Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Look At September's Movies

After a jam packed August filled with many surprisingly quality films, September arrives to bring us a handful of fake Oscar bait, two rereleases of adored classics, seemingly all of the indies that got mixed reviews out of the film fest circuit, and a bizarre plethora of thrillers and genre flicks. Looking at the slate right now, at least one thing becomes very clear - no new movie will possibly make more money opening weekend than either of the rereleases, right? It's an interesting box office race this month, that's for sure. 

To take a look at my complete preview of September, head to For now, here are my ten most anticipated. 

Bachelorette (Sept 7)
Three friends are asked to be bridesmaids at a wedding of a woman they used to ridicule back in high school.
Although "Bachelorette", written, directed and adapted from the play by Leslye Headlund, received mixed reviews out of Sundance, many calling it a mean spirited version of "Bridesmaids", don't be frightened away. The film might be tonally confused at times, and fans of the play may baulk at its alternate, happier ending, but the performances from Isla Fisher, Lizzy Caplan, and in particular a firey Kirsten Dunst are worth the ride. Plus, supporting appearances from Rebel Wilson, James Marsden, Adam Scott, Hayes MacArthur and Kyle Bornheimer certainly don't hurt. BTW if you can't wait a week, you can catch "Bachelorette" on VOD this very moment.

Raiders of the Lost Ark IMAX (Sept 7)
Archeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the US government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis.
Just so you're aware. One week only. Get your tickets now. But no really. This is not a drill.

The rest after the jump!

Branded (Sept 7th)
Set in a dystopian future where corporate brands have created a disillusioned population, one man's effort to unlock the truth behind the conspiracy will lead to an epic battle with hidden forces that control the world.
The surrealist sci-fi film that stole the At the Drive In panel at Comic-Con this year finally hits theaters in an otherwise indie-sci-fi light month, with a diverse cast including relative unknown (at least in the US) Ed Stoppard plus Leelee Sobieski, Max von Sydow and Jeffrey Tambor. It's QR code laden first trailer got fans talking, and its trippy follow up seems to confirm "Branded"'s eventual beloved cult status.

The Master (Sept 14 limited, Sept 21 expands)
A 1950s-set drama centered on the relationship between a charismatic intellectual known as "the Master" whose faith-based organization begins to catch on in America, and a young drifter who becomes his right-hand man.
The trailer that broke the internet. The 70mm frame rate that broke it again. Could there possibly *be* a buzzier movie coming out this month? P.T. Anderson's first film since his should-have-won-the-Oscar "There Will Be Blood", is 'secretly' about the origins of Scientology, featuring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jaoquin Phoenix in roles that may garner them even more Oscar nominations, and hey maybe even another win for good ol' Phil. While Anderson's movies have never been for everyone, if they speak to you, they take you over completely. Don't be a dummy and make a point of seeing this on the big screen while you can.

Arbitrage (Sept 14)
A troubled hedge fund magnate desperate to complete the sale of his trading empire makes an error that forces him to turn to an unlikely person for help.
The movie that will revitalize Richard Gere's career that also stars indie darling Brit Marling and yes please. This directorial debut from Nicholas Jarecki is pulling a rocking 100% on Rotten Tomatoes right now, after a strong festival showing, *mostly* because of Gere's performance, along with co-star Nate Parker, who Variety named one of 2012's Breakthrough Performers. This tight corporate suspense thriller might be surprising us well into awards season.

Liberal Arts (Sept 14)
When thirty-something Jesse returns home for his father's retirement party, he falls for Zibby, a college student, and is faced with the powerful attraction that springs up between them.
Lizzie Olsen FTW! This second film from sitcom star cum writer/director Josh Radnor has received mostly positive response from the festival circuit, and word on the street is Zac Efron gives a brief but memorable turn that should erase at least some of the damage done by his miserable performance in this year's "The Lucky One". While "Liberal Arts" may suffer from some modicum of manic pixie dreamgirl fatigue, if that manic pixie dreamgirl is played by Lizzie Olsen, can't we look past it, just this once?

Dredd 3D (Sept 21)
In a violent, futuristic city where the police have the authority to act as judge, jury and executioner, a cop teams with a trainee to take down a gang that deals the reality-altering drug, SLO-MO.
Who would have thunk a reboot of "Judge Dredd" would become one of the best reviewed and most anticipated films of the fall? After successful screenings across the world, beginning at TIFF last year, and culminating in a glowing reception at Comic-Con, Dredd 3D will be making all of our brains explode in a mere few weeks! The film stars Karl Urban as the titular Dredd and also features nothing to sneeze at Olivia Thirlby and Lena Headey. Midnight release, anyone??

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Sept 21)
An introverted high-school freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world.
The unofficial required reading for an entire generation of high school students (here's looking at you, fellow Millenials) finally makes it way to the big screen in what appears to be a faithful and effective adaptation, if the trailer is any indication. Not to mention, Ezra Miller in a role that won't terrify and upset you! Author Stephen Chbosky, perhaps best known for creating the short lived series "Jericho", directs the film, his first time helming a feature in over 15 years.

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel (Sept 21)
A look at the life and work of the influential fashion editor of Harpers Bazaar, Diana Vreeland.
A favorite from the Santa Barbara International Film Festival earlier this year, which also made appearances at TIFF, Telluride and San Francisco, this out-of-the-box doc is a must see. Check out my capsule review from SBIFF here and make sure to get yourself to whatever tiny theater is lucky enough to be showing this on Sept 21st.

Looper  (Sept 28)
In 2072, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. Someone like Joe, who one day learns the mob wants to 'close the loop' by transporting back Joe's future self.
FINALLY! FINALLY! FINALLY! Rian Johnson's third movie following greats "Brick" and "The Brothers Bloom" takes us into science fiction, a genre the writer/director loves was eager to jump into. The film stars Joseph Gordon Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, and a kick ass make up job that turns Gordon Levitt into a completely believable young Willis. "Looper" has been making the convention rounds all year long, consistently impressing with fantastic footage and smart, well spoken, enthusiastic panelists. Please oh please oh please be the best thing ever.

The Other Dream Team  (Sept 28)
The incredible story of the 1992 Lithuanian basketball team, whose athletes struggled under Soviet rule, became symbols of Lithuania's independence movement, and - with help from the Grateful Dead - triumphed at the Barcelona Olympics.
After a strong appearance at Sundance and multiple other feasts, this uplifting doc comes to theaters at the end of the month. Early reviews are excellent and cover an important part of Olympic history we might not all be familiar with. Do it.