Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to October

“Ouija: Origin of Evil”

Who: Elizabeth Reaser, Henry Thomas, Doug Jones, Annalise Basso and Kate Siegel
What: When a young girl is overtaken by a merciless spirit, her family confronts unthinkable fears to save her and send her possessor back to the other side.
When: October 21st
Why: The first “Ouija” film was middling at best, so why is there any interest in its sequel? Because the film is co-written and directed by Mike Flanagan (“Oculus”), a brilliant filmmaker who knows how to wring tension out of a scene and get actors to deliver performances far better than the films’ silly conceits. Flanagan has proven himself adept at the horror genre, so it will be interesting to see if he can raise up the would-be franchise to his talent level and deliver a frightening film that is marked as much by tone and atmosphere as it is by ghoulish imagery and jump scares. Plus, it’s getting closer to Halloween, and it’s always a delight to see horror movies in a packed theater around then.

“In a Valley of Violence”

Who: Ethan Hawke, John Travolta, James Ransone, Karen Gillan and Taissa Farmiga
What: A mysterious stranger and a random act of violence drag a town of misfits and nitwits into the bloody crosshairs of revenge.
When: October 21st
Why: Ti West breaks away from the horror genre for this revisionist spaghetti western film. Having seen it at SXSW, the movie is a lot of fun and full of quotable lines and memorable scenes. “In a Valley of Violence” plays out like a medley of westerns greatest hits, from Ethan Hawke’s stoic, Gary Cooper-esque protagonist, to the blood and guts of a Sergio Leone film, to the revisionist westerns of the ’70s that sought to depict the depravity of the wild west. John Travolta is especially good in “Broken Arrow” mode as the over-the-top villain who delivers some hilarious lines as well as some hammy monologues. It’s a fun trip to the theaters that delivers a memorable story, acting and imagery.


Who: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Ben Foster and Irrfan Khan
What: When Robert Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Dr. Sienna Brooks in a race against the clock to foil a deadly global plot.
When: October 28th
Why: Are there still fans of Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon? There must be, otherwise Tom Hanks wouldn’t be reprising role as the famed symbologist, who must uncover yet another fiendish plot in order to avoid total catastrophe (and once again aided by a beautiful woman). It would almost be like a thinking man’s James Bond if the whole thing wasn’t so goofy. Still, Hanks is as reliable an actor as you can find, and it’ll be interesting to see how Felicity Jones handles herself before her “Star Wars” debut next month. Plus, for those that liked “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels & Demons,” Ron Howard has returned to direct again, so expect more of the same as the previous two installments. Yay?

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