Halloween might not be your thing. That’s cool. Razor-laden apples. Knife-wielding clowns. Butterfingers. There’s a lot to be scared of out there, and if Hostage to the Devil doesn’t sound like your idea of a good time, here are five new documentaries that might offer some respite from the spookiest week of the year.
1. Oasis: Supersonic
If you could find it in your heart to forgive Oasis for birthing a generation of cheesy white dudes who play “Wonderwall” on their acoustic guitar at every party, this documentary – comprised of previously unreleased archival footage and interviews with the Gallagher Bros themselves – might end up being pretty enjoyable. Two decades later, Oasis represents an idea of what the music industry was at the peak of their fame. Even if you can’t stand their music (I can’t claim to be one of those people as I’m listening to “Champagne Supernova” while writing this list), there’s something to be said for how quickly Oasis was on course to define a generation, and this film aims to understand the cultural landscape that allowed such a rapid ascent to superstardom.
Unfortunately, Oasis: Supersonic will only be featured in theaters for one night on October 26th, but a VOD release is sure to follow pretty soon after.
2. Gimme Danger
And while the millennials go see Oasis: Supersonic, their parents can go see Gimme Danger, the second of the weekend’s two music documentaries. Directed by Jim Jarmusch, this ode to The Stooges and its endlessly fascinating frontman, Iggy Pop, is clearly a labor of love from its director, who featured “Down on the Street” in his 2003 film Coffee and Cigarettes.
Gimme Danger opens in New York on October 28th and expands nationwide on November 4th.
3. Before the Flood
In addition to being one of the most successful and handsome actors in the history of mankind, Leonardo DiCaprio is also an environmentalist – as if he couldn’t get any dreamier! Featuring conversations with Barack Obama, Elon Musk, and Pope Francis, DiCaprio’s quest for environmental awareness culminates in a speech to the UN. It’s kind of like The Revenant with less knife-fighting.
Before the Flood opened in theaters on October 21st and will have an October 30th, worldwide premiere on National Geographic.
4. By Sidney Lumet
Some people argue that a director’s last handful of films is often his or her worst. The evidence in favor of that theory is actually pretty damning. We’ve all borne witness to Woody Allen’s heartbreaking decline in recent years. John Cassavetes’ last, Big Trouble, was also his worst. The list goes on and on. However, looking back at the films of Sidney Lumet – which include 12 Angry Men, Serpico, Network, Dog Day Afternoon, and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead – what you have is a director who let himself change with the world around him, try new things, succeed, fail, and then try again. Even his lesser work (read: much of the late 80s through the 90s) is constructed with the care of someone who really loves what he does. By Sidney Lumet, a never-before-seen 2008 interview, in which the director takes viewers through his expansive career of over 50 years, hits theaters for the first time this week.
By Sidney Lumet hits theaters on October 28th.
5. Finding Babel
In 1940, a Russian-Ukrainian writer named Isaac Babel was executed. 75 years later, his grandson set out to learn more about grandpa Babel’s life, the world he lived in, and the circumstances that led to his execution. Featuring Liev Schreiber as the voice of Isaac Babel – as well as animated sequences set to stories of the writer’s life – Finding Babel aims to resurrect one of the great Russian novelists of the 20th century, whose life and legacy were cut short by a totalitarian government that did what it could to silence its people, its artists, and its creators.
Finding Babel hits NY/LA theaters on October 28th.
- Portrait of a Garden: In a historical vegetable garden on a Dutch estate, the 85 year-old pruning master and the gardener tend to the espaliers. As they prune, the men chat about food, the weather, the world and they share their knowledge of horticulture. Fifteen years they have spent working on the pear arbour. Will it finally close over this year? (Source)
- A Billion Lives: A true story of the vaping revolution and tragic corruption leading to a billion deaths around the world. (Source) [side note: this looks incredibly stupid and I can’t wait to watch it.]
- You’ve Been Trumped, Too: A timely film exploring the confrontation between a feisty 92-year-old Scottish widow and her family and a billionaire trying to become the most powerful man in the world. (Source)
- An Eye for an Eye: A true story of hate, revenge, understanding, remorse and redemption as lived by Mark Stroman on the Texas Death Row. (Source)