The 2011 Release Calendar (September & October)

Ah, the fall season. Two months with only two weeks worth of films. September is where they dump all the bad or mediocre shit that they couldn’t fit into March. Those heist movies and action thrillers. Occasionally you’ll get a potential Oscar film that’s dropped in September, but that’s usually when they don’t really know how much of an Oscar film it is. 90% of the time they fall short of nominations. The only film in recent memory released in September that has a shot at significant nominations is The Town. And if that falls short of Best Picture, the September stigma will still be in tact. Oscar films don’t come out until October, alongside all the horror movies. Let me show you:

Colombiana

It’s about Zoe Saldana. Basically. I mean, when there’s only one noticeable star in it and they’re the main character, it’s about them. The plot doesn’t matter, because it’s all about what happens to them. I loved Michael Clayton, but that movie was essentially about George Clooney. It didn’t even try to hide it. Look at the title. At least this one is pretending to be about something.

Anyway, Zoe’s a big blue cat…no, wait…got confused by that picture…Zoe is a “young woman” – really? Must they all start by explaining age and gender? Is this studio’s way of enforcing the quadrants? Young men won’t see a movie if they specify it’s about an old woman? – a young woman who, after witnessing her parents’ murder as a child in Bogota (Oh, now I get the title!), grows up to be a stone-cold assassin. Oh, I’d have guessed anesthesiologist. Too bad.

Also, why couldn’t they just say assassin? Instead of both “stone-cold assassin” and “young woman”?Couldn’t she just be an assassin and then have it be revealed that she’s an assassin because she saw her parents get killed during the movie? Like Batman? When we know she’s an assassin because her parents are dead, and then spend the first 30 minutes of the movie learning this, it kind of defeats the purpose. When you know she’s an assassin, and learn 30 minutes into the movie why that is, you go, “Wow, like Batman. That’s been done a bunch of times before,” and then you go, “Oh, now her character becomes a little more well-rounded.” It’s called character development. You start shallow and work deeper. You don’t start shallow and then put the body in and then try to dig. See the analogy I was making there? The movie’s digging it’s own – yeah, you get it. Clever, right? I know. I’m gonna go put a gold star on my chart.

So Zoe works for her uncle as a hitman by day – isn’t it hitwoman? Should I not bothering to argue logic with a studio movie? I know it’s anatomically correct to give a male robot balls, but …. If it wasn’t for my horse I wouldn’t have spent that year in college. Anyway, she works for Uncle Pops or whatever, and “her personal time is spent engaging in” – ooh, this is fun…let’s guess – promiscuous sex and hate fucks with a bunch of randoms? Being a trapeze artist at the circus? Parcheesi? Yoga? Marine biology? Lupus? Is it lupus?  — “vigilante murders” – shit … I was close – “that she hopes will lead her to her ultimate target” – ooh, round two – oh, this one’s easy. It’s El Guapo. That’s not much of a game. – “the mobster responsible for her parents’ death.” – why do both her parents have a singular death? Didn’t they both die their own separate deaths? Together?

2 stars. +1 if she has a scar on her head from the guy who killed her parents. +1 again if that guy is Ralph Fiennes.

Shark Night 3D

Remember Piranha 3D? Yeah, well this is Shark Attack 3D. Same concept, equal amount of awesomeness. Actually, possibly more awesomeness. Why, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. It’s being directed by the same man that brought us this wonderful, wonderful movie.

David R. Ellis knows how to give us the right amount of campy awesome. That’s what Piranha 3D was lacking — true camp. They provided gratuitous nudity and intentional bad plot, when they should have been providing intentionally bad nudity and no plot. Example: Once everyone gets on the plane, the time between they take off and they discover there are, in fact, motherfucking snakes on the motherfucking plane, it’s just a series of caricature development (which paid off later with, “Left! Turn this big motherfucker left, Troy!” and “He’s my own brother and I say fuck him!”) and random encounters (or close encounters, of like the first and a half kind) of people and snakes. Dude in the bathroom, couple fucking, etc. That’s how you make a movie like this.

Anyway, this one’s about “seven male and female college friends” — I like it already. Limit your protagonists (actually, just having protagonists is key), make it like a slasher movie. With sharks. — “who spend a weekend at a lake house in Louisiana’s Gulf area” — this, is genius. Why? because unlike Piranha, where your only way to continue is bigger piranha, here your way to continue is crocodiles. And then the sharks and the crocodiles. And then they fight each other. This, if done right, can be incredible — “When their vacation becomes a nightmare of hellish shark attacks, unheard of in freshwater lakes” — oh, man, that’s great. No logic to it at all. Perfect. Also, perfect ending to the franchise: have it tie right into Piranha 3D. Shoot a scene to put at the eventual end of the series, where you show Richard Dreyfuss getting ready to go out in his boat. So it’s like, “even though it’s over, you know the piranhas are coming next,” and then you just tied two franchises together with one scene. They should pay me money for these ideas — “they soon discover that the sharks are a part of a sick, greedy plan on the part of several locals” — oh my god, this just got better.

When is this coming out? I am first in line to see this thing.

4 stars. I’m hoping it’s 5, though. Piranha only got 3 with me, so judge what this means to your personal rankings accordingly.

The Apparition

How many “ghost” movies come out in September? The Invisible, The Apparition, Ghost Town (okay, not remotely close in theme, but a ghost is a ghost is a ghost, Polonius) …. that’s about it. I’m sure if I checked titles from other months there’d be more, but I just don’t give a fuck.

When frightening events start to occur in their home, young couple Kelly (Ashley Greene) and Ben (Sebastian Stan) discover they are being haunted by a presence that was accidentally conjured during a university parapsychology experiment. The horrifying apparition feeds on their fear and torments them no matter where they try to run. Their last hope is an expert in the supernatural, Patrick (Tom Felton), but even with his help they may already be too late to save themselves from this terrifying force.

“Young couple” … now it’s just humorous. Also, their “home”? These people are both clearly like 22, 23. they have a home? And it looks like that? Yeah, I’m sure that’s realistic.

Also, seriously? It’s a fucking Ouija movie? Before the actual Ouija movie comes out? Also, isn’t it funny that this “apparition” is essentially a boggart and they got Draco Malfoy to play it? Isn’t it funny that they got Draco Malfoy to play any form of supernatural form? Isn’t it funny that they’re also gonna try to make him menacing? The man looks like a final stage AIDs patient.

1 star. 2 is too generous to give.

Warrior

Quick, before I tell you what this is about, try to guess based on the title…

You’re thinking action movie, set in ancient times, about a Roman, Greek, or Japanese gladiator, Spartan or samurai, right? Or something in that area. That’s what we all would think. It would fit the title.

Nick Nolte is a former boxer whose alcoholism has torn apart his family. He welcomes back his young son (Tom Hardy, that crazy dude from Inception) and trains him to compete in an MMA tournament, a path that puts the son in a collision course with his older brother.

So, close.

2 stars.

Drive

Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan. Anyone else need to here more?

There are a few things (aside from the leads) that make me excited for this movie. One, it’s an independent movie and already has a release date. That’s good. No (real) studio interference. Two, it’s being directed by a Danish director, which just breeds some sort of confidence. Plus this is also the guy who directed the Pusher series of films and Bronson. I know only about 2% of the population knows what either of those are, but they’re good things. Go with that.

This is about a Hollywood stunt man who moonlights as a wheelman who discovers that a contract has been put out on him after a heist goes bad.

Sounds interesting enough to me. Carey Mulligan is either a noir heroine or the girlfriend in peril. Either way, that’s cool. Ron Perlman is in it. So is Christina Hendricks, Bryan Cranston and Albert Brooks. Sounds like a pretty good cast and story to me.

4 stars.

Johnny English Reborn

Show of hands — how many of you knew there was a first film in this franchise?

Anyone?

The only reason I knew about it was because it was a trailer at the beginning of the original Bourne Identity DVD. I saw it and was like, “What the fuck is this?” And I saw it was coming out like a month after I bought the DVD. Shows you how well they advertised, when I had no idea it was coming out without stumbling on a trailer the one time I don’t fast forward through the trailers before the DVD menu.

The original starred Mr. Bean, John Malkovich, and Natalie Imbruglia. Now Gillian Anderson is the female lead instead of Natalie Imbruglia. I’m torn.

Piranha 3DD

Here’s one of those movies that was announced as soon as the first one did well. I can’t imagine how they could shoot it that quickly and get it out this year, especially with the shark attack movie already coming out, but, stranger things have happened. This feels like it would be better suited to come out next year, but who am I to ruin a Hollywood franchise when Hollywood is doing an exceptional job of doing that themselves?

No word on what this is about, but, if you saw the first one, you have a pretty good idea.

3 stars. Diminishing returns only counts if there were returns on the first one.

Straw Dogs

I think this one is better without me explaining anything about it. If you have the opportunity to see the original, do it. It’s highly fucked up. We like it when things are highly fucked up. It’s a Peckinpah film with Dustin Hoffman from 1971. If you know anything about Sam Peckinpah and the 1970s, you probably have some idea of what you’re in for.

This remake stars Cyclops and new Lois Lane, aka James Marsden and Kate Bosworth. They were also married in Superman Returns. That’s what’s going to make this whole fucking movie that much funnier. James Woods is  in this, Dominic Purcell and Alexander Skarsård. They’re the — bad guys.

Actually, here’s the wikipedia synopsis. It tells you nothing. So that’s a plus.

L.A. screenwriter David Sumner (James Marsden) relocates with his wife, Amy (Kate Bosworth), to her hometown in the deep South. There, while tensions build between them, a brewing conflict with locals becomes a threat to them both.

Trust me when I say, this is the part of the turtle that’s sticking out of the shell.

3 stars. I doubt this will be as good as the original. But it’ll still probably be worthwhile. Rod Lurie generally makes worthwhile films.

Abduction

Yeah, I’m sure this will be good. A thriller starring the Native American kid from Twilight. Being directed by John Singleton. Oh boy. What happened to that guy? Then again, maybe it was just a one time thing with him. I mean, he did direct 2 Fast 2 Furious. Four Brothers was pretty good, though.

This movie is about a teenager who finds out that his parents aren’t really his parents when he sees his baby picture on a missing persons website.

Yeah… and Maria Bello, Sigourney Weaver and Alfred Molina are co-starring. My guess is the latter two are the fake parents and Maria Bello is the cop who slowly figures it out by the end of the movie.

1 star. Fucking really?

Dolphin Tale

I almost skipped this, thinking it was another one of those Planet Earth documentaries. It wasn’t. This is actually a drama film, directed by Charles Martin Smith. Yeah, that guy. It’s starring Harry Connick Jr., Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd.

It’s inspired by the “true story” of a dolphin named Winter who was rescued and taken in by a Florida aquarium. Shouldn’t this have been the movie called Abduction?

Apparently what it’s really about is a young boy — fuck you, synopsis people. Fuck you twice — who befriends Winter, who is an injured dolphin who lost her tail in a crab trap, and motivates everyone around him to help create a prosthetic replacement to save the dolphin. Connick is the vet who rescues the dolphin and brings it to the marine hospital he runs (notice how the aquarium isn’t part of this? Smart move.), Judd is his mother (naturally), and Morgan Freeman is Morgan Freeman. Playing the guy who creates the prosthetic. I guess this is what he’s doing now that he quit working for Batman.

This movie should be called Free Flipsta.

3 stars. Inoffensive. Indifferent. We’ll assume generic and not bad. +1 for pun in the title.

Moneyball

I’m excited for this. Purely because Brad Pitt does not choose bad projects. Does not. Let’s look back. He gets noticed in Thelma & Louise. Then has three years of doing a bunch of smaller roles. Then, 1994, he hits it big. Legends of the Fall and Interview with the Vampire. Then, check out what he’s done since 1995: Seven, Twelve Monkeys, Sleepers, The Devil’s Own (You may think it’s bad, but it was directed by Alan Pakula. All remotely questionable movies on this list can be explained by who he was working with), Seven Years in Tibet, Meet Joe Black, Fight Club, Snatch., The Mexican, Spy Game, Ocean’s 11, 12, and 13, Troy (We skipped Sinbad, because it’s animated. Same for Megamind), Babel, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Burn After Reading, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Inglourious Basterds, The Tree of Life, and this. I count one movie on this list that I didn’t like (but even that was still a well-made film). This motherfucker knows how to choose good things.

Also, what makes me interested in seeing this is the fact that you’d think it can’t possibly work. A movie about Billy Beane’s sabermetric approach to building a team? That’s about as preposterous as a movie about Facebook.

We know nothing about this movie except that it’s about Beane, played by Pitt, and has Philip Seymour Hoffman starring as Art Howe. It’s also being directed by the guy who made Capote (who must just love homosexual protagonists) with a screenplay by Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin. Not sure who did the original and who did the rewrite (I’m guessing Sorkin did the rewrite, though I hear the original script was brilliant), but all signs point to great on this one.

4 stars. Let’s not assume a 5. Let’s let the film blow me away.

Anonymous

Ha ha, a historical thriller directed by Roland Emmerich. Anyone hav any faith in this man now that he’s “done” with his disaster movies? Seriously, the only good movie the man has made aside from his awesome disaster trilogy (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012) is The Patriot. I mean, Godzilla? 10,000 B.C.? I mean, he made Stargate and Universal Soldier, but that was pre-Day. I have zero faith in this man to make a movie that’s not laden with visual effects. Less than zero for him to include any kind of interesting dialogue.

This film (get ready for something that will be immensely entertaining … the synopsis, not the film) is a thriller about who actually wrote the plays of William Shakespeare. It follows Rhys Ifans, who is apparently the guy who actually wrote the plays. It’s a whole movie about the situation of Queen Elizabeth and shit, but whatever. This sounds like it can be laughably bad.

2 stars.

Courageous

I got this far into the wikipedia page: “Courageous is an upcoming Christian drama film…”

0 stars.

Dream House

This will be known as the movie that ended Rachel Weisz’s marriage. Or maybe not marriage, but relationship with son. She left Darren Aronofsky and started fucking Daniel Craig on the set of this movie. And now she may be the new Bond girl because of it. From past experience, it usually enhances the quality of the picture. Though, listening to this synopsis, I’m not sure how much that will happen.

Will Attenton (Craig) and his wife, Libby (Weisz) move to what appears to be their dream home in Morgan Creek. But the dream is shattered when the couple is haunted by former inhabitants, who were murdered in the house.

Yeah…not exactly a great-sounding movie. Naomi Watts is one of the dead people. I’m sure this will be generic.

3 stars. Assume throwaway, maybe get better.

Now

In a future where aging has stopped and people must pay to stay alive, a man is accused of murder when he inherits a fortune from a dead upper class man, and he is forced to go on the run.

Sounds like a regular thriller, right? In the vein of Surrogates, or something like that? But, and here’s the game changer — it’s written and directed by Andrew Niccol.

Who is Andrew Niccol?

He’s the man who wrote, and/or directed, these movies: Gattaca, The Truman Show, S1m0ne, and Lord of War. He also came up with the story concept for The Terminal. The rest was Spielberg. So, this man is good at coming up with stories. Interesting stories. Lord of War is a fucking fantastic film. I can watch that movie at any time, it’s so captivating. Truman Show is a bit … well, it’s a fantastic concept. I can’t really speak 100% well of the film itself, but it is a very great idea. So, that gives me the hope that this can be really good. It’s also co-starring Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Wilde (she’s busy this year, isn’t she?) and Cillian Murphy. I like that cast.

4 stars.

Real Steel

Oh, dear god, what is this? Is this a real Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots movie? Let’s read the synopsis (I promise not to say anything during or after, and let everyone decide for themselves what they will think of this movie):

Hugh Jackman plays Charlie Kenton, a washed-up fighter who lost his chance at a title when 2000-pound, 8-foot-tall steel robots took over the ring. Now nothing but a small-time promoter, Charlie earns just enough money piecing together low-end bots from scrap metal to get from one underground boxing venue to the next. When Charlie hits rock bottom, he reluctantly teams up with his estranged son Max (Dakota Goyo) to build and train a championship contender. As the stakes in the brutal, no-holds-barred arena are raised, Charlie and Max, against all odds, get one last shot at a comeback.

It’s also being directed by titan of cinema Shawn Levy, who has brought to pass these master pieces: Big Fat Liar, Just Married, Cheaper By the Dozen, The Pink Panther (remake), Night at the Museum, Night at the Museum 2, and Date Night.

Despite this, I say 3 stars. I don’t really know why.

Wanderlust

Okay, this movie has one thing that makes me extremely excited to see it, and one thing that makes me want to avoid it at all costs and just put it on the unforgivables list right now. Let’s start with that one.

Jennifer Aniston. Someone just kill this bitch already. Stop hiring her.

Now, the rest of the movie. It’s being directed by David Wain. He’s responsible for many different comedic efforts, most of which you can look up for yourself if you don’t know, but most importantly, these two movies: Wet Hot American Summer and Role Models. A Wain movie starring Paul Rudd sounds fantastic.

After an urban couple purchase a place in New York, the husband loses his job. With no other options, the couple leave for Georgia to live with family. Along the way, they stay at a bed and breakfast that turns out to be a nudist commune.

I’ll give anything that Wain does a chance. But did he have to cast Aniston?

3 stars. +1 (at least) if he can make Aniston tolerable.

Footloose

I have no photos from this new version, so here’s a poster for the original.

Normally I wouldn’t give a fuck about this remake. I’d figure it would go by the way of the Fame remake — down the toilet. But, the one ray of sunshine this movie has — its director. Craig Brewer. He’s the man that brought us these two movies:

And —

Surely the man who made these two movies can inject a little goodness into Footloose. Right?

3 stars.

The Thing

I’m gonna talk a lot about this movie. Why? Because I love the original.

And by original, I mean this:

And not this:

The original Thing From Another World is a brilliant film. It’s also a great example of how fucking terrified the country was about the Reds.

I still haven’t seen the Carpenter version, but everyone swears by it. And by everyone, I mean nerdy people who like those kinds of movies. Mostly the online community. I’ve yet to find someone I know and respect to say anything about that version. So I’ll stick with mine.

Anyway, what’s great about the original is how it’s confined to a very small space. The whole thing happens in one little compound, and the “thing” is almost never seen on screen, which makes it terrifying. It’s the Jaws syndrome — the reason they don’t show it is because it actually looked like a giant carrot (this coming from the man who actually wore it in the film):

But what’s great about the original is how it has the overly anti-Communist sentiment at the end. The characters talk about “alien” ships that could be coming to harm them, and tell people to “watch the skies.”

It’s a really great movie. Check it out if you ever have the chance (or ask me to watch it with you. I will never say no). And, I know this remake is a remake of the Carpenter version, but I’m still excited for it nonetheless. Mostly because they have the enclosed space thing down.

Scratch that. It’s a prequel to the Carpenter movie. Oh, now I’m really excited. It’s about the original crew that discovered the alien.

Paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) joins a Norwegian scientific team that has stumbled across a crashed extraterrestrial spaceship buried in the ice of Antarctica. She discovers a creature that seems to have died in the crash eons ago.

When an experiment frees the alien from its frozen prison, Kate joins the crew’s pilot, Carter (Joel Edgerton), to keep it from killing them and taking them over one at a time, using its ability to perfectly mimic any lifeform it touches, and eventually reaching civilization.

I like Mary Elizabeth Winstead. And I like flamethrowers. I also think this film can be really good.

4 stars.

The Three Musketeers

Take a guess what this movie is.

The hot-headed young D’Artagnan along with three former legendary but now down on their luck Musketeers must unite and defeat a beautiful double agent and her villainous employer from seizing the French throne and engulfing Europe in war.

In 3D. Directed by the Resident Evil guy. Which means Milla Jovovich will also be in this movie. It’s like Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter. Baby Mama always gets a part. I am excited about this movie, however. In a marginal way. I’m expecting to be like 3.5 stars entertained from this.

Logan Lerman is D’Artagnan. He’s Christian Bale’s son from 3:10 to Yuma. He was also Percy Jackson and the user kid from Gamer. Matthew Macfayden is Athos. He was Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice (This is a potential autobiography of my life. The two things I have most of). Ray Stevenson is Porthos. He was the new Punisher and is the Irishman in Kill the Irishman. So, that’s those three. Milla Jovovich is some noble lady or whatever. Juno Temple, aka Girl Who Gets Raped in Atonement, is in it. She’s the queen. But here’s what I like best. Madds Mikkelson, aka Le Chiffre, is one of the villains. As is Orlando Bloom. Oh, wait, Bloom is the guy who gets killed early on. That makes sense. This could be a very good thing. And, my favorite part — playing the role of Cardinal Richelieu — Christoph Waltz.

Oh man, this can be entertaining.

3 stars. I won’t presume any more, lest I be let down.

Contagion

Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne, Sanaa Lathan, Elliot Gould, Demetri Martin, Jennifer Elhe, Bryan Cranston — directed by Stephen Soderbergh.

I know nothing about this movie except this and that it’s a thriller like Outbreak. And Outbreak was a really good movie. So, I’d rather go in totally cold for this movie.

When Soderbergh makes mainstream films, they’re always interesting.

4 stars. I hate to say 5, but, there’s a distinct possibility.

Paranormal Activity 3

Oh, no, this has become another franchise. Diminishing returns are in effect. The last one made over $100 million. Sadly. This one should  not do that (Hopefully we can cut this off before it gets Sawed).

I don’t care what it’s about. Still haven’t seen the first one. I know when I do, I won’t like it, but will respect it for what it accomplishes on its budget. And then I’ll just hate the second one, just because.

2 stars.

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