Fall Movie Preview: September 2012

I have faithfully kept up my subscription to Entertainment Weekly, even though the quality has dropped off precipitously, and even though it's continuing its slow morph into Us Weekly. "Oooh! Check out this totes hot pic of RPatz and KStew! Will her playing smoochie face with a married old dude spell doom for the Twilight movie we're breathlessly awaiting?" Barf.

Part of the reason I've kept up my subscription is to get the preview issues, which let me know what movies and television shows I might want to keep an eye out for in the upcoming season. So now that the Fall 2012 Movie Preview issue is out, it's time to dissect it and see what may be worth my time, what should be tossed in the memory hole, and what I'll misjudge and have to circle back around to later.

Some decisions are always altered by what the rest of pop culture society has to say about a project - people whose opinions I trust will deride something I thought looked good or convince me that something seemingly crappy is actually underrated. So, let's parcel these movies out into some flexible categories: Must-See, Pass, Rental, and TBD. August is almost behind us, so September... Whatcha got?

September 5:

For Ellen: The only description given is that this is about Paul Dano in a custody fight with his ex-wife. That's not really enough to form an opinion on, but it doesn't sound terribly interesting. (TBD, but likely Pass)

September 7:

Bachelorette: From the description (a group of rowdy friends living it up before a wedding), it sounds like the illegitimate love child of Bridesmaids and The Hangover. That could bode well or ill. The fact that it stars Lizzy Caplan, Isla Fisher, and Rebel Wilson is a good sign. Kirsten Dunst is less reliable, but is not enough of a detraction to avoid the movie. (Must-See, but possibly in Rental form)

Branded: From IMDb - "Set in a dystopian future where corporate brands have created a disillusioned population, one man's effort to unlock the truth behind the conspiracy will lead to an epic battle with hidden forces that control the world." And the biggest star under fifty is Leelee Sobieski. (Pass)

The Cold Light of Day: "After his family is kidnapped during their sailing trip in Spain, a young Wall Street trader is confronted by the people responsible: intelligence agents looking to recover a mysterious briefcase." So, a generic thriller. This movie features people who I either like or have nothing against (Henry Cavill, Bruce Willis, Sigourney Weaver), but I have no great interest in seeing it. If everyone loves it, I'll pop it on the Netflix queue. (Rental or Pass)

Hello I Must Be Going: This apparently made a splash at Sundance. It's about a 35-year-old divorcee (Melanie Lynskey), who moves back in with her parents, then unexpectedly falls for a 19-year-old (Christopher Abbott). That plot has the potential to be incredibly entertaining or incredibly annoying, so I'll have to see how the reviews look. (TBD)

The Inbetweeners Movie: I've never seen the TV show. (Pass)

The Words: Bradley Cooper is a struggling writer who finds a manuscript and publishes it as his own, which does not sit well with the original author (Jeremy Irons). That's an interesting concept, but the inclusion of flashbacks to post-WWII Paris so that we can see how the manuscript originally came to be sounds bloated, and does not fill me with glee. (TBD)

September 14:

Arbitrage: Richard Gere as a Bernie Madoff type of character. There's already festival and Oscar buzz surrounding his performance, but it doesn't sound like anything I have to rush to theaters to see. (Rental)

Finding Nemo 3D: A money grab. If I want to watch this movie again, the original is fine by me. (Pass)

Liberal Arts: Josh Radnor is a likeable guy, but as with the other affable dorky sitcom star (Zach Braff), the movies he directs are twee and uninteresting to me. Unless this gets terrific word-of-mouth, I'm out. (Pass)

The Master: The Scientology-but-not-really movie. Paul Thomas Anderson movies tend to be extremely interesting - if overly long - and I'd love to see what he does with Philip Seymour Hoffman and the idea of a 1950's spiritual movement. I may wait for the DVD, but wouldn't pass up a chance to catch it in theaters, either. (Must-See)

Resident Evil: Retribution: Ew. No. (Pass)

Stolen: Also known as Nicolas Cage attempting to steal the wind out of Liam Neeson's sails. If I wanted to see a low-rent Taken, I'd see Taken 2. (Pass)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Perhaps wisely, this is being marketed as Emma Watson's big entry into "real" movies after her Harry Potter run.

The article in the magazine devotes several paragraphs to that fact, and only this to the plot: "Charlie (a painfully shy high school freshman) is taken under the wing of two charismatic older students, Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller)." That's it. Not much to go on, eh? There's little chance I'll feel the need to head to a movie theater for this, but wouldn't mind renting it if the reviews are decent. (TBD)

September 21:

10 Years: "The night before their high school reunion, a group of friends realize they still haven't quite grown up in some ways." Judging by the cast list (which includes Channing Tatum, Rosario Dawson, Chris Pratt, and Aubrey Plaza), this could be the next Can't Hardly Wait or a giant mess. I don't have enough to go on yet. (TBD)

Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best: "Two bandmates play kazoos and xylophones while road-tripping." Um. OK, then. (Pass)

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel: I still haven't gotten around to watching The September Issue, which has been sitting in my Netflix Instant queue for forever. It's unlikely I'll work up the time or inclination for this. (Pass)

Dredd 3D: No, but thanks. (Pass)

End of Watch: Two cops (Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña) battle a Los Angeles drug cartel. It's from the same guy who wrote Training Day, but he promises this is more about the bond of friendship between partners than corrupting power. I like the inclusion of Anna Kendrick and America Ferrera, but the plot is well-worn territory. A definite wait-and-see. (TBD)

House at the End of the Street: I've seen the trailer for this one, which despite starring the always-wonderful Jennifer Lawrence, seems to be a standard-issue Diet Creepy movie, along the lines of Paranormal Activity. It's likely I'll skip it, though I suppose I'll give it a whirl if it's received well. (Pass)

Trouble With the Curve: Every fall is stocked with several prestige pictures that sound like Grand Acting Showcases, but dull as dishwater. Sometimes I'm wrong about that (like I was with Moneyball), but hey, previews are all about first impressions, right? This film, starring Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, and Justin Timberlake, is about a reluctant daughter helping her ailing father with his duties as a baseball scout. That sounds so fucking boring. (Pass)

War of the Buttons: Two gangs of children face off in occupied France. Hmm. We'll see what the reviews say. (TBD)

September 28:

Bringing Up Bobby: A comedy about a European con-artist and her son Bobby, who find themselves in Oklahoma in an effort to escape her past and build a better future. I have nothing against Milla Jovovich - Action Star, but Milla Jovovich - Comedy Star? I'm not optimistic. (Pass)

Hotel Transylvania: An animated children's flick about a vampire that runs a hotel for other monsters and attempting to raise a vampire teenage daughter. Pros: Good plot idea. Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky. Cons: Stars Adam Sandler. I'll probably wind up seeing this if my sister and I are looking for something to do with my nephew, but otherwise, I'm content to let this one slip by. (Pass)

Looper: After the amazing experience of watching Brick, there's no way I'll miss Rian Johnson's time travel movie that stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt. Both Gordon-Levitt and Blunt have been happily proclaiming that this is among the best things they've ever taken part in, and I'm excited to see if it lives up to my expectations. This easily takes the spot as my most anticipated movie for September. (Must-See)

Starbuck: An adolescent, irresponsible man gets his girlfriend pregnant. As he tries to work through his relationship issues, he learns that thanks to his frequent sperm donations in the past, he is the father of 533 children, several of whom have filed a class-action suit demanding to know who their biological father is. This is worth a rental if I hear good things about it, but I doubt that if it passes by, I'll someday be weeping on my deathbed, full of regret for not having seen it. (Pass)

Won't Back Down: As with Trouble With the Curve up there, this movie about has an impressive cast, but a plot that bores me to tears. It stars Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, and Holly Hunter, and involves concerned women taking over a broken, inner-city school. I just can't imagine working up the interest to ever seek this out. (Pass)


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