With a great, wet sigh, August becomes September. It’s been a pretty rad summer, all things considered. Yes we’ve had incremental fallout from the Ghostbusters reboot to the point where the controversy around it has eclipsed any actual talk of the film itself, oh and there was all that sound and fury over the negative reviews for Suicide Squad and probably a whole bunch of other bad things I really don’t want to remember right now, but… y’know… we got a decent Jason Bourne movie too. In any case, all that messy summer fan-squabble is fast shrinking into the distance, leaving us with the hope that September’s array of anthropomorphic food, sumptuous animations, frights, shocks, adventures and general self-confessed magnificence can keep us relatively dry through the passing seasons.
Sausage Party – 2nd September
By now you must at least have heard of the infamous trailer for Sausage Party, the overdue adult-themed spoof of everything Pixar, and by rights you’re probably wondering “Is that all there is? Food is alive and doesn’t want to get eaten? Is that the joke?” Early reports say something along the lines of “Naw, there’s plenty jokes to go around”, which is something of a relief. The plot of Sausage Party sees our be-sausaged hero Frank (Seth Rogan), trying to be with his best girl Brenda the bun (Kristen Wiig) all the while wanting to saving his fellow food friends from their ultimate, delicious fate. Said friends include the voice talents of James Franco, Michael Cera, Paul Rudd, Bill Hader, Edward Norton, Jonah Hill, Salma Hayek and Danny McBride. Guess which one of them plays a lesbian taco.
Cafe Society – 2nd September
The tonal shift between a computer-animated stoner film about food and a period Woody Allen comedy is quite severe so I’m going to give you a minute to adjust.
We all good? Okay, let’s continue.
It’s hard to believe that Jesse Eisenberg has only appeared in one Woody Allen film previous to Cafe Society, given that, performance-wise at least, Eisenberg feels like a gritty 21st Century reboot of Allen but with better hair. Oh well. Cafe Society has Eisenberg as a young guy who moves from the Bronx to L.A. to work with his estranged uncle (Steve Carell), but ultimately falls for his secretary (Kristen Stewart), as you do in these sort of situations. Expect jazz, crime, snippy outfits and a whole load of people talking like typewriters.
Kubo and The Two Strings – 9th September
It’s been two years since Laika Animation Studios brought something to our screens, back in 2014 it was with The Boxtrolls, and a film that was admittedly more style and aesthetic than it was character and story. I don’t think such a critique can be levelled at Kubo and The Two Strings, a tale of young boy, Kubo (Art Parkinson), armed with a magical samisen (that Japanese instrument with 2 or 3 strings) and a quest to save his town from the vengeful spirits of his family. Along the way he’ll befriend a grim warrior monkey (Charlize Theron) and a giant beetle-knight (Matthew McConaughey) as well as witness heck-loads of visually-impressive stop-motion animation. That’s Laika for you.
Hell or High Water – 9th September
Heralded as this year’s Sicario, mainly due to both being written by Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water seeks to play on the assumed fantasies of the age-old roles of cops and robbers, but in that grubby way that modern films tend to do. In a desperate bid to overcome their family’s economic stagnation in West Texas, two brothers (Chis Pine and Ben Foster) resort to their old felonious ways to make ends meet. This doesn’t go over too well with law (Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham), but their efforts to track the brothers is hampered by the public’s sour opinion of the way they’ve been treat by the local banks. Dilemma!
Captain Fantastic – 9th September
If cult kid’s animated show Gravity Falls has taught me anything it’s that the Pacific Northwest is one bloody weird place, weird enough that you might easily imagine Viggo Mortensen has built an idyllic commune for his wife and six kids in the woods, where they all live happily, energetically and most of all peculiarly. When wifey falls victim to a terminal condition, Viggo disobeys the wishes of his stepdad (Frank Langella) and brings his whole damn fam with him on a trip to her funeral in nearby Sacramento. On exposing his kids to the broken, creaking western society he so hoped to keep them from, Ol’ Vig’s going to find out what it really means to be a parent in the world today. The beard is still pretty much in fashion, so he’s got that down for starters.
Don’t Breathe – 9th September
Ah September, nobody ever releases anything overly tense or suspenseful in September. That’s what you would say if it wasn’t for things like Don’t Breathe, by doing exactly the thing you thought wasn’t going to happen. Will you ever learn? Don’t Breathe sees a trio of young folks forced into committing a B&E on the hearsay that their target home is sitting on more than enough money to get them out of their no-horse town. The only person in the house is an old blind man, so what could go wrong? What could go wrong, indeed? Word to the wise, chaps, if your old blind man is going to be played by Stephen Lang… Yeah, you really shouldn’t have pissed him off, and now you’re trapped inside his poorly-lit house of mystery and lurking death. Pat yourself on the back.
Blair Witch – 15th September
So Don’t Breathe has made us all acutely aware of how bad it is to be stuck indoors, so why don’t we all just spend time outside? Let’s just keep ourselves in the open air with open spaces and what could possibly- oh dear we’re in the woods. Oh dear there’s Blair Witch symbols everywhere. Oh dear people are being picked off one by one. Oh dear oh dear oh dear. You really can’t go anywhere these days, can you? Whilst there may be some tenuous link to a plot about a lost sibling in the woods of Maryland, you really only want to watch Blair Witch to see terrible events happen to hapless young people. Or not see. Or see between your fingers as you try to cover your face. This sequel of sorts if brought to us by the excellent pairing of Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett, they of You’re Next and The Guest fame. So yeah, this could be a good ‘un.
The Infiltrator – 16th September
The tale of infamous drug emperor Pablo Escobar has been given quite the critically-acclaimed go-over in Netflix’s series Narcos, but that hasn’t stopped The Infiltrator. Probably because Bryan Cranston’s in it. Cranston is Robert Mazur, a top undercover agent for U.S. Customs who is about to take on the most dangerous target around, big ol’ Pablo. To get anywhere near the big man, Mazur teams up with Emir Abreu (John Leguizamo) and begins to work through the layers of henchgoons and middle-men to reach Escobar and bring the judicial pain of the United States on his drug-running arse. That is if they don’t get found out first. Or just straight up killed. I don’t know, I haven’t seen Narcos so I have no idea.
Hunt For The Wilderpeople – 16th September
Whilst he may be up to his middle in production on Thor: Ragnarok, Taika Waititi managed to sneak this little project of his out just before Hollywood invited itself over for tea and ate all the custard creams. Hunt For The Wilderpeople is best described as the most New Zealand manhunt movie that has ever existed; when a rambunctious and mildly-rebellious kid is put in a foster home in the middle of nowhere, he seeks to fake his death and flee into the wilderness, only to be found by his foster uncle (Sam Neil) who decides to join him on his journey to stay lost. Cue an oddball chase through New Zealand’s underbrush and forests, savage pigs, and Rhys Darby trying to steal the show from another one of Waititi’s films.
The Magnificent Seven – 23rd September
How is that a Denzel-Washington-Chris-Pratt-Ethan-Hawke-and-Vincent-D’Onofrio-starring, Antoine-Fuqua-directed remake of The Magnificent Seven managed to slip most of us by until a couple of months ago? Usually this kind of director and star power gets blared out of every media orifice for months and months and months, and yet the damn thing gets released pretty flipping soon. Is that not odd? Eh, it’s probably just me. In any case, the classic tale of seven rag-tag mercenaries and cowboys brought together to save a town from the iron boot of local bandits sees itself squarely ticked in the “21st Century Gritty Reboot” checklist. If you’re worried about how this new version will play out, if it’s got Ethan Hawke, Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua, just imagine Training Day with more cowboys. So yeah, go see it.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – 30th September
I feel like I’ve been banging this one drum for years now, but all that means is that I’ve got a pretty hefty drum-banging arm, so here we go again: Tim Burton needs a hit. The last thing he did with any real fervour (as far as it appeared to me) was Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and before that? Um… Sleepy Hollow? I’m just tired of Burton phoning it in all the time, and with his upcoming take on kid’s book series Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, he might have something. Not only do we have Burton staples such as a child stumbling upon secrets, a magical world full of freaky-yet-charming individuals, some bugger that looks like it ran off Resident Evil 2 (the game not the film, come on people) but he’s also got the chops of Eva Green at his disposal. If Burton can’t make the most of Green’s natural presence, as well as a story of spooky children in peril, then he just needs to do us all a favour and stop. Like, right now.
Swiss Army Man – 30th September
And finally this month, the film that split Sundance down the middle like a lumberjack’s quarry, Swiss Army Man. The premise is simple: Hank (Paul Dano) is trapped on a deserted island considering suicide when he sees somebody wash up on the shore. The person is in fact the farting corpse of Manny (Daniel Radcliffe), who Hank takes back to his camp. From then on, Hank finds a startlingly surreal amount of uses for Manny, from jet pack to grappling hook to best friend. Will Hank ever find a use for Manny that will help him get back home to his boo, Sarah (Mary Elizabeth Winstead)? Whilst surrealist adventures with farting corpses are definitely not for everyone, I am a fan of Dano, Radcliffe and Winstead and have been waiting for this to make its way to cinemas. Just, you know, don’t expect a big release.