In the greatest bait-and-switch of all time, The Magnificent Seven doesn’t actually make my list.
On the back of MTC Recommends, I thought I’d introduce another running feature: looking ahead at the best this coming month has to offer in the world of film. September’s a strange month to start with. It’s hard to feel confident about any would-be ‘blockbusters’ dumped here in the release calendar. And yet, it also yields many an underrated gem – The Guest, The Drop & Prisoners are all testament to that. With summer officially out of the way, this is where mid-budget & independent movies start to shine…
The Light Between Oceans | Derek Cianfrance
Derek Cianfrance is the real deal. You need only watch either of his previous efforts (Blue Valentine & The Place Beyond The Pines) to come to that conclusion yourself. The 42-year-old writer/director is unrivalled in his mastery of melancholia and despair – and you can bet you’ll find more of that in his adaptation of M.L. Stedman’s debut novel. Starring Hollywood heavyweights Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander & Rachel Weisz, don’t be surprised if this movie features some of the best acting you’ve seen all year.
Release Date (US): 02/09
Morgan | Luke Scott
An enigmatic sci-fi movie about AI, starring Kate Mara & helmed by a first-time director working from a highly-touted Black List script. We’ve been here before… Fortunately, Morgan director Luke Scott has his father Ridley in his corner, alongside a very talented cast that includes The Witch highlight Anya Taylor-Joy and Toby Jones. With only a single (visually stunning) short to his name, Scott is a bit of an unknown quantity, but he has a chance to make his mark here in his old man’s favorite genre. Or it could suck.
Release Date (US): 02/09
Other People | Chris Kelly
I was fortunate enough to catch Other People at a Sundance London screening in June. Former SNL writer Chris Kelly has crafted a darkly humorous directorial debut, featuring powerful and subversive depictions of both grief & homosexuality. Jesse Plemons does a superb job as David, a somewhat self-involved protagonist whom he still manages to make likeable. Meanwhile, Molly Shannon is a revelation as his sick mother, turning in a performance that should trigger some awards buzz over the coming months.
Release Date (US): 09/09*
Blair Witch | Adam Wingard
I struggle to sit through a found-footage film without needing to hurl, but Adam Wingard’s involvement here has me intrigued. He & writer Simon Barrett breathed new life into the slasher genre with You’re Next before delivering one of the standout thrillers of 2014 in The Guest. In 1999, The Blair Witch Project ushered in a whole new style of filmmaking (for better or worse). Wingard’s sequel will struggle to replicate its predecessor’s cultural impact, but you can almost certainly bet on it being a superior film.
Release Date (US): 16/09
Snowden | Oliver Stone
It’s been 10 years since an Oliver Stone film received a ‘fresh’ score from Rotten Tomatoes, and over 20 since he’s produced anything close to Oscar-contention. At this point, it’s hard not to feel a little pessimistic about Snowden (which has been delayed twice so far). Nevertheless, its subject matter is fascinating – and right in the director’s wheelhouse too. With the help of a fine ensemble, led by Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Shailene Woodley, this could genuinely be Stone’s long-awaited return to form.
Release Date (US): 16/09
American Honey | Andrea Arnold
In an era where more and more female directors are finally being given the opportunity to get behind the camera, Andrea Arnold has blazed a trail for them – picking up three Cannes Jury Prizes & an Oscar in the process. Her latest Jury Prize winner is American Honey, a whirlwind coming-of-age/road trip movie that focuses on the adventures of a hard-partying teenage girl (played by breakout star Sasha Lane). With A24 handling distribution duties, this looks like one of the most exciting movies of the year.
Release Date (US): 30/09*
The Best Of The Rest
White Girl, Elizabeth Wood – Touted at Sundance for its shock value & explosive portrayal of youth, this looks set to be a very polarizing hit. Wood is a director worth keeping an eye on | Release (US): 02/09*
Yoga Hosers, Kevin Smith – At this point in his career, Smith is making films for his own enjoyment – and that’s ok. Props to him for creating something even more bizarre than Tusk | Release (US): 02/09*
Sully | Clint Eastwood – Eastwood, Hanks & and an inspiring tale of courage and heroics sounds like a great match on paper, but the legendary director hasn’t been at his best lately | Release (US): 09/09
The Magnificent Seven | Antoine Fuqua – I want to get excited about this, but Fuqua’s a director who’s work I’ve always struggled to enjoy. The cast looks great. The execution? Meh | Release (US): 23/09
Deepwater Horizon | Peter Berg – After Lone Survivor, it seems Berg has finally found his niche in Mark Wahlberg-led survival tales. If this hits, we can finally forgive him for Battleship | Release (US): 30/09
Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children | Tim Burton – I was *so* close to picking this. I desperately want to see Burton back at his zany, gothic best. Eva Green looks born for this role | Release (US): 30/09
Which of these movies are you most looking forward to – and which could you do without? Is it just me, or does this September feel stronger than the last few years’? Hit me up on Twitter, @mintsanity.