Coming Soon: September

25Aug09

by The Great White Gypsy

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Amreeka – Written and Directed by Cherien Dabis
We’ve seen this kind of thing on TV and in movies before. Actually, a lot recently. But this story of a single mother emigrating from Palestine and working at a White Castle in Illinois looks interesting. If you liked The Visitor, you’ll probably enjoy this, and it’s gotten a lot of positive reviews from Cannes and Sundance.
Nisreen Faour, Melkar Muellam, Alia Shawkat
September 4

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Carriers – Written and Directed by Alex and David Pastor
Chris Pine (Star Trek, Bottle Shock) has already proven himself to be a versatile actor. Looks like your typical virus-ends-mankind thriller, but since when is that a bad thing? The Pastor brothers are new, but the preview is enticingly vague and eerie.
Chris Pine, Piper Perabo, Lou Taylor Pucci
September 4

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Extract – Written and Directed by Mike Judge
The creator of Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill has been sadly absent from cinema since Office Space in 1999 (save 2006’s Idiocracy). About an Extracts plant owner who thinks his wife is cheating on him, the fact that the preview and the tagline compare it to Office Space could spell trouble, but Judge, Bateman, and J.K. Simmons haven’t let me down so far.
Jason Bateman, Ben Affleck, Mila Kunis, J.K. Simmons, Kristen Wiig, Clifton Collins Jr.
September 4

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Gamer – Written and Directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor
Pro: It’s good to see Gerard Butler in an action movie after being in bullcrap like P.S. I Love You, Nim’s Island, and The Ugly Truth.
Con: The Writer/Director team is the same guys who did Crank and Crank 2.
Futuristic story about convicts who are players in a live action video game, controlled by real people. The winner is set free…everyone else dies. Granted, it appears to be a solid movie, but Crank 2 didn’t do anything for Jason Statham’s career (especially after Transporter 3), and after movies like Death Race, The Condemned, and Running Man, don’t expect to see anything groundbreaking.
Gerard Butler, Ludacris, Michael C. Hall, John Leguizamo
September 4

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9 – Directed by Shane Acker, Written by Shane Acker and Pamela Pettler
Sure, 9 little rag dolls running around in a post-apocalyptic world might not rattle your cage, but after seeing Sebastian’s Voodoo at the Ashland Festival last April, I can’t wait to see Shane Acker’s animated short come to life as a full length feature. Not only is the voice casting solid, but it’s being produced by Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov. I feel like I’ve been waiting for this for 9 years (don’t worry, I already punched myself for that one.)
Elijah Wood, John C. Reilly, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau, Crispin Glover
September 9

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The Other Man – Written and directed by Richard Eyre
Liam Neeson suspects his wife is cheating on him. Then she disappears, which makes him…slightly more suspicious. So he sets out to find and meet the man she’s seeing. Then they play a game of chess (if only Ingmar Bergman was alive to collect royalties on that). Kinda looks like Taken 2, but Neeson, Banderas, and Linney are all solid, and Eyre directed Notes on a Scandal, which got a lot of Oscar attention. Also based on a short story by Bernhard Schlink, who wrote The Reader. Unsure about this one.
Liam Neeson, Antonio Banderas, Laura Linney
September 11

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The Burning Plain – Written and Directed by Guillermo Arriaga
Kicking off Oscar pre-season is Guillermo Arriaga’s (writer: 21 Grams, Babel) poignant drama about three women searching for happiness. Not only are Theron and Basinger involved, but composer Hans Zimmer (Frost/Nixon, The Dark Knight), cinematographers Robert Elswit (There Will Be Blood, Michael Clayton) and John Toll (Gone Baby Gone, The Last Samurai, Almost Famous), and Production Designer Dan Leigh (The Last Kiss, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) are all present and accounted for. Could be a contender.
Charlize Theron, Kim Basinger, John Corbett, Jennifer Lawrence, Joaquim de Almeida, Robin Tunney
September 18

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Disgrace – Directed by Steve Jacobs, Written by Anna Maria Monticelli
Adaptation of Nobel Prize winning author J.M. Coetzee’s (Elizabeth Costello, Waiting for the Barbarians) novel about a professor in post-apartheid South Africa who has an affair with a black student. When he is dismissed, he goes to live with his lesbian daughter, and they are attacked by a group of black teenagers. Films like this are hard for Americans to swallow, because they often forget that apartheid really didn’t start to disappear until 1994. Rookie director and writer, but Malkovich is always brilliant.
John Malkovich
September 18

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The Informant! – Directed by Steven Soderbergh, Written by Scott Z. Burns
I’m trying very hard to forget about Ocean’s 11-13, and Soderbergh’s love affair with George Clooney. If I focus really hard on films like Out of Sight, Traffic, and Sex, Lies, and Videotape, then maybe I’ll give this Kurt Eichenwald (Conspiracy of Fools) adaptation of an agricultural businessman turned government informant a chance. I make no promises.
Matt Damon, Scott Bakula
September 18

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Paris – Written and Directed by Cedric Klapisch
About a Parisian man with heart disease who is waiting for a transplant. He observes the city, and the people around him as they struggle through life and love. Klapisch looks fairly prolific in France, and I’m a Juliette Binoche fan. Looking forward to it.
Juliette Binoche, Romain Duris, Fabrice Luchini
September 18

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Jennifer’s Body – Directed by Karyn Kusama, Written by Diablo Cody
A hot high school girl takes a plain jane under her wing. Turns out she’s possessed, and trying to kill everyone. Normally I won’t even mention high school horror films like this. However, the people involved have me interested. Diablo Cody wrote Juno, which was amazing. Kusama directed Girlfight (good), but she also did Aeon Flux (not good). Probably won’t see it on the big screen, but I’ll look for it on On-Demand.
Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, J.K. Simmons, Amy Sedaris, Adam Brody
September 18

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Splice – Directed by Vincenzo Natali, Written by Vincenzo Natali and Antoinette Terry Bryant
Again, normally I wouldn’t hype a film that appears to be a rip off of Species. But it also reminds me of Mimic, which was directed by Guillermo del Toro and, interestingly enough, del Toro is producing this sci-fi thriller. I like Adrien Brody, and I liked The Orphanage. Enough said.
Adrien Brody, Sarah Polly
September 18

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The Blue Tooth Virgin – Written and Directed by Russell Brown
As an aspiring writer, I’m always a sucker for a film about aspiring writers. Two such people in L.A. have their friendship thrown into turmoil when one of them doesn’t like the other’s new screenplay. I’m interested, but most of you might wait until you see it on cable.
Karen Black, Roma Maffia, Lauren Stamile, Lance Aaron, Amber Benson, Bryce Johnson
September 25

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The Boys are Back – Directed by Scott Hicks, Written by Alan Cubitt
The director of Snow Falling on Cedars and Hearts in Atlantis is teaming with Clive Owen for this dramedy about a man trying to raise his young son and reconnect with his older son after his wife dies suddenly. Looks more dramatic-family-dynamic than feel-good-comedy, a good departure for Owen as of late.
Clive Owen
September 25

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Brief Interviews with Hideous Men – Written and Directed by John Krasinski
Krasinski’s directorial debut portrays a woman (Nicholson) interviewing men about their relationship patterns. Might not be really innovative, but after The Office and Away We Go, I’ll shell out $10 to support Johnny K. Not only that, it’s based on a short story by David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest), who is freaking brilliant. Good luck finding this anywhere, though; I can’t even find an actual preview yet.
John Krasinski, Julianne Nicholson, Timothy Hutton, Lou Taylor Pucci, Josh Charles
September 25

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I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell – Directed by Bob Gosse, Written by Tucker Max
I’ve picked up Tucker Max’s book several times from the discount table at Borders, but, funny as it sounds, it’s not my kind of literature. However, the subject matter should make for an entertaining movie, and the outlandishly misogynistic things this guy says should be good for a laugh (the first line of the preview had me laughing out loud.)
Jesse Bradford, Matt Czuchry, Geoff Stults, Traci Lords
September 25

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The Invention of Lying – Written and Directed by Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson
As much as I respect Ricky Gervais (The Office…no no, the original one), this inside-out Liar Liar has the potential to be esoterically dull. That being said, anything with Jeffrey Tambor has my initial approval.
Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Jonah Hill, Patrick Stewart, Jeffrey Tambor, Jason Bateman, Tina Fey
September 25

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Pandorum – Directed by Christian Alvart, Written by Travis Malloy
Unknown meets The Descent meets Event Horizon in this sci-fi thriller about two crewmen aboard a large transport spaceship. They wake up alone, without any memory, and start to see weird monsters and crazy visions. Ben Foster is creepy all by himself, but this film looks dark and tense. Director, cinematographer, and editor each have a respectable body of work in Germany, but few successes in the US. I’ll definitely see it.
Ben Foster, Dennis Quaid, Antje Traue, Norman Reedus
September 25

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Surrogates – Directed by Jonathan Mostow, Written by Michael Ferris and John D. Brancato
This is an almost Aasimovian story about a future where everyone just stays home on the couch, and controls a robot surrogate in the outside world with their mind. No one’s supposed to die. Then someone does. How do they never see that coming? Unfortunately, Mostow directed Terminator 3, which, along with Terminator Salvation, was also written by Farris and Brancato. If I see Schwarzenegger once, I’m throwing popcorn.
Bruce Willis, Rosemund Pike, Ving Rhames, Radha Mitchell, James Cromwell
September 25

KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN

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Dorian Gray – Directed by Oliver Parker, Written by Toby Finlay
Oscar Wilde’s original novel may have been a bit dry, but it’s a classic. Like most classics, however, this one is yet again being twisted and exploited by the film industry. The effects look cool, but the story seems a bit off, and the shameless addition of lurid sex scenes, while generally enticing, is just corrupting another good book, so today’s teens can read the smutty film novelization instead of the real thing. Not sure when it’s hitting the states, but the UK gets it next month.
Ben Barnes, Colin Firth
September 9 (UK)

Creation – Directed by Jon Amiel, Written by John Collee
The story of Charles Darwin in the midst of his controversial theories on evolution. It’s supposed to be based on a biography, but it appears to have a little church propaganda slant to it. Nevertheless, Bettany and Connelly are generally good, and the genuine emotions in the preview look solid. Not sure when we’ll see this one, but once again the UK gets it next month.
Paul Bettany, Jennifer Connelly, Jeremy Northam
September 25 (UK)

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