” and with a cast that includes Willem Dafoe, Ian McShane and Jason Isaacs, this could be one of the best surprises of the year.

“Nightcrawler”

Who: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton and Ann Cusack
What: A young man stumbles upon the world of L.A. freelance crime journalism.
When: October 31st
Why: Jake Gyllenhaal has been making a lot of really interesting career choices lately, and he’s taken full advantage of those opportunities with some of his best work to date. But while movies like “End of Watch,” “Prisoners” and “Enemy” have helped remind audiences why he’s one of the best actors of his generation, “Nightcrawler” pushes that envelope even further with what appears to be his most gonzo performance yet. Not everyone enjoyed Dan Gilroy’s directorial debut when it premiered at Toronto earlier this month, but the majority of people that did really loved it, leading many to believe that Gyllenhaal could finally earn his first Best Actor nomination come awards season. It’s still too early to know for sure, but one thing is certain: “Nightcrawler” looks like a truly one-of-a-kind experience.

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