Fall Movie Preview: September 2013

So long, summer blockbuster season. Hello, award season.

September 6

Riddick

Somehow Vin Diesel conned people into greenlighting another of these shitty Riddick movies.

Salinger

JD Salinger continued writing after he retired public life in the 1960’s, supposedly leaving a safe full of completed manuscripts for publication after his death. Screenwriter Shane Salerno (Savages) examines Salinger’s very private life in this documentary featuring Tom Wolfe, Gore Vidal, Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Cusack and David Milch.

Limited

Touchy Feely

Lynn Shelton follows up Your Sister’s Sister with this drama about a massage therapist who can no longer stand to touch people. Starring Ellen Page, Rosemarie DeWitt (Promised Land) and everyone’s new favorite character actor, Scoot McNairy (Argo, Killing Them Softly), it hasn’t gotten the same warm reception as Your Sister’s Sister, but Shelton is an interesting director. Might be worth Netflixing.

Limited

September 13

Insidious Chapter 2

Coming off the sleeper success of The Conjuring, James Wan returns to Insidious, which actually didn’t scare me nearly as much as The Conjuring did. Chapter 2 looks a little scarier—that “he’s got your baby” part reminds me of The Others, one of the more effective horror movies in recent memory—but…eh. This probably explains Patrick Wilson’s career, though. I’m not particularly interested in watching him as a leading man.

The Family

Man, the Tribeca Film Festival must be destroying Robert DeNiro’s bank account.

September 20

Battle of the Year

Josh Holloway (Lost) is a plucky dance coach who teaches “urban youth” to believe in themselves through the power of dance. Seriously. For real. That’s the plot. Josh Holloway, Inspirational Dance Instructor.

This is one of those movies they can just stop making.

Prisoners

This is easily the best-looking wide release this month. Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal headline a cast that includes Paul Dano, Terrence Howard, Maria Bello, Melissa Leo and Viola Davis, in a movie about the disappearance of two little girls. It looks super intense, but doesn’t seem as introspective or deep as Mystic River, the movie it’s clearly hoping to emulate in the awards race. Also, while I still think Jake G would have been a very good action star, this is really the kind of movie he’s better suited for—character-driven work that includes some physicality. It’s the third such movie for him, following Source Code and End of Watch, so hopefully this is the groove he’s settling into after America so cruelly dashed his Movie Star dreams in favor of the Cro-Magnon man himself, Channing Tatum.

Apologize to Jake G, America, and go see his new movie.

Thanks for Sharing

Mark Ruffalo stars as a recovering sex addict faced with temptation when he meets Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow). The trailer looks cute, but I’m not sure what it says about the movie that Ruffalo has been absent from the promotional circuit.

Gwyneth’s body is CRAZY.

September 27

Baggage Claim

Paula Patton stars as Montana, a woman hell-bent on not being the oldest unmarried woman in her family, and so sets out to abuse her access as a flight attendant to find Mr. Right. It’s like a hellish cross between that crap Gwyneth Paltrow movie View from the Top and the absolutely appalling What’s Your Number? And as the oldest unmarried female in my family, I find it borderline offensive—everyone else being married somehow equates to me being a failure? Also, I liked Patton in Precious and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Punctuation, but I swear, she seemed drunk in every scene in 2 Guns.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

The “tacodile” thing kills me every time.

Don Jon

Joseph Gordon-Levitt makes his directorial debut based on a script he also wrote, about a Jersey Shore-type who hooks up with his dream girl (Scarlett Johansson) only to watch his relationship deteriorate as his porn addiction takes over. The trailers have downplayed the addiction angle, instead equating his porn to her rom-coms, so this is probably a little misleading and the movie is a bit darker and deeper than it’s being portrayed. It debuted at Sundance and reviews were mixed, but I’m curious enough about JGL: Filmmaker and I’m girl-crushing on ScarJo hard enough to give it a shot.

Metallica Through the Never

Ugh, Metallica. They pretty much crushed any goodwill I had for them when they fought Napster.

Combining concert footage with documentary interviews and a narrative about a roadie starring Dane DeHaan (Chronicle), Metallica Through the Never is a mashup of styles resulting in a Metallica-fest that ought to please the fans but interest no one else. It kind of reminds me of Cameron Crowe’s (more literal) documentary, Pearl Jam 20. I’m a big fan of Pearl Jam, so I enjoyed the hell out of it, but at the same time I think a documentary about Pearl Jam would have been better served by a non-fan (and friend of the band), simply because greater objectivity leads to greater clarity.

IMAX only

Rush

Ron Howard has been hit or miss over the last fifteen years (hit: A Beautiful Mind, miss: The Da Vinci Code), and Rush highlights both his strength and his weakness. On the pro side, it’s a tight, exciting movie about Formula 1 racecar drivers during an exciting season when two top-tier drivers went head to head, featuring thrilling race scenes and dramatic, fiery crashes. On the con side, it’s melodramatic and focuses too much on the personal lives of the drivers. You want to make a biopic about James Hunt or Niki Lauda? Okay, great. Do that. You want to tell the story of Hunt vs. Lauda and the 1976 F1 season? Then stick to that story. The side-trips into the drivers’ lives are distracting and bring down the pace of the movie. Also Chris Hemsworth =/= Daniel Bruhl, and it only gets more glaringly obvious as the movie clicks along. Still, the race scenes are pretty killer, and on the whole, you could do worse.

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3 thoughts on “Fall Movie Preview: September 2013

  1. Cece

    Can you expand on your Chris/Daniel comment?

    I agree with your comments on Rush.

    Rush looks like very cinematic but I can already see the melodrama from a mile away.

    However, I’ve become intrigued with Daniel Bruhl in recent months and I wouldn’t mind seeing this just for him.

    This movie will be a very interesting test for Hemsworth. Is he a box draw out side of Marvel? Is he a strong actor?

    Up until this point in his career, he hasn’t had to showcase his acting ability. In most of his movies he’s played archetypes, which worked well for him so far.

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