The 2021 Film Release Calendar: September
It’s been such a protracted year, but finally we’re ready to finish the Release Calendar (and finally I can actually start watching stuff from this year in earnest.
By now, the calendar’s starting to get more filled out than it usually is when I start going over everything and we’re starting to get a sense that maybe, just maybe, by the latter half of the year movie theaters will be open and operating again at a level relatively near to what we’re used to.
So, in the hopes of that happening, let’s go over all the stuff that’s fixing to come out.
After ten years, the Jackass crew is back for their final crusade.
It’s Jackass. We know what we’re getting.
3 stars. I’ll enjoy this to an extent and the rest of this will be me seeing the stuff that doesn’t quite work or feels unnecessary and wondering why the fuck these people are still doing this shit into their 40s.
A scientist discovers a way to relive your past and uses the technology to search for his long lost love.
High concept sci-fi movie from Lisa Joy, co-creator of Westworld. Rebecca Ferguson, Hugh Jackman and Thandie Newton star.
I mean, given the pedigree and the stars, I can’t guess less than 3.5 stars here. These high concept movies have a high ratio of not working (see: Transcendence), but Jackman doesn’t just take anything and always seems to pick really interesting material (as much as this does feel a lot like The Fountain), so I’m counting on him to make this work.
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
A reboot of the ‘Resident Evil’ films based on the popular horror video game series by the same name.
You can reboot this all you want… 3 stars is always gonna be the guess. When’s the last video game movie that managed to legitimately be better than 3 stars? Change the pieces, nominally connect it to the other ones… not gonna matter. These are all throwaway 3 star movies and always have been.
Original horror thriller from director James Wan.
I don’t like horror movies. Simple enough. So as capable a director as James Wan is and as much as I know he cut his teeth on these movies… means nothing to me because I simply don’t enjoy the genre. So this is one of those movies I’ll watch but I can almost guarantee that unless it’s some insanely great idea or can be viewed as something other than a horror movie, I’m not gonna care.
Hope I’m wrong, but I know how I respond to this genre. So in the absence of more information, this is what I’ve got.
The Boss Baby: Family Business
The Templeton brothers have become adults and drifted away from each other, but a new boss baby with a cutting-edge approach is about to bring them together again – and inspire a new family business.
The Boss Baby is back, and apparently there’s a younger sister now.
Honestly, don’t care. I’m tickled by this franchise and while I’m sure this won’t be any good at all (I’m still not even sure the last one is any good), I know I’ll be adequately amused by it.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Plot unknown. Sequel to the 2018 film ‘Venom’.
So it’s Venom. The first one was bad. But Tom Hardy went nuts in it and that made it bearable. This one… Andy Serkis is directing, which kind of gives me hope. The writer, Kelly Marcel, did the first one and also did initial work on Cruella and wrote Fifty Shades of Grey, so that doesn’t give me too much hope. Plus it’s Sony, and their M.O. is fucking up superhero franchises.
I’m gonna give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they learned from the narrative failures of the first one to know to lean into Tom Hardy doing weird shit and then just nominally do superhero bullshit around him and say 3.5 stars. That’s probably dumb, but on the other hand… a movie at this price point is not going below 3 stars. It’s just not. Even if it’s an unholy shit show… look, even the Zack Snyder D.C. movies got 3 out of me, and Batman v. Superman was unwatchable. So let’s take a shot and see if they learned anything or if they’re just stringing us along and giving Tom Hardy just enough to have fun with while they all make money off the back of a shitty movie. This is basically what the summer months are most of the time anyway.
A man discovers that his hallucinations are actually visions from past lives.
It’s a Mark Wahlberg action movie directed by Antoine Fuqua. I mean… I’m down. Of course, it’s only gonna be a 3 star movie, but still, should be totally watchable.
The Many Saints of Newark
A look at the formative years of New Jersey gangster, Tony Soprano.
I mean… I have about as much idea what to make of this as you do. David Chase felt like he wanted to do this, so I’ll give him credit for that much. This feels less like a money grab as much as it’s a ‘I have a story I want to explore’. Since it’s been like 14 years since the show ended. And they cast James Gandolfini’s son in the lead, which is gonna add an extra layer to the proceedings. The cast is nuts and they got Alan Taylor to direct it, he of HBO descent, having directed about ten episodes of the show and making his bones on Game of Thrones (before becoming one of those chew-em-up-and-spit-em-out action directors, taking the blame for Thor: The Dark World and Terminator Genisys even though I’m sure he was literally just a body in a chair to make sure it got done).
I’ve got faith in this to be solid.
Dear Evan Hansen
Film adaptation of the Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical about Evan Hansen, a high school senior with Social Anxiety disorder and his journey of self-discovery and acceptance following the suicide of a fellow classmate.
I like musicals, but I don’t know anything about this, so I’m not sure how I’ll respond to it. The songs are by the guys who did La La Land and Greatest Showman and it’s directed by the guy who did Wonder and the Wallflower movie. So that, plus the fact that it’s a musical and I’m generally more receptive to those, even though the majority of the ones that’ve come out this decade are too slick-looking and are more like one-offs I enjoy but never want to see again.
Fuck it. Let’s go 3.5 stars. 4 feels like the ceiling on this, given that I generally know when something is considered one of those absolute top tier musicals going in. Worst case I’m getting 3 out of this anyway, so that’s fine.
The Eyes of Tammy Faye
An intimate look at the extraordinary rise, fall and redemption of televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker.
This is from Michael Showalter, who did The Big Sick and The Baxter and most recently The Lovebirds. Jessica Chastain plays Tammy Faye, which fascinates me, and Showalter is one of those directors who generally makes watchable movies at worst. This feels closer to solid than just okay, so I’ll go 3.5 stars on this. I don’t know what the tone of this is gonna be, so I’ll stay neutral and see what it ends up being.
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