E: September, let us admit it, is not a big movie month. It’s the January of the fall.
M: Or the August of the fall…
E: No, it’s even worse than August, because at least in August there are a few attempts at putting out movies with mass appeal. September’s a weird no-man’s land between the prestige movies of November and December, and the blockbusters of summer.
M: And the crappy horror movies of October.
E: Yes, and speaking of which, you might find a few horror movies in preparation for October. You may also find a few pieces of Oscar bait (the indie stuff, typically).
M: In other words, the stuff no one likes, but is “respected.”
C: Ha. Good way of putting it. Though I think you’re both wrong, in that good but underrated films sometimes come out in September.
E: You may be right, C, about there being the occasional charmer, but it’s not even worth quibbling about. Mostly you’re not going to find too much of interest. I can’t imagine how depressing it must be to be a film maker and have your move slated for September. But before I start feeling sorry for millionaires…
M: Hey, millionaires are people too!
E: Spoken like a true Republican. But can you really pity Hollywood millionaires?
M: No, they’re pretty much all liberals. Point to you.
E: Which brings me back to the subject – looking for gems in the soggy September landscape.
E: Horror story about a secret mission to the moon (Apollo 17 being the last actual flight) and the creepy crawlies no one knew we found there. Conspiracy theorist bait.
C: Really dumb name, in that it sounds like a sequel to Apollo 13 instead of a vastly different type of film.
E: Marketing sleight of hand? You decide.
M: I’ll give them credit for having using the moon in the remake of the abysmal Red Planet, so as to make it not look like it’s a remake of the abysmal Red Planet.
Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
E: Chinese costume drama/Sherlock Holmes style mystery – and who knows if it’ll actually play anywhere outside of New York and L.A., but it’s actually getting great reviews.
M: Love the name!
E: I know, right? Could be fun, if we ever get a chance to see it.
A Good Old Fashioned Orgy
C: And speaking of titles that make you want to see the film… this isn’t one.
E: Jason Sudekis raunchy comedy with, let’s face it, a pretty decent title. For an 80s movie.
C: You’re on crack, sis.
M: Is Burt Reynolds involved? Because it really feels like he should be.
E: He’s sure got that 70s throw back appeal, and maybe the idea’s more Animal House than Revenge of the Nerds. So, hmm. What decade ARE they aiming for?
Seven Days in Utopia
E: A golf movie with the excellent cast of Robert Duvall, Deborah Ann Woll, Lucas Black and Melissa Leo.
C: Wait, did you say something about the cast? I had already dozed off after the words “golf movie.”
M: I heard a bit of an interview with Robert Duvall talking about this the other night, and while I heard almost nothing about the movie, it made me really want to see it because he was so passionate about it. Not the usual fluff you hear actors spew when making the rounds promoting a movie, he really seemed to love the film. And I mean, it’s Robert Duvall, how do you not take his word for it?
E: Duvall’s passion projects tend to be pretty thoughtful as well as entertaining, so perhaps this one’s worth seeking out.
Shark Night 3D
E: 3D, back to the 50s. This movie is exactly what you think it is; bikinis and blood. Boooring!
M: If you want to see a movie involving shark attacks, I recommend skipping this and renting the fantastic Soul Surfer, which I will be writing about soon.
E: Given that we’ve already missed Shark Week, which of course would be the most interesting.
E: This is the one movie I’m really excited about this month. This could be the pandemic movie that Outbreak (and the attempted adaptation of The Hot Zone) wasn’t. And the cast is beyond ridiculous. Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Jennifer Ehle, Lawrence Fishburne, John Hawkes, Marion Cotillard, Jude Law, Bryan Cranston, Elliot Gould – I mean, get out of town!
M: This looks really good, which makes you wonder how it ended up in September…
E: No, seriously. You need to get out of town. There’s a plague, remember?
M: Har har. Oh, and you forgot Enrico Colantoni! How could you!?!
C: Keith Mars! The sadness of him dying of plague would be shattering.
E: That would be totally devastating, I agree. And yeah, I do wonder how it ended up in September. Either it’ll run away with the box office because it’s awesome and there’s no competition, or someone’s trying to bury it.
C: It may be genius – nothing else good to see, so throw a bit of a heavier movie with suspense and a lot of names at the audience and wait for the money to roll in.
E: Father and son/sibling rivalry drama set in the world of competitive mixed martial arts. If I didn’t dislike Nick Nolte more than I like Tom Hardy, I’d say this might be a great rental.
C: Just to note for our readers, it’s Tom Hardy the actor who was in Inception that she’s endorsing, not Thomas Hardy the godforsaken misery of a nineteenth-century novelist.
E: Oh, yes, I’m sure that’s a common mistake.
M: UFC is making a big push to supplant boxing as the fighting sport of the future, with a new TV contract with Fox, so this is great timing for them.
Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star
M: Looks awful, but the presence of Christina Ricci and Don Johnson (in a Burt-Reynolds-in-Boogie-Nights type role) give it some potential. Not much, but some.
E: Why does that just scare me?
E: Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan are interesting, but the movie?
M: Yeah, I don’t know.
C: Gosling plays a stunt man/getaway driver who’s running from baddies after a heist goes wrong. It’s apparently gotten some good feedback, but it looks dark and dreary. The oddest part to me is that Carey Mulligan, according to Wikipedia, plays the single mom of a 7-year-old. Isn’t Mulligan, like, 20?
M: If she’s not she sure looks like it.
E: For the same reasons that actresses start playing the hot mom to teens when they hit their thirties, or why babyfaced Michelle Monaghan played Shia LeBouef’s mom a couple years ago despite being only ten years older than him (and looking less).
M: And that Sean Connery played the senior Doctor Jones in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, when he’s only about 10 years older than Harrison Ford.
I Don’t Know How She Does It
E: I don’t have a huge amount of sympathy for the super rich. I guess I’m the audience for this Sarah Jessica Parker comedy (harried mother) and yet, no.
M: I haven’t liked anything with Sarah Jessica Parker in it since Honeymoon in Vegas, and that was in 1992. The only other thing I can think of that I liked with her in it was Flight of the Navigator, and she had next to nothing to do with us liking that underrated classic.
E: Wow, I totally forgot she was in that movie. Maybe I’ll watch that instead.
C: I suspect almost anything would be better than this.
The Lion King 3D
E: 3D, back to the 90s! (Hey, it’s a running gag!)
C: Can we say “soulless money grab”?
M: I’ve seen the original, which is emotionally brutal. From the sounds of this “why remake a classic” remake, it is more physically brutal than the original, and less good. Again, like the remake of Psycho, why does Hollywood do this?
E: Money. Also, hubris.
Pearl Jam Twenty
E: Excuse me while I run off somewhere and cry.
M: I hadn’t heard of this, but wow. I still remember when I first heard Pearl Jam. They were a transformational band, changing the direction of pop music, more so I thought than Nirvana, who always has gotten more credit. This could be really interesting, then again it could be really sad, like the “currently residing in the Where Are They Now file'” scene in Spinal Tap.
C: But guys, this isn’t just another music documentary. This is directed by Cameron Crowe. I was never into Pearl Jam (any more than the whole country was at a certain point), but that’s got my attention.
E: You’re missing the point. Pearl Jam has been around for 20 years? I can’t even handle that.
C: Oh, I forgot. Contagion has no chance of grabbing all the money, because people will already have emptied their pockets for this.
E: Um, except Contagion opens 2 weeks earlier. It’s not a time travel movie, is it? I’d like to think that it’s not that I’m too old for a movie starring Taylor Lautner and Lily Collins. It’s just that I’m old enough to care whether or not the movie’s good.
M: Wait, are you saying you were LESS picky when you were younger? Don’t make me bring up Back To The Future 2 and Biff’s makeup!
E: No, you’re right. I’ve always been too old for this movie.
E: Now this true tale of a dolphin’s injured tail, on the other hand, makes me think of Sunday Night Disney movies. Do I need to see it in the theater? No. Would my kids enjoy it? Probably.
M: I agree, it seems like a throwback Disney TV movie. Is either Jodie Foster or Kurt Russell in it?
E: No, but there’s Morgan Freeman and Harry Connick Jr, who’re pretty great substitutes.
C: Wasn’t there a movie called this already? Oh, I’m thinking of Murderball. Next up: Powerball.
E: The economics of baseball aren’t maybe the most obvious subject of a feature film. The book seemed smart, though, and Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill and Robin Wright (Pennless) might spice the topic up for the screen.
M: I’m a huge baseball and a stat geek. I love behind the scenes looks into the world of sports, especially into front office type things. I absolutely, positively LOVED this book, and highly recommend it. However, I can’t for the life of me see how it translates into a movie. There’s no real narrative, there are too many chapters of only tangentially related information, too many characters, and no real accomplishment for the main character (if you can even call Beane a main character). And really, Jonah Hill?
E: Oscar winner/indie queen Melissa Leo makes her second foray into September’s tepid waters in this politically-flavored horror movie from Kevin Smith. Yeah. I don’t get it either.
C: That’s… peculiar.
M: Smith kind of derailed a while back. I wish he’d go back to making movies like Clerks and Mall Rats.
E: Back to the 90s!
Machine Gun Preacher
E: This is another one of those epic titles attached to B-looking films. It stars Gerard Butler. Are you surprised?
M: That the voice of Stoic the Vast can’t seem to find good live-action work? Nope.
C: But his face is so pretty…
E: Okay, now I want to watch How To Train Your Dragon, which kicks butt even if you can’t see his pretty face.
E: Jonah Hill looks for the comedy in a friend’s fight with cancer. Based on a true story. The rather wonderful Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the friend.
M: I know they’re easily confused, but it’s Seth Rogan, not Jonah Hill. For me, at least, that’s a big step up, and I like JGL a lot. Plus I’ve heard good things.
E: OH. Yes, much better.
C: I can’t really tell the difference. For me to see this Joseph Gordon-Levitt would have to be the star, not the one marked for death.
E: Ah, the project which introduced spouses Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz.
C: Are they really? I had no idea. I thought she was married to somebody else famous.
M: And this, really, is the start of the Halloween movie season. Great cast, though.
E: She was engaged to Darren Aronofsky. You don’t want to go there. It’s icky.
E: Anna Paquin tries to atone for a car accident she believes she caused.
M: Is it just because I don’t have HBO that it feels like her career’s been disappointing after the early acclaim of The Piano and the popular appeal of the X-Men movies?
E: I dunno, I feel like that fact that a child actor has a career at all is kind of impressive.
C: True Blood is very popular. I’d say she isn’t doing badly for herself at all, even if it isn’t exactly heavy-hitting stuff.
What’s Your Number
E: Rote-looking romantic comedy starring Anna Faris and Chris Evans. Also features Ari Gaynor, Blythe Danner, and Sylar from Heroes.
M: This strikes me as a “let’s see what the word of mouth is” movie. If it takes off, maybe, but I don’t want to be the first to get in line.
E: Oh, wow, I am beyond uninterested in this. I can’t believe you’re even mildly tempted.
M: Yeah, I know, but I like Blythe Danner and Zachary Quinto (Sylar), and have heard very good reports on Chris Evans performance in Captain America. If it has good word of mouth it and those three might be enough to overcome Anna Farris’ presence.
E: Stars recent Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (Reservation Road) and current smart film it girl Jessica Chastain (Tree of Life, The Help). The father of a deaf child falls apart.
M: I got nothing.
C: Standard depressing September fare. And on that note: hope our readers all found something you want to see – or found inspiration to stay home and save your money!