Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What To See in September (as if I have a right to tell you)

It's the most wonderful time of the year, y'all! If you're a movie-lover, that is. It's the fall movie season - when the studios trot out their Oscar hopefuls and festival darlings for audiences who are ready for a little more meat on the bone after what is usually a french fries and ice cream summer movie-going season.

There are WAY too many movies coming out for me to lump them all in one post, so I'm going to do it month-by-month, starting with - you guessed it! - September. The list is culled from Entertainment Weekly's Fall Movie Preview and IMDB. Where there is a discrepancy in release dates, I have gone with IMDB. Neither source is infallible, but IMDB's dates are more likely to be up-to-date than a weeks-old print source.

Small caveat - There are likely to be many additions to the release schedule (though probably not for September), as some of the big festivals (Telluride and Toronto) are happening in the next few weeks and several independent films will get distributors (and hence release dates). Let's not forget last year's Best Picture winner, Slumdog Millionaire, which no one really knew about at all until last year's Telluride screening at the end of August. I'm hearing all kinds of ballyhoo about An Education, for example, but it has yet to find a distributor to give it an American release date.

ANYWAY, here's what's coming down the pike this month.


All About Steve - This appeals to me, and what I've seen of it seems charming and not just another cookie-cutter romcom. Love the idea of an awkward female lead that doesn't fit the usual "awkward/unappealing" stereotype. Bullock's films tend to be better when she's involved in more than the acting (she produced this and developed the script) and can inject more of her real quirk instead of the fake, affected quirk of many of her other projects.

Amreeka - One of the darlings of Sundance. This is a movie I could easily see myself falling in love with eventually but which probably won't be high on my priority list.

Carriers - I was ready to blow this one off, but the trailer looks interesting, setting it up as very character-driven and twisty rather than just blood and guts on a stick. It also has Chris Pine in it.

Extract - This has been making the free screening rounds and getting lots of good buzz. Plus, it's by Mike Judge, who gave us Office Space and Beavis and Butthead. I definitely want to see this.

Gamer - The cast looks impressive (Michael C. Hall, YAY), but this looks way too much like last year's Death Race.

No Impact Man - I'm sure this might be quite good, and I know that it's important to have less of a footprint or whatever on the planet, but this looks a lot like the smug and gimmicky Super-Size Me.

Unmade Beds - Another Sundance darling, and like Amreeka, it seems like a lovely movie, but it's more likely to be one that I'm kicking myself for not seeing when I had the chance.


9 - This looks like one of those avant-garde animated short films, and whenever I see the trailer I can't help wondering how these machine-like beings come to life in the first place. But it looks like a genuine attempt to make an animated film for adults, and that is no bad thing.


Beyond a Reasonable Doubt - Remake! For those of you playing at home that's drink 1 of the Remake Drinking Game, Fall Edition. Personally, I'm more interested in checking out Fritz Lang's original.

The Other Man - Liam Neeson and Laura Linney are together again, playing another married couple (they were last Mr. and Mrs. Kinsey). This sounds a smidge like Unfaithful, and obviously there's going to be the issue of Neeson doing press for this film, which is about grief, so relatively soon after the death of his wife. This will probably be another DVD choice.

The September Issue - This will probably slip through the cracks of my schedule and wallet as well, but I'd really love to see it, as it's kind of the real version of The Devil Wears Prada, featuring Vogue editor-in-chief and suspected mutant Anna Wintour.

Sorority Row - This is probably a canker sore in the mouth of the original, and I'm a bit tired of Rumer Willis playing the geek in the big glasses. But Carrie Fisher is in this. I'll probably end up seeing it just for her.

Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself - Not on your life. Like the Twilight phenomenon, Perry's insane popularity is something I will never understand.

Whiteout - Kate Beckinsale's Antarctic thriller. I'll pass.


Blind Date - This seems to have been in distribution hell for two years. I really love the concept, almost as much as I love its director and star Stanley Tucci, and I sincerely hope I can find time to see it.

Bright Star - This is the movie about Keats with Ben Whishaw. Not sure about this one, though, as I have never been a fan of Jane Campion.

The Burning Plain - From the screenwriter of Babel. That is not a selling point, ladies and gentlemen.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - I find the idea a little meh, and I know nothing about the book on which it is based, but I love all the voice talent. And that picture floating around of the guy reaching up an catching a cheeseburger demands a macro, doesn't it? It just screams "CHEEZEBRGR! I HAS IT!"

Disgrace (no US release date on IMDB) - John Malkovich in post-apartheid South Africa. This movie is one of the reasons I hate that fall has SO MANY great films jammed into one season. I love the Malkovich, but I only have so many disposable dollars, people!

The Informant! - Is Steven Soderbergh like the hardest working man in movies or what? I recently saw Damon in The Good Shepherd, and this strikes me as a Bizarro version of that movie. The trailer never fails to crack me up ("0014 ... because I'm twice as smart as 007"). This goes on my list for sure.

Jennifer's Body - I've heard the script is kind of sucktastic, which is a bummer because I really dug Cody's Juno. But let's face it - most people don't go see a monster movie for the fantastic screenwriting. I'll see this.

Love Happens - Romantic drama (dramedy?) with Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart. Co-written by the director, which tends to be a good sign. Is it sad that I find this whole genre of film depressing and uninspiring? I used to love this stuff when I was too young to relate to it.

Pandorum - I liked this movie a lot more when it was called Event Horizon.

Paris - This has Juliette Binoche AND Inglourious Basterds' Melanie Laurent. I want to see this if I can. Surely this will be my excuse to finally darken the doors of the Paris Theater here in New York.


The Age of Stupid - I suppose this is what happens if we ignore the example set by No Impact Man. This doesn't excite me yet.


Capitalism: A Love Story - Michael Moore's (supposed) swan song to "documentaries." His movies aren't really documentaries, of course, but I'm a huge fan of the way he pokes and prods people who REALLY need to be poked and prodded. And this is the Big Kahuna of crap that needs crapping on. Friggin' Wall Street.


The Boys Are Back - My interest in this is mostly due to its director, Scott Hicks (of Shine). I also enjoy seeing Clive Owen playing something besides a sex god action hero.

Brief Interviews With Hideous Men - I can't find a decent clip of this anywhere, but I do like the idea (it's actually based on David Foster Wallace's book of the same name), and I'm jazzed about seeing how John Krasinski fares as a filmmaker. And the "hideous men" in the cast are pretty uniformly wonderful actors.

Coco Before Chanel - Chanel, the Early Years. Great fashion eye candy, if nothing else. Audrey Tautou and Alessandro Nivola are definite selling points, as well.

Fame - I'm sure this will be a huge hit, but I'm not interested. It looks like a complete bastardization of the original movie and series - though I'm glad to see there are a couple of consistencies, like the song and Debbie Allen (is she going to do the "here's where you start paying" speech?).

I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell - Group of guys out for one last fling before one of them gets married. I've seen The Hangover, thanks, and I can already tell it's going to turn out to be the better version of this trope.

Pretty Ugly People - I'll take the festival circuit's word for it that this is good, but I hope it's better than the trailer.

Surrogates - This sounds a bit like the concept of Avatar, and it's directed by Jonathan Mostow, who doesn't do much for me. But the idea reminds me quite a bit of internet identities, where you can do whatever you want without having to worry about the consequences. This may wait for DVD, but I *am* interested in it.


The Horse Boy - Damn, this trailer made me cry. Documentary about Rowan Isaacson, an autistic child whose parents took him to Mongolia for treatment.

But obviously, I couldn't see ALL those movies unless I had a press pass and could see some for free. Therefore...

Top Five Six September Must-Sees (mine, anyway)

All About Steve
The Informant!
Capitalism: A Love Story
Blind Date
The Horse Boy

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