In a couple of weeks September will be here which unfortunately means the end of summer, but with the fall comes the best season for movies. It’s Academy Award season – when the studios put the best of the best on display. Let’s take a look at what’s on the horizon over the next four months, starting today with the Sept. and Oct. releases. (NOTE 1: I’ve left out the cartoons because we’re all adults here, right?) (NOTE 2: These movies can only hope to equal SNOWPIERCER, which is visual orgasm of sci-fi brilliance mixed with smart social and political commentary of the highest order. If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor.)
THE MAZE RUNNER – Based on the best-selling James Dashner novel about a bunch of teenage boys who wake up trapped in a giant maze with their memories erased. As they try to escape and solve the mystery of their capture they are hunted by the monstrous Grievers. Sweet special effects, harrowing action sequences, and the unravelling of an interesting mystery will make this a good choice for sci-fi fans.
BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP – Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth star in this mystery/thriller about a woman who forgets everything each morning when she wakes up, eventually coming to question everyone and everything around her. Kidman always does a great job in these kinds of films, and this time she’ll be working with a fellow Academy Award-winner, so expect top-notch acting. If you’re a photography nerd, this is the last movie ever filmed on the now extinct Fuji 35mm film stock.
THE DROP – A bartender gets caught up in a botched robbery in which the ensuing investigation reveals that his family, friends, and foes are all connected in ways he couldn’t possibly imagine. The film stars Tom Hardy, who is one of the best actors going right now. If you didn’t see his last performance in LOCKE (2013) – you missed a “tour de force” as they say. Also, this is unfortunately your last chance to see the late great James Gandolfini.
THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELANOR RIGBY: THEM – A uniquely crafted story told from the two different perspectives of a couple on the rocks played by Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy, as they try to recapture the love they once knew. Originally released as two separate films, writer/director Ned Benson has combined them for a major theatrical release. Chastain is going to win an Oscar one day and this might just be the year.
TUSK – Director Kevin Smith (CLERKS, MALLRATS, CHASING AMY) returns with this horror/comedy based on a segment from his web series about a maniac who tortures a man into becoming a walrus. If you’re a Jay and Silent Bob fan you can’t miss this.
THE ZERO THEOREM – Terry Gilliam (12 MONKEYS, FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, BRAZIL, MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL) is back with another crazy sci-fi thriller about an obsessive computer genius (Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz) working on a project to discover the true meaning of life, or complete lack thereof. Co-starring Tilda Swinton and Matt Damon. All of Gilliam’s films have a weird, eerie, surreal feel – be warned. A WALK AMONG
THE TOMBSTONES – Sounds like a formulaic Liam Neeson action flick: he plays a P.I. hired to find the kidnapped wife of a drug kingpin. What he finds is the assailants are more than just kidnappers. Neeson has a knack for bringing layers to his characters in these kinds of films that can raise the level of everyone and everything around him. So while this might be an eye-roller, it could also be a sleeper hit like TAKEN was.
THE EQUALIZER – Another seemingly by-the-numbers action movie starring Oscar-winner Denzel Washington as a former Black Ops commando who faked his own death so he could retire to a quiet, normal life – until he meets a woman being terrorized by the Russian mob, and is forced out of retirement. Much like the Liam Neeson film it might be corny and campy, but Denzel is such a great actor I’d give anything he does a chance. For instance, last year’s 2 GUNS seemed like it would be silly and forgettable, but was actually awesome.
THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY – Kirsten Dunst and Viggo Mortensen star in this thriller about a couple who befriend a scam-artist while on vacation. After a murder at their hotel all three end up on the run together, wondering who they can really trust. This is the directorial debut of Hossein Amini, who wrote DRIVE and THE WINGS OF THE DOVE.
GONE GIRL – Master craftsmen David Fincher (SE7EN, FIGHT CLUB, THE SOCIAL NETWORK) returns to direct Ben Affleck in this mystery/thriller about a man who becomes the prime suspect after his wife disappears. Gillian Flynn wrote the best-selling novel the film is based on and adapted the screenplay as well. Her script has a different ending than the book as she wanted to keep fans guessing. Everything Fincher does is fantastic; I can’t see this being any different.
THE GOOD LIE – A true story about the triumphant survival of “The Lost Boys” – orphans of the Sudanese Civil War in the ’80’s who travelled a thousand miles to find refuge. Starring Oscar-winner Reese Witherspoon.
THE JUDGE – This dramedy tells the tale of a lawyer who returns to his hometown when his father, a judge, is accused of murder. An all-star cast (Robert Downey Jr., Vera Farmiga, Robert Duvall, Leighton Meester, Billy Bob Thornton, Vincent D’Onofrio) make this an intriguing pick for a smart, funny flick.
BIRDMAN – Michael Keaton plays a washed-up actor who once played an iconic superhero, trying to reclaim his life and past glory. Co-starring Zach Galifianakis, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, and Edward Norton. One look at the trailer for this film directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (AMORES PERROS, 21 GRAMS, BIUTIFUL) shows so many different elements of quirky, oddball weirdness coming together. Saying this movie is going to be unique would be a ridiculous understatement; it’s a possible future cult classic, and a can’t-miss.
FURY – A World War II film about an army sergeant (Brad Pitt) who commands a Sherman Tank and its five-man crew on a dangerous mission into the heart of Nazi Germany. If you can get passed the fact that you’ll have to deal with Shia LaBeouf, this is the biggest war movie of the fall.
NIGHTCRAWLER – A young reporter (Jake Gyllenhaal) stumbles into the cutthroat world of freelance crime journalism and begins chasing down car crashes, fires, and murders for profit – eventually becoming the star of his own story. Co-starring Rene Russo and Bill Pullman. This flick sets up to be an edge of your seat thrill ride at least, a smart social commentary on the despicable world of TV news at best.
DRACULA UNTOLD – The origin story of Dracula. The trailer makes this look like it will most likely be a horrible piece of crap, but people love vampires so it’s worth mentioning. Here’s to the hope that it’s a so-bad-it’s-good kind of thing.
YOUNG ONES – The obligatory dystopian future movie about the struggle to survive in a future in which water is scarce. Staring Nicholas Hoult, Elle Fanning, and Michael Shannon. Looks like some brilliant cinematography by Giles Nuttgens, but early reviews are pretty awful.
HORNS – Daniel Radcliffe continues to try and distance himself from Harry Potter in this weird horror film. He plays a man who grows horns that give him mysterious powers. With Juno Temple and Heather Graham. Sounds dumb, but actually looks like a cool fantasy film and early reviews have been solid.
Article By: Anthony Schiano