Fall Movie Preview: September

summer-preview-september-1

Ahh, the end of summer! As temps start to drop, usually so does the quality of the films being released in theaters. Before the big contenders start the drop, studios feel obligated to dump the rest. But can September of 2011 prove to have some films we’ll hear about around award season?

September 9: Contagion, Warrior
September 16: Drive, Straw Dogs, Restless
September 23: Abduction, Moneyball, Killer Elite
September 30: 50/50, What’s Your Number?, Dream House, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, Take Shelter

contagion-poster

Directed by: Steven Soderbergh

Starring: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet and Jude Law

TRAILER

Contagion (September 9)

Grisly Gunnar: If you look at the trajectory of Steven Soderbergh’s career, it is about as hit-or-miss as it gets. For every Ocean’s Eleven and Out of Sight, you have an Ocean’s Twelve and The Girlfriend Experience. I think Contagion will be on the better side of his arc. I really get a good Traffic ensemble vibe out of this one. (Anticipated Grade: B+)

Noah Nickels: Soderbergh knows how to handle a cast of thousands, and I expect this one to be a homerun. Everyone loves an end of the world movie handled well, and the hypochondriac in me is super excited for this revisit to Outbreak territory. (Anticipated Grade: A-)

warrior-poster

Directed by: Gavin O’Connor

Starring: Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte and Joel Edgerton

TRAILER

Warrior (September 9)

Grisly Gunnar: I’m a fan of Mixed Martial Arts, so Warrior has been on my radar for a long time. It’ll be way over-the-top dramatic, but as long as it’s somewhat true to the sport, I’ll be a fan. Sort of a warm-up to Tom Hardy as Bane, so that’s going to be reason enough to see this film. (Anticipated Grade: B+)

Noah Nickels: Gunnar already saw this and before reading his review I had zero interest in seeing it. But he was able to assuage my fears about not being into martial arts and his high praise of the acting has turned me into a believer. (Anticipated Grade: B)

drive-poster

Directed by: Nicolas Winding Refn

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan and Bryan Cranston

TRAILER

Drive (September 16)

Grisly Gunnar: I know nothing about any of the plot details, but all indications point to this being one of the best films of the year. Nicolas Winding Refn’s previous films — Bronson, Valhalla Rising and the Pusher trilogy (which I have not seen) — aren’t totally great, but he makes incredibly interesting films. (Anticipated Grade: A)

Noah Nickels: This is a solid cast of actors. Cranston is knocking it out of the park in Breaking Bad week in and out, and Albert Brooks looks interesting as a mob boss. And we all know Gosling has the chops to carry this kind of role. The 80s vibe poster threw me off, but this is going to be excellent. (Anticipated Grade: A-)

straw-poster

Directed by: Rod Lurie

Starring: James Marsden, Kate Bosworth and Alexander Skarsgård

TRAILER

Straw Dogs (September 16)

Grisly Gunnar: I haven’t seen the original (one on my list of shame) but I can just tell from watching this trailer that it doesn’t live up. Really — James Marsdan as a nebbishy geek? Really? (Anticipated Grade: C-)

Noah Nickels: Does this movie need a remake? No, and that can be said for about half of today’s films, although usually they try and liven up a movie that either has a decent cult following like Fright Night or Friday the 13th and The Chainsaw Massacre movies. But despite being controversial in the day, does Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs have such a following it needs a retread? No, especially not if you are going to water it down significantly, which I’m sure they will. (Anticipated Grade: D)

restless-poster

Directed by: Gus Van Sant

Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Henry Hopper and Ryo Kase

TRAILER

Restless (September 16)

Grisly Gunnar: I remember seeing a trailer for this in theaters over a year ago. I know it’s Gus Van Sant, but that just isn’t a good sign. I’ll ignore that for a second and see this because I’m a growing fan of Mia Wasikowska and this isn’t a shot-for-shot remake of a masterpiece.(Anticipated Grade: C+)

Noah Nickels: ‘A Funeral crashing dropout with a ghost friend’. Yeah, that has me sold, the long wait for release is a little scary, but I have faith in Van Sant, he always has something interesting to say with the camera. (Anticipated Grade: B)

abduct-poster

Directed by: John Singleton

Starring: Taylor Lautner, Lily Collins and Alfred Molina

TRAILER

Abduction (September 23)

Grisly Gunnar: The trailer for this film looks absolutely ridiculous and hits every cliche of every spy thriller you’ve ever seen. But isn’t Taylor Lautner so dreamy?(Anticipated Grade: D+)

Noah Nickels: If this movie starred the Bieb, I’d go see it. (Anticipated Grade: F)

money-poster

Directed by: Bennett Miller

Starring: Brad Pitt, Robin Wright and Jonah Hill

TRAILER

Moneyball (September 23)

Grisly Gunnar: Having just recently read the book, I would normally think “How in the hell could they turn this into a feature-length narrative film?” Enter Aaron Sorkin, whose script for similarly non-fiction book turned narrative film The Social Network was the best of last year. I’m a little worried that the movie will be too much of a family drama (the trailer gives me that assumption, anyway), which is such a small part of the book. I’m curious to see how much of the pure statistical analysis Sorkin chose to keep in the script — if any. (Anticipated Grade: B+)

Rebel Rikki: I don’t really know much about baseball, but this cast is incredible — and so is the trailer. I’m intrigued by this way of looking at the game as one of pure numbers. I realize I could just read the book, something I might do anyway, but I want to see the way it’s dramatized by the likes of Jonah Hill and Chris Pratt. (Anticipated Grade: B+)

Noah Nickels: One of my favorite non-fiction books. To me it reads like a novel, it’s extremely descriptive and really digs into the background of the characters. But I agree half the fun of the book is the analysis of the numbers, which I could see becoming a little tiresome within a straight forward narrative. But I trust in the filmmakers a lot here, so I think this is going to be terrific. (Anticipated Grade: A)

elite-poster

Directed by: Gary McKendry

Starring: Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert De Niro

TRAILER

Killer Elite (September 23)

Grisly Gunnar: I think this will actually be pretty decent, but the trailer is laughably bad. It feels like something SNL would create as a parody of Jason Statham movies. But, then again, I do love me some Jason Statham. With The Mechanic, straight-to-DVD Blitz and now Killer Elite out all in one year, though, I guess we are getting to the point of parody. (Anticipated Grade: C+)

Noah Nickels: I remember when I anticipated new Robert De Niro movies, back in the halcyon days of 1998 before he decided that he no longer needed to act, instead he just lolls around on screen with that famous scowl sewn across his mug. I don’t know what happened but he hasn’t done anything noteworthy since the calender rolled into 2000. And that’s a damn shame. (Anticipated Grade: D)

50-poster

Directed by: Jonathan Levine

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anna Kendrick

TRAILER

50/50 (September 30)

Grisly Gunnar: By the time this posts, I will have seen 50/50 at an advanced screening, but as I’m writing this, I have not. I’m interested in seeing how JGL will fare in a comedic role, though he’s likable enough to pull it off. It has been a decent year for wide-release comedies, but if this isn’t the best of the year, I may be a little disappointed. (Anticipated Grade: A-)

Noah Nickels: I already saw this one and it’s one of the best movies of the year. The commercials are trying to get asses in the seats by portraying it as just another Seth Rogen comedy, but it’s much more than that. It’s heartfelt, emotional, screamingly funny and absolutely wonderful. (Grade: A)

number-poster

Directed by: Mark Mylod

Starring: Anna Faris, Chris Pratt and Chris Evans

TRAILER

What’s Your Number? (September 30)

Grisly Gunnar: This could go two ways. It could be the kind of Anna Farris comedy that is progressive and satirical of its genre and plot description. It could also be exactly catering to its plot, which would be a very, very bad thing, for all theater-goers, the female race and humanity. I have trusted Anna Farris’s judgement on picking films thus far, but I’m a little wary. (Anticipated Grade: C)

Noah Nickels: Don’t think I’ll see this unless I accidentally fall in front of the TV and wake up when it’s on next year. (Grade: D)

dream-poster

Directed by: Jim Sheridan

Starring: Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts

TRAILER

Dream House (September 30)

Grisly Gunnar: After being so disappointed by Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, I hope Dream House gives me my haunted house fix. Just now watching the trailer, though, I’m not sure about this… If you think you may see it, avoid the trailer, because it seems to give away a pretty big twist. Seems a little more psychological than a typical haunting flick, but it may be a tad hokey. (Anticipated Grade: C+)

Noah Nickels: Jim Sheridan hasn’t made a terrible film yet, so I am not sure why he’s tackling a run of the mill horror story. Although his last two films were a bit of a slip up (Brothers, Get Rich or Die Tryin’), I will still give this a go, you never know. Trailers aren’t made by the filmmakers, so this may be more impactful than it seems at first glance. (Grade: B-)

tucker-poster

Directed by: Eli Craig

Starring: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk and Katrina Bowden

TRAILER

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (September 30)

Grisly Gunnar: I actually had the opportunity to see at an early screening and really enjoyed it. It’s much more of a comedy than a horror film — it uses horror conventions, but is never scary. Way, way over the top, but it works! (Anticipated Grade: B+)

Noah Nickels: Not my cup of tea but I’ll look for it on Blu-Ray. (Grade: C)

shelter-poster

Directed by: Jeff Nichols

Starring: Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain and Shea Whigham

TRAILER

Take Shelter (September 30)

Grisly Gunnar: Another film on my most anticipated list. I don’t think this will get a wide release, but I hope a lot of people get to see Michael Shannon here before the upcoming Superman. The trailer doesn’t seem to give a lot away about what is really going on, but this looks like it could be pretty intense. (Anticipated Grade: A-)

Noah Nickels: Michael Shannon was the best thing about Revolutionary Road and is equally amazing in Boardwalk Empire. I’ve seen him in interviews and he isn’t nearly as dark as the characters he portrays but there is something uneasy in his quiet, like there is an anger underneath him that is about to erupt at any moment. After watching the trailer i agree with Gunnar, Take Shelter goes way up on my anticipated list. (Grade: A-)

tags: 50/50, abduction, contagion, dream house, drive, killer elite, moneyball, restless, straw dogs, take shelter, tucker & dale vs. evil, warrior, what's your number?

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