September is my favourite movie month! Maybe theatres are slowly easing into Oscar territory and out of blockbuster season, and perhaps the home releases mostly consist of the earlier Hollywood blow outs of the year. However, TIFF is what it’s all about! We will have a bit of Toronto International Film Festival coverage here on Live in Limbo this month, and that’s when this month gets super exciting. For now, have a couple of suggestions as to what’s coming out this month, including a Criterion release of one of cinema and television’s crowning achievements.
New Theatrical Releases:
The Magnificent Seven
Release Date: September 23rd
Directors: Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Shooter)
Starring: Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Chris Pratt, Vincent D’Onofrio
IMDb Summary: Seven gun men in the old west gradually come together to help a poor village against savage thieves.
Why I Am So Excited: Let’s be honest here. This may be either good or bad. However, it’s opening TIFF, and while that isn’t always a good indication (remember The Fifth Estate?), it can sometimes be (Looper). While I don’t hold the original in the highest regard (Seven Samurai, it’s original source, is better), I can almost never say no to a straight up western. Who knows? This could be fun. The cast is promising, and the tale is beloved. Let’s cross our fingers for this one.
Watch the Trailer Here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-RBA0xoaWU
Release Date: September 16th
Directors: Oliver Stone (Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Natural Born Killers)
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Nicolas Cage, Scott Eastwood
IMDb Summary: NSA employee Edward Snowden leaks thousands of classified documents to the press.
Why I Am So Excited: Look, Oliver Stone doesn’t have a perfect filmography, yet he has made some spectacular films in the past. Maybe his recent streak has been cold, but this could hopefully break that spell. Gordon-Levitt as Snowden seems like great casting and the topic is still hot (if not extremely relevant). Could this be a surprisingly complicated take on recent events in a rock star fashion ala The Social Network, or will it be way too melodramatic? I’m hoping for the former; A return to form for Stone.
Watch the Trailer Here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KyltHXrxVk
New On Blu-Ray:
Captain America: Civil War
Release Date: September 13th
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%
Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, etc. etc. etc.
IMDb Summary: Political interference in the Avengers’ activities causes a rift between former allies Captain America and Iron Man
Why This is Worth Getting: Well, Marvel had two monster hits go back to back (this film and X-Men: Apocalypse). I put my money on the latter being better. I lost. While Apocalypse wasn’t nearly as bad as they say, Civil War is accurately beloved. A bigger Avengers hit than Age of Ultron, one of Marvel’s finest films in this canon is finally out for home viewing.
Watch the Trailer Here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKrVegVI0Us
New On Blu-Ray:
The Neon Demon
Release Date: September 27th
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 51%
Directors: Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, Bronson, Only God Forgives)
Starring: Elle Fanning, Jenna Malone, Abbey Lee, Keanu Reeves
IMDb Summary: When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.
Why This is Worth Getting: Sometimes, I like something that the general public doesn’t. This is one of those times. Was The Neon Demon perfect? Far from it. It’s a rare example of a film that is severely flawed that I still would like to own. After leaving the theatre, this film stuck with me. It haunted me with its gorgeous imagery, the haunting score and the gruesome finale. Refn needs a dialogue writing coach and he needs to turn down the pretentious levels just a little bit (why the hell was his signature plastered at the bottom of the opening credits?), but otherwise The Neon Demon was a beautiful mess.
Watch the Trailer Here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cipOTUO0CmU
Criterion Release of the Month:
Release Date: September 27th
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski (Three Colours Trilogy, The Double Life of Veronique)
Starring: Even more people than Civil War, so I’m leaving this part alone.
IMDb Summary: Ten television drama films, each one based on one of The Ten Commandments.
Why This is Worth Getting: Wow. Just wow. There’s a reason why critics like Roger Ebert and Richard Corliss included this ten hour epic on their lists of the best films of all time. I’d include it on my own list, too. At such a length, it’d have to be good. From personal experience, each and every second is ravishing. The film making is ahead of its time, the morals are gripping and the subtle connections between each part will spook you (who is that man who appears at each part and gazes into the camera? how do the different protagonists use the same tools differently?). The interviews and the booklet essay are nice touches, but Dekalog survives on it’s own merits and is worthy of that alone. Stanley Kubrick called this the only masterpiece he watched in his lifetime. Make it one you witness, too.
Watch the Trailer Here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQAwEByenGM