September sees the release of a few summer blockbusters. A few of them are worth buying on Blu-Ray. There are also a few independent films highlighted here.
Each selection will be accompanied by a quick nerdy little blurb to help you decide what to watch this month.
Also included are some on the fence releases and a few well-regarded movies I just happen to have no interest in. Let me know if I missed a worthy hidden gem or if I should change my mind on any of these selections.
Dig in and enjoy!
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
Heralded by many as the best film of the summer, the latest MAD MAX is a visceral roller coaster ride that shakes the crap out you. Non-stop action from the very start. A straight forward plot involves freeing precious resources from a ruthless dictator. Practical stuntwork is a real highlight here.
The surprising focus here is on Charlize Theron’s Furiousa. This testosterone fueled action epic has a refreshing feminist angle. While Tom Hardy plays the titular character, this is really Theron’s movie.
* Check out my earlier review for some nerdy analysis *
THE AGE OF ADALINE
Blake Lively stars in this romance with a sci-fi twist. She plays a character who never ages. While this could verge into melodrama, the premise sounds melancholic and heart-breaking. Harrison Ford co-stars as a lover from the past who meets our unaged hero decades later.
Sometimes you feel like a good romance. This month, ADALINE looks like the best option. Could Lively break through into more dramatic roles? Or was this movie terrible? Let me know.
A super compelling documentary about controversial whistle-blower Edward Snowden. This brave young man revealed startling information regarding the American government spying on its citizens. Filmmakers had unprecedented access to Snowden, providing his story in his own words. Is Snowden a hero worth championing or a villainous anarchist? You decide.
Stay tuned for Oliver Stone’s feature film adaption of the true story, starring Joseph Gordon Levitt. Coming soon.
Al Pacino stars in this character driven drama. Thankfully, he seems to have dialed back his over-the-top performance style for a more quiet and subdued character. Meeting Holly Hunter urges this depressed man to take another shot at life and happiness. The versatile and underrated Chris Messina (HBO’s amazing NEWSROOM) co-stars as his son. If the title is any indication this film looks to be a touching drama that avoids being too manipulative and on-the-nose like a lot of Hollywood romance. Meaning: the title doesn’t force any sort of feeling on you.
Another highlight for what could be an indie hidden gem is the beautiful photography guided by unpredictable rising star director, David Gordon Green (JOE, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, and the upcoming OUR BRAND IS CRISIS with Sandra Bullock).
Who would have thought the 7th part of any franchise could be good? This is a rarity reserved for special occasions (fingers crossed STAR WARS for this December). The FAST & FURIOUS franchise kept it fresh by switching up its focus from racing, to team-based heists, to this one: a MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE style stunt-filled extravaganza. Turn off your brain, turn off rational physics, and let your eyeballs enjoy the show. Bonus points for a touching farewell to Paul Walker.
* Check out my earlier review *
LOVE & MERCY
This biopic tells the story of Beach Boys leader and co-founder Brian Wilson. This talented and influential artist struggled with his own personal issues. In a bold move, the story focuses on his younger years with Paul Dano (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, THERE WILL BE BLOOD) and more recent years with John Cusack.
Khalid from The Blazing Reel convinced me to see this one with his compelling review.
PITCH PERFECT 2
Anna Kendrick stars in the sequel to the surprisingly hilarious original comedy. The story follows an a capella music group of misfits, as they try an win a singing competition. Rooting for these underdogs is tons of fun. Rebel Wilson steals each scene, as one of our brightest new comedians. This crowd-pleaser reminds me of cult classics like MEAN GIRLS and BRING IT ON.
Kevin Bacon stars in this character-based thriller. Two young boys find a police car abandoned in a field and take it for a joyride. Turns out, the car belongs to the Sheriff (Bacon), and he’s coming looking for it. Obviously, something important (re: incriminating) is in that vehicle. This kicks off a lethal game of cat and mouse, as these kids are in for one of hell of a car chase. This indie flick has some good word of mouth, increasing the anticipation even more. Bacon is always good, and even better when he has an intense character like this.
NERD ALERT: Jon Watts, the young director, has been tapped to helm the next Marvel Studio influenced SPIDER-MAN movie.
A remake to the horrifying 80s original. Sam Rockwell (MOON, CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND) stars as a family man whose daughter speaks to ghosts who can move objects – to dangerous effect, of course. She acts an unlikely link to the paranormal Otherworld. A lot of new horror isn’t so appealing, but this one has a solid pedigree. Let’s hope it’s as scary as the Spielberg produced original.
ON THE FENCE INCLUSIONS
THE D TRAIN (Sept. 1)
This comedy drama stars Jack Black and James Marsden. Black was never popular in school, now with the class reunion coming up he sets on a mission to recruit the most popular student from back in the day. He hopes to convince Marsden to join him and boost his popularity. You never know, this could have a good heart and leave you with a nice feeling, while making us laugh along the way.
BOULEVARD (Sept. 1)
Robin Williams stars in this dark character drama as a devoted husband with a secret life. It might be worth watching to see one last performance from Williams. However, I haven’t heard too much about this. Indie director, Dito Montiel (A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS), is another intriguing element.
EXTINCTION (Sept. 1)
This looks like the month’s best b-movie option. Matthew Fox (LOST) stars in this zombie apocalypse movie. He’s survived with his daughter by hiding out in a desolate snowy town. It seems like the walking dead have vanished, but they don’t know if they’re safe or if these zombies have evolved into something even deadlier. Horror movies like this all come down to style and execution. It could be good. Let me know if you’ve seen it.
AMERICAN HEIST (Sept. 8)
Canadian Hayden Christensen (STAR WARS) stars in this low(er) budget action thriller about a young man with a troubled past. His brother (Oscar winner Adrien Brody) lives in the criminal underworld. Christensen unwillingly gets entangled into a high-stakes bank robbery. The action kicks it old school. There were some impressive highlights in the trailer. Shot in Toronto, this film also stars Jordana Brewster (FAST & FURIOUS) and singer Akon. Looks pretty solid, especially if you remember Christensen’s performance in SHATTERED GLASS.
SPY (Sept. 29)
This Melissa McCarthy comedy spoofs spy films. It could be fun to watch McCarthy in an action role. Her comedies are hit-and-miss so far. I didn’t like THE HEAT, but thought TAMMY had a few laughs. For me, her best roles are co-starring ones thus far. Despite good reviews, I’m hesitant the jokes could get tired or telegraphed. Impressive co-stars like Jude Law, Rose Byrne, and Jason Statham are encouraging though. What do you think? Is this comedy worth watching?
FLICKS OF NO INTEREST
CINDERELLA (Sept. 15)
Apparently, this Disney fairy tale is quite good. For me, there isn’t any appeal. Chalk it up to the wrong demographic. Kenneth Brannagh directing is intriguing though. His HAMLET is probably the best version of that Shakespearean tragedy. Thankfully, this looks like a rather serious approach to the material.
ENTOURAGE (Sept. 29)
This comedy is aimed for fans of the show, which I could never get into. However, I understand this HBO series has a excited fanbase who might want to know its release date. Am I too dismissive here? Is this flick any good? Should I give it a shot?
What do you think?
Is this list missing a hidden gem? Should I hop off the fence on some of these?
Leave a comment below.