Admittedly, September was a rather weak month as far as worthwhile releases were concerned, but October could be much better. Featuring plenty of films every weekend, and a few awards show contenders, the Fall season seemingly starts here and it certainly won’t let up. In fact, the month kicks off in just a few short days with the arrival of one of the most anticipated Fall releases of the year.

October is actually heavier on the dramas, and is decidedly light on the genre that typically dominates the month: horror. Without Paranormal Activity, it appears October has become an extension of November, which presumably means solid movie-going for longer.

Here are the 8 Movies We’re Looking Forward To in October 2013.

At first glance, Gravity sounds like a fairly straightforward single protagonist thriller – only set in space – but anyone who has been following this film knows it is much more than that. Yes, it features two high profile stars in Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, but we suspect that come release day most people will be talking about the craftsmanship of the film just as much if not more than the performances.

The brainchild of director Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men), Gravity, for a lot of cinephiles, has the potential to revolutionize filmmaking. At Comic-Con 2013, Cuarón talked about some of the unique approaches he took when shooting the film, and we couldn’t help but leave the panel impressed and eager. Cuarón approach, specifically his love of the long take, has put him up there with some of this generation’s greats, even if he’s not nearly as well known. That could all change with Gravity, though, as early reviews have set expectations very high.

Check out the trailer for Gravity.

While Ben Affleck’s recent casting as Batman might overshadow the legacy of Runner Runner, there are still plenty of reasons to keep an eye on this film. For starters, it’s Affleck’s first starring role since Argo took critics, audiences, and awards shows by storm. Granted, he didn’t direct the film, but there’s no reason to think Affleck won’t give his all as an online gambling kingpin who takes a revenge-fueled Justin Timberlake under his wing. The film also features two stars on the rise in Gemma Arterton (Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters) and Anthony Mackie (Captain America 2), both role players with scene-stealing talent.

With plenty of double, and maybe even triple crosses to go around we don’t expect this to be a run-of-the-mill drama, especially given the talent involved. The world is going to get a lot different for Ben Affleck from here on out, and Runner Runner has the potential to keep things in perspective and remind us he’s still a talented actor.

Check out the trailer for Runner Runner.

The most successful films – quality wise – are those that start with a solid base, and Captain Phillips has just that. Featuring Tom Hanks in front of the camera and Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Ultimatum) behind it, Captain Phillips tells the true story of an American freighter that was overtaken by Somali pirates in 2009. Greengrass, who is no stranger to true stories of American heroism, very rarely lets audiences down when it comes to his features, so we’re willing to bet on his track record with this one. It’s only icing on the cake that he has Tom Hanks on board for the titular role.

The film already screened at this year’s New York Film Festival to a positive reception, reaffirming its potential. It has all the makings of a stellar drama, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see it nab a few nominations come awards time.

Check out the trailer for Captain Phillips.

The quintessential guilty pleasure, Robert Rodriguez’s Machete was a send-up of everything that makes for a great Grindhouse flick. More importantly, it was cheap to make and made a decent chunk of change at the box office. As a result, Danny Trejo’s titular character is back in Machete Kills, a sequel that promises to up the ante in every conceivable way. A star-studded, yet unconventional cast; bloodier and more outrageous deaths; and Mel Gibson as the film’s villain – what more could you ask for?

Obviously, Machete Kills appeals to a very specific audience, so we don’t expect it to be an outright hit or an overwhelming success. But, films like this are so rarely made and next to none are of a passable quality that we just have to see what type of story Rodriguez has cooked up.

Check out the red-band trailer for Machete Kills.

A remake of an iconic horror film in the month of October isn’t exactly uncharted territory, but in Carrie‘s case we are willing to make an exception. Obviously, Carrie has the difficult task of improving on its predecessor, but we think that the choice of Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass 2) for the titular role is a great start. Yes, it will be hard for Moretz to outdo Sissy Spacek’s performance, or for director Kimberly Peirce to surpass Brian De Palma, but, if nothing else, the film has 40 years worth of advancements in special effects on its side.

Because Carrie is as much a psychological thriller as it is a very show-y one, there are opportunities to do new and interesting things with the story. So we think the combination of a rising young star, more believable effects, and a story that’s still as relatable today as it was in the ’70s, could make Carrie a horror remake worth checking out.

Check out the trailer for Carrie.

Although The Expendables marked the first time Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger shared the screen in over a decade, Escape Plan is the reunion fans of the aged action stars have been waiting for. And rather than a cavalcade of Norrises, Stathams, and Willises, Escape Plan puts its focus squarely on Rambo and The Terminator as they try to escape from (what else?) an inescapable prison called “The Tomb.”

To be fair, the two action stars have seen better days at the box office, but only in solo vehicles. Perhaps this testosterone-fueled reunion will help deliver the duo’s biggest non-Expendables box office numbers yet. Or maybe it will even top that star-studded action bonanza.

Check out the trailer for Escape Plan.

After his villainous turn in Star Trek Into Darkness, Benedict Cumberbatch seems destined for blockbuster success. But prior to phasers, warp speed, and potentially a galaxy far, far away, Cumberbatch was hailed for his dramatic acting. As such, we are greatly anticipating Cumberbatch’s portrayal of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate.

Directed by Oscar winner Bill Condon, The Fifth Estate purports to provide an unflinching portrait of the multi-faceted Assange, and as a result Cumberbatch has his work cut out for him. At a glance, Cumberbatch appears to have Assange down, so much so that he’s barely recognizable in the role; but oftentimes biopics/true stories like this need more than an actor who looks the part (case in point: Jobs). And although Cumberbatch will be a major focal point of the film, we’re also eager to see the performance of another up-and-coming star, Rush‘s Daniel Bruhl.

Check out the trailer for The Fifth Estate.

The Counselor is a Ridley Scott-directed film based off an original screenplay by author Cormac McCarthy (The Road) starring Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt. What more do you need to know?

In case that doesn’t suffice, though, potential audiences should know that the film’s story centers on a lawyer – our titular counselor – who ends up finding more than he bargained for in the drug trafficking business. It’s also worth highlighting once more that the film was scripted by the author of No Country for Old Men, which by itself is worth the price of admission.

From the star-studded cast to the high profile talent behind the camera, The Counselor has the makings of an Oscar contender. Obvious choices include the films two leads, but the potential standout might be Javier Bardem, who seems to be outdoing himself once again. No question, moviegoers will want to keep an eye on this one.

Check out the trailer for The Counselor.

Coming off a relatively light September, October looks to be packed full of worthwhile new releases, some that didn’t make our list. Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa, for example, could open with huge numbers, but we’re unsure if there’s anything left in the Jackass tank. It could be exactly what the franchise needs for sustained success, or it could be absolutely terrible.

But what movies are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments below.

And once again, here are the 8 movies we’re looking forward to this month:

  • October 4th: Gravity, Runner Runner
  • October 11th: Captain Phillips, Machete Kills
  • October 18th: Carrie, Escape Plan, The Fifth Estate
  • October 25th: The Counselor