Oscar contenders are peppering most weekends this October, pretty unusual for Hollywood to roll them out, en masse, pre-Thanksgiving, but there are more to come, so have at it.
“12 Years a Slave” is the best picture contender to beat — epic, moving, well cast and acted, and about race and slavery as it really was practiced in the American South. Rapturous reviews for this one, including my own.
“All is Lost” has the finest performance in Robert Redford’s long, legendary career. A real one-man tour de force. Breathless reviews for that one, including my own. A best actor nomination, probably a best actor Oscar for him.
“Carrie” is a misguided but still interesting remake of the Brian DePalma classic based on the Stephen King novel. Mixed to negative reviews for that one. Chloe Grace Moretz seems a little off, but it also has the wrong director and more of an agenda than merely horrifying us, so an intriguing failure. If it bombs, blame Screen Gems, which has botched the marketing of it utterly.
“Escape Plan” goes down easier than the many recent Stallone and/or Arnold S. “comeback” megaviolent actioners. LEss gruesome, less sadistic, less racist. Mixed reviews, Watchable, if you’re into those two.
And “The Fifth Estate” was supposed to be an Oscar contender for Benedict Cumberbatch. The reviews for this dizzying but generally fascinating look inside Julian Assange’s Wikileaks and the morality of it killed that Oscar buzz. I rather liked it, but a lot of people found it impossible to follow