October 2022’s Best Streaming Titles: Spectacular Spider-Man, Mysterious Benedict Society, Godzilla, O Brother, Where Art Thou?
As Netflix et al. add more content, it’s difficult to know what to look for amidst all of the newly added titles. So at the start of every month, I publish a list of particularly noteworthy and interesting movies and TV shows to add to your streaming queues.
If you’d like to receive my streaming recommendations even sooner, become an Opus subscriber today.
Amazon Prime Video
Hackers (Oct 1)
Hackers is completely unrealistic in its depiction of computers and technology. And yet, it’s one of the best computer movies ever made because of its over-the-top sense of style and joyful, anarchistic idealism. (I highly recommend reading this oral history of the film’s genesis and production.) Yeah, I can nitpick and mock its depiction of hacking and how computer networks and interfaces work. But secretly, I totally wish all of that stuff really did work (and look) like it does in Hackers.
Source Code (Oct 11)
Colter Stevens has been tasked with preventing a terrorist bombing. To do so, he must relive the last eight minutes before the bombing over and over again. But what begins as a military simulation is slowly revealed to be something much stranger and more disturbing. Directed by Duncan Jones (Mute, Moon) and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, and Vera Farmiga, Source Code is a sci-fi thriller with some interesting twists and philosophical ideas.
Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (Oct 1)
The Universal Soldier films, in which dead soldiers are brought back from the grave for dangerous missions, are far from high art. But Day of Reckoning stands out thanks to its surreal and even nightmarish atmosphere. Scott Adkins stars as a former soldier driven to avenge his family’s murder, only to be drawn into a bigger and stranger conspiracy. The film also stars Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren, who reprised their roles from earlier Universal Soldier films.
The Peripheral, Season One (Oct 21)
Based on William Gibson’s acclaimed sci-fi novel and produced by the folks behind HBO’s Westworld, The Peripheral stars Chloë Grace Moretz as a young woman who uncovers a terrible, earth-shattering revelation lurking in an alternate reality. Given that this is based on a Gibson novel, I’m expecting some trippy albeit dystopic concepts — and what I’ve seen so far from the trailer seems to bear that out.
Here’s everything arriving on Amazon Prime Video in October 2022.
The Spectacular Spider-Man, Season One (Oct 19)
One of the best Spider-Man adaptations on either the the big screen or the small screen, The Spectacular Spider-Man finds young Peter Parker trying to survive being a superhero as well as the ups and downs of high school. It’s filled with all of the humor, action, and drama that you could possibly want from a Spider-Man series. Sadly, the series was canceled after just two seasons, due to legal issues between Disney and Sony in light of the former’s purchase of Marvel, but what we have is pure superhero gold.
Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi (Oct 26)
This animated anthology focuses on the various Jedi who appear in the Star Wars prequels, including Ahsoka Tano, Mace Windu, and a young Count Dooku. Created and written by Dave Filoni (The Clone Wars, The Bad Batch), Tales of the Jedi will continue the Star Wars franchise’s exploration of the past… for better or worse.
The Mysterious Benedict Society: Season Two Premiere (Oct 26)
Our family thoroughly enjoyed the first season of The Mysterious Benedict Society, with its highly stylized, Wes Anderson-esque aesthetic and clever storyline about a group of gifted children brought together to save the world. (By the way, we’re firmly on Team Constance Contraire.) Dr. Curtain’s plans may have been foiled at the end of the first season, but the evil genius clearly has something else up his sleeve. And it’ll be up to Mr. Benedict and his young pupils to stop him… again.
Here’s everything arriving on Disney+ in October 2022.
The Abyss (Oct 1)
A team of Navy SEALs and a bunch of oil rig workers must race against the weather and the Russians to rescue a sunken submarine, but down in the dark ocean depths, they discover something that could change humanity forever. I have a real fondness for The Abyss. Yes, the Oscar-winning special effects are cool, but they’re nothing without the heartfelt performances from Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Biehn, and the rest of the cast. And my appreciation of James Cameron’s film has only grown after learning about the hell that it was to make in the first place.
Blade 2 (Oct 1)
Guillermo del Toro directed the second film in the Blade series, which finds Wesley Snipes’ vampire hunter teaming up with vampire royalty to fight a menace that threatens both vampire and human society. Blade 2 is a vast improvement over the first Blade movie, thanks to del Toro’s direction and visuals, a hint of body horror, and Donnie Yen’s martial arts choreography. The film also stars Kris Kristofferson, Ron Perlman, and Norman Reedus.
Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (Oct 1)
Three of Japan’s biggest and most important monsters square off in a battle for the very soul of Japan. While the film’s final act does get a big underwhelming due to dodgy technology and special effects, the rest of it is just about as good as Godzilla film gets (read my review). And it’s surprisingly topical, with a subplot about Japan’s past war crimes.
It Might Get Loud (Oct 1)
Three of the world’s most famous and influential guitarists — Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), The Edge (U2), and Jack White (The White Stripes, The Raconteurs) — get together to discuss their musical careers, approaches to songwriting, and maybe even jam out together for a bit. I personally found The Edge’s story the most interesting, being a U2 fan since high school, but your mileage may vary.
Looper (Oct 1)
Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt star opposite each other in this thriller about a hitman who squares off against his future self as they both search for a powerful psychic who could alter the future. Written and directed by Rian Johnson, Looper injects some clever new twists into the tried and true time travel formula. Johnson previously worked with Gordon-Levitt in 2005’s Brick.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Oct 1)
George Clooney gives the performance of a lifetime as Ulysses Everett McGill, a fast-talking convict who escapes from chain gang with a couple of dim-witted fellas (John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson, also great) in search of a treasure. But their search takes them all over Great Depression-era Mississippi, where they land in one hilarious, outlandish scrape after another. As well-known for its gorgeous cinematography as its award-winning soundtrack, O Brother, Where Art Thou? is one of the Coen Brothers’ most beloved films.
Here’s everything arriving on Hulu in October 2022.
Gladiator (Oct 1)
Ridley Scott’s Gladiator was one of 2000’s biggest and most successful films, thanks to an epic plot, incredibly special effects, and thrilling action sequences. Russell Crowe stars as Maximus Decimus Meridius, a disgraced Roman general who is enslaved and forced to compete in Rome’s brutal gladiatorial exhibitions. Gladiator also stars Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed (in his final film appearance), Djimon Hounsou, Richard Harris, and Joaquin Phoenix as the corrupt Roman emperor.
Mr. & Mrs. Smith (Oct 1)
John and Jane Smith look like your typical suburban couple. But in reality, they’re contract killers working for rival organizations who have been tasked with killing each other. Will they be able to take each other down, or will their marriage get that old spark reignited. Directed by Doug Liman and starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as the titular assassins, Mr. & Mrs. Smith was a huge box office hit when it was released in 2005. Amazon is currently working on a TV series reboot.
Ocean’s Eleven (Oct 1)
Ocean’s Eleven is about as slick as heist movies come, as Danny Ocean (George Clooney at his most charming) assembles a team to knock over three Las Vegas casinos in one night. Directed with all assurance by Steven Soderbergh, Ocean’s Eleven is just a joy to watch, as the twists keep coming and the stakes keep getting higher. The film’s two sequels — Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen — will also be available on Netflix.
Rush Hour (Oct 1)
On paper, the combination of Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker seems terrible, or at the very least, terribly annoying. But in Rush Hour, the two became a surprisingly effective comedic duo as they race to save the kidnapped daughter of a Chinese dignitary with a combination of fast talking and martial arts mayhem.
Blade of the 47 Ronin (Oct 25)
2013’s 47 Ronin, starring Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Tadanobu Asano, was not a good movie. But a sequel set 300 years later about samurai clans operating in secret that’s directed by Ron Yuan and stars Mark Dacascos (Brotherhood of the Wolf, Drive, John Wick: Chapter 3)? I can’t not be intrigued by that.
Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities (Oct 25)
Just in time for Halloween, Guillermo del Toro presents this anthology series of eight spooky tales that boasts a treasure trove of talent, including the directors of The Babadook, Splice, Mandy, and more. In front of the camera, the anthology stars F. Murray Abraham, Eric André, Sofia Boutella, Crispin Glover, Rupert Grint, Tim Blake Nelson, and Charlyne Yi (to name a few).
Here’s everything arriving on Netflix in October 2022.