Radha Blank’s “The 40-Year-Old Version” and Kirsten Johnson’s “Dick Johnson Is Dead” lead an eclectic month of Netflix Originals.
The downside to making a movie for Netflix is that it may never play in theaters and could very well be swallowed up in the streaming platform’s bottomless content pit as millions of people quickly gorge on the latest season of “Selling Sunset” (which Christine has had to stop). The upside of making a movie for Netflix is, of course, that the worst pandemic in the last 100 years won’t stop it from being released. While more traditional studios have moved the rest of their 2020 lineup to next year, Netflix is going full steam ahead with a solid range of original dishes. Only the streamer’s October lineup goes from Oscar-winning lures like “The Trial of the Chicago 7”, to vital new indies like Radha Blank’s “The 40-Year-Old Version” at Sundance, “Dick Johnson Is Dead, gleefully inventive. by Kirsten Johnson, “Ben Wheatley’s riff on” Rebecca “, a documentary about David Attenborough, and – last but not least – Adam Sandler’s first post” Gems “epic,” Hubie Halloween “. He plays Hubie.
Other Netflix highlights this month include seasonal treasures like “ParaNorman”, masterpieces like “Fargo” and an evergreen love story about a girl thrown from space.
Here are the seven best new movies on Neflix this October.
7. “Hubie Halloween” (Steve Brill, 2020)
When it comes to our monthly list of the best new movies on Netflix, the word “best” is used far more loosely than elsewhere on this site. Sometimes a new “better” movie on Netflix is simply a beloved feature the streamer adds to their library. And sometimes – this time, for example – a new “better” movie on Netflix is designated less for its quality than for how much we need it, something like that, or the promise to come.
Such is the case with “Hubie Halloween”, Adam Sandler’s first Netflix Original after “Uncut Gems,” which reminded critics like me how much we love seeing that guy on screen (and dare I say, even made us wonder if they were too hard on the likes of “Sandy Wexler” and “The Do-Over”). Did we see “Hubie Halloween?” We do not have. Does Sandler’s latest collaboration with “Little Nicky” author Steve Brill deserve to be on a list along with the Coen brothers Todd Haynes and Kirsten Johnson? Only God can decide. Am I really excited to put my existential despair on hold for a couple of hours and watch Sandler play a nosy coming down from the sky who has to convince the citizens of Salem that the royal monsters are on the loose? The hype is real. Cinema lives. June Squibb’s Oscar campaign as Hubie’s mom starts here.
Available to stream from October 9th.
6. “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Aaron Sorkin, 2020)
Aaron Sorkin’s Oscar-directed “The Trial of the Chicago 7” has already gone through a cycle of hype and backlash in the few days since it was first sent to critics (we’re freaking out a bit, ok?), with the initial wave of rave reviews cooled by some latecomers who have argued that the movie feels more like a cheap parody of the story than an honest distillation of it. Eric Kohn’s quiet review tells both sides of the story, with a special emphasis on a certain supporting performance:
Nothing embodied the iconoclasm of the late 1960s like the Chicago Seven trial, a high-profile showdown between vengeful government forces and righteous men who opposed its corruption. The nearly five-month run was so loaded with histrionic tribes that they practically anticipated the film Aaron Sorkin would make five decades later. “The Trial of the Chicago 7” is exactly as advertised: a gigantic, dizzying explosion of serious theatricality, charged with a formidable ensemble chewing every inch of the scenery, which overall makes a passionate case of the resilience of its formula more than using it as a sorry.
Of course, Sorkin practically rejuvenated that formula by writing the fiery comparisons of “A Few Good Men” nearly 30 years ago, and here he directs his blunt and energetic script with the convictions of a fully committed narrator in the tropes at hand. It works well enough in part because the trial lends itself to such artifice: when the government accused an eclectic mix of stoned rebels and nonviolent antiwar protesters of inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, the resulting farce bordered on performance art. . So, of course, the latest actor-as-artist, Sacha Baron Cohen, steals the show and transforms an otherwise theatrical period piece into something much more compelling.
Available to stream from October 16th.
5. “The 40-Year-Old Version” (Radha Blank, 2020)
A Sundance favorite to all who have seen it – and a film that is sure to stand out from the glut of other features to be released this month – Radha Blank’s autobiographical directorial debut begins with a wink at Judd Apatow before immediately find a raw comic voice of his own. It’s a voice that Blank has honed for quite some time now, and “The 40-Year-Old Version” offers a sharp and funny look at how he did it. According to IndieWire’s Eric Kohn, the film “touches the legitimate anxieties of the black woman in the center while teasing them at the same time … this smart and crowd-pleasing debut negotiates that complicated balance, with a fragmentary riff on the true- world frustrations on the impact of race and age on the storytelling process “.
More from Kohn’s Sundance review: “Shot across New York in stunning black and white photography (by ‘Clemency’ cinematographer Eric Branco), ‘The 40-Year-Old Version’ always looks close to the ground, with Blank’s erratic path to writing a new comedy – and finding unexpected catharsis in hip hop – by taking a series of hilarious twists. At 129 minutes, the light-hearted format risks getting stale and certainly could have eliminated some superficial scenes. But Blank is so adept at populating his story with shrewd observations and his own contagious personality that even his loose structure vibrates with the nature of the film, which keeps the roguish energy of one of Spike Lee’s early joints as he channels a new one. fresh voice “.
Available for streaming from 9 October.
4. “ParaNorman” (Chris Butler and Sam Fell, 2012)
No animated film says Halloween like “Paranorman” – not even “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” which sings about it as it prepares to celebrate another holiday. Here’s what IndieWire’s Zack Sharf said about the Laika movie which confirmed the Portland stop-motion studio as an American treasure that should be protected at all costs:
“Sam Fell and Chris Butler’s stop-motion fantasy horror film centers on a boy who can communicate with ghosts as he tries to save his Massachusetts town from being destroyed by a 300-year-old witch. Despite all the extravagant supernatural hijackings that take place during the duration of the film, “ParaNorman” is more interested in a reconciliation between past and present. The fact that a family animated film even attempts to make sense of America’s lingering guilt for the murder of those accused of witchcraft makes “ParaNorman” a rare gift. “ParaNorman” rightly earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Film and proved that Laika could compete with Pixar in terms of narrative and emotional originality. “
Available to stream from October 1st.
3. “Dick Johnson Is Dead” (Kirsten Johnson, 2020)
It’s hard to understand how non-fiction advocate Kirsten Johnson found a way to make a film that feels even more personal than her ultra-absorbent “Cameraperson” (which she stitched together from leftover footage she had from decades of filming), but “Dick Johnson Is Dead” would be difficult to understand under any circumstances. A playful and bittersweet elegy for a man who is still with us, Johnson’s heartwarming and bitingly hilarious new documentary sees her as she tries to make peace with her father’s impending death … staging elaborate visions of how the frail old could die. “That concept could easily turn into a navel observation exercise,” wrote IndieWire’s Eric Kohn in his rave review from Sundance, “but Johnson does a moving and fun meditation on embracing life and dreading death at the same time.” It is one of the best films of the year, not to be missed.
Available to stream from October 2nd.
2. “Fargo” (Ethan and Joel Coen, 1996)
Sometimes the movies Netflix adds to its lineup seem really random. And sometimes, if you squint at the tea leaves, you can find some rhyme and reason behind the list changes in a given month. Whoever is responsible for bringing “Fargo” back to service this October deserves a donut, because there has never been a better time to revisit the ironic black comedy that cemented the Coen brothers as an American institution, inspired one of the best shows on television. , and led John Kasich on a quixotic and even stupid quest to ban him from Blockbuster. Not only is “Fargo” season 4 heating up on FX (Jessie Buckley is the Ratched Nurse this country needs), but the “Nomadland” commercial train left the station completely after the film won the Golden Lion in Venice, and There is no better way to fuel excitement for Frances McDormand’s latest performance than to revisit one of her greatest. Of course, “Fargo” will always hold up well on its own, even in spite of one of the greatest movie buffoons of all time (if Marge Gunderson is such a great cop, how can she not even realize she’s married to the killer Zodiac? ).
Available to stream from October 1st.
1. “Carol” (Todd Haynes, 2015)
The script that Phyllis Nagy adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s “Carol” (aka “The Price of Salt”) is flawless to the point of improving the source material somewhat, and Todd Haynes has found a way to transmute the final lines of the book. in a moment without dialogue that says a million words, but who could forget that final paragraph?
“Carol slowly raised her hand and brushed her hair back, once on both sides, and Therese smiled because the gesture was Carol, and it was Carol she loved and would always love. Oh, in a different way now because she was a different person, and it was like meeting Carol again, but she was still Carol and nobody else. She would be Carol, in a thousand cities, a thousand houses, in foreign lands where they would go together, to heaven and hell. It would be ‘Carol’ at the top of IndieWire’s Best Movies New to Netflix list every month if it was added back to the streaming platform, even if that happens three times a year and the company should really use some of that draw. ‘money to rent the rights on a semi-permanent basis at this point. Therese walked over to her. “
It takes my breath away every time.
Available to stream from October 20th.