after a jam-packed august, filled with many surprisingly quality films, september arrives to bring us a handful of fake oscar bait, two rereleases of adored classics, seemingly all of the indies that got mixed reviews out of the film fest circuit and a bizarre plethora of thrillers and genre flicks. looking at the slate right now, at least one thing becomes very clear: no new movie will possibly make more money opening weekend than either of the rereleases. it’s an interesting box office race this month, that’s for sure. let’s meet the competitors.
‘the words’《妙笔生花》 (sept 7)
a writer at the peak of his literary success discovers the steep price he must pay for stealing another man’s work.
although word is the movie itself is a bit underwhelming and not as smart as it thinks it is, allegedly the performances are great, and overall the film works enough to not be terrible. it’s also the set where bradley cooper and zoe saldana met before embarking on a romance, for all of you that enjoy that sort of thing.
‘the master’《大师》 (sept 14 limited, sept 21 expands)
影片故事发生1952年，自称the master的男人（菲利普·塞默·霍夫曼）创建了一个名为“the cause”的教会，随着教派势力的不断壮大，the master的助手freddie sutton却开始对信仰产生了质疑，故事便是聚焦在这二人错综复杂的关系。
a 1950s-set drama centered on the relationship between a charismatic intellectual known as “the master” whose faith-based organization begins to catch on in america, and a young drifter who becomes his right-hand man.
the trailer that broke the internet. the 70mm frame rate that broke it again. could there possibly be a buzzier movie coming out this month? p.t. anderson’s first film since his should-have-won-the-oscar “there will be blood”, is “secretly” about the origins of scientology, featuring philip seymour hoffman and joaquin phoenix in roles that may garner them even more oscar nominations, and hey, maybe even another win for good ol’ phil.
‘trouble with the curve’《曲线难题》 (sept 21)
an ailing baseball scout in his twilight years takes his daughter along for one last recruiting trip
you know when you’re ready to write off a movie completely, but then see the trailer and get all confused? on its surface, “trouble with the curve” seems like a middle of the road not-”moneyball”, starring a grumbly clint eastwood. while all of that actually may be true, it also seems like it may not suck entirely, mostly due to amy adams and the frustratingly always-charming justin timberlake. definitely a contender for this years “you laughed at it, then it got nominated for best picture. huh?!” spot, a la “the blind side”. oh and no, that is *not* a mumford and sons song in the trailer, it’s american idol winner phil phillips, who really did pick the right manufactured first single, didn’t he?
‘won’t back down’《决不退缩》 (sept 28)
two determined mothers, one a teacher, look to transform their children’s failing inner city school. facing a powerful and entrenched bureaucracy, they risk everything to make a difference in the education and future of their children.
drama drama inspirational snoozy snooze. and it’s written and directed by the dude who wrote and directed “beastly”, so… get ready, guys. it’s also supposedly supremely anti-union and is screening at the republican convention this week, complete with guest panel speakers jeb bush and condoleeza rice. um. okay. cool?
‘arbitrage’《套利交易》 (sept 14)
a troubled hedge fund magnate desperate to complete the sale of his trading empire makes an error that forces him to turn to an unlikely person for help.
the movie that will revitalize richard gere’s career that also stars indie darling brit marling and… yes please. this directorial debut from nicholas jarecki is pulling a rocking 100% on rotten tomatoes right now, after a strong festival showing, mostly because of gere’s performance, along with co-star nate parker, whom variety named one of 2012′s breakthrough performers. this tight corporate suspense thriller might be surprising us well into awards season.
‘end of watch’《警戒结束》 (sept 21)
two young officers are marked for death after confiscating a small cache of money and firearms from the members of a notorious cartel, during a routine traffic stop.
one of those “and why were you at comic-con again?” movies, starring jake gyllenhaal, michael pena and anna kendrick. its director has a pretty solid track record, having written “the fast and the furious” and “training day”, among others, and “end of watch” marks the first time the cop genre is experimenting with the found footage style of cinematography and storytelling. early buzz is positive, but then you see that “magic mike” dark spot of doom cody horn is playing a police officer and it makes your stomach hurt a little bit. still, hopes remain relatively high for this one.
‘house at the end of the street’《街尾之宅》 (sept 21)
a mother and daughter move to a new town and find themselves living next door to a house where a young girl murdered her parents. when the daughter befriends the surviving son, she learns the story is far from over.
much to everyone’s shock and surprise, this new horror-suspense film is not a remake, reboot or reimagining! it stars jennifer lawrence, which you probably are all very aware of, considering the tv spots can’t get through 10 seconds without reminding you that “‘hunger games’ star jennifer lawrence!” is in it, as if somehow the two movies have a crossover audience. but no matter what, “house…” is a chance to see her doing something different, so at least there’s that.
‘hello i must be going’《你好，我必须离开》 (sept 7)
circumstances force a young divorcée to move back in with her parents in suburban connecticut, where an affair with a younger guy rejuvenates her passion for life
although reviews are mixed, and there is no way on earth “girls” star christopher abbott passes for 19 (sorry), it’s about damn time indie mvp melanie lynskey got a starring role. this romantic dramedy opened sundance this year, to a few grumbles who believed it wasn’t good enough, but plenty of reviewers still saw its charms, so don’t write it off completely just yet – oscilloscope has a pretty fine track record, and lynskey is long overdue for this type of role and deserves our support.
‘the inbetweeners’《中间人》 (sept 7)
four socially troubled 18-year-olds from the south of england go on holiday to malia.
a feature length film concluding the story originated on the hilarious bbc television show by the same name, “the inbetweeners” is a must for any anglophiles out there, especially of the british comedy variety. the show is hilarious and considering the film brought the entire tv creative team to the big screen, there’s no reason to suspect it won’t be just as high quality.
‘bachelorette’《未婚女子》 (sept 7)
three friends are asked to be bridesmaids at a wedding of a woman they used to ridicule back in high school.
although “bachelorette”, written, directed and adapted from the play by leslye headlund, received mixed reviews out of sundance, many calling it a mean spirited version of “bridesmaids”, don’t be frightened away. the film might be tonally confused at times, and fans of the play may baulk at its alternate, happier ending, but the performances from isla fisher, lizzy caplan, and in particular a fiery kirsten dunst, are worth the ride. plus, supporting appearances from rebel wilson, james marsden, adam scott, hayes macarthur and kyle bornheimer certainly don’t hurt. btw if you can’t wait a week, you can catch “bachelorette” on vod this very moment.
‘liberal arts’ 《文科恋曲》(sept 14)
when thirty-something jesse returns home for his father’s retirement party, he falls for zibby, a college student, and is faced with the powerful attraction that springs up between them.
lizzie olsen ftw! this second film from sitcom star cum writer/director josh radnor has received mostly positive response from the festival circuit, and word on the street is zac efron gives a brief but memorable turn that should erase at least some of the damage done by his miserable performance in this year’s “the lucky one.” while “liberal arts” may suffer from some modicum of manic pixie dreamgirl fatigue, if that manic pixie dreamgirl is played by lizzie olsen, can’t we look past it, just this once?
‘raiders of the lost ark imax’《夺宝奇兵imax》 (sept 7)
archeologist and adventurer indiana jones is hired by the us government to find the ark of the covenant before the nazis.
just so you’re aware. one week only. get your tickets now. but no really. this is not a drill.
‘finding nemo 3-d’海底总动员 3d (sept 14)
after his son is captured in the great barrier reef and taken to sydney, a timid clownfish sets out on a journey to bring him home.
sometimes it’s just so funny to think about how much money pixar makes. so if you want to keep laughing, get yourself to the theater sept 14th to see “finding nemo” yet again, but this time in what will no doubt be stunning 3-d. i mean, under water? it’s difficult to resist.
‘branded’《莫斯科2017》 (sept 7th)
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.
the surrealist sci-fi film that stole the at the drive in panel at comic-con this year finally hits theaters in an otherwise indie-sci-fi light month, with a diverse cast including relative unknown (at least in the us) ed stoppard plus leelee sobieski, max von sydow and jeffrey tambor. it’s qr code laden first trailer got fans talking, and its trippy follow up seems to confirm “branded”‘s eventual beloved cult status.
‘resident evil: retribution’《生化危机5：惩罚》 (sept 14)
alice fights alongside a resistance movement in the continuing battle against the umbrella corporation and the undead.
number five, baby! “retribution” makes it official – the “resident evil” series is the longest running film franchise with a female lead. yay? in any event, this film has been rocking the genre circuit all year long, showing off the stylish violence and unbridled funtime action we’ve all come to expect from these films. does that mean it will be good? probably not. but for fans of the series, this is probably as awesome as it gets, featuring characters alice, jill valentine and rain ocampo.
‘dredd 3-d’《新特警判官》 (sept 21)
in a violent, futuristic city where the police have the authority to act as judge, jury and executioner, a cop teams with a trainee to take down a gang that deals the reality-altering drug, slo-mo.
who would have thunk a reboot of “judge dredd” would become one of the best reviewed and most anticipated films of the fall? after successful screenings across the world, beginning at tiff last year, and culminating in a glowing reception at comic-con, dredd 3d will be making all of our brains explode in a mere few weeks! the film stars karl urban as the titular dredd and also features nothing to sneeze at olivia thirlby and lena headey. midnight release, anyone??
‘hotel transylvania 3-d’《精灵旅社》 (sept 28)
dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world, goes into overprotective mode when a boy discovers the resort and falls for the count’s teen-aged daughter.
upsides? sony animation (truth: “cloudy with a chance of meatballs,” “arthur christmas” and “pirates! band of misfits” were all actually very good), director genny tartakovsky, who comes baring tons of edgy cartoon network experience (see: “samurai jack,” “dexter’s laboratory,” “powerpuff girls”), robert smigel on script, hotel full of monsters! downsides: so-so animation, a voice cast that consists of adam sandler, selena gomex, kevin james and david spade. guh. the choice is yours and yours alone.
‘looper’ 《环形使者》 (sept 28)
in 2072, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. someone like joe, who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by transporting back joe’s future self.
finally! finally! finally! rian johnson’s third movie following greats “brick” and “the brothers bloom” takes us into science fiction, a genre the writer/director loves was eager to jump into. the film stars joseph gordon levitt, bruce willis, emily blunt, and a kick ass make up job that turns gordon levitt into a completely believable young willis. “looper” has been making the convention rounds all year long, consistently impressing with fantastic footage and smart, well spoken, enthusiastic panelists. please oh please oh please be the best thing ever.
‘solomon kane’《所罗门王凯恩》 (sept 28)
a mercenary who owes his soul to the devil redeems himself by fighting evil.
despite opening around the world almost three years ago, this critically acclaimed but strangely difficult to see comic book adaptation finally comes to theaters in limited release later this month. the timing isn’t that bad however, considering how james purefoy has recently somewhat taken over all of the guest spots on television ever, and director michael j bassett is prepping to release his 3-d “silent hill” film later this year.
’10 years’《十年》 (sept 14)
10年之后的高中同学聚会，jack(channing tatum)已经坠入爱河并即将求婚。jack的朋友cully(chris pratt)已经与高中时期的女拉拉队长结婚。本以为十年的时间他们都已经长大了，但是喝多了酒他们都显出了高中时代的原型。marty(justin long)和a j整晚都在聊起以前的故事，特别是班上那个最hot的同学reeves(oscar isaac)，他已经成为一个摇滚歌星但还是很害羞提起以前高中暗恋的那个女生...
the night before their high school reunion, a group of friends realize they still haven’t quite grown up in some ways.
one of those movies that you know is probably going to be unspeakably dumb, but you just don’t care. the cast is a whose who of the late 20s/early 30s set and stars channing tatum coming off his star making turns in both “21 jump street” and “magic mike”, bringing a lot of good will to this small movie. director jamie linden is best known for writing “dear john” and “we are marshall” — sterling credits they are not, but…have you *seen* this cast? with names like chris pratt, kate mara, justin long, ari graynor, aubrey plaza, anthony mackie, oscar isaac (brb, swooning) and scott porter to name a few, it’s gotta be at the very least mindlessly entertaining, right?
‘the perks of being a wallflower’《壁花少年》 (sept 21)
an introverted high-school freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world.
the unofficial required reading for an entire generation of high school students (here’s looking at you, fellow millenials) finally makes it way to the big screen in what appears to be a faithful and effective adaptation, if the trailer is any indication. not to mention, ezra miller in a role that won’t terrify and upset you! author stephen chbosky, perhaps best known for creating the short-lived series “jericho”, directs the film, his first time helming a feature in over 15 years.
‘diana vreeland: the eye has to travel’《戴安娜蕙兰：时尚太后》 (sept 21)
a look at the life and work of the influential fashion editor of harpers bazaar, diana vreeland.
a favorite from the santa barbara international film festival earlier this year, which also made appearances at tiff, telluride and san francisco, this out-of-the-box doc is a must see. check out my capsule review from sbiff here and make sure to get yourself to whatever tiny theater is lucky enough to be showing this on sept 21st.
‘the other dream team’ 《另一个梦之队》 (sept 28)
1992年立陶宛篮球队的运动员苏联统治下挣扎，令人难以置信的故事，成为立陶宛的独立运动的象征 - grateful dead的帮助 - 在巴塞罗那奥运会上取得了胜利......…
the incredible story of the 1992 lithuanian basketball team, whose athletes struggled under soviet rule, became symbols of lithuania’s independence movement, and – with help from the grateful dead – triumphed at the barcelona olympics.
after a strong appearance at sundance and multiple other feasts, this uplifting doc comes to theaters at the end of the month. early reviews are excellent and cover an important part of olympic history we might not all be familiar with. do it.