Wow, what a month. October delivered some of the best films of 2006 thus far. It was the kind of month that makes me glad to be a lover of film. There were good movies, bad movies, movies that land in between, a variety of genres, all offering a little bit for everybody.
The month started off with the best film of the month, and possibly the year, in Martin Scorsese's The Departed. The film brings together the talents of Matt Damon, Leonardo Dicaprio and Jack Nicholson, among others, in a story of cops and robbers playing an intricate game of cat and mouse. It sounds simple enough, but there is much more to it. Joining it in the month's opening frame were the Dane Cook/Jessica Simpson vehicle Employee of the Month, and the early days of Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. The former fails to capture Cook's edginess, but it does prove to be a pretty good showcase for Dax Shepard, who I am enjoying more and more. The latter film offers up some good blood and very little substance.
The second weekend did not reach the heights of the first, but still offered up the political comedy Man of the Year with Robin Williams. It was a film that said a lot of things that many of wished would be said. It is joined by the sub-par horror sequel The Grudge 2 and the B grade actioner The Marine, featuring WWE superstar John Cena.
Moving onward and upward, the third weekend saw the strongest collection of films. Topping the weekend was the Christopher Nolan thriller, The Prestige. It pits Wolverine against Batman in a battle, both professional and personal, waging a war that will leave you thinking long after the final credits roll. We also got the latest Clint Eastwood film in the excellent Flags of our Fathers, the first of two Iwo Jima set films; the second will focus on the other side of the battle. Sofia Coppola's latest also debuted; Marie Antoinette proved to be a fascinating film of tone while not being a mere biopic. It is a brave film that is not entirely successful, yet quite compelling. Lastly there is the new take on Flicka, which I did not see.
The last weekend brought the lastest entry in the torture series Saw, just in time for Halloween. It performed well enough that a fourth was greenlit before the second weekend arrived. Joining it were the excellent biopic Catch a Fire, putting a face on the struggle against apartheid, and the controversial Death of a President, which examines the assassination of President Bush.