Wow, the summer went by so quickly, I can’t believe it is already time for fall movie releases. The fall always ushers in the best films of the year since the studios want to keep Oscar contending films fresh in Academy members and audiences minds. This month’s standouts are the release of “It” the second film based on a Stephen King novel in just two months, “Home Again” a wonderful romantic comedy and the latest in the Kingsman series, Kingsman: Golden Circle. Here are the best films to see this September and one you should definitely avoid!
Close Encounters of Third Kind (Re-release)
If you are a millenial now, please enjoy your Life. Because it goes by in a flash! I cannot believe it is the. anniversary of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. If you have never seen it on the big screen, definitely go check it out. With Stephen Hawking’s recent announcement of possible communication with aliens, this is timely.
Plot Summary: Science fiction adventure about a group of people who attempt to contact alien intelligence. Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) witnesses an unidentified flying object, and even has a “sunburn” from its bright lights to prove it. Roy refuses to accept an explanation for what he saw and is prepared to give up his life to pursue the truth about UFOs.
Cast: Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, Cary Guffey, Bob Balaban, J. Patrick McNamara, Warren Kemmerling
Director: Steven Spielberg
Production Co: Columbia Pictures
I Do Until I Don’t
An all-star cast in comedic romantic situations this looks like a lot of fun. I do wish that instead of the stereotypical interracial black man/white woman relationship, we could have simply had a black hippie couple. But otherwise, this is just the sort of comedy we need to kick-off the fall season.
Plot Summary: Recounts the story of three couples in Vero Beach, Florida at various points in their relationships. They become subjects of a documentarian’s film about how marriage is an antiquated idea that needs a reboot: Why not turn marriage into a seven-year deal with an option to renew?
Cast: Lake Bell, Ed Helms, Mary Steenburgen, Paul Reiser, Dolly Wells, Amber Heard, Connie Shin, Wyatt Cenac
Director: Lake Bell
Genres: Romantic comedy
Production Co: More Films, Cold Iron Pictures
Truly terrifying but at the same time a poignant coming-of-age tale, It is one of the best movies of the year. Bill Skarsgård brings a far more sinister presence to Pennywise than Tim Curry did in the 90’s TV miniseries. And you will never again be able to pass a gutter without thinking of the demonic clown. I was too scared to walk home the night of the screening. Now the highest grossing horror film of all time, this is not to be missed.
Plot Summary: Seven young outcasts in Derry, Maine, are about to face their worst nightmare — an ancient, shape-shifting evil that emerges from the sewer every 27 years to prey on the town’s children. Banding together over the course of one horrifying summer, the friends must overcome their own personal fears to battle the murderous, bloodthirsty clown known as Pennywise.
Cast: Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Bill Skarsgård
Director: Andrés Muschietti
Genres: Horror, Thriller
Production Co: Vertigo Entertainment, New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures, Lin Pictures
Distributors: Warner Bros. Pictures
The Limehouse Golem
This is both in theaters and on-demand and I highly recommend it to anyone, who loves both period pieces and crime thrillers. Plus, I never miss anything with Bill Nighy in the lead.
Plot Summary: Victorian London is gripped with fear as a serial killer is on the loose and leaving cryptic messages written in the blood of his victims. With few leads and increasing public pressure, Scotland Yard assigns the case to Inspector Kildare, a seasoned detective who has a sneaking suspicion that he’s being set up to fail. Faced with a long list of suspects, Kildare must rely on help from a witness to stop the murders and bring the maniac to justice.
Cast: Bill Nighy, Olivia Cooke, Douglas Booth, Daniel Mays, Sam Reid, Eddie Marsan, María Valverde, Adam Brown
Director: Juan Medina
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Production Co: Number 9 Films
Some folks will find this movie a bit cheesy, but I loved it. It’s a lightweight gem that was the perfect way to start the weekend. Everyone in my audience loved it. And newcomer and Ashton Kushner lookalike, Pico Alexander is so hot the steam rose off the screen. Reese is adorable and Candice Bergen looks amazing. I will definitely buy this when it is on DVD as it will brighten up any dark day.
SPOILER ALERT: I am including this film in this month’s movie guide because it has been so hyped, I don’t want you to make the mistake I made. “Mother!” is so awful that viewers should be paid to sit through it. Do not waste two hours of your Life on this pretentious nonsense. I wish I could unsee this film, which tops my list as the worst film I have ever seen, ever! Supposedly inspired by Polanski’s iconic “Rosemary’s Baby”, this cinematic mess lacks any real plot and is simply an exercise in weirdness that concludes with a baby ripped apart alive by a crowd and eaten and a mother’s heart ripped out after she is burned to a crisp. There is nothing scary about the film. It is just weird, boring and gross. The “Rosemary’s Baby” trailer below is far better than this film. Skip this.
A young woman spends her days renovating the Victorian mansion that she lives in with her husband in the countryside. When a stranger knocks on the door one night, he becomes an unexpected guest in their home. Later, his wife and two children also arrive to make themselves welcome. Terror soon strikes when the beleaguered wife tries to figure out why her husband is so seemingly friendly and accommodating to everyone but her.
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleeson, Brian Gleeson, Stephen McHattie, Kristen Wiig
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Genres: Horror, Thriller
Production Co: Paramount Pictures, Protozoa Pictures
Distributors: Paramount Pictures
Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes For Lizards
A must-see for every fashionista and also every person that admires true genius. If you don’t love Manolos, you do not have a fashion pulse.
Plot Summary: An in-depth portrait of master shoe designer Manolo Blahnik and a behind-the-scenes look into the world of the fashion icon.
Cast: Manolo Blahnik, River Hawkins, Gala Gordon, Rick Kissack, Isabelli Fontana, Eva Herzigova, Anna Wintour, André Leon Talley
Director: Michael Roberts
Distributors: Music Box
With Dylan O’Brien of “The Maze Runner” in the lead and the red-hot Michael Keaton and Sanaa Latham supporting, this is a must-see new action franchise. It’s based on the NY Times #1 Bestseller and directed by Michael Cuesta, best known for “Kill the Messenger.”
Plot Summary: When Cold War veteran Stan Hurley takes CIA black ops recruit Mitch Rapp under his wing, they receive an assignment to investigate a wave of random attacks on both military and civilian targets. After discovering a pattern of violence, Hurley and Rapp join forces with a lethal Turkish agent to stop a mysterious operative who wants to start a global war.
Cast: Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan, David Suchet, Navid Negahban, Scott Adkins, Taylor Kitsch, Shiva Negar
Director: Michael Cuesta
Genres: Action, Thriller
Production Co: Di Bonaventura Pictures, Lionsgate, CBS Films
Distributors: Lionsgate Films, CBS Films
The Wilde Wedding
This looks like a blast. With an all-star cast of Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Patrick Stewart, and Minnie Driver, I am definitely intrigued.
After a whirlwind courtship, retired movie star Eve Wilde prepares to marry her fourth husband, the renowned English writer Harold Alcott. Sparks soon begin to fly when Eve’s first ex and other guests arrive at her estate for a weekend get-together.
Cast: Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Patrick Stewart, Minnie Driver, Peter Facinelli, Grace Van Patten, Jack Davenport, Yael Stone
Director: Damian Harris
Genres: Romantic Comedy
Distributors: Vertical Entertainment
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
I was looking forward to this film all year! I am mad for the Kingsman series, which is basically a James Bond for the tens. It’s silly and lags a slight bit at times. But it’s action packed fun from the very first second and includes a goofy appearance by Sir Elton John!
Plot Summary: With their headquarters destroyed and the world held hostage, members of Kingsman find new allies when they discover a spy organization in the United States known as Statesman. In an adventure that tests their strength and wits, the elite secret agents from both sides of the pond band together to battle a ruthless enemy and save the day, something that’s becoming a bit of a habit for Eggsy.
Cast: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Halle Berry, Elton John, Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges
The Battle of The Sexes
After last year’s open display of bullying misogyny on the campaign trail re-opened the sexist wounds we thought had long been healed, this movie is aptly timed. The Billie Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs tennis match represented so much more than a mere game to ’70’s women. It was literally good/female equality against evil/sexism.
Plot Summary: The 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs became the most watched televised sports event of all time. Trapped in the media glare, King and Riggs were on opposites sides of a binary argument, but off-court each was fighting more personal and complex battles. With her husband urging her to fight for equal pay, the private King was also struggling to come to terms with her own sexuality, while Riggs gambled his legacy and reputation in a bid to relive the glories of his past.
Cast: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Andrea Riseborough, Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Alan Cumming, Elisabeth Shue, Austin Stowell
Victoria & Abdul
Judi Dench once again turns in an Oscar-worthy performance in this amazing true story about the unlikely friendship between an aging Queen Victoria and 24-year old Indian man, Abdul Karim. The backstory of how this story even came to light is also fascinating. No one knew of the depth of Karim’s friendship with the former Queen until many years later, when in 2010, Karim’s diaries outlining his many conversations with the Queen were found.
Plot Summary: Abdul Karim arrives from India to participate in Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee. The young clerk is surprised to find favor with the queen herself. As Victoria questions the constrictions of her long-held position, the two forge an unlikely and devoted alliance that her household and inner circle try to destroy. As their friendship deepens, the queen begins to see a changing world through new eyes, joyfully reclaiming her humanity.
Cast: Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Michael Gambon, Olivia Williams, Eddie Izzard, Simon Callow, Tim Pigott-Smith, Adeel Akhtar
Director: Stephen Frears
Genres: Historical drama, Biography
Distributors: Focus Features
Jake Gyllenhall is one of the most talented and versatile actors working today. He is the reason to see this bio pic on Jeff Bauman, an American hero.
Plot Summary: Jeff Bauman loses both of his legs when two bombs explode during the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. After regaining consciousness in the hospital, Jeff is able to help law enforcement identify one of the suspects, but his own battle is just beginning. With unwavering support from his family and girlfriend, Bauman embarks on a long and heroic journey to physical and emotional rehabilitation.
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany, Miranda Richardson, Clancy Brown, Lenny Clarke, Carlos Sanz, Frankie Shaw
Director: David Green
Genres: Biography, Drama
Production Co: Roadside Attractions, Bold Films, Mandeville Films, Lionsgate Films, Mikros Image
Distributors: Lionsgate Films, Roadside Attractions
Could be a great film could be another disappointment, like “Mother!”. But I will still see this because of Kirsten.
Plot Summary: Haunted by a profound loss, a young woman remains torn between her fractured emotional state and a potent drug that alters her reality.
Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Pilou Asbæk, Joe Cole, Jack Kilmer, Steph DuVall, Susan Traylor
This looks like scary good fun. I can’t wait to kick off the Halloween season with this one.
Plot Summary: Laura is a popular college student who graciously accepts an online friend request from Marina, a young social outcast. To everyone’s shock, Marina takes her own life after Laura decides to unfriend her. Soon, a disturbing and mysterious video appears on Laura’s profile and her Facebook contacts slowly dwindle. When her friends suddenly begin to die one by one, the frightened young woman must figure out a way to stop the carnage before it’s too late.
Cast: Alycia Debnam-Carey, William Moseley, Connor Paolo, Brit Morgan, Brooke Markham, Sean Marquette, Liesl Ahlers, Shashawnee Hall
Director: Simon Verhoeven
Genres: Thriller, Horror
Production Co: Seven Pictures, Two Oceans Production, Wiedemann & Berg Filmproduktion
Distributors: Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures, Freestyle Releasing LLC
Super Dark Times
Stellar performances from all of the cast and a riveting and a believable tragic crime story make this a September must-see. I loved this modern noir, which is director Kevin Phillips debut. His career trajectory will be one to watch.
Plot Summary: Teenagers Zach and Josh have been best friends their whole lives, but when a gruesome accident leads to a cover-up, the secret drives a wedge between them and propels them down a rabbit hole of escalating paranoia and violence.
Cast: Owen Campbell, Charlie Tahan, Elizabeth Cappuccino, Max Talisman, Sawyer Barth, Amy Hargreaves, Adea Lennox
Director: Kevin Phillips
Genres: Drama, Thriller
Production Co: Lila 9th Productions, The Orchard
Distributors: The Orchard
Barry Seal, a TWA pilot, is recruited by the CIA to provide reconnaissance on the burgeoning communist threat in Central America and soon finds himself in charge of one of the biggest covert CIA operations in the history of the United States. The operation spawns the birth of the Medellin cartel and almost brings down the Reagan White House.
Cast: Tom Cruise, Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright, Jesse Plemons, Caleb Landry Jones, Jayma Mays, Lola Kirke, E. Roger Mitchell
Director: Doug Liman
Genres: Comedy drama, Thriller
Production Co: Universal Pictures, Vendian Entertainment, Imagine Entertainment
Distributors: Universal Pictures
The 80’s version of this film was terrific, so I am hoping that the remake will prove equally great. With the ability to create far better special effects, it should be.
Plot Summary: Five medical students embark on a daring and dangerous experiment to gain insight into the mystery of what lies beyond the confines of life. The bold adventure begins when they trigger near-death experiences by stopping their hearts for short periods of time. As their trials become more perilous, each must confront the sins from their past while facing the paranormal consequences of journeying to the other side.
Cast: Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev, James Norton, Kiersey Clemons, Kiefer Sutherland, Beau Mirchoff
Director: Niels Oplev
Genres: Thriller, Science Fiction
Production Co: Columbia Pictures, Laurence Mark Productions
Distributors: Sony Pictures Entertainment