Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to October

“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back”

Who: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Robert Knepper and Aldis Hodge
What: Jack Reacher must uncover the truth behind a major government conspiracy in order to clear his name.
When: October 21st
Why: The first “Jack Reacher” is a fun B-movie mix of propulsive pulpy plot and perfectly executed action sequences. So while it is a hard act to follow, Tom Cruise has teamed up with an excellent director in Edward Zwick, who has proven himself pretty great at delivering taut exchanges between actors and showing the brutality of violence. Most people didn’t discover the original film until it hit home video, but hopefully this sequel will have enough in it to warrant a trip to the multiplexes. And while Werner Herzog will be missed as the impossibly creepy bad guy, this paranoid thriller sounds like it will have plenty of twists and turns needed to entertain people along with exciting action sequences of its own.

“Keeping Up with the Joneses”

Who: Jon Hamm, Gal Gadot, Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher and Patton Oswalt
What: A suburban couple becomes embroiled in an international espionage plot when they discover that their new neighbors are government spies.
When: October 21st
Why: Jon Hamm is an incredibly talented actor, but he has mostly been used for his dramatic skills. Fans of “Saturday Night Live,” “Bridesmaids” and a host of other vehicles know that Hamm also shines in comedic situations. Therefore, it’ll be great to see him pitted against Zach Galifianakis, as the two have very different aesthetics and approaches but can deliver absurd humor with deadly accuracy. The plot sounds only mildly appealing, but Greg Mottola, who previously turned in great comedies like “Superbad,” is directing, so it’s possible there’s more here than meets the eye.

“American Pastoral”

Who: Ewan McGregor, Jennifer Connelly, Dakota Fanning and Uzo Aduba
What: In 1968, a hardworking man watches his seemingly perfect life fall apart as his daughter’s new radical political affiliation threatens to destroy their family.
When: October 21st
Why: Ewan McGregor’s feature-length directorial debut is a bold move as he tries to adapt a beloved Philip Roth novel about a tumultuous time in America. The film recently debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival and reactions there were mixed, if a bit disappointed, so this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it should have some dynamite performances as some talented actors are along for the ride. The opening sequence with the post office exploding is brilliantly paced, and the entire film looks great from the trailer – beautifully shot with deep colors and muted pastoral scenes. This could be a divisive film depending on audiences’ tastes, but it also looks like it could be a great family drama that’s worth seeing.

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