September sees a subtle change in the types of films released. There are still a couple of late entry blockbuster films looking for an audience away from the main competition of the summer but the majority of the new films hitting the UK screens are of the smaller scale variety. This month sees the release of a couple of films that have already generated some award buzz even though the main awards are not until two months into next year.
The Second of September sees the release of the eagerly awaited About Time, the return to the Romantic Comedy genre for Noting Hill and Love Actually director Richard Curtis. This is the film you will see advertised on buses, newspapers and billboards everywhere in the next couple of weeks. The plot revolves around a young man who discovers that all the men in his family had the ability to travel in time. He decides to use this gift to change the course of his life by getting and trying to keep a girlfriend. As you would expect this is not as easy as it would seem. Much hilarity will ensue. Expect people to either love it or hate everything about it depending on your view of Curtis and his brand of storytelling.
Riddick returns in the eponymously titled sequel on the Second of September. Having gathered a sizable cult following since the 2004 film The Chronicles of Riddick this is a long overdue return to the goggle wearing fighting machine. Featuring Vin Diesel and Karl Urban, the tale revolves around Riddick finding himself stranded on a planet full of predators. His only chance for survival lies with a distress beacon. But who will answer the call and will it make a bad situation even worse.
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
Fresh from acclaim at the Cannes film festival comes the drama Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. From relatively new writer / director David Lowery comes a tale of a life, love and the hope of redemption. The film features an impressive cast with Rooney Mara, Ben Foster and Casey Affleck leading the line. The film’s plot involves two lovers being separated by the law after a shoot out. After several years the man breaks out of prison with the intention of finding his way back to his woman. She has moved on and is now involved with a police officer. A classic love triangle played out in rural USA. The movie is out the Sixth of September.
Based on the true story of the rivalry between British driver James Hunt and Austrian Niki Lauda, Rush hits the big screen on the thirteen of September. During the golden age of Formula 1 racing in the Nineteen Seventies the races were often defined by the intense and dangerous duels between the two drivers. The rivalry came to a head during the 1976 season when both men went all out to secure the world championship. The film is helmed by top director Ron Howard and is based on a screenplay from Peter Morgan, best known for writing the terrific Frost / Nixon. The film features Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl in the roles of Hunt and Lauda. Based on the trailer the two leads, complete with authentic seventies hairstyles’ display more than a passing resemblance to the real life sportsmen. Providing support are the excellent actors Natalie Dormer and Olivia Wilde. Given that I have fond memories of the danger and excitement of Formula 1 racing in the seventies and the top notch cast and crew, this is one film that I am looking forward to.
White House Down
The second President in peril film this year is released on the Thirteenth of September. Featuring Janie Foxx as the unlucky head of the free world and Channing Tatum as an off duty Police officer, the plot revolves around Tatum finding himself in the middle of a terrorist attack on the White house while he is on a tour with his daughter. He must spring into action to keep both his daughter and The President safe. Given that this is from blockbuster director Roland Emmerich do not go into this expecting a subtle and nuanced take on the dangers of being a cop in Washington DC.
Cold Comes The Night
Arriving at an opportune moment for fans of Bryan Cranston, as the end of Breaking Bad approaches, is the new thriller Cold Comes the Night. The plot of the film centres around the owner of a failing motel (Alice Eve) who along with her daughter find themselves in a lot of trouble as a seedy criminal (Cranston) takes them hostage in an attempt to retrieve a debt owed to him by a crooked cop. The trailer gives a real flavour of the dark nature of the film and the first chance to see Bryan Cranston doing his best Russian accent. Thankfully the trailer does not give too much away regarding the plot which these days is an exercise in restraint. It will be interesting to see how Alice Eve handles being the given the top billing in a major film for the first time.
The Twentieth of September sees the release of R.I.P.D. Based on the Dark Horse comic of the same name it is the story of a recently deceased Police officer Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) who is given a shot at getting into Heaven. In return for a century of service in the Rest in Peace department, clearing the living world of dead souls who shouldn’t be there and getting a chance to avenge his death, Nick may finally get to see the Pearly gates. He is teamed up with a veteran partner Roy (Jeff Bridges) and mayhem ensues as they track down bad guys. If the look of the film seems familiar it’s probably due to the fact that it looks pretty much like Men in Black. Bridges is having a whale of a time as the grizzled cowboy with the gruff voice and handy quip. The trailer looks good and gives the impression of a fun ride to be had. With its 12a certificate this will appeal to the whole family.
A tale of greed and revenge. A Princeton student (Justin Timberlake) believes he has been swindled out if a large sum of money on an online poker website. He travels to Costa Rica to confront the owner of the site (Ben Affleck). Instead of hating the guy he is seduced by the promise of immense wealth. When the truth about the swindler comes out the student has to choose what he will do. This movie will come under more scrutiny than it would have if released last month. After the Batman announcement every performance by Affleck will be scrutinised and dissected by both sides of the argument.
There is an opinion among movie lovers that sometimes the trailers tend to give away a little too much of the plot of a film. Used correctly, usually under the direct supervision of the film maker, the trailer can be a tool to tease and create a buzz for a film. Recent examples that come to mind are the Inception and Pacific Rim campaigns. Left in the hands of the publicity team the trailer can sometimes be a too revealing. An example of the latter is the trailer for the forthcoming drama, Prisoners. Every plot development and twist is telegraphed in the two and a half minute teaser that there almost seems no point in actually watching the film. The talent on show is impressive enough but I doubt that the trailer will go any way to actually spend their hard earned cash going out to see something that has been shown for free online for months before. You can make up your own mind.
Last film of this months round up is the new Woody Allen joint. It becomes a little tiring when his new film is described as a return to form. For the last couple of years Woody’s stock has never been higher with well received movies such as Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Midnight in Paris and From Rome with Love. Blue Jasmine transfers the drama to San Francisco where Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) a self obsessed socialite has ended up in an attempt to reconnect with her sister (Sally Hawkins). Blanchett’s performance has already been mentioned as a contender for an Oscar next year.