Cross-posted on and commissioned by Film.com
Yikes, August. YIKES. Surprising me at every turn (except Conan and 30 Minutes or Less. Sort of predicted those), August has turned into quite the bizarre month. With everything from genre films to comedies to 3D experiments bombing left and right, August is seeming like the worst time to release a movie about anything other then, what, evolution? One following the evolution of apes, the other of civil rights? Does it come down to "great reviews or bust?" And will September fare any better, as the shift away from Genre film and towards Drama begins? Let's take a look.
Looking for thrills, chills or loud noises?
Shark Night 3D (Sept 2)
The inevitably silly horror movie (not a bad thing) that tried winning over fans with a mechanical shark at July's Comic-Con, boasts a who's who of "Oh, that guy/girl! She/he was on that CW show!" in its cast, but unfortunately also comes with a PG-13 rating. How inappropriate can it really get without a hard R?
Am I Seeing It? I'd like to, but I wanted to see Pirahna 3D too and that sure as hell never happened. So. Probably not.
Contagion (Sept 9)
The latest from Steven Soderbergh, the trailers for which I have been avoiding like the plague (pun not intended, I swear), that stars just about everyone ever. Don't believe me? Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Bryan Cranston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Lawrence Fishburne, Jennifer Ehle, John Hawkes, Sanaa Lathan, Elliot Gould and Demetri Martin. It's like New Years Eve, but about the end of the world [Insert joke about Lea Michele starring in a movie being just as apocolyptic]! Or about something else, I don't know, like I said, I'm avoiding the trailers and synopses. In any event, I suspect it shall be awesome.
Am I Seeing It? Yes. Opening weekend if possible.
Straw Dogs (Sept 16)
A remake of the beloved 1971 thriller directed by Sam Peckinpah, with James Marsden in the Dustin Hoffman role, that also stars Kate Bosworth, Alexander Skarsgard and Walton Goggins. Okay, I'm sure Goggins has a small role, but I love him, so yeah, he gets fourth billing, damnit. No one thinks this remake was necessary, but there's always at least a small chance that it's good, right? So far the reviews I've heard range from "terrible" to "well-acted and intense", so who knows. The only thing I can guarantee is that Skarsgard makes everything better.
Am I seeing it? Let's be real. No.
Abduction (Sept 23)
Taylor Lautner isn't who he thinks he is, so busts some shit up and other crap. I honestly could not care less.
Am I seeing it? What do you think?
Killer Elite (Sept 23)
Jason Statham versus Clive Owen, who is holding Robert De Niro captive. Assassins! Guns! And for you Chuck fans out there, Yvonne Strahovski as a bonus!
Am I seeing it? Considering I haven't yet seen a single Jason Statham movie, I think not. Gotta keep this trend going, it's too bizarre a bragging point. (I've seen Snatch, but that's not a Jason Statham "joint", you know?)
Dream House (Sept 30)
Yes, it's the movie where Daniel Craig and Rachel Weitz met & fell in love, but no, it's not a romance. Craig and Weitz play a couple who move into a new home, only to discover something terrible happened to the previous residents. I won't say anymore than that, and unless you want to be spoiled, you won't look for more details. You ESPECIALLY will not watch the stupid spoilery trailer.
Am I seeing it? I was going to until the whole movie got spoiled for me in the trailer. So. No.
Looking for something a bit more on the dramatic side?
The Debt (Sept 2)
A nazi espionage thriller that takes place in the 60s and 90s, starring Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkenson, and Ciaran Hinds, as well as Jessica Chastain, Martin Csokas and Sam Worthington as their younger selves. I've heard rather good things, and I always likes me some spies and intrigue and Helen Mirren.
Am I seeing it? Yes, though not right away
Moneyball (Sept 23)
Brad Pitt. Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman and most importantly - Baseball! Its September release worries me as it definitely has certain implications when you start talking Oscar (i.e. the film may not quite good enough), but I'm still looking forward to it.
Am I seeing it? Yessss!
Machine Gun Preacher (Sept 23)
Not, I repeat NOT anything close to a Grindhouse film, despite what the title may lead you to believe. It's in fact the true story of a former drug dealer who found religion and fought to save Sudanese children from their unfortunate fate, starring Gerard Butler and directed by Marc Forster.
Am I seeing it? If I need to? For awards purposes? But it looks pretty not at all up my alley and kind of terrible. Gerard Butler being dramatic weirds me out.
50/50 (Sept 30)
Movies about someone who is dying are really hot and cold for me, as so often they seem to simply be a cheap plot device (I'm looking at you, Love and Other Drugs), but this one has Joseph Gordon Levitt in it, is much more of a dramedy than drama, and some people whose opinions generally line up with mine are loving it.
Am I seeing it? Yes. In theaters, even if not opening weekend.
Take Shelter (Sept 30)
A must see if you're trying to see all 87 of Jessica Chastain's 2011 releases. Here, she plays wife to the brilliant Michael Shannon, who is having apocalyptic visions of an incoming storm and starts secretly building a shelter to protect them, before realizing that it may be him, not the storm, that warrants his family's concern. Won the International Critics Prize at Cannes
Will I be seeing it? Based on what I'm hearing about Michael Shannon's performance alone, yes
Looking to (maybe) laugh?
Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star (Sept 9)
Two porn stars make an ugly son and the ugly son becomes a porn star. AUUGHH THIS SOUNDS LIKE A NIGHTMARE
Am I seeing it? Absolutely not
I Don't Know How She Does It (Sept 16)
Sarah Jessica Parker and Olivia Munn! What a duo! But Busy Philips is in there too and I love her. Anyway. There is a plot. Sort of. SJP plays a financial executive who also has a family and omg, I don't know how she does it! Get it? Does that count as a plot? But the screenplay is by Aline Brosh McKenna, who also brought us The Devil Wears Prada, 27 Dresses and Morning Glory, so as pointless as the film sounds, I'll probably like it anyway. And Christina Hendricks being in it doesn't hurt. But you can always get your Hendricks fix from Drive..... :)
Am I seeing it? In theaters? I mean, I did see Something Borrowed and 27 Dresses and Leap Year and Valentine's Day in theaters....but probably not. DVD/TBS however? Heeeeeellls yes.
What's Your Number (Sept 30)
A cute concept and a great cast with a script written by sitcom vets leads me to believe this Anna Faris comedy about a girl looking back on the last twenty men she's had relationships with, could actually be pretty great. And is it totally shallow to think Chris Evans looks exceptionally wonderful in the trailer?
Am I seeing it? Does "opening weekend" expose my love for romantic comedies too readily?
Looking to bring the kids?
Lion King 3D (Sept 16)
It's LION KING!!! RE-RELEASED!!! Who cares how you feel about 3D, it's effing Lion King! I watched the first four minutes in 3D at D23 and cried. Cried. Four minutes. I can't wait.
Am I seeing it? At the El Capitan and everything.
Dolphin Tale (Sept 23)
I don't even know what this is and you're making me look it up. Why? Why are you doing this? It's not even animated! It stars Harry Connick Jr as a doctor named Clay and a dolphin as a dolphin. Stop it.
Am I seeing it? I'm gonna go out on a limb and say no
Looking to discover something?
Apollo 18 (Sept 2)
Found footage in SPACE!! The reason why we never went back to the Moon, ooooh. I thought I was hearing great stuff for some reason, but it turns out it is supposedly awful. Yikes.
Am I seeing it? Not after hearing the universally horrible reviews
Warrior (Sept 9)
Movies.com favorite David Ehrlich described this film to me as "OH MY GOD TOM HARDY'S MUSCLES ARE EATING HIS BODY AND THREATENING TO BECOME A GLOBAL CONTAGION" and frankly, that's all I need to know. I'm sold.
Am I seeing it? Yup! Although perhaps not in theaters. There's only so many hours in the day.
Restless (Sept 16)
This new film from Gus Van Sant was poorly received at Cannes, but the premise is interesting enough. Mia Wasikowska plays a terminally ill girl who falls for a boy who likes going to funerals and is friends with the ghost of a Japanese kamikaze pilot.
Am I seeing it? Maybe. The bad reviews disappoint me, but the trailer still gets me. Seems like my kind of joint.
Tucker and Dale vs Evil (Sept 30)
The small horror comedy that made a splash at Comic-Con during the At the Drive In Panel, it stars Alan Tudyk and Tyler Rabine as two hilbillies who get attacked by a band of preppy school kids while on vacation at their mountain cabin. The film is supposed to be bananas amazing and I can't wait. It's actually on VOD right now, but I say wait it out and give it some much deserved love in theaters if you can.
Am I seeing it? Absolutely. Opening weekend.
Looking for something unlike anything else?
Drive (Sept 16)
Just go see it. Don't ask questions. Don't look anything up. It stars Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan and is unlike anything you've seen before. Maybe you'll like it, maybe you won't, but I loved it and did I mention Albert Brooks plays the heavy and Ron Pearlman steals every scene he's in? Dooooo itttt.
Am I seeing it? Already did. Add it to your list immediately.