They say playing the stock market is like betting on horses with other people's money, but if you're still trying to figure out what a derivative is even after seeing Wall Street 2, INSIDE JOB (October 8), Charles Ferguson's documentary about the economic meltdown, might shed some light.
And if you're wondering what you could do to get a CONVICTION (October 15) for some of those high-rollers who capitalized on all that misery, you could take inspiration from the heroine of Tony Goldwyn's bio-pic. She's a high-school dropout who studies for a law degree in order to overturn her brother's unjust murder conviction. Hilary Swank plays the part, no doubt seeking Oscar number three.
I don't know whether Helen Mirren and Morgan Freeman are looking for more Oscars as over-the-hill CIA assassins in RED (October 15), but they're clearly up for a good time as they star with John Malkovich and Bruce Willis in Robert Schwentke's comedy/action spoof.
More highbrow satire is on hand in Stephen Frears's TAMARA DREWE (October 15), an adaptation of Posy Simmonds's graphic-novel updating of Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd. And speaking of adapting classics: why did they wait so long to remake the notorious 1978 rape revenge slasher movie I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (October 15)? Steven R. Monroe directs, and I bet his folks are proud of him.
As we near the Day of the Dead, further grave matters are dealt with in Clint Eastwood's HEREAFTER (October 22), in which three persons — a blue-collar American, a French journalist, and a London schoolboy — are touched by death in serendipitous ways. Matt Damon and Cecile De France star.
Serendipity probably has little to do with the way death touches the victims in Kevin Greutert's SAW 3D (October 29). Eschewing the new 3-D technology and probably most of the gore of Saw VII is PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 (October 22), Tod Williams's follow-up to last year's minimalist horror flick. More along the same lines and perhaps inspired by District 9, another one of last year's low-budget genre sleepers, is Gareth Edwards's MONSTERS (October 29). Here a journalist escorts a tourist to the US border across a Central American no man's land infested by aliens — probably only to be picked up in an Arizona traffic stop. And rounding out this Halloween scarum harem is the ever reliable Wes Craven with MY SOUL TO TAKE (October 8), which tells the heartwarming tale of a serial killer who returns to his home town to kill everyone who shares his birthday.
Meanwhile, some real trick-or-treating comes to the characters of THE COMPANY MEN (October 29), in which hot-shot executives get laid off and trade in their white collars for blue in order to survive. ER's John Wells shot this drama locally, with stars Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, and Tommy Lee Jones.
So it's been roughly 127 HOURS (November 5) since the mid-term elections, and chances are you're feeling like the guy in Danny Boyle's harrowing true-life story, a mountain climber played by the ever resilient James Franco who's been trapped under a boulder with few options for escape. Or maybe you can empathize with the guy in DUE DATE (November 5), Todd Phillips's follow-up to The Hangover, in which a father-to-be must hitch a ride, Planes, Trains & Automobiles–style, with an unsavory unemployed actor. Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis star. And maybe you'll be asking why the heck they didn't release FAIR GAME (November 5), Doug Liman's drama about the Valerie Plame affair starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn, a week earlier.