October Movie Watching Recap and Movie of the Month


Hello November! It’s also the weekend daylight savings ends here in Minnesota, so we get an extra hour to do whatever we wish, yay! Well, since I’ve been suffering with a cold the past week (yes that meant I was sick during my vacation plus I also twisted my ankle on my second night of the trip), most likely I will be using that extra hour to rest.

But hey, don’t cry for me, folks. It was still an awesome trip to NYC, which was to attend my sister-in-law’s wedding, the first of two wedding festivities (the 2nd one will be in our hometown Jakarta). LOVE New York City in Autumn, the foliage hasn’t quite peaked yet, but the leaves colors are just gorgeous! I didn’t get a chance to visit as many places due to my twisted ankle though, so we’ll likely be back next year!

Before the ankle-twisting incident... Visiting Belvedere Castle in Central Park and goofing around w/ my sister-in-law on the BIG Piano at FAO Schwartz
Before the ankle-twisting incident… Strolling w/ my dear hubby in Central Park, visiting Belvedere Castle, and goofing around w/ my sister-in-law on the BIG Piano at FAO Schwartz

I’m also happy to report that thanks to TCFF, it’s been a GREAT movie-watching month for me. Check out my 2013 TCFF coverage by clicking the tab at the top of the blog, there are surely some movie gems you wouldn’t want to miss!

Well, here are some of my posts this past month:

New-to-me Feature Films Watched (in alphabetical order):

12 Years A Slave

August: Osage County

Beyond Right and Wrong: Stories of Justice and Forgiveness (doc)

Captain Phillips

Dark Knight Returns Part I and II

Everybody’s Fine (for the Robert De Niro Blogathon)


Gladiators: The Uncertain Future of American Football (doc)

How I Live Now

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom


One Chance



The Armstrong Lie (doc)

The Fifth Estate

The Big Noise

The Search for Simon

Trust Greed Bullets and Bourbon

Winter in the Blood

Check out which of these films made my TCFF Top Five

I still have some TCFF screeners I have yet to see as I had to lend them to fellow blog volunteers, so there would’ve been more films on this list had I got around to watching them. On top of the films listed above, I also watched a total of 8 short films during TCFF: The Family-themed Shorts that includes A Better Life, as well as Hot and Bothered.

I was planning on going to The Counselor‘s screening but couldn’t make it as it was at 10 in the morning. But after reading the dismal reviews, it’s perhaps best that I just rent that one later. Besides, that might be too dark and disturbing to see before going to work, ahah. No rewatches for me either this month, though we did get our Pacific Rim Blu-ray a couple of weeks ago that we’ll be watching this weekend!

SpidermanTurnOffTheDarkOh, whilst I was in NYC, my hubby and I also got a chance to catch Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark on Broadway. It was pretty decent and the theatrics was pretty entertaining, and Justin Matthew Sargent was good as the lead. I do think Marvel’s web slinger is much more suitable as a feature film, plus they made some changes to the story that I wasn’t too keen on. The music by Bono is not bad, though the only one I really dug is Rise Above, here’s a sample:

I’m glad I saw it, but unlike say, The Phantom of the Opera, it’s not a show I’d want to see over and over again.

Movies of the Month:

I knew it would be hard for me to pick just ONE Movie of the Month in October, there are simply too many excellent films. Well, after much deliberations (in my head that is) it came down to a tie between these two:

AugustOsageCty_Collage12YrsASlave_CollageInteresting that both feature a star-studded ensemble cast, and both has Benedict Cumberbatch in it. I didn’t plan on that (nor did I plan on seeing THREE films this month that stars the awesome and mighty popular Brit, not that I’m complaining). Both films feature a brutally-honest look into its subject matter, both physically and emotionally, and at times it’s tough to watch. Kudos to directors Steve McQueen and John Wells for their daft hand in crafting such challenging films.

As for the performances, the true star of August: Osage County and 12 Years A Slave are Meryl Streep and Chiwetel Ejiofor, respectively. I have a feeling Streep is a shoo-in comes next year’s Oscar, but I sure hope Ejiofor would get a shot, he sooo deserves it. I hope to review both of these soon and will post ’em when the embargo is lifted, but I highly recommend both films which will surely get a lot of mentions come award season.

Well, that’s my monthly recap folks. What’s YOUR favorite film you saw in October?

60 thoughts on “October Movie Watching Recap and Movie of the Month

  1. Hey Ruth! Glad you had a great time but so sorry about the cold and ankle. As for the movies – WOW! That is an impressive watch list. Several movies mentioned that really interest me.

    I skipped The Counselor. I was really anticipating it but after reading about its sleazy side and seeing the horrible reviews I thought I would pass.

    1. Hello Keith! Yeah it’s quite a double whammy but hey, we made the most of it, ahah. I’m very blessed to have been able to see so many great films this past month, I doubt November would match that. I have the same qualms about The Counselor, maybe I’ll rent it later but not sure yet.

        1. I know! I LOVE Ridley Scott’s work and with this cast I was so looking forward to it. Some say the weak link is Cameron Diaz, not sure why he cast her! In any case, I really had no idea it was such a dark and violent film, somehow the trailer/poster didn’t give that vibe. But then again it’s from Cormack McCarthy.

  2. Damn, still waiting on 12 Years A Slave to open up here. Really wanna see that one.

    As for The Counselor, that’s honestly up there with Gravity as my favorite of the month. I know it has scathing reviews from pretty much everyone else, but I enjoyed the hell out of it, so much so that I saw it twice, lol. Though I will very much acknowledge that it is NOT a movie that’s suiting for everyone’s taste, so you might still wanna go in with some reservations on that.

    1. Hi Chris! Where do you live? Hopefully 12 Years A Slave will get decent release where you are.

      Interesting that you love The Counselor so much. Did you review it yet? I’ll stop by and check it out.

      1. I’m in Florida, but it doesn’t appear to be playing anywhere near me just yet. I’m sure we’ll get it eventually, though. Honestly, I can see it eventually getting a wide release, given the cast and the subject manner, not to mention the huge buzz its garnering.

        And yes, I did review The Counselor, so that’d be great if you’d drop by and check it out for a bit of a different perspective from the majority, lol. 🙂

        1. Hi Chris, just checked your review for The Counselor. Well, I still might give it a rent but given the brutality and gore, it’s best for me to rent it anyway.

  3. Glad you had such a great time in NYC, Ruth, you certainly covered some of the stuff I want to see when I finally get there (in a few years, once the bank account lets us!). Did you play something good on the BIG piano, or just Chopsticks?

    Further thoughts: Benedict Cumberbatch – my dear, no need to apologise for… ahem, enjoying films with him in them, that’s not a crime! 😉

    And I still can’t believe they turned Spider-Man into a musical production. I mean, Bono? What the hell does he have to do with Spider-Man?

    1. Hi Rodney! Yeah even w/ my cold n sprained ankle it was still a fun trip. Hope you’ll make it to NYC one day. Ahah well there were like four people on the BIG piano at one time so obviously we’re just goofing around.

      LOVE Benedict, I’m not ashamed to admit it 😉

      Yeah I’ve no idea why Bono is doing the music but I did like that one song. The production itself is best described as uneven though, best to just stick with Raimi’s Spider-man trilogy!

  4. Ted S.

    Welcome back Ruth, sorry to hear about your ankle and the cold, it’s not fun being sick and hurt during a vacation. I do miss NYC, haven’t been back in years. It’s great there in the fall and holidays time.

    Great work on covering TCFF, hopefully it’ll get bigger each year so more celebrities will show up and movies will be shown there.

    I was thinking of seeing The Counselor but after the awful reviews, I decided to skip it. I thought the script was a mess but I was hoping Scott would hire another writer to clean up McCarthy’s version but apparently he didn’t do that and the film tanked big time.

    Favorite movie of October is Gravity since I saw it twice.

    1. Hi Ted! Yeah it’s quite a bummer when it happened but we might return next year as we didn’t get to see a lot of sights. I’d love to visit during the holidays but the crowds might be unbearable.

      Hey I was hoping you’d see The Counselor so you can give me a review. If you decide to see it down the line, let me know. Glad you got to see Gravity twice!

  5. I’m sorry to hear about your getting sick and hurting your ankle.

    Great post! This is the first time I’ve seen a good photo of you. You are really beautiful.

    I haven’t seen any of the films on your list for October. My favorite new-to-me movie last month was probably Malcolm X. I found it fascinating.

    1. Hi Steph! Awww, thanks for the kind words, what girl doesn’t enjoy compliments 😀

      Some of these films probably hasn’t got a wide release yet, but I hope you get to see those that you want to see. I actually haven’t seen Malcolm X yet.

  6. Hi, Ruth:

    Elevation and ice packs for your ankle. Brandy and aspirin for your cold.

    You picked the right time of year for some visual input in New York.

    Caught two intriguing independent films last month. ‘Pontypool” and “The Killing Room”. Both low to no budget. Both do a lot with their spartan surroundings.

    ‘Pontypool’ is set in a Canadian back water. With Stephen McHattie as a disgraced DJ trying to earn back some credibility. When an eerie infestation drives the town’s citizens mad. Transmitted not by touch or contact, but by spoken words.

    While ‘The Killing Room’ is a conspiracy theorist’s nightmare come true. With the possibility of the government recruiting, weeding out and later training citizens to infiltrate terrorist cell overseas. And destroying them. Good stuff with an off beat cast including Tim Hutton, Claire Danes and Peter Stromare as the calm, dispassionate mad scientists in charge of the selection process.

    1. Hello Jack, always thrilled to see you drop by, my friend! Thanks for the advice, duly noted (well maybe not the brandy, ahah)

      Oooh, two great films that sound intriguing! I like the sound of The Killing Room, I’d have to hunt that down (pardon the pun). Btw, did I tell you I saw The Objective? It was as good as you described in your review, very eerie and effective thriller despite its low budget. So thanks for the recommendations!

      1. Hi, Ruth:

        ‘The Objective’ is a neat little hard scrabble fit of mysterious science fiction. A lot more than the sum of its parts. I’m glad you liked it!

        ‘The Killing Room’ kind of caught me by surprise. A decent story that requires close attention. A worthy first effort by the director of ‘Battle Los Angeles’. With a known cast who plays surprisingly well against type.

        1. I definitely will track down The Killing Room, you sold me there, man. I haven’t seen Battle L.A. yet but given the scathing reviews I probably avoid that one, ahah.

          1. Hi, Ruth:

            Check your Spam and cached E-Mails. I sent you a review of ‘Battle L.A.’ about a year ago. I liked its updated “Us versus Them’, 1950s attitude. And how well the director managed to get sections of New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana to fill in for parts of Los Angeles.

            1. OMG!!! Did I never post your review of Battle L.A.? I thought I did, I better check again, sorry about that Jack. Speaking of which, I’m planning on posting your review of The Dark Knight Returns tomorrow, so hope you’ll stop by for comments!

  7. Oh no…I’ve been sick on vacation and it definitely changes things. Hope you are feeling better fast. It’s good to know you liked 12 YEARS A SLAVE, I was wondering if I could handle it, violence/scariness-wise. I am behind on the big movies, but we’ve been showing a fascinating documentary, BIRTH OF THE LIVING DEAD (2013), about the making of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. I’ve seen some other indies but that one is my favorite.

    1. Hi Paula! I sure hope this will be the last time I got sick AND got sprained ankle on vacation, ahah. 12 YEARS A SLAVE is one of those films that’d stick w/ you for a long time. It’s not an ‘enjoyable’ film per se though the acting and scenery are incredible. The whipping scenes are brutal though, I pretty much hid under my scarf during those scenes which seemed to go on forever. It’s perhaps as unflinching as The Passion of the Christ which I’ve read some people compared it to, but I appreciate the honest approach that Steve McQueen took in depicting the horror of slavery, there’s no sugar-coating it.

      That sounds like an interesting doc, that’s the Romero’s zombie film right? I don’t know if I’ll enjoy it though since I haven’t seen the film.

  8. Chiwetel Ejiofor is definitely getting the Oscar win, I think, he is getting insane reviews – as for Best Actress I hear it’s going to be Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine, but I haven’t seen either of these two yet 🙂 Orange AC sounds cool,is it a comedy or drama or a dramedy? Cause the promotional poster for it is hilarious 😛

    1. Hi Sati! I sure hope you’re right about Chiwetel! Actors of color often get overlooked come award season, but if I see both Chiewetel AND Idris amongst the nominees I’d be such a happy camper!! As for Blanchett, I haven’t seen Blue Jasmine yet but I’d rather see her win than Meryl any day!

      AOC is more of a serious family drama though there are some hilarious moments in it, but more of a dark comedy than slapstick funny. The scene in that poster is definitely memorable, it’s not funny ha-ha but I couldn’t help but chuckle at the outrageous-ness of it all. Btw, are you a fan of Benedict? He’s soooo good here, I think even in his brief moments I like him here better than in The Fifth Estate where he’s the lead.

  9. Sounds like you’ve been busy Ruth. Fantastic post and great to hear more praise for 12 Years a Slave and Ejiofor. Steve McQueen has become one of my favourite directors after only two films and I’ve been a big fan of Ejiofor for a while now. Not to mention Michael Fassbender.

    1. Hi Mark! This is the first Steve McQueen film I saw and I’m definitely impressed! I’ve been a fan of Ejiofor for some time though, so it’s nice to see him getting recognized finally!!

  10. Hope the ankle is on the mend Ruth! That’s quite the list of films you’ve watched in October, very impressive! My favourite film I saw in cinemas is a toss up between Rush and Captain Phillips, and then I saw The Hunt and Mud at home, both of which were brilliant.

    1. Hi Chris! My ankle is getting better, it’s my cough that’s irritatingly-persistent. Yeah, October has been a very good month for movie-watching for me, but I knew that w/ TCFF it’d happen. Oh Iike those two films you mentioned too, in fact I’m still working on my review for RUSH. Glad you enjoyed The Hunt and Mud as well.

  11. Love the 10 Reasons to Watch Broadchurch…I’m sure you could have come up with 100! Apparently they are making a second series and the makers of the show have started screening a similar “who dunnit” drama on British TV called The Tunnel (I guess it’ll be shown in the States very soon). I haven’t started watching it yet but I have three episodes recorded. I’ll let you know if it is worth seeing.

    1. Hi Dan! Yeah, thanks to Dave for that great post. That’s cool that the creators are working on something similar, yeah do let me know what you think of The Tunnel.

  12. Poor Ruth! Poor Ruth’s ankle. Sucks when that sort of thing happens on holiday 😦

    Can’t wait to see 12 Years. It looks excellent. Though, don’t think it’ll be out here for a little while 😦 Gravity’s just getting released this week!

    Think my favourite of last month was Mud. Can”t believe it took me so long to see!

    1. Ahah, yeah it sucked but I’ll be okay, thanks Jaina!

      12 Years is excellent but it’s definitely brutal. Can’t believe it takes that long to open in the UK since the director and most of the actors are British! MUD was good indeed, it was my movie of the month a few months back.

        1. I hear ya Jaina, I don’t get it either! There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason for when things are released when and where either, so it’s always so baffling to me.

    1. Hi Jack! Which of the TCFF that you’re looking forward to seeing? So there’s no film fest near you? How far are you from London?

      Yeah it’s a bummer that despite the UK director and most of the cast, 12 Years A Slave isn’t relesed there sooner!

  13. What a great movie month, Ruth! Also, glad you had fun at NYC, but I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it to the fullest due to that nasty injury and flu 😦 Hope you feel better now! Favorite October movie was, of course, Gravity.

    1. Hi Fernando! Yeah it was a bummer to walk around w/ a swollen ankle and coughing up a storm, but I managed, ahah. NYC is so pretty in Autumn! Gravity was my fave film in September, so glad we agree on that one 😀

        1. Oh no! Your sister hated it? What a bummer! That’s the first time I heard someone walked out of Gravity, wow. I was transfixed right from the start and the film just got better and better!

  14. Wow sounds like you’re having a very lovely time, minus the sick and twisted ankle. So you’ll be in Jakarta, then? I just remembered that we met a year ago in December! Wow time sure flies! Well if you have a time, there’s JIFFEST in the end of November and perhaps you’d like to taste film festival in here, if you can (maybe meet me and Novia and Cecil again??).

    Looks like you picked the top of the top movies, I’ll surely be interested to check these two movies out. And I sure miss seeing Michael Fassbender again.

    My fave in October was Carrie (1976) and the new one is Le Passe (The Past)

    1. Hi Andina, yeah it was still lovely despite my ailments, ahah. No I’m not going to attend her wedding there, only my hubby is going as I already went back for my brother’s funeral. I’m out of vacation time plus it’s so expensive to fly to Jkt twice in one year. Maybe one day I’ll visit JIFFEST, that’d be cool to be blogging about that.

      If you love Fassy, well be prepared to somewhat *hate* him after 12 Years a Slave. It’s a testament of his convincing performance of course, he’s so evil in that one.

        1. Yay, that’s awesome Andina! It’s a brutal film so just be prepared… and bring tissues!

          Oh thanks, I love those boots, I wear tall boots often in Fall/Winter as they keep me warm but also stylish. Thanks to those boots I didn’t break my ankle, I think if I had high heels on it’d be worse than a sprain!

  15. My October favourite was, oddly, Perfect Sense. Of course, I didn’t see any of the films that are shaking the cinemas now… anyway, I’m glad you still enjoyed NYC (oh, I’d love to see that place!) and the 10 Reasons to Watch Broadchurch is awesome – so yet another addition to my list of TV series just waiting to take up all my time. 😉 Love reading your blog, Ruth!

    1. Hi Elina! Oh I haven’t seen that one yet though I love Ewan McGregor and Eva Green! Glad you enjoyed that one. That Broadchurch post was a guest post, but yeah, sounds like it’s definitely worth your time.

      Thanks, I hope to see you stop by more often. Tomorrow is time for my monthly series Five for the Fifth, I’d love to see you participate, Elina! 😀

      1. What is that about Five for the Fifth? I’ll check it out for sure 😀

        And I simply fell in love with McGregor and Green after watching that one… 🙂

        1. Oh it’s my monthly series where i present 5 movie bits, news, trailer, etc n ask readers on their thoughts on that given topic. Hope u’ll stop by!

  16. After an auspicious start to my October in terms of film-watching, it ended up being one hell of a busy second half for me. I worked 10+hr days for about two weeks and, of course, my blog and everything else in my life suffered.
    Anyway, I’m glad you got to see such a rich variety of films, some of which I really want to catch, like 12 Years a Slave and Nebraska. I’m very interested in the work of Steve McQueen ever since I watched Shame, which left a pretty big impression on me.
    I will be getting to your reviews on the festival in the coming days, and try to heal that ankle, it’s happened to me several times, and I know how annoying it can be.

    1. Hi Niels! Oh my you’ve been swamped indeed, but hey you gotta do what you gotta do right>

      I was so impressed by the direction style of McQueen in 12 Years a Slave, I might check out Hunger at some point. As for Shame, well the subject matter doesn’t really interest me.

      Nebraska is a good one, it’s a great father/son story w/ a nice balance of comedy and drama.

    1. Hi Eric! Curious to hear your thoughts on 12 Years a Slave. I haven’t got around to reviewing it as I saw it just before TCFF started. It’ll be a tough one to review as it’s such an emotional experience for me.

  17. Nice picks for Movies of the Month, Ruth. 12 Years a Slave is finally playing near me this weekend. I can’t wait! 😀

    My favorite film I saw last month is Godard’s Masculin Feminin.

    1. Glad to hear Josh! Hope you love it as much as I did. Wow, given how many you saw in a given month, that Godard film must be very special indeed.

  18. Pingback: Wordless Wednesday: 10 Memorable Scenes set in NYC |

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