The Tangential Thinker

The air is crisp, the kids are in school and the films (not movies, films) are vying for Oscar consideration. October is looking promising. Here’s what’s in store.


Bruce Willis will never give up on the sci-fi thriller. Here in the Utopian future, people no longer leave their homes but rather have a robotic surrogate that performs their daily routines. Willis’ character, a police detective, is forced out of his easy chair when surrogates, and consequently their human counterparts, are being murdered. I’m not racing to get in line.

The Invention of Lying

Imagine a world where everybody tells the truth all the time. Ricky Gervais stars as an average Joe in this honest world who figures out how to lie. He uses his newfound skill to get what he wants from the gullible truth-tellers around him. This has serious potential…co medic potential too.

A Serious Man

The latest offering from Joel and Ethan Coen is in their wheelhouse genre, the black comedy. Michael Stuhlberg stars as a college professor in the 1970s dealing with a misfit brother, a mouthy son, a criminal daughter and an unfaithful wife. I know I should have faith, but I’ve seen the trailer and I think the brothers Coen may have whiffed on this one.


Now I’m sure there have been zombie comedies (zomedies?) in the past, although none leap to mind. In this over-the-top new take on zombie invasions, Woody Harrelson plays one of the few surviving humans hell-bent on killing zombies and saving the world. I’m telling you, this looks funny, and to their credit they have set the bar low.

Couples Retreat

This film is going to make or break a lot of careers. Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau and Jason Bateman are all at a crossroads. Can they continue on as older (meaning not 25) leading men? Couples Retreat will play a big part in deciding. Along with Ken Jeong, they play unhappily married men who unwittingly find themselves in a tropical paradise meant for couples counseling. I’m cautiously optimistic.

Law Abiding Citizen

Gerard Butler stars as Clyde Shelton, a husband and father whose family is murdered in a home invasion. When the men who did it plea bargain their way to a slap on the wrist, Clyde takes matters into his own hands. Jamie Foxx co-stars as the prosecutor trying to stop him. Feels a little been there, done that.

Where the Wild Things Are

Director Spike Jonze is really shooting for the stars creating a film adaptation of the iconic children’s book, and author Maurice Sendak gives him two thumbs up. The classic story of a mischievous boy who escapes in his mind to a magical world is layered here with some modern family issues. This could be huge.


Hilary Swank already has two Oscars, but I guess she’s feeling greedy. This Amelia Earhart biopic, co-starring Ewan McGregor, focuses on the pilot’s accomplishments, her personal life and her struggles as a woman in a man’s world.

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant

I worry about any film with vampire in the title right now. The Twilight craze is so hot that studios are doing anything they can for a piece of the action. Hey, just because they didn’t make the kill doesn’t mean they can’t feast on the carcass. This film is based on the Cirque du Freak book series, about a boy who is forced to become a vampire’s assistant after a bizarre series of events. Hmmm.

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