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Countdown to Halloween: What to Watch This Week


October is here, so you can fire up your annual viewing traditions. If you need help deciding on what to watch, Flicker has you covered—more on that later. This week’s wide releases are War and Joker. War is an Indian Hindu-language action film with a really generic title and logline: A soldier must hunt down his rogue mentor. Hopefully, the action will be stellar.

The week’s big release is Todd Phillips’ controversial flick about Batman’s greatest frenemy. The film, starring Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, plus Robert De Niro, has already won the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion and is generating Oscar buzz. Who knew the DC character most likely to win you an Oscar—or at least a nomination—would be the Clown Prince of Crime? Still, lots of people are up in arms about Joker’s potential to glorify the violent actions of a madman. I am excited to see this flick, but some of Phillips’ latest defenses sound like he is distancing his film from its comic origins. 

Some interesting limited releases include Lucy in the Sky, starring Natalie Portman as an astronaut struggling with her return to Earth, and Pedro Almodovar’s latest, Pain & Glory.

Ciné has some fun offerings. They are doubling down on the music docs with a look at Roger Waters’ 2017–18 tour, Roger Waters Us + Them, on Oct. 2. Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice is still around for a few days. October means the Return of Schlocktoberfest. Catch Wes Craven’s 1996 return to glory, Scream, which breathed new life into the slasher subgenre, from Oct. 3–5. On Oct. 3, a double feature of silent classics, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Nosferatu, will be accompanied by the Invincible Czars. If you have never seen either of these horror classics, what better way is there than with an acclaimed live performance? You can still catch up with the Crawleys of Downton Abbey if you skipped the opening weekend crowds. 

On Oct. 4 at the Georgia Museum of Art, the short documentary While I Yet Live will be accompanied by a panel discussion as part of the exhibition “Mary Lee Bendolph: Quilted Memories.” On Oct. 5 and 7, One Little Pill, a documentary about the Sinclair Method, used to treat alcohol addiction, can be seen at Nuçi’s Space. 

Flicker has a treasure trove of horror planned for the month of October. Start the month with proms gone wrong on Oct. 2 in 1986’s Night of the Creeps and 1987’s Prom Night 2: Hello Mary Lou. The former is an often overlooked horror comedy from Fred Dekker of Monster Squad fame. Ghoulies get out of the toilet in 1991’s Ghoulies Go to College on Oct. 3. If you have never rented Dead & Buried, scheduled for Oct. 4, from the video store, you definitely would remember its distinctive cover art. The late Dan O’Bannon and Ron Shusett—the duo who conceived Alien—wrote the screenplay for Raw Meat director Gary Sherman. The kiddies will enjoy Coraline on Oct. 5. Showdown at the Equator gets in the seasonal spirit with 1985’s Mr. Vampire on Oct. 7. Oct. 8’s movie is 1991’s Popcorn, another horror flick whose VHS cover art may be more familiar than the movie itself. 

If you are more into fall than scary movies, enjoy the Fall Family Movie and Craft Program at the Madison County Library on Oct. 6. No movie is specified, but family horror like Watcher in the Woods or Something Wicked This Way Comes spring to mind. UGA has a Cinema Roundtable on Oct. 4 prepared to dissect Tarantino’s excellent ninth feature, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. If “Gotta Catch ’Em All” gets you all nostalgically misty-eyed, Tate has you covered with Pokémon 2000 and Detective Pikachu from Oct. 4–6. 

With so much to preview, it’s a good thing the only new wide release last week was the kids’ flick Abominable. How was it, you ask?

ABOMINABLE (PG) The year’s second return-a-yeti adventure—hopefully, you still remember April’s quirky, elegant stop-motion feature Missing Link—has the cute goods to entertain kids without annoying parents too much. A Shanghai teen, Yi (v. Chloe Bennet), discovers a sweet, young yeti nicknamed Everest and attempts to return him to his family with the help of Jin (v. Tenzing Norgay Trainor) and his cousin, Peng (v. Albert Tsai).

Everest bears more than a passing resemblance to DreamWorks Animation’s Toothless from How to Train a Dragon, but the movie lacks that franchise’s potential mythology. Sadly, my favorite gag, the omnipresent whooping snake, only pays off if you stick around for the credits, which my kid does not like to do.