Every month, Netflix and Amazon announce a list of movies they are adding to their streaming service. While I focus most of my attention on movies currently in theaters, this is alternative programming for people who can’t get to the movie theater on a regular basis. This month, the most anticipated new content for streaming is most likely Season 2 of Stranger Things on Netflix, so make sure to catch up on Season 1 if you haven’t seen that yet. But we’re here to talk movies, so here are 10 recommendations from the new streaming titles available in the month of October.
1. Song To Song (10/2 on Amazon Prime)
Sometimes artist reach their zenith and then there is a steady decline. It appears that this may be the case with Terrance Malick. Malick made some iconic, but small movies in the 70s, disappeared for 20 years, and then re-emerged with The Thin Red Line in 1998. I consider his 2011 film The Tree of Life to be one of the greatest films ever made. But since The Tree of Life, Malick seems to have lost his way, with some critics even saying he has wandered into self-parody territory. Still, I hold out hope. His latest, Song To Song, focuses on the ups and downs of people in the music scene of Austin, TX. Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman, and others star.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 43%
2. Raw (10/4 on Netflix)
I saw Raw earlier this year at the local movie theater that shows some more variety from the non-mainstream releases than the local megaplexes. This French film is weird and twisted and slightly disturbing. A young vegan woman enters veterinary college, undergoes a hazing ritual for the new students, and discovers that she has an unnatural, unquenchable thirst for raw meat. It’s definitely a unique viewing experience.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%
3. Blair Witch (10/7 on Amazon Prime)
The original The Blair Witch Project was a smash hit at the box office. This sequel, made nearly 20 years later, pretty much fizzled at the box office last September. It picks up the story with the younger brother of Heather, one of the students that disappeared in the original, finding evidence that his sister may still be out there, so he takes a small group out into the woods to explore. The film is directed by Adam Wingard, who directed the terrific You’re Next. Blair Witch has some creepy, scary moments, but overall the way they expand the Blair Witch universe on the whole is a little disappointing. But if you’re looking for horror in the month of October, it’s not a bad way to go on a night in.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 35%
4. Megan Leavey (10/7 on Amazon Prime)
This film is one that was out in theaters earlier in the year and I did not get a chance to catch in theaters. It seemed like a generic animal lover movie that pulls at the heart strings, but the reviews were pretty positive about this real life story about a marine and the bond she forms with her bomb-sniffing dog.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 84%
5. The Meyerowitz Stories (10/13 on Netflix)
The Meyerowitz Stories is the latest from director Noah Baumbach. Baumbach has been around since the mid-to-late 90s and has made a number of critically acclaimed films, but he has really been on a role with his most recent films, Frances Ha, While Were Young, and Mistress America. All three are great comedies in the vein of Woody Allen. This one is about an estranged family coming together for a celebration of the family patriarch, played by Dustin Hoffman. Ben Stiller and Adam Sandler are his sons and Emma Thompson his wife. The trailer looks entertaining and the early reviews are positive.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%
6. The Wall (10/20 on Amazon Prime)
The Wall is a Doug Liman film from earlier in the year that features Aaron Taylor-Johnson and John Cena. They’re two American soldiers shot and pinned down by a sniper behind a crumbling wall in the middle of nowhere. It’s a strong cat-and-mouse war thriller worth checking out.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 67%
7. While We’re Young (10/23 on Netflix)
I mentioned While We’re Young while previously talking about The Meyerowitz Stories. This Baumbach comedy from 2015 is about a couple played by Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts, in their early 40s who become friends with a 20-something couple played by Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried. It turns into a generational clash of styles as situational comedy as the older couple desperately tries to look cool and keep up with the younger couple, essentially experiencing a mid-life crisis together.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 84%
8. The Hateful Eight (10/25 on Netflix)
Quentin Tarantino’s 2015 western is pure Tarantino indulging his Tarantino-ness. A bounty hunter (Kurt Russell) and his bounty, Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), hole up in a cabin for the night while a winter storm rages outside. Inside with them is a group of men, one or more of who may be part of a gang trying to free Daisy before she meets the hangman’s noose in the nearby town. Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins, Demian Bechir, Michael Madsen, Tim Roth, and Bruce Dern also star in the this twisty thriller filled with the expectedly great dialogue and cinematography we’ve come to expect from Tarantino. In my review at the time, I wrote, “The film also plays out a lot like an Agatha Christie mystery drama, and given the snowed-in elements and the presence of Kurt Russell, I also couldn’t help but be reminded of the atmosphere of paranoia in John Carpenter’s The Thing.”
Rotten Tomatoes score: 75%
9. Strange Weather (10/26 on Netflix)
I saw Strange Weather back in July at the Maine International Film Festival. It stars Holly Hunter as a mother who lost her son nearly a decade ago and is still picking up the pieces to her life. When she finds out that his business model was potentially stolen by a friend and classmate, it gives a purpose and drive to her life, and she sets off on a journey to confront the young man, unsure of what she’ll say or do. Carrie Coon also stars as her neighbor who goes with her on this trip. Watching Holly Hunter and Carrie Coon, two very fine actresses, in a road trip movie is not a bad way to spend an hour and a half.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 57%
10. Arrival (10/28 on Amazon Prime)
Director Denis Villeneuve is one of the best directors working right now. While Blade Runner 2049 is about to hit theaters on October 6th, his amazing film from last year is hitting Amazon Prime at the end of the month. Arrival is fantastic, though-provoking, grown-up sci-fi about aliens arriving on earth and making first contact. Amy Adams stars as a linguistics expert who is tasked with figuring out a means of communicating with this alien species (shaped like cephalopods) before a military conflict breaks out. Jeremy Renner also stars. Arrival is a fantastic film, and ended up at #4 in my Best of 2016 list.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%