October is here, and you know what’s coming up … Halloween!
It’s not Halloween month without horror films, and there are quite a few coming up: Haunted House On The Hill (Oct 6), acclaimed South Korean flick The Wailing (Oct 13), The Disappointments Room (Oct 20) and Unspoken (Oct 20). On the local front, Pierre Andre’s horror comedy Kecoh! Primadona Kena Hantu will be released on Oct 13.
There are a number of high-profile Asian movies this month, including the Nicholas Tse/Sean Lau thriller Heartfall Arises (Oct 21) , Taiwanese tearjerker Lokah Laqi (Oct 6), sports drama Weeds On Fire (Oct 13), all-girl actioner Special Female Force (Oct 13), and Dante Lam’s epic war/crime thriller Operation Mekong (Oct 6).
As for the Hollywood films, blockbuster season may be well and truly over, but that probably won’t stop the Marvel juggernaut from chugging along, especially with Benedict Cumberbatch making his debut as Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange (Oct 27).
Here are the 10 movies that should be worth catching this month:
Lokah Laqi (Oct 6)
Cast: Xiao Xun, Sharon Kao, Ke Xiao Long, Cao Shi Hui
Director: Laha Mebow
Three kids from a secluded Taiwanese indigenous tribe discover a cassette tape of their kind, disabled teacher singing, and are amazed by her beautiful voice. Determined to help their teacher, the kids decide to bring the tape to Taipei to get her recognised.
Why you should see it: From the story, trailer, and the word of mouth about the film so far, this Mandarin movie is one moving film that should get the tears flowing. It was recently selected as Taiwan’s entry into next year’s nominations for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award.
Operation Mekong (Oct 6)
Cast: Eddie Peng, Zhang Hanyu, Joyce Feng
Director: Dante Lam
Inspired by true events from 2011, in which 13 people aboard a merchant vessel on the Mekong River were killed by bandits, and a large amount of drugs was found on board. The movie focuses on the joint China, Thailand, Laos and Myanmar operation to investigate the case.
Why you should see it: The trailer is full of great action sequences involving car chases, gunfights and jungle warfare. If the movie delivers even half the intensity and ferocity of the trailer, this should be one heck of a ride.
The Wailing (Oct 13)
Cast: Kwak Do-Won, Hwang Jung-Min, Chun Woo-Hee
Director: Na Hong-Jin
This South Korean horror flick revolves around a strange Japanese man whose appearance in a small village mysteriously causes the villagers to start killing each other for no apparent reason. The case turns personal for one particular investigating officer when his young daughter is affected as well. Expect wailing … lots of wailing.
Why you should see it: Korean horror/thriller cinema is at an all-time high thanks to Train Of Busan, and this one by Na Hong-jin, critically acclaimed director of Yellow Sea, is also making waves worldwide. The trailer doesn’t give away much of the story, but it looks like a real edge-of-your-seat thriller indeed.
Hardcore Henry (Oct 13)
Cast: Sharlto Copley, Danila Kozlovsky, Haley Bennett, Andrei Dementiev
Director: Ilya Naishuller
Henry wakes up on a lab table to find that he has been turned into a half-human cyborg with no memory of his past. The doctor who woke him up claims to be his wife but she is taken her away before she can explain everything to him. Unable to speak, Henry now has to figure out how to save his wife.
Why you should see it: Never mind the story or who’s in it. This movie is interesting because of its main gimmick – the entire movie is shot in the first person, meaning you are looking through Henry’s eyes THE ENTIRE TIME, even when he is jumping off trucks onto moving motorcycles, or getting into a fight with an army of soldiers. This could either be crazy awesome (especially if you are a fan of first-person shooter video games), or a recipe for a bad headache.
Inferno (Oct 13)
Cast: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Omar Sy, Ben Foster, Irrfan Khan, Sidse Babett Knudsen
Director: Ron Howard
Tom Hanks returns as Robert Langdon, the world-renowned “symbologist” who has saved the world a couple of times already, thanks to his superpower of being able to decipher codes and puzzles some author named Dan Brown made up. This time, he has stop a plot to release a bioweapon that could kill billions of people.
Why you should see it: While we’re still on the fence about whether another Robert Langdon movie is really neccesary, this one at least looks like the codes and puzzles are slightly more believable than the ones in the last two – The Da Vinci Code and Angels And Demons. Then again, it’s still based on a Dan Brown book, so don’t expect anything too high-brow.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (Oct 20)
Cast: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Danika Yarosh, Aldis Hodge, Patrick Heusinger, Holt McCallany, Robert Knepper
Director: Edward Zwick
Four years after events of the first movie, Jack Reacher returns to the headquarters of his old military unit only to be accused of a 16-year-old homicide, and after digging further, discovers that there is something even bigger behind it all.
Why you should see it: Another movie based on yet another famous book series that you probably never expected a sequel to was 2012’s Jack Reacher. The first movie was actually pretty good though, and Tom Cruise is a convincingly cool and funny Reacher, so we hope that this will be more of the same.
The Accountant (Oct 20)
Cast: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Cynthia Addai-Robinson
Director: Gavin O’Connor
A socially-inept government accountant who balances the books for dangerous criminal organisations uncovers a conspiracy and is targeted by some very dangerous people. Good thing he’s Batman … sorry, a highly trained assassin as well.
Why you should see it: Ever wondered what Batman would be like as an accountant? Well, look no further. Mild-mannered financial consultant by day, highly-trained assassin by night, this is like Batfleck without the cowl, and with a pocket calculator instead.
Heartfall Arises (Oct 20)
Cast: Nicholas Tse, Lau Ching Wan, Tong Liya, Mavis Fan
Director: Ken Wu
Policeman John Ma and criminal psychologist Calvin Che have to work together to track down a serial killer called General, named after the “King” piece in Chinese chess.
Why you should see it: To be honest, we’re still not quite sure what the whole movie is about even after watching the trailer. As far as we can tell, it’s not about Chinese chess, that’s for sure, and it seems like a pretty suspenseful criminal psychological thriller with some surprisingly wanton scenes of major buildings and structures being blown up.
Rock Bro! (Oct 27)
Cast: Khir Rahman, Hasnul Rahmat, Pekin Ibrahim, Kaka Azraff
Director: Mamat Khalid
Rock band Rimba Bara continues to struggle in a music industry that is full of politics. Meanwhile, Jijoe comes across rock queen Ella in a recording studio and falls in love with her. Jijoe loves her so much that he is willing to leave behind his rock music life and become an F-class contractor so that he will have a more secure life. This causes Rimba Bara to fall apart and various conflicts arise.
Why you should see it: It’s the final film in Mamat Khalid’s Rock trilogy (the first two were 2005’s Rock and 2013’s Rock Oo), so if you liked those, you’ll HAVE to watch this. Plus this is supposedly a more personal film, as the director tells the back story of each member of Rimba Bara. Rock on!
Doctor Strange (Oct 27)
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton
Director: Scott Derrickson
Doctor Stephen Vincent Strange is a brilliant but arrogant neurosurgeon, but after losing the use of his hands in an accident, his search for a cure takes him down a mystical path that leads to him becoming a Sorcerer Supreme.
Why you should see it: This is the big one for the month, and possibly the one that changes the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it. Sure, Thor had all that mystical mumbo-jumbo too, but when it comes to reality-bending feats, Dr Strange has no peer. From the trailer, this looks like Marvel’s trippiest and, yes, strangest movie yet, but with Benedict Cumberbatch as the Sorcerer Supreme, there is no way we are missing this.