Monday, August 13, 2007

26 movies to watch (or not watch) in September

September is a surprisingly full month for movies, despite kids returning to school, summer still lingering around and its reputation for being a dump month. But never fear, because Erik the Movie Review Guy is here to tell you exactly what to watch this September. Stray from this list and I may hunt you down (and subsequently throw a pillow at you), so be warned.

(click on the title to see release dates, cast details and more)

  1. Eastern Promises

    The latest film from David Cronenberg, the director of the awesome A History of Violence, Eastern Promises pulls Viggo Mortensen out of hiding to co-star with Naomi Watts in this drama-thriller about a woman who digs a little too deep into the Russian mafia. With all of the ingredients prepared and a kick-ass trailer to boot, this one looks like a repeat of the success of Violence. I can't wait.

  2. 3:10 to Yuma

    This western flick stars Russell Crowe and Christian Bale as two men on different sides of the law. Gritty and definitely not like the westerns your parents grew up with, 3:10 to Yuma is about a vicious robber (Crowe) who is captured by the law (Bale) and then transported to another town for execution. Along the way, Bale's character runs into his defiant son, and Crowe's men show up to rescue their fearless leader. Based on the trailer, we're looking at some great drama by two excellent actors and some intense action sequences to boot. If this one isn't good, I will be highly disappointed.

  3. The Kingdom

    I've been anticipated this action-thriller set in Saudi Arabia for quite some time. While the push from its original release date in the spring to September is a little unsettling, this Jamie Foxx/Jennifer Garner movie looks to have plenty of intrigue and action, and has the budget to back everything up. It could end up being more of a drama than the previews let on, which might turn off some viewers, but I'm still looking forward to a quality action movie set in the Middle East.

  4. The Brave One

    Jodie Foster doesn't do a lot of movies, but she's back and The Brave One certainly looks to be one of her darker films. Following late August's Death Sentence, this thriller will be the second revenge flick in less than a month, but the previews have been stellar for both. It doesn't look like there will be much comedy in this one, as Foster becomes a real-life vigilante who kills criminals whenever she feels like it. These revenge movies can often end up being not so good, but when done right, boy do they kick ass.

  5. Lust, Caution

    The latest film from Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain), this Chinese drama-thriller is about a woman who seduces a man (Tony Leung) with the eventual intent to kill him. Presumably, the movie is in Chinese, so the trailer for the film features no dialogue but instead a moving and powerful soundtrack and lots of brief shots of the progression of the story. Lee has shown a knack for quality when his main character is not a green comic book character, and this one has all the makings of an early Oscar contender.

  6. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

    This Brad Pitt film has been pushed back over a year, which does not bode well for its chances at being good, but that aside, everything I've seen thus far has me wetting my pants. The teaser trailer is short and to the point, and makes my hair tingle every time I watch it. And how can you beat that title? Compared to 3:10 to Yuma, the other western of the month, I don't expect it to be as good, but it definitely has the marketing intrigue going for it.

  7. Across the Universe

    This Julie Taymor movie looks like a combination of Moulin Rouge, Yellow Submarine, Platoon and perhaps Forrest Gump (only not funny), as it takes a look at a love story set against the turbulent 1960's and the Vietnam War. Taymor, never known to do "normal" movies, has apparently added a musical element to the film, so who knows what the final product is actually going to look like. Either way, the film stars Evan Rachel Wood, who I like for multiple reasons, not all of them innocent, and certainly seems to have a grasp on its subject matter. It's just a question on whether Taymor manages to piece everything together.

  8. Fierce People

    Every year a couple of these movies come along, about some young man getting thrust into a strange setting and growing up really quickly as a result. Not unlike Almost Famous, Fierce People looks to have the intrigue of a bug-on-the-wall perspective on the upper class, as one young guy gets lucky and lands a room in a mansion owned by Donald Sutherland, who seems to be screwing his mom, played by Diane Lane. He then runs into an elite brother and sister, the brother being the Human Torch (Chris Evans) and the daughter being the ever-so-attractive-and-apparently-sort-of-crazy Kristen Stewart. Fierce People looks like a dramatic blast, or like a serious version of Mean Girls.

  9. Run, Fatboy, Run

    Certainly not an Oscar contender, Run, Fatboy, Run is on this list for one simple reason: Simon Pegg. Pegg, the star of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, is gold right now, and this movie, with its hilarious title, looks pretty damn funny, even if the trailer just shows Pegg getting hurt and running around in his nasty underwear. It might not be rocket science, but the previews cater perfectly to Pegg's audience.

  10. Good Luck Chuck

    This comedy could easily end up being bad, especially considering the fact that neither Jessica Alba or Dane Cook have much of a record for choosing quality comedies, but, then again, the movie stars Jessica Alba and Dane Cook. Alba looks about as good as she has ever looked, which is enough to draw me to theaters along with millions of other desperate men; I'll leave the women to comment on Cook. The movie is about a guy who women sleep with because there is a rumor that after they sleep with him, they will find the love of their lives. This works out well for Chuck until he meets the girl of his dreams - but if he sleeps with her, will she fall in love with someone else? The concept is funny and... it stars Jessica Alba.

  11. The Darjeeling Limited

    The latest Wes Anderson film doesn't look as funny as his previous efforts, but the more I watch the trailer the more I want to see it. About three brothers (Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman) who ride a really weird train around India, The Darjeeling Limited looks like it has all the odd ball things one has come to expect from Anderson. My highlight is a scene where the train gets lost, and Schwartzman points out that trains can't get lost because they're on rails.

  12. In the Valley of Elah

    Tommy Lee Jones does what he does best in In the Valley of Elah, by playing a man investigating a crime. He has worked the role to perfection and then some, and even though he's not playing an official investigator here, he seems made for the role of a retired Army man looking into the disappearance of his soldier son. A military cover-up ensues. While the ending of the trailer may suggest this is more of a character drama than a suspense film, the movie looks pretty fast-paced and intriguing. Also note how many times Charlize Theron knocks papers off of desks in the trailer.

  13. The Savages

    Starring Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Savages looks to be a promising drama-comedy about a brother and sister trying to reconcile after years of fighting. The movie promises lots of fighting between the two, which should be entertaining, but overall looks pretty good. This film probably isn't Oscar caliber, but if done right could get some votes for the talented actors involved.

  14. Resident Evil: Extinction

    The two previous Resident Evil movies haven't been great, but they haven't been terrible, either. Probably one of the most successful video game adaptations, the movies have been restrained by unnecessary video game elements (flashy action sequences and over-the-top stunts), but you can see signs that it wants to break the mold. Extinction looks to be set sometime later in the wasteland that was once Las Vegas, and has a Mad Max aura about it. That's not a bad thing, as it gives the movie a fresh look without completely departing from formula. Extinction probably won't be great, but it could be a fun ride.

  15. Into the Wild

    This Sean Penn-directed movie doesn't look amazingly exciting, but it could still end up being quite good if done right. About a young man who leaves everything he has to go live in the wild (though he eventually meets a girl who is thankfully not an animal), Into the Wild will have lots of beautiful scenery and hopefully some good acting from rising stars Emile Hirsch and Kristen Stewart. I'm not a huge fan of these self-exploration flicks, but Into the Wild still looks pretty good (I'm getting quite sick of saying "looks pretty good" but I can't think of any better way to describe most of these movies).

  16. The Hunting Party

    About a couple of overly ambitious journalists in the middle of a war zone, The Hunting Party looks like it will be one of this year's first mainstream films to address unrest in another part of the world. Based on a true story of what I can't remember, the film stars Richard Gere, Terrence Howard and Jesse Eisenberg as three reporters who attempt to track down an elusive fugitive terrorist for an interview, but, as one might imagine, end up stepping on a hornet's next in the process. Political intrigue, action and government conspiracy ensue.

  17. Trade

    I thought this movie had potential... when it was supposed to be released in 2006. Now that it's been pushed back almost a year to a month that is not known for Oscar-worthy films, I have to question how much of a disaster Trade is. Still, this look into the black market trade of humans is intriguing, so I'll give it a chance, but my guess is that it isn't going to be all that good.

  18. December Boys

    Harry Potter returns, but this time in a drama about four boys who are looking to be adopted. This movie marks the first semi-big film for Daniel Radcliffe that does not include magic wands, and that alone should draw people to theaters. The movie looks halfway decent, though it's certainly a story that has been done before in some form or another. Still, it's a good choice for Radcliffe who would be smart to stay away from mainstream films as much as he can to avoid the inevitable typecasting he is going to receive.

  19. Feast of Love

    This quirky romantic comedy-drama starring Greg Kinnear, Morgan Freeman and a slew of others (don't worry, Kinnear and Freeman are not love interests of one another) looks like it has promise, though the trailer really isn't funny enough to have me heading to theaters. More than likely, Feast of Love will be forgotten before it reaches DVD, but good reviews could save this one.

  20. Mr. Woodcock

    Seann William Scott stars as a young man who was tormented as a child by his coach, Mr. Woodcock (Billy Bob Thornton). To his horror, he finds out that the evil man has moved in with his mother. The two roles are perfect for these two actors, and I look forward to them sparring for an hour and a half. More than likely, Mr. Woodcock is not going to be a great comedy, but it has enough funny scenes in the trailer to draw some audiences to theaters.

  21. The Brothers Solomon

    Certainly the dumbest movie of September, The Brothers Solomon stars the pretty funny Will Arnett ("Arrested Development") and Will Forte as two sheltered men trying to get with women - unfortunately, they don't have a clue how to do it. The movie won't appeal to everyone, but the trailer has enough goofy gags to interest certain audiences. I'm on the fence, and more than likely will wait until DVD. After films such as Knocked Up and [maybe] Superbad, expectations for male-oriented comedies have gone through the roof. Will The Brothers Solomon fulfill those expectations? I highly doubt it.

  22. The Signal

    It's hard to rate a film where the teaser only has a really annoying sound and a few creepy clips of random things, but The Signal is definitely trying to play up its similarities to The Ring. Hell, I received a DVD in the mail a month or two back - I thought it was a screener for the film, and instead it turned out to be nothing more than thirty seconds of the horrid "signal". The tagline, "Do you have the crazy?" is pretty cool, though, so I'm a bit intrigued.

  23. Romance & Cigarettes

    This comedy-drama from John Turturro that stars James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet, Steve Buscemi, Christopher Walken, Mandy Moore, Mary-Louise Parker and more certainly has the talent, but the previews aren't all that amazing. The movie looks like a midlife crisis kind of flick, but while there are a few funny moments, there isn't enough here to have me heading towards theaters.

  24. Shoot 'Em Up

    Normally, I would jump all over a Clive Owen-starring action movie that also features Paul Giamatti, but Shoot 'Em Up just doesn't look that good. There'll be plenty of action, but an action movie without a story to piece everything together is just stupid, and Shoot 'Em Up definitely seems to fit that mold. Who knows - maybe it'll be a blast - but I'd rather see Sin City 2 come around one of these days. Oh, and the title is God-awful.

  25. The Jane Austen Book Club

    It's a chick flick about women who really like Jane Austen. As they discuss books, they also look at ways to get their relationships and lives on track. Might be okay, but I'm in the wrong demographic, and hence unless I get dragged unwillingly to theaters on a date, my eyes will never meet this movie.

  26. Dragon Wars (D-Wars)

    Wow. How is this one actually making it to theaters? While the concept is fine (dragons attack the world), the visual effects just don't look up to snuff. This one should be heading direct to DVD, but for some reason Freestyle Releasing thinks they can make some money off of this piece of crap. Pump another $10 million into the visuals and you might have something here, but as is this looks like a destruction film that was made thirty years ago.

1 comment:

RC said...

good list...

i personally am excited (to some degree) about all your films in the top 6...and then also in the valley of elah.

i think there's some real potential for some great films from these september offerings.