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The 2012 Film Release Calendar (September & October)

Ah, the fall. If there are two months I really hate, it’s September and October. Because at least with January and February, the Oscars are going on and the films that are out don’t matter. In the fall — there’s nothing.

It’s common knowledge that the first two weeks of September are the worst of the release calendar (hence the reason there isn’t anything scheduled before the 14th this year). And even then, not that much real quality comes out in September or October. At least, in bulk. Most of the time is spent compiling your list of awards films to see and waiting for them to come out. Say there are 20 films in September and October. Maybe like, five of them really matter. Plus you get the Halloween shit — it’s not fun.

This year seems just as barren as the rest of them, with the same requisite handful of decent-looking films. At least we have those, right?

September

Resident Evil: Retribution

I’ve got these down to a science by now. The first one was good, and they’ve gone slightly downhill since then. The last one was straddling the fence between 2 and 2.5 stars.

Which means this one, which is about Alice fighting “alongside a resistance movement in the continuing battle against the Umbrella Corporation and the undead,” should be a solid 2 stars.

Somehow Michelle Rodriguez is back. Interesting, seeing as how they killed her in the first one. That’s two franchises now that she’s been magically resurrected in.

Either way, I don’t expect much here. 2 or 2.5, it’s really pretty much guaranteed to be one of those.

Argo

This is Affleck’s third film as a director. Gone  Baby Gone was pretty good (albeit a bit light on the narrative, which wasn’t his fault at all. It was well-directed), and The Town, which was really good.

I like that Affleck is now venturing past Boston and trying something bigger this time. And it sounds really interesting, too.

During the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, the governments of the United States and Canada partnered to rescue six U.S. diplomats held hostage at their embassy in Iran. The governments were able to convince Iran that the six hostages were members of a camera crew who were scouting the area for a film titled Argo. The hostages were able to escape the country with their fake identities.

Interesting, no? It sounds like a film that’s definitely a thriller, but can have humorous elements to it. Which will probably make it entertaining, but not liable to get a shitload of Oscar nominations. Not that it matters.

Check out this cast — Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Clea DuVall, John Goodman, Michael Parks, Alan Arkin, Richard Kind — it’s really good.

I’m expecting this to be a solid 4 stars. Ben hasn’t directed anything less than a 3.5 so far. No reason to suspect this will be any different, especially since this is the strongest material he’s had to work with. (As in, the film that sounded the most interesting going in.) Really excited for this.

Dredd

He is the law.

Again with the 80s action remakes. Clash of the Titans, Conan the Barbarian, Total Recall — not one of these has been good yet. Total Recall doesn’t look particularly strong because of that August spot, and this — well, the September spot is a bit intriguing, but I don’t have much faith in this, especially since the director was fired and forced out of the editing room due to creative differences with the studio.

You know what that means, right? They’re gonna make this as mainstream as possible, and it’s gonna suck. Very rarely have I seen the studio make a legitimate good decision in firing the director. Especially in the case of a big budget movie.

That aside — I know this isn’t an exact remake of the Stallone film (which is 90s, and not 80s, so it’s not really part of what I said up there — though I will say, the idea is the remaking of films with distinctive personalities. Titans with the claymation, and Schwarzenegger and Stallone movies. You can’t just recreate those — but still, I think we all know the score with this), it’s based on the comic book, which makes me want to give it the slight benefit of the doubt

Honestly, I’m gonna have to say 2.5 stars. I think it can be 3 stars, and it could also (to a slightly lesser extent, but still a decent one) be 2 stars. I’ll say 2.5 and let it swing either way depending on how badly the studio fucked it up.

Hotel Transylvania

Dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world, goes into overprotective mode when a boy discovers the resort and falls for the count’s teen-aged daughter.

Well it definitely sounds interesting. It seems like animation is where the boldest things are tried.

I think this can be good. Except…

Dracula is being voiced by Adam Sandler. And Kevin James is in it. I have such doubts.

I’m now convinced this will be too kiddie for me to really love this.

I’ll say 3 stars. I’m sure it’ll be entertaining enough, but it’s gonna have to be mature for me to give it anything higher.

Looper

Rian Johnson has made two films thus far. The first was Brick, a really solid neo-noir set in high school. It’s a brilliant first film, and a really solid movie. His second film was The Brothers Bloom, which I really, really loved.

So, for me, this dude is running a real hot streak, and anything he does — I’m interested in. And when they just announced this — I was excited. Here’s the synopsis:

A present-day killer works for a mob in the future and kills people who are sent from the future. He recognizes one victim as himself and hesitates, resulting in the escape of his older self.

Get that? A hitman kills time-travelers, and is sent to kill himself. Tell me you’re not at least a little bit interested in that.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the hitman, and Bruce Willis is his older self. (A little Twelve Monkeys nod there. I like it.) Emily Blunt is also in the film, as are Paul Dano, Garrett Dillahunt, Piper Pierabo and Jeff Daniels.

Honestly, this shouldn’t be anything less than 4 stars. It looks amazing, and Johnson has a great track record. I’m very, very excited for this.

Savages

Oliver’s back.

I feel like Oliver Stone has had a quiet — shit, 15 years. Since Nixon, really. U-Turn I haven’t seen, but it’s still a decidedly minor work of his. Any Given Sunday was amazing, and I love it, but outside of that, the past decade’s felt pretty quiet from him. He spent five years doing Alexander, which was a big swing and miss. Then he came back with World Trade Center, which was a solid film, but just wasn’t that interesting. I’m just not interested in anything that has to do with war, politics or major events of the past fifteen years. Especially in the culture we live in, where everything is reported ad nauseam. And 9/11 — you know how much we heard about that in the five years before the movie came out? So I really don’t care for it, even though it was really well-done (and Cage is actually really strong in it).

And W., I enjoyed it, but for me, it’s not that it was a good movie so much as it was enjoyable to see all those actors do their best impersonations of people. I was more interested in seeing what Jeffrey Wright did with Colin Powell and Brolin did with Bush and Newton did with Rice than I was with the film. I didn’t care about any of that. So I pretty much forget that film even exists. And Wall Street, while I understand the intentions behind the film, and I think it’s brilliant in the way that they executed it (I’m not sure if I did it on the blog, but I thought the way they put that film together around Michael Douglas was just brilliance), it’s still a minor film to me.

It’s just felt like we haven’t really seen a true Oliver Stone film for a while. So I don’t know how to react to this one. Here’s a synopsis:

Pot growers Ben and Chon face off against the Mexican drug cartel who kidnapped their shared girlfriend.

It sounds like it could be a comedy, but trust me — it’s not. Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch are the pot growers. I’m guessing Blake Lively is the girlfriend. Emile Hirsch, John Travolta, Uma Thurman and Benicio del Toro are also in it.

I don’t know what to make of it. Let’s say 3 stars. I know Olivier is usually good for a 3.5, and this will probably be closer to a 3.5, but I still say 3. I want to see it first. I don’t care if I’m wrong.

– – – – – – – – – –

All right. Going by my “How to Read a Hollywood Release,” here’s what generally gets released in September. Let’s see if that’s similar to what we have here.

  • It’s the most genre-heavy month there is. (“More so than October, because October’s genres tend be more horror oriented (for Columbus Day, naturally).”) It has a lot of straight genre films, and weird, fucked up genre films. Always the extremes. Never really in the middle. (Example: 3:10 to Yuma and Jennifer’s Body. A straight example of a genre, and a weird, fucked up example of a genre.)
  • It also has your early Oscar films. (“These are films that they think will/may get Oscar attention, but also aren’t sure if they will get lots of nominations. Usually September Oscar films end up getting mostly shut out save one or two nominations, if that.”)
  • Resident Evil. That franchise owns September. All of them were released in September except the first one, which was released in March (“and like I said, March and September are very easily interchangeable.”)
  • The second Tyler Perry movie
  • The animated kids movie of September that’s decidedly not for children. (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs notwithstanding.)
  • Shitty comedies/rom coms (You Again, What’s Your Number?, Good Luck Chuck)
  • The films Hollywood has no idea what the fuck to do with. (The American, The Informant!, 50/50 Burn After Reading)

Okay, so what’ve we got this year?

Resident Evil. Franchise. (Also, Piranha 3DD, if indeed they put this in September will technically count as a franchise. The sea predator attack film.)

Argo — the Oscar hopeful. Savages too. Typically these films will mostly get shut out, which is what I see potentially happening with these. However, I will say — The Town made a lot of money that same week Argo is being released. So it’s possible they’re releasing it there for that reason, in which case the Oscar nominations could still happen. (That’s just an out, in case it does get nominations based on Affleck directing and the class factor, but typically September films, if they get any kind of buzz, run out of steam by December.)

Hotel Transylvania — kids film that doesn’t necessarily seem to be for kids. (Mostly because it’s more, horror-oriented. Like Igor. I’m sure it’ll make money, but it doesn’t exactly seem light and fluffy for under 5s.)

The Tyler Perry movie was actually scheduled for the end of July. That’s still baffling to me. He’s got a core audience, do they think it’ll grow just because it’s the summer? I guess it’s worth a shot, but — why?

Dredd — this is an interesting one, simply because it seems like it belongs in August. It’s an outlier, for the most part. That’s why I’m so interested in seeing what happens with it.

There will be more films to come out. One weekend has nothing scheduled, and I know there will definitely be at least one shitty comedy/rom com dumped here, and one or more films they have no idea what the fuck to do with here too. Trust me.

Okay. Box office…

First week of September, I don’t know, because nothing is scheduled! There are no films scheduled for September 7th. Jesus.

Second week — Finding Nemo is being rereleased in 3D. That should definitely win. OrResident Evil is also being released that weekend. That could win too. Interesting showdown.

Third week — Hotel Transylvania vs. Dredd. Not sure which wins there. I guess I go kids film. Actually, I definitely go kids film. Those always win.

Fourth week — ooh, interesting. The only films scheduled are Looper and Savages. Which means, Oliver Stone vs. Rian Johnson. Interesting showdown to have for the Box Office. Hotel Transylvania will win again, if that’s the case.

Potential good movies in September?: Looper, ArgoSavages (maybe?), and Hotel Transylvania will probably be entertaining in that non-Pixar animated movie way. Like Megamind, which was enjoyable, but way too kiddie.

Unforgivables?: None, I think. At least, nothing scheduled. (Sequels don’t go Unforgivable, just to remind you.) Maybe Dredd? But honestly, I have faith in that, if it’s really bad, to just be bad, and not be Unforgivable. So I don’t even list that. That has to fall a long way to even make me consider it for Unforgivable. So, nothing, really, at the moment.

– – – – – – – – – –

October

Frankenweenie

Young Victor conducts a science experiment to bring his beloved dog Sparky back to life, only to face unintended, sometimes monstrous, consequences.

This is based, I believe, on a short Tim Burton did in the 80s. I’m not the biggest Tim Burton fan. That is to say, I don’t really like the stuff he’s done on his own. Stuff like this. Corpse Bride. It’s too weird for me.

So while I’m sure this will be good enough, I’m just not that excited for it. 3 stars. It’s stop-motion, though, so that might actually bump it up to 3.5. But as I always say, a half star for aesthetic doesn’t affect the rating.

Taken 2

You know the first one — it was decent, everyone made it overrated by making it seem like it was some great movie. It was a 3.5 star movie for about a week, and then it was 3 stars, and I had no desire to ever see it again.

This one — based on the standard depreciation of sequels — will be a 2.5 star movie. Maybe it’ll squeak by and get a 3, but I guarantee you it won’t be a strong 3 at all. Guaranteed.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D

Not that a movie like this needs a synopsis, but here it is:

A young woman travels to Texas to collect an inheritance; little does she know that an encounter with a chainsaw-yielding killer is part of the reward.

2 stars. I don’t care about this. I never did. I probably won’t even see it.

Fun Size

When a troubled but whip-smart teen girl loses her oddball little brother on Halloween, she has one desperate night to track him down.

Interesting, but I still don’t know how much I trust it to be decent. Chelsea Handler is in it. Otherwise, I’m sure it’ll be throwaway and kiddie (as in, meant for tweens).

2.5 stars. Why the fuck not?

Here Comes the Boom

Ha ha. Ready for this, everybody?

A high school biology teacher moonlights as a mixed-martial arts fighter in an effort to raise money to save the school’s music program.

First off, why is a biology teacher trying to save the school’s music program? And why is he an MMA fighter? Just throwing out the logic flaws inherent in just that. Also, remember Warrior? There was a similar character in that movie. He was a science teacher. Thing is, that was like, 15% of the entire plot. He was doing it to make a living. His wife was working three jobs. He needed to feed his family. And then there was the whole story with his brother, and his father. It was a minor part of the story. Here? They’re stretching it into an entire plot.

Keep in mind — this is before I tell you who is in it. But I bet you could guess, based on how I’ve been treating it, couldn’t you?

Starring Kevin James.

1 star. Unforgivable, guaranteed.

If only they all were this easy.

Parker

A crime/thriller centered on a thief who lives by a code of honor that includes never stealing money from people who need it.

Starring Jason Statham and directed by Taylor Hackford (Ray, An Officer and a Gentleman). Interesting.

Also starring Nick Nolte and Jennifer… Lopez? Really? Michael Chiklis and Clifton Collins Jr. are also in this. As is, Patti… LuPone? Okay…

I guess, 3 stars? This is just fascinating to me, this eclectic mix of people. I really want to see what this is.

Paranormal Activity 4

It’s not scheduled, but you know this shit is coming out. They make it for $20 and shoot it over a weekend. They’ll make this in March and have it ready for October.

And it’ll still suck.

2 stars.

The Big Wedding

A long-divorced couple fakes being married as their family unites for a wedding.

Interesting. This sounds like it could be good. Or, it’ll be bland and generic. But let’s hope for the best.

The cast includes Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton (as, I’m guessing, the couple), Amanda Seyfried, Katherine Heigl, Topher Grace and Susan Sarandon.

That’s solid enough to think it’ll be at least 3 stars. Let’s hope it’s good. I’d like to see De Niro in a good movie this side of 1995.

Gangster Squad

 

A chronicle of the LAPD’s fight to keep East Coast Mafia types out of Los Angeles in the 1940s and 50s.

Ruben Fleischer earned a lot of respect from me for Zombieland. He lost a little bit for 30 Minutes or Less, but not too much. I still trust him if the material is solid. And a period piece about cops and gangsters — I think that’s pretty solid. Especially considering the cast he’s assembled.

Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Nick Nolte, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Peña, Anthony Mackie, Robert Patrick — I’m sold.

4 stars. I’m worried it’ll go down to 3.5, but fuck it. I feel like there haven’t been enough 4 star guesses this year, and this seems as prime a candidate as any. I hope this is great.

Twylight Zones

Set in suburban New Jersey the 1960s, a group of friends form a rock band and try to make it big.

David Chase wrote and is directing this. That’s very intriguing.

The cast includes Jack Huston, James Gandolfini, Christopher McDonald, Brad Garrett — eclectic. I’ll go with it. It could be good.

3 stars I’m really curious to see what this is.

Halloween 3D

This is scheduled, but they haven’t shot it yet. I refuse to believe this comes out. There’s no way Hollywood allows a film (even on a reported $23 million) in a franchise like this to be shot and edited and released within 10 months. No way. This will be pushed to 2013. I’m so confident of this that I’m not providing a rating.

Cloud Atlas

Six stories set in a different time and place become intricately related to each other.

I like that it’s based on a bunch of different stories. That said, I have no idea what those stories are. (My rule has become to know as little as possible about films. So unless there’s a synopsis, I won’t go reading the summaries of books, simply because they give away the plots.)

All I know is that it’s being directed by Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis. And the cast includes Tom Hanks, Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw, Hugh Grant, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Keith David and Jim Broadbent.

Okay. We’ll go with it. 3.5 stars, I guess. It’s hard because I know nothing about it. This can change multiple times based on a trailer and stuff.

Of Men and Mavericks

Surfer Jay Moriarity sets out to ride the Northern California break known as Mavericks.

So it’s a surfing movie? Costarring Gerard Butler and Elisabeth Shue.

Uhh… 3 stars? Maybe? I don’t do surfing movies. I’m sure it’ll be generic and throwaway.

– – – – – – – – – –

October is pretty easy. Based on “How to Read a Hollywood Release” — “All you get in October are horror movies and Oscar movies. There are a few stragglers in between, but, those are essentially the ones I said can be considered April releases as well.”

Horor/Halloween films — look what we have scheduled: Paranormal, Texas Chainsaw, Frankenweenie.

Oscar films — not really that many. At least, at the moment. That’s kind of surprising. But I’m guessing we’ll see a lot coming out over the course of the year. There are a few films without dates that seem optimal for this month.

And then the other stuff — Taken 2. I think it’s because it made money, grew out of January, and wasn’t ready in time to go anywhere else. It’s as good a spot as any, because if this makes lots of money, it’ll just keep going here.

Fun Size and Here Comes the Boom — one seems to be the teen-centric comedy (actually seems closest to Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, also released this weekend), and the other is the shitty Kevin James movie. Makes sense they put it here. He makes more money than January can hold (not gonna do it) and he failed in the summer. You have to put it here before demoting it to spring.

Parker — no idea what this is. Seems experimental. This is mostly interchangeable with March/April.

The Big Wedding seems limited, or maybe they’re trying to make it like The Big Year — which seems brilliant, considering how that one turned out.

Gangster Squad seems out of place, but keep in mind, it was directed by Ruben Fleischer, who made Zombieland. Guess when that came out.

Twylight Zones is a film about musicians. Maybe they scheduled it here because of the title? (Or because of outside Oscar hopes because David Chase is behind it?)

Cloud Atlas makes sense here as well, since — the Wachowskis. Last film they made? Speed Racer. Demotion. But, big stars. Have to put it here. Plus, it’s science fiction. I understand. They’re seeing dollar signs here.

Of Men and Mavericks — feels like a March or April film. But it’s interchangeable, so it does make some sense. It wouldn’t have been ready in time for those.

Box Office…

Week 1… interesting. Frankenweenie, Texas Chanisaw 3D, and Taken 2. Well obviously it’s Taken 2. Has to be, right?

Week 2, I don’t really see anything coming out, which means either something’s getting bumped, or they’re gonna put out Paranormal 4. Either way, Paranormal will win at least one weekend in October.

Week 3, this is usually the Paranormal spot. Gangster Squad is the only big film opening here. I guess one of those two.

Week 4, Halloween is opening, but I doubt that’ll do business (if it even opens at all). Damn. Nothing is scheduled at all. I really want to see how this turns out. Very rarely do they have this barren a schedule. They must really be expecting smaller films to come in. (Which, actually seems like a good thing.)

Oh, wait, Cloud Atlas. That’s a Tom Hanks film. That should make money. Right?

Potential good movies in October?: Uhh…Gangster Squad, probably. Maybe Cloud Atlas. Also have my eye on Parker and The Big Wedding to be decent.

Unforgivables?: Here Comes the Boom. Maybe Fun Size, but I highly doubt it. Kevin James is the really big one here.

– – – – – – – – – –

Tune in tomorrow, where we’ll finish off the rest of the year — the Oscar potentials and the late-year franchises.

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2 responses

  1. Pingback: FilmBits: The Latest In Film Writing Around The Web. « The Cineaste's Lament.

  2. Pingback: Top Liberal Arts Schools | Liberal Arts Degree Resource Guide

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