By Matthew Moorcroft
Awards season isn’t fully in swing just yet, but some hopefuls are still trying to get in early as they compete for your attention with other more high profile releases as well as several re-releases.
Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. (September 2nd)
One of the major leftovers from Sundance, this film is the feature directorial debut of Adamma Ebo and it made a big splash on at the festival when it premiered. This religious satire is sure to probably ruffle some feathers to the more religious folks but is likely a fun, light time for everybody else.
Pinocchio (September 8th)
The first of two high profile Pinocchio films this year comes courtesy of Robert Zemeckis, and is the next on the list of the live action Disney remakes that divide audiences and critics (though we all watch them anyways for some reason). Pinocchio boasts an impressive cast including Tom Hanks, Cynthia Erivo, Luke Evans, and Keegan Michael-Key, but it’ll be hard to say if it can overcome it’s initially bad first looks.
Barbarian (September 9th)
While trailers for this new horror film from The Whitest Kids U’ Know member Zach Cregger have been vague, early word of mouth from screenings and it’s premiere at San Diego Comic-Con have been nothing but raves. The film, which stars Georgina Campbell as a young woman living in a new mysterious rental home, is sure to be one of the most talked about of the month.
Speak No Evil (September 9th)
This Danish film premiered at Sundance to raves for it’s deft mix of social satire and psychological horror, and it’s finally a small, but relatively noticeable, limited release in North America. This is also acclaimed Danish filmmaker Christian Tafdrup’s first real foray into genre fare, which is a big leap for the otherwise low key filmmaker.
Medieval (September 9th)
The most expensive Czech film ever made, this historical drama follows the life of Jan Zizka, a Bohemian military commander who never lost a single battle. While we’ve had numerous medieval dramas over the years, it’ll be nice to see one from a different perspective, and the stacked cast from Ben Foster to Michael Caine to Matthew Goode ensures a star studded affair.
The Woman King (September 16th)
While another historical epic, The Woman King is already a unique take on the genre, taking a feminist look at one of the more interesting parts of African history in the Agojie. Viola Davis is likely to turn in one of the best performances of the year here, and the production design and general look of the film is simply sublime in general.
Blonde (September 16th in theaters, September 28th on Netflix)
This 3 hour epic biopic about Marilyn Monroe from polarizing filmmaker Andrew Dominik is already stirring up controversy for it’s depiction of the famous actress, particularly it’s NC-17 rating and it’s casting of Ana de Armas, a Cuban actress, as the famously American Monroe. Despite that, the trailers look downright excellent, and Dominik has an established fanbase that will at least make Blonde one of the most discussed films in the lineup.
See How They Run (September 16th)
While whodunnit fans will likely have to wait for Glass Onion for the real winner of the bunch, See How They Run should tide over those looking for a good mystery. With Sam Rockwell and Saoirse Ronan leading a star studded cast, the film seems to be taking an old school approach to the material, setting itself in the 1950s as a period piece rather then modern day.
Pearl (September 16th)
Ti West’s X was a nice surprise earlier in the year, but it seems fans already can dive back into the world as it’s prequel is releasing this month. Shot back-to-back with X, Pearl follows the origins of the titular villain from said film with Mia Goth reprising her role – in a film co-written by her as well.
The Silent Twins (September 16th)
Telling the true story of June and Jennifer Gibbons, two twins who only spoke to each other, this biopic marks the English language debut of Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Smoczynska, whose debut film The Lure was widely acclaimed. The Gibbons sisters have a truly unique and bizarre story, so hopefully this biopic can capture their story correctly and respectfully.
Moonage Daydream (September 16th)
While it’s mainly an IMAX release, this documentary about David Bowie is the first officially sanctioned doc on his life and features never before seen footage from concerts and interviews. The film looks simply stunning to look at, and if it can match the awe and wonder of Summer of Soul from last year this could be one of the best films of the year.
Drifting Home (September 16th)
It’s about to be an impressive fall for anime across the board, but Drifting Home is a smaller release that hopefully still makes an impression. From Penguin Highway director Hiroyasu Ishida comes this fantasy film about a group of childhood friends who find a massive housing complex out at sea and seek out the mysteries inside of it, and the animation in it is simply stunning.
Don’t Worry Darling (September 23rd)
The gossip around Don’t Worry Darling has been interesting to say the least, and while there is always a chance the drama and behind the scenes stories will be more interesting then the film itself, director Olivia Wilde’s follow up to Booksmart looks too good to pass up. It’s gorgeous cinematography and timely story about patriarchal control looks to make one of the most discussed films of the month.
Catherine Called Birdy (September 23rd)
While writer-director Lena Dunham is a controversial figure, her upcoming film Catherine Called Birdy, an adaptation of the novel of the same name, is unique enough to at least pay attention. This coming-of-age film has the distinction of being set during the Middle Ages, and is sure to be an interesting diversion away from other medieval style works.
A Jazzman’s Blues (September 23rd)
Tyler Perry’s career has been successful on it’s own fronts, but he has been scrutinized for his reliance on tired tropes and melodrama. A Jazzman’s Blues marks a departure for the filmmaker has he tackles more serious, subtler subject matter, though whether or not he can pull it off is another matter. My guess is no, but we’ll see.
Athena (September 23rd)
This film from France is one of the Venice Film Festival’s most anticipated, as it’s directed by acclaimed filmmaker Romain Gavras. Athena’s plot looks to tackle social upheaval and race relations in a way that’s bound to be stirring and emotionally complex, and the trailer for it is excellent.
Hocus Pocus 2 (September 30th)
While I personally never grew up with the original film, many people did and this sequel is bound to have a ton of eyeballs on it. The trio of witches return along with a new cast of high-school students who must put a stop to them, and while the film itself looks alright, one hopes it can keep the somewhat irreverent and darker comedy that characterized the original.
Bros (September 30th)
Making history as the first major jay romantic comedy with from a studio with gay leads, Bros is likely going to be a game changer going forward for the genre as it’s look into the gay male experience seems frank and unapologetic. It also looks hilarious, and Nicholas Stoller and Billy Eichner’s script could end up being one of the dark horses of the year in terms of writing.
The Greatest Beer Run Ever (September 30th)
Peter Farrelly’s followup to the Best Picture winning Green Book already looks pretty much exactly like you would expect it too considering the subject matter and director. While the cast is excellent and it’s likely the film will mean well, only time will tell if it ends up being anything more then more bland Oscar bait.
Smile (September 30th)
One of the big wild cards of the month, Smile has the potential to be one of the more surprisingly good horror films of the year or one of the worst. It’s trailer wasn’t exactly the best, but apparently the film has a more psychological angle then others of it’s kind which could make it a unique watch at the very least.