The Top 5 Films of October

October is a magical month for moviegoers. The loud summer blockbusters and September's also-rans are finished, and the dreary period pieces and Oscar bait haven't started yet. Plus, a lot of places are selling pumpkin-flavored food and beverages, which always makes for a nice autumn treat.

So which October movies should you check out? We don't have the ability to see the future -- we're working on it, though -- but we can make some educated guesses. Here are...


Zombieland (Oct. 2). We've heard nothing but rave reviews from those who have seen this zombie comedy at early screenings and at Fantastic Fest. It's by a first-time writer and director, it's not a remake, it's not a George Romero rip-off -- could it be a truly original zombie flick?

Where the Wild Things Are (Oct. 16). You know what we've heard the most about this? That the trailer makes people cry. Let's check it out for ourselves ... Dammit. Yep. OK, we're sold. It helps to know that the author of the beloved children's book that it's based on, Maurice Sendak, endorses the vision of director Spike Jonze, having handpicked him after seeing Being John Malkovich. Sendak has worked with Jonze for over a decade to get the film made.

A Serious Man (limited release Oct. 2; wide release Oct. 9). It's always a pleasure when Joel and Ethan Coen release a new film, in part because you're never sure what you're going to get. A Serious Man (which we've actually seen) is a dark comedy set within the Jewish community in a Minneapolis suburb in 1967, focusing primarily on a college professor beset with a number of vexing problems. The movie is strange, compelling, perplexing, funny, and unlike almost everything else. In other words, it's a Coen bros. movie.

An Education (limited release Oct. 9). This coming-of-age story about a teenage girl in London in the 1960s was one of the biggest hits at the Sundance Film Festival this year, earning an audience award and endless praise for its star, Carey Mulligan. The likes of Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, and Emma Thompson are involved, too, and the screenplay, based on a memoir, was adapted by Nick Hornby (About a Boy). The director, Denmark's Lone Sherfig, made the delightful Italians for Beginners. The trailer doesn't make us cry, but we're sold anyway.

Black Dynamite (limited release Oct. 16). We've seen this one too. Twice. We laughed. A lot. It's a dead-on parody of early '70s blaxploitation pictures, starring Michael Jai White (who co-wrote the screenplay) as a Shaft-like one-man crew of pimptastic awesomeness. Aresnio Hall has a brief cameo as a pimp named Tasty Freeze. What else do you need to know?