2007 Fall Movie Preview: September
Vacation's over, the nights are getting longer, and a long holiday
season of racking up debt and dealing with relatives looms. What better
time to escape to your neighborhood multiplex for a little cinema therapy?
Thankfully, this September promises a diverse blend of action, drama,
comedy, and even a smidge of kid-friendly fare to take the sting out
of going back to the classroom for the little brats. Read on for more
to Yuma (Lionsgate, September 7)
Starring: Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Peter Fonda, Gretchen Mol, Dallas Roberts, Ben Foster, Vinessa Shaw, Johnny Whitworth
Director: James Mangold
The Pitch: A straight-arrow sheriff (Bale) goes along
for the ride when the bandit he helped catch (Crowe) is extradited to
Yuma. If you've seen the 1957 original starring Glenn Ford, you know
that things do not go as planned.
The Buzz: Bale and Crowe are two of the best actors in the business. Get them together in the same film, and it probably doesn't even matter what's in the script. After Lionsgate is done pimping "Hostel: Part II," it would be wise to start promoting this.
Trailer Highlight: Bale and Crowe, of course.
Bottom Line: Even if you don't like Westerns, you won't want to miss it.
Official Site: http://www.lionsgate.com/310toyuma
'Em Up (New Line, September 7)
Starring: Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, Monica Bellucci
Director: Michael Davis
The Pitch: A mysterious loner (Clive Owen) and a woman
(Monica Bellucci) team up to protect a newborn from a crazed psychopath
The Buzz: Pretty stock storyline, even we hadn't just finished applauding Owen's recent turn as a mysterious loner shepherding a woman and child to safety in "Children of Men," but the cast just might be able to make it work.
Trailer Highlight: Watching Giamatti and Owen face off in the interrogation scene.
Bottom Line: We're not convinced it's worth seeing in theaters, but then again, we aren't not convinced, either.
Official Site: http://www.shootemupmovie.com/
Brothers Solomon (Screen Gems, September 7)
Starring: Will Arnett, Will Forte, Chi McBride, Kristen Wiig, Malin Akerman
Director: Bob Odenkirk
The Pitch: Two brothers (Arnett and Forte), who spent
their youth being homeschooled by their (obviously nuts) father, set
out to grant him his deathbed wish...a grandchild.
The Buzz: Arnett is building a truly terrible track record as a film star, but he's funny, goddammit, and he's bound to hit his stride eventually. Perhaps with Odenkirk behind the camera?
Trailer Highlight: "So there's at least a small chance we're dealing with a cyclops."
Bottom Line: If you enjoyed "Billy Madison" and/or "Happy Gilmore," this might just be for you.
Official Site: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/thebrotherssolomon/index.html
(Weinstein, September 14)
Starring: Billy Crudup, Mandy Moore, Tom Wilkinson, Martin Freeman, Bob Balaban, Dianne Wiest, Bobby Cannavale, Amy Sedaris, Peter Bogdanovich
Director: Justin Theroux
The Pitch: An emotionally crippled, OCD-riddled children's author (Crudup) winds up paired with a sad, adorably disheveled illustrator (Moore). Cue the emotional journey and indie-rock soundtrack.
The Buzz: There hasn't been much of one, really -- which isn't surprising, given Moore and TWC's underwhelming track records of late. Still, this looks like the kind of downcast comedy that twentysomethings love to love -- think "Garden State," only with less Braff.
Trailer Highlight: Mandy Moore, of course -- which, given recent history, means it's going to totally suck. But we can hope.
Bottom Line: Looks like it might very well be worth seeing (hell, Bob Balaban is in it), but you may wish to rent it with your androgynous significant other rather than seeing it in the local art-house theater.
Official Site: N/A
Brave One (Warner Bros., September 14)
Starring: Jodie Foster, Terrence Howard, Naveen Andrews, Mary Steenburgen
Director: Neil Jordan
The Pitch: Radio host Erica Bain (Foster) has her life turned upside down after an attack leaves her wounded and her fiancé dead. Unable to find closure, she takes to the streets in pursuit of vigilante justice.
The Buzz: It's going to remind a lot of people of "The Accused," twenty years later, and probably not in a good way; with violent crime on the decline for the last couple of decades, this feels like an unpleasant throwback to the cop films of the '70s, and a vision of urban life in which people couldn't walk down the street without being mugged.
Trailer Highlight: "I want my dog back."
Bottom Line: Great cast, but will audiences respond to the story? We have our doubts.
Official Site: http://www.thebraveone.com/
the Valley of Elah (Warner Independent, September 21)
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron, Susan Sarandon, Jason Patric, James Franco, Frances Fisher, Tim McGraw
Director: Paul Haggis
The Pitch: A war veteran (Jones) and his wife (Sarandon) discover their soldier son, whose unit recently returned from Iraq, has gone missing; a detective (Theron) tries to help them find him.
The Buzz: The Hollywood chickens are finally coming home to roost for the Bush administration's war policy, and thus far, "Elah" looks like the leader of the flock.
Trailer Highlight: Remember Tommy Lee Jones? The guy we loved in all those movies in the '90s? Yeah, he's back.
Bottom Line: The Vietnam War produced some of the best films of the '70s. Iraq might do the same for the modern era, and if this trailer is to be trusted, "In the Valley of Elah" could go down as one of the best of them.
Official Site: http://www.inthevalleyofelah.com/
Into the Wild (Paramount Vantage, September
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Vince Vaughn, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Catherine Keener, Kristen Stewart, Zach Galifianakis
Director: Sean Penn
The Pitch: Based on Jon Krakauer's account of the true-life adventures of a recent college graduate (played by Hirsch) who abandoned his belongings and savings to head into the Alaskan wilderness alone.
The Buzz: It's got a great cast and a great director, and critics tend to be suckers for back-to-the-wild movies like this, providing they're done right.
Trailer Highlight: Hey, is that Hal Holbrook?
Bottom Line: Penn's direction remains steady and colorful, and Vince Vaughn adds some welcome comic relief to what otherwise looks like the cautionary tale of a starry-eyed knucklehead who made a series of questionable decisions for some very questionable reasons. Like "Grizzly Man," it might be hard to develop a rapport with the movie's central character.
Official Site: N/A
Evil: Extinction (Screen Gems, September 21)
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr, Ali Larter, Iain Glen, Ashanti, Chris Egan, Spencer Locke, Jason O'Mara, Mike Epps
Director: Russell Mulcahy
The Pitch: The third and final installment of the "Resident Evil" films, which revolve loosely around the events of the "Resident Evil" videogames (and more importantly, feature Jovovich in skimpy clothing). Here, Jovovich and her ragtag group takes its fight against the non-zombies into the desert as they march north in search of a virus-free part of the world.
The Buzz: Buzz? Who needs buzz? Few trilogies have been as critically reviled as the "Resident Evil" films, and yet they keep making money. Like most second sequels, this will carry a bigger budget than its predecessors, and thus will probably wind up being less profitable, but it'll still sell some tickets.
Trailer Highlight: Unless you're hungry for quick cuts of gory special effects set to quasi-industrial music, you're liable to find this essentially highlight-free.
Bottom Line: If you're in this film's target audience, you made up your mind about whether or not to see it a long time ago.
Official Site: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/residentevilextinction/index.html
White (Universal, September 21)
Starring: Amanda Bynes, Matt Long, Sara Paxton, John Schneider, Jack Carpenter, Crystal Hunt, Jeremy Howard, Samm Levine, Danny Strong, David Skyler
Director: Joe Nussbaum
The Pitch: College freshman Sydney White (Bynes), fed up with the rabid cliqueishness of the frat/sorority crowd, assembles a crew of seven dorks to challenge the established social structure.
The Buzz: "Sydney White and the Seven Dorks." Get it? Ha! Actually, this doesn't look nearly as obnoxious as the setup makes it sound; Bynes is as appealing as ever, and the jokes aren't 100% corny. It would do better as a movie of the week, but if you've got a teenage daughter, she'll be in line.
Trailer Highlight: Just Bynes, really. But the rest of it honestly doesn't seem all that bad.
Bottom Line: It all probably depends on whether or not you've graduated high school.
Official Site: http://www.myspace.com/sydneywhite
The Jane Austen Book Club (Sony Classics,
Starring: Maria Bello, Emily Blunt, Hugh Dancy, Amy Brenneman, Kathy Baker, Jimmy Smits, Maggie Grace
Director: Robin Swicord
The Pitch: A group of lonely women (and one confused guy) get together to discuss Jane Austen novels, and find their love lives reflecting their choice of reading material.
The Buzz: It's got the whole "prestige" angle, and a few hot chicks, but really, this looks just like "Beaches" or "Mystic Pizza" for a new generation. Dudes beware.
Trailer Highlight: That would be Maggie Grace.
Bottom Line: Remember that episode of "Family Guy" where Peter tuned into "The View" and saw a group of hens sitting around clucking? Yeah, this is kind of like that.
Official Site: http://www.thejaneaustenbookclubmovie.com/
of Love (MGM, September 28)
Starring: Morgan Freeman, Greg Kinnear, Radha Mitchell, Jane Alexander, Alexa Davalos, Toby Hemingway, Selma Blair, Stana Katic, Billy Burke, Fred Ward, Erika Marozsan
Director: Robert Benton
The Pitch: It's pretty slim, actually -- Benton's adaptation of the Charles Baxter novel, like the book, concerns itself with the romantic goings-on in a group of Oregon acquaintances.
The Buzz: Nobody's really talking about this yet, but that has more to do with the type of film it is -- lots of dialogue, no explosions -- than the director or the cast.
Trailer Highlight: "I don't know if you've heard, but your aunt Katherine has gone away...to a place where boys aren't allowed."
Bottom Line: If you enjoyed Benton's other films (which include "Nobody's Fool" and "Twilight"), you should be champing at the bit for this one. Expect plenty of decent reviews and a quick conversion to DVD.
Official Site: http://www.feastoflovefilm.com/
Kingdom (Universal, September 28)
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Jeremy Piven
Director: Peter Berg
The Pitch: FBI Special Agent Ronald Fleury (Foxx) and his team (Garner, Cooper, and Bateman) have one week to infiltrate and destroy a Saudi terrorist cell.
The Buzz: The cast sounds ridiculous -- Jason Bateman as an FBI agent? -- and the plot reads like a bad Clive Cussler novel, but give 'em credit: if the trailer's any indication, the film, though rabidly opportunistic and riddled with clichés, won't be awful.
Trailer Highlight: Cooper, waist-deep in a crater full of mud, exhorting his colleagues to get filthy.
Bottom Line: If you've seen a political thriller in the last twenty years, you've probably already seen most of what "The Kingdom" has to offer, and the subject matter is at least midlly skeevy...but it'll most likely still be better than "Stealth."
Official Site: http://www.thekingdommovie.com/