The 2015 Film Release Calendar: September

Every January, I preview all the films that are scheduled to come out for that year. Typically, I end up around 80%, since there are always a few that I don’t track, for whatever reason. The point of why I do this has been lost, and now I do it because that’s just what I do. It’s fun, and I enjoy it.

Mainly the idea is to see how accurately I can guess my reaction to movies up to a year in advance. And it gives me a gauge to see which films ended up surprising me for better and for worse.

Originally, I just went through the release calendar and listed about 30 other movies that didn’t have dates. Last year, I had about 200 without dates that I tracked. Now, we’re looking at around 250, on top of the articles currently set for specific months.

How I do this is, I start by going over the films currently scheduled for January through June, then take a ten day break in between to go over the Oscar nominations and Golden Globes, and then finish with July through December. After that, I go over the films currently without release dates, and finish with the holdovers from last year that I’m continuing to track. We have it down to a science here.

September

Jane Got a Gun

A woman asks her ex-lover for help in order to save her outlaw husband from a gang out to kill him.

I’ve gone over the history of this movie so many times, I can’t even do it again. Needless to say, there have been a lot of production problems with this one, and it’s had its release date moved three times and is coming out over a year later than when it was originally scheduled to.

And now they’re dumping it on Labor Day weekend, which is a notorious black hole of a weekend where basically nothing makes more than $12 million.  So yeah, it’s hard to think anything good about this.

But, it’s a western, which means I have to give it an obligatory western bump.

So I’m gonna say 3 stars even though there is no way in my right mind I should be doing so or have any cause to be doing so. But I am. Chances are the western bump puts it to 2.5. I don’t know.

But things are not looking good for this one at all.

Kitchen Sink

Vampires, humans and zombies used to get along in Dillford, but then something unexpected arrived and now it’s humans vs. vampires vs. zombies in all-out mortal combat. It’s up to three teenagers to try to get things back to “normal.”

Uhh… okay.

Weird cast.

Vanessa Hudgens, Bob Odenkirk, Ed Westwick, Rachael Harris, Mackenzie Davis, Joan Cusack, Patton Oswalt, Keegan-Michael Key, Denis Leary.

No idea what to make of this one, so I have to call it 2.5 stars. Seems like it’s gonna be goofy and over the top, which means even if it wins me over its looking at a maximum of 3 stars.

Triple Nine

A gang of criminals and corrupt cops plan the murder of a police officer in order to pull of their biggest heist yet across town.

John Hillcoat. That’s exciting. Hillcoat has made three movies so far. The Proposition — really good. The Road — really good. Lawless — decent, but disappointing.

Now he’s on his next movie.

Heist movie. Always good.

Let’s see who’s in it:

Kate Winslet, Woody Harrelson, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Gal Gadot, Teresa Palmer, Casey Affleck, Anthony Mackie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Clifton Collins Jr.

Nice cast. And Hillcoat, while I can’t say I assume this will hit the top of my year end list, this should end up a solid entry for the year.

3.5 stars. Hope it’s really good.

The Visit

A single mother finds that things in her family’s life go very wrong after her two young children visit their grandparents.

Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

Remember those days?

I don’t think we need to run down the career he’s had, but I think we can safely say that… he’s seen better days. Quality wise.

And this is him going back to his “roots,” so to speak.

I pretty much can guess everything that happens in this movie.

So 2.5 stars.

I hear it’s not great.

But it’s for kids, so who am I to judge?

Black Mass

The true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf.

Couple of interesting things about this movie. The least of which is that Johnny Depp is playing Whitey Bulger.

At this point, I think we’ve just kind of lost Depp as a great and/or interesting actor, since he’s seemed to withdraw into playing weird characters with a lot of jewelry and ornate costumes and stopped caring about giving interesting performances.

It seems the Pirates franchise ruined him. Because look at what it’s been since then — Secret Window (ehh), Finding Neverland (good movie, fine performance), The Libertine (which I still haven’t even seen), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (is what it is), three more Pirates (we’ll just lump those in at once), Sweeney Todd (loved the movie, really liked the performance), The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (basically a cameo done for good reasons), Public Enemies (which I’ll get back to in a second), Alice in Wonderland (the less said, the better), The Tourist (yup), The Rum Diary (where he didn’t really do a lot of acting whatsoever, it seems), Dark Shadows, The Lone Ranger, and Transcendence. And Into the Woods. And Now Mortdecai.

The thing about Depp now is that you can put his performance in one of three camps. It’s either the kooky spy caper like Mortdecai or The Tourist that everyone hates, or the big Tim Burton larger than life cartoon character, or it’s something like Public Enemies, where he’s playing it straight, but ultimately not doing much of anything. Do you remember his Public Enemies performance? I don’t.

So that’s what makes me concerned about Black Mass on a base level, but also it’s what I mean when I say he’s the least interesting thing about this movie.

The interesting things about this movie are: first, it’s directed and was co-written by (which means he took someone else’s script and rewrote it) Scott Cooper. Who did Crazy Heart and Out of the Furnace. So that’s a big plus for me. Since I loved Out of the Furnace.

Now, also, playing Depp’s brother in this movie (presumably) is Benedict Cumberbatch. That’s interesting. Also in this movie are Sienna Miller, Dakota Johnson, Juno Temple, Joel Edgerton, Peter Sarsgaard, Corey Stoll, Adam Scott, Kevin Bacon, Jesse Plemons, and Julianne Nicholson.

So there’s a lot to think this could be really good.

Scott Cooper has a history of 4 star movies, so I’m gonan say 4 stars. I feel like 3.5 is the most likely scenario and the best way to go, but why not give him the benefit of the doubt?

Everest

Oh yeah.

I’ve been excited for this since last year. They pushed it to now.

Apparently it’s 150 minutes. Which is terrific.

It’s being directed by the guy who did Contraband and 2 Guns, which doesn’t mean a whole lot. Mostly to me it means this isn’t an Oscar contender, but rather just a fun mountain climbing movie. Vertical Limit was one of my favorite movies of 2000 and it was directed by Martin Campbell, who did GoldenEye and a couple of action movies that weren’t particularly memorable. So I’m not downgrading because of the director.

There are a couple of really major writers/script doctors on this movie: William Nicholson, who wrote/did work on Nell, Gladiator, Les Miserables, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Unbroken. Also wrote the play of Shadowlands. So he’s a stage writer too. Mark Medoff, who wrote the stage and screenplays for Children of a Lesser God. Lem Dobbs, who wrote/worked on Dark City, The Limey, The Score, Haywire and The Company You Keep. And Simon Beaufoy, who wrote The Full Monty, Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours and Catching Fire.

So either they really wanted to make this something, or that script really needed a lot of work. Hard to tell. Though I’m sure one was a dialogue punch up, one was a character punch up, one was an action punch up. That sort of thing.

Anyway, the cast is Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley, Robin Wright, Josh Brolin, Emily Watson, Sam Worthington, Jason Clarke, Michael Kelly, Elizabeth Debicki, Mia Goth, and John Hawkes. Which is solid as shit.

4 stars. I’m so excited for this, I don’t even care. I know me and I’m gonna be excited as shit to see this movie.

The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials

The Gladers have escaped the Maze, but now they face a new set of challenges on the open roads of a world ravaged by solar flares and disease.

Wow. They actually are managing to get a sequel out a year after the original.

Not sure where this one goes. I was more interested in the first movie than other YA adaptations because of the premise… but the result wasn’t that much better than the others. It was just slightly more interesting than indifference.

So I don’t know where to go with this one. I imagine now that they’re not in a maze, they’re gonna make the world bigger and I’m not gonna care. So let’s go with my initial instinct and say 2.5 stars.

I just don’t really care about this.

The Keeping Room

Left without men in the dying days of the American Civil War, three Southern women – two sisters and one African-American slave – must fight to defend their home and themselves from two rogue soldiers who have broken off from the fast-approaching Union Army.

So this is Jane Got a Gun, but actually empowering.

This was also a last year movie that didn’t get a release date. I’m glad it’s getting a fall release, which means it’s of a certain quality. Though it’ll still be on VOD, I’m sure.

It’s being directed by the guy who did Harry Brown, which was a good movie.

Let’s say 3.5 stars. I’m interested in this. I feel like 3 is the floor on this.

The Disappointments Room

Two ‘Room” movies in a row.

A mother and her young son release unimaginable horrors from the attic of their rural dream home.

Oh.

Something tells me this might live up to its title.

Wentworth Miller wrote the screenplay. He also wrote the screenplay to Stoker, which wasn’t as good as what the final product turned out to be.

D.J. Caruso is directing. He directed Disturbia and Eagle Eye.

Kate Beckinsale is starring in this. She’s had quite a few shitty September thrillers. (Remember Whiteout, anyone?)

2.5 stars. Let’s assume I’ll go to indifference here. Since I’ve really been staying away from the 2 star ratings the last two years. I guess because it’s easier for me to just not care than to actively not like something.

Hotel Transylvania 2

When the old-old-old-fashioned vampire Vlad arrives at the hotel for an impromptu family get-together, Hotel Transylvania is in for a collision of supernatural old-school and modern day cool.

Oh god.

2.5 stars.

And ONLY because Mel Brooks is voicing Vlad. If Mel Brooks weren’t in this, 2 stars, and I expect I’d not like it at all.

The Intern

A comedy about a fashion website that brings in an elderly intern.

This is a Nancy Meyers movie.

Let me go through everything she’s done. She wrote Private Benjamin, which is a great movie. She wrote the scripts for Father of the Bride and Father of the Bride Part II. She wrote and directed The Parent Trap, which is a big movie of my childhood. She directed (but didn’t write) What Women Want, which… decent. She wrote and directed Something’s Gotta Give… which I did not like. She wrote and directed The Holiday, which I haven’t seen. And she wrote and directed It’s Complicated, which… not very good at all.

So now, there’s this. Starring Anne Hathaway, Robert De Niro and Rene Russo.

Since it’s Nancy Meyers, and I can see where her movies usually go for me, I’m gonna say 3 stars, I’ll think it’s fine (just perfectly fine and nothing more), and I’ll expect it to be somewhere in the Golden Globe conversation next year.

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow is October.

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