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New in Theaters October 03: Gone Girl, Annabelle, Left Behind

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By Chris Kavan - 10/02/14 at 06:52 AM CT

September had a nice couple of weekends to end the month, even if it started out a quite slow. Now that we've reached October, slowly but surely we're going to be entering the all-important Oscar season. There's one movie that's looking to capitalize on its increasingly good buzz, if not to ride to the Academy Awards, at least ride to a good opening. Otherwise we have spin-off horror movie that is also trying to capitalize on some good buzz - namely last year's The Conjuring. Finally we have... Nicolas Cage. Enough said.

GONE GIRL I make no qualms about it - I'm a big David Fincher Fan. Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac, Benjamin Button, Social Network, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - I have yet to be let down by the director. Now, here he is again, adapting yet another wildly popular piece of fiction (Gillian Flynn's novel) with some very big names - Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Fugit, Sela Ward, and... Tyler Perry? (if anyone can make the man appealing, I'd leave it to Fincher). And early reviews have been very good - while the movie is billed as a drama/mystery/thriller from what I have gathered it also has a wicked humor streak going through. Essentially, it's about a husband (Affleck) whose wife (Pike) goes missing on their fifth anniversary and soon the cops and media are digging up every bit of dirt they can - soon uncovering that the facade of their blissful union is hiding some dark secrets. This is exactly the kind of movie I want from Fincher - he does dark so well, and if there is some satire involved - all the better. It may be too early to know if this is going to have a shot at the Oscars or not, but I certainly think it's a contender and is definitely the first film of the fall I am excited about.

ANNABELLE If you haven't seen The Conjuring yet (and if you haven't - shame on you! It's one of the best horror films to come out in the last 10 years in my opinion) - the opening of that film didn't focus on the main story, but rather a small tale about a creepy haunted doll - later found to be possessed, and safely sequestered away by the Warrens where it could no longer do any harm. It also makes an appearance later in the movie as well. The Conjuring wound up making $137.4 million - and for a horror film, that's excellent. Annabelle takes place before the events of The Conjuring - a man gives his wife the gift of a vintage doll, but an attack by a Satanic cult leaves them shaken - and also leaves behind an entity of pure evil - now residing in said doll. Let's face it, creepy dolls always make things more interesting - Poltergeist, Child's Play, Puppet Master, Saw - throw in an inappropriately creepy doll - it's a win-win situation. While the "real" Annabelle is boring Raggedy Anne doll, of course they had to make things a bit more on the creepy side for the movie. In regards to being based on reality? Fat chance here - this is going to be completely original and while the whole possession thing has been done to death - it's still a creepy doll, it's October and horror movies have been in short supply. This could open big because of the movie it's associated with and because fans are hungry. Stay tuned (and leave the lights on) for this one.

LEFT BEHIND And that leaves us with Nicolas Cage, as promised. The man who has given up a man in a bear suit punching a girl (and the bees not the bees!) as well as a vigilante with a flaming skull and string of straight-to-video titles. For every decent film he has (National Treasure, The Croods, Kick-Ass) he has three times as many you've never heard of or should avoid. So, where will Left Behind fall? For those not in the know, Left Behind is based on a series of popular novels by Tim LaHaye that follows the events on Earth after the Rapture has happened. There has already been one adaptation (the better-forgotten version in 2000 starring Kirk Cameron) and this is getting the bigger push. Christian audiences have shown they will support a film - but this just looks so ridiculous but, hey, a lot of ridiculous films have done a lot better than I would give them credit for. Besides Cage, you have Lea Thompson, Chad Michael Murray, Jordin Sparks and Nicky Whelan along for this ride. This is opening if a little over half as many theaters as Gone Girl and Annabelle, so if it does any amount of decent business at all, it will be because audiences will truly support it.

The weekend should be interesting - a potential award winner, a scary doll and the Rapture - we'll see what the biggest draw is on Sunday>


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