MONTHLY HIGHLIGHTS: September

As much as I will miss the warm weather and listless weekend afternoons that Summer provides, I am definitely ready for Fall movie season to begin. Not only does September bring school, temperature changes, and colorful foliage, but it also brings some of the most highly anticipated films of the year and a slew of film festivals that get buzz about Awards season started. Here are some of the films and events that I am most looking forward to this September.

Film Releases

Contagion
Released on September 9

While Steven Soderbergh’s disease film does seem derivative of its predecessors like Outbreak or 28 Days Later, I am still looking forward to what the inventive filmmaker can bring to the genre. Say what you will about Soderbergh, but he is rarely boring and with a cast that includes Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, Bryan Cranston, John Hawkes, and many others you can bet it will be chock full of ideas.

Warrior
Released on September 9

I actually got to see this film early and although I am not at liberty to discuss it yet, I will say that fans of Gavin O’Connor’s movie Miracle definitely have something to look forward to. Tom Hardy is also one of the most fascinating new actors working today and his performance is definitely a reason to see this one.

Drive
Released on September 16

With the great reviews this movie received at the Cannes Film Festival and the fact that Bronson director Nicholas Winding Refn is at the helm, I will definitely say that this is one of my most anticipated movies of the entire Fall. Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan star in this film that is being marketed as a retro thriller and I am all for it.

Straw Dogs
Released on September 16

I will admit that I have not seen Sam Peckinpah’s original film, but I am still highly anticipating this Rod Lurie remake. I am currently reading the book that inspired it and find it fascinating. James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, and Alexander Skarsgaard star in this film that could be one of the best horror movies of the season (if you classify it as horror).

Moneyball
Released on September 23

This is another one of the movies that September has me very excited about, my huge adoration of baseball not least of the reasons why. I am excited to see what director Bennett Miller can bring to the film in his first effort since his debut Capote in 2005. Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, and Philip Seymour Hoffman seem like an excellent trifecta of starpower that will bring both a sense of humor and warmth to these real-life characters.

50/50
Released on September 30

While this does not seem like the type of film to score major kudos from critics, it has already been raved in early screenings. Most of the praise singles out Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s performance, which might be the best he has ever delivered. 50/50 might not strike a chord with the Academy, but it seems like a type of self-realizing comedy along the lines of Funny People, which I very much appreciate.

Take Shelter
Released on September 30

Along with Tom Hardy one of the other incredibly interesting actors that is up and coming is Michael Shannon. The Academy recognized him for his supporting turn in Revolutionary Road (a wise decision) and critics who saw Take Shelter at Sundance or Cannes call it his best performance on stage or screen. It also offers us another opportunity to appreciate the talents of the brilliant Jessica Chastain who currently has my vote as actress of the year for 2011.

Film Releases I’m Disinterested In/Indifferent About:
Apollo 18 – September 2
Shark Night 3D – September 2
Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star – September 9
Restless – September 16
Abduction – September 23
Dolphin Tale – September 23
Killer Elite – September 23
Courageous – September 30
Dream House – September 30
What’s Your Number – September 30

Film Events

Venice, Telluride, and Toronto Film Festivals
Beginning August 30 until September 18

This is where the Awards race begins as a large majority of Awards potentials from the rest of the year will be screened for critics and given a unanimous thumbs up or thumbs down. The reactions out of these festivals will greatly affect my Monthly Highlights for October through December and give a good indication on what we can expect from the rest of 2011.

Stay tuned for this week’s Film Misery Podcast (coming out early Thursday) where Phil and I will countdown our top 5 most anticipated movies of the rest of 2011 and later this week when I list my top 25.

What movies or events are you most anticipating this September?

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  • I would like to watch the original Straw Dogs, but it’s not on Netflix. Same goes for Breaking the Waves.

  • Asif Khan

    Drive, Contagion, Take Shelter are my most anticipated movies :)

  • Is James McAvoy really in Straw Dogs? I thought it’s James Marsden?

  • @Mikhael – Good catch. It has been changed.

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