Movie theatres had a bad September and fear that October won't end any better. So, there's a lot of pressure on a horror film this weekend. Halloween Ends is being called on to be a savior at the box office with big numbers after weeks of doldrums. It started last night, is playing in 3,800 theatres and is bound to be profitable. But can it revive the exhibition side of the industry? The studio didn't help. It didn't preview it (not widely anyway) so the reviews will be few.

This is now the 13th film in the series about a neighborhood killer that started in 1978. Jamie Lee Curtis is back as Laurie Strode who fights him. It may be the last time, but she's said that before and come back. Even from her character's death, after one film. So, I'm not betting that the title is true and that the series stops here.

Meanwhile, I'm happy that the crowd at Vancouver International Film Festival named The Grizzlie Truth as the audience favorite this year. Watch for it. It's nostalgia with depth.

And here's what's available now.

Tár: 4 stars

All Quiet on the Western Front: 4 stars

Scrap: 3 ½

Triangle of Sadness: 3

TÁR: Cate Blanchett gives a towering performance in this film about power, as wielded by one woman, and about cancel culture as her machinations bring her down. She's a world-renowned orchestra conductor, the first woman to lead the Berlin Philharmonic and holder of many accolades, as established in an early interview with New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik. So much of the film, especially the details about classical music, are so authenticly presented, by writer/director Todd Field, you might imagine you're watching a documentary. That sense of realism strengthens it immensely and supports the personal story.

Courtesy of Focus Features

Blanchett's Lydia Tár is a tough task master, a bully at times. She holds back some of her best musicians from promotions and favors others. She lives with her principal violinist (Nina Hoss) but is attracted by a young cellist who she brings into the orchestra. “Fresh meat” blares a tabloid headline as Lydia's past, especially a fling on an international tour sometime back, comes back upon her. Her life takes a downturn just as she's preparing for the highlight of her career, a live recording of Mahler's 5th.. She's been recording all his symphonies and this is supposed to be the crowning moment. It doesn't work out that way. The details are scimpy but the story is supremely engrossing . And Blanchett's character is one of cinema's most memorable. (In theaters in Toronto, and next week in Vancouver and Montreal) 4 out of 5

ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT: The classic anti-war novel has already been filmed twice, once in 1930 (when it won three Academy Awards) and again for TV in 1979. It's as relevant as ever and that makes this Netflix version most welcome. It's the first time it's been filmed in Germany and is that country's submission to the Oscars. The novel was one of the first books banned by the Nazis. The realities of war it depicts are just too grim. Morale would have plummeted. Erich Maria Remarque based much of it on his own experiences fighting in the trenches of World War I and this film hightens the shocking scenes immensely. The mud, the bloody wounds, the gas attacks, the bullet hits out of nowhere. They're perfectly presented under the direction of Edward Berger, who also wrote the script.

Courtesy of Netflix

The story follows four young men who are told that war is glorious when they join the German army. They find exactly the opposite; war turns man into “a beast.” They become desperate as gas and flamethrower attacks come at them, they can't tell what's moving out there in the fields and they have to climb over bodies at times to make a move. The film follows the novel pretty closely but adds new touches too, like the negotiations going on to end the war. They are intercut with some of the worst of the fighting, likely to show that the higher ups weren't suffering. Daniel Brühl is the German negotiator and the only actor I recognized. The leader among the young recruits is played by Felix Kammerer, a stage actor from Vienna and strong in his movie debut. The whole cast is convincing in this powerful film. It really should be seen on the big screen. (Select theaters in Toronto and Vancouver now, many more cities next week and on Netflix starting Oct 28) 4 out of 5

SCRAP: We are such a wasteful society. Here's a quirky but no less potent repeat of that statement. It's Canadian, directed by Stacey Tenenbaum and re-casts the statement like this: do we have to discard so much? She takes us to a man's collection of rusty cars in the woods behind his house in Georgia. “The world's oldest junkyard” says a sign. Later there's a field of old, rusty airplane bodies in Thailand. People are living in some of them.

Courtesy of Northern Banner Releasing

In India, people in a warehouse are taking cel phones apart. Also in India, decommisioned ships are being dismantled. The metal will be reused and as one man says: “It's a beautiful way to bring something back” (from its death).

The film visits several countries to watch people re-cycle like this. Farm machinery in South Dakota. Telephone booths cleaned up, repainted and displayed on a farm in England. Ship parts incorporated into a new church in South Korea. One man creates scultures out of old metal parts and shows them in a parade. The motiviation is more than re-cycle and reuse. Almost every person in the film talks about history: we're losing a lot of ours by throwing away so much. These old items have a lot of meaning; “they're like anchors to the past,” we should honor the people “who worked so hard to make them.” Comments like are throught the film and offer a novel slant on our throw-away habits. (In theaters: Guelph now, Sakatoon, Toronto, Montreal and others soon, Vancouver in a week) 3 ½ out of 5

TRIANGLE OF SADNESS: The big Cannes Festival winner is going wider this week and is still a bit perplexing for me. How did the jury there pick this as the best film on their slate? Sure it's well-written and beautifully presented but it also excessive (I say that after a second viewing), too long and can't really figure out how to end properly. Ruben Östlund from Sweden is sharp as usual as writer/director and he mocks the bourgeoise again with a mix of scorn and humor.

Courtesy of Elevation Pictures

But it gets a bit tiring before it ends. And there's also too much vomiting in it.

A young couple get a free trip on a luxury cruise (because she's an influencer). He's a male model and together they're artifical, pretenders. So are most of the people they meet: including a Russian capitalist, the American captain (Woody Harrelson) who professes to be a Marxist, and an elderly couple from England whose livelihood is from the manufacture of hand grenades (that have been used all over the world in battles for democracy, according the man in the duo). That's the ironic tone Östlund uses throughout the film. He shows the ship staff as underdogs but has one show her worth when the vessel explodes and the main characters end up on an island. Her elevation is welcome but vague in what it's supposed to indicate. So, near miss, I'd say, not Palme d'Or. (Theaters: Toronto last week, Vancouver and Montreal added today, more next week) 3 out of 5