Video on Demand
By Alex Sitaras
October means Halloween, and for this reason it would be remiss if we didn’t share at least one horror film as part of our Most Anticipated column. Drew Goddard‘s directorial debut The Cabin in the Woods will be streaming on Amazon Prime October 1st. I recently saw The Cabin in the Woods and came away impressed. It’s a creative, thrilling horror title that has a lot within to admire. The film follows a group of college students who travel to a cabin (in the woods) to spend the weekend. Needless to say, the weekend does not go as planned. The film stars Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Connolly, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, and Jesse Williams as the college students and veteran actors Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford as villains. Goddard certainly leaves a directorial touch on the film that we see more of in Bad Times at the El Royale, and I’d encourage anyone who’s enjoyed Bad Times to watch The Cabin in the Woods.
On Hulu comes Václav Marhoul‘s film The Painted Bird. The movie is a black-and-white adaptation of the WWII novel of the same name. The story is set in Eastern Europe where a Jewish boy searches for refuge from the war. He comes across a number of horrid characters during his journey. From Marhoul’s desire not to associate any particular nation to his characters, The Painted Bird is the first film to use the Interslavic language, an amalgamation of Slavic languages, as the language for its dialogue. The film, likened to Tarkovsky, received considerable praise during last year’s festival circuit, even nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival.
Netflix is the home of two of the films that made our Most Anticipated selection, the first of which is the beloved sports drama Moneyball (dir. Bennett Miller) available October 14th. Filled with renowned actors such as Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, and Chris Pratt, Moneyball follows the Oakland Athletics baseball team’s 2002 season. Pitt stars as Billy Beane, currently the executive vice president of baseball operations at the Oakland Athletics, an analytically-minded general manager who sees a way to apply data analytics to the sport of baseball. Beane’s contributions to baseball have since influenced not only the sport of baseball, but also notably football and basketball.
The second Netflix title we’re sharing is an adaptation of the Daphne du Maurier novel Rebecca directed by Ben Wheatley and featuring Lily James and Armie Hammer. It premieres on October 21st and marks Wheatley’s first film distributed by the streaming giant. Many might be familiar with the film’s story through Alfred Hitchcock‘s adaptation of the novel though for those who aren’t familiar, Rebecca tells the story of a woman whose husband’s deceased wife haunts him after her death. The novel the film is based on is one of Gothic literature’s finest accomplishments and behind a skilled director such as Wheatley, the film should be a worthwhile watch even for those who have seen Hitchcock’s take on the classic story. Rebecca also marks Armie Hammer’s second collaboration with Wheatley after starring in Free Fire a few years back.
On HBO October 17th comes Spike Lee‘s concert film American Utopia, a live recording of a Broadway performance of the album American Utopia recorded by David Byrne (Talking Heads). Released in 2018, the album is brimming with optimism for the future of humanity and is part of a multimedia project titled ‘Reasons to be Cheerful‘. The Broadway show conveys a longing of Byrne to connect with his audience and to explore the human condition through music and theatre-like performance. American Utopia is certainly not Spike Lee’s first foray into documentary filmmaking and moreover isn’t his first music-related documentary, Lee directing two films on Michael Jackson this past decade. Reviews for American Utopia have been stellar and the film will certainly not disappoint fans of Byrne’s music.
Continue to the next page to read about our most anticipated films coming to home media this month!