As we gingerly tread our way around discarded bottles, bins, used barbeques, partly-dismantled tents and quite a bit of rain-soaked human dignity, it’s time we realised that summer is over. It was a bit of a laugh, though, wasn’t it? And who would have thought that in amidst all those rom-coms and shiny CGI robots and aliens Vin Diesel would have taught us how to feel feelings using only 3 words. Whilst September might not have quite so many tree-people, it does have stop-motion trolls, bright purple wigs, crippling amnesia, Welsh miners, Polish nuns, German espionage, Dan Stevens’ torso, Jeff Bridges’ beard and Nick Cave’s mane. Asking for more would just be greedy.
September 5th – The Guest
Back before recorded history began (so, January this year) I found myself facing down a neat little home invasion flick, You’re Next. I really don’t usually buy, subscribe or even browse the whole slasher, home-invasion periodical, but thanks to its leading lady (Sharni Vinson) and director (Adam Wingard) I was keenly interested. So imagine my surprise when I see that this month’s The Guest is also brought to us by Wingard. It was like finding you have more bacon in your fridge than you realised. Anyway, The Guest sees a soldier (Dan Stevens) come to pay his dues to his late squad mate’s family, but after untoward shenanigans start occurring in their small town, is it time the family start throwing suspicion at their new lodger? More than likely.
September 5th – Before I Go to Sleep
Nesting somewhere between Memento and 50 First Dates’(although admittedly nearer to the former), ‘Before I Go to Sleep’ sees Nicole Kidman wake up not knowing what has happened the day previously, a situation which hampers her further by marring her own investigation into the event that triggered her condition. She is consoled by hubby Colin Firth and “friendly” doctor Mark Strong, but as is the case in these kind of thrillers, who in the chutney can she trust? It comes reeling from the brain-space of Rowan Joffe (based on S.J Watson’s novel), who was best known for the 2010 re-jig of Brighton Rock, which not EVERBODY hated. Still, the concept and cast are solid so let’s try to go easy on it, shall we?
September 12th – Pride
I can’t think of many films set around the miner’s strikes, aside from that one ‘The Comic Strip Presents…’ episode that was later released in cinemas and maybe Billy Elliot, perhaps it’s just too sore a point for some. Well if the buzz about Pride is anything to go by then you can kick that sore point goodbye. Or, maybe not kick it, but definitely get rid of it in a manner that won’t cause further harm to yourself. Pride has a group of gay and lesbian activists who, feeling that miners have been as marginalised and mistreated as they have been, decided to throw their lot in with a small village in Wales, circa 1984. Expect Bill Nighy, Paddy Considine, Michael Scott, Imelda Staunton and a whole mess of optimistic positivism and Welsh accents.
September 12th – The Boxtrolls
Did you like Coraline and ParaNorman? What am I saying? Of course you did! You’re a human being, aren’t you? With eyes, ears, a brain and a heart? Not to exclude cyborgs, pirates, Frankenstein’s Monster or Vincent Van Gogh but even if you’ve got most of those listed faculties you’re in for a good time when it comes to Laika animation. The Boxtrolls are a band of monsters who live under the city of Cheesebridge, collecting its rubbish like hairless, cardboard-clad Wombles. When the people of Cheesebridge overreact to the Boxtrolls’ presence by deploying a malicious monster-catcher, it’s down to their adopted orphan human boy to rise to the challenge and save the day. Adventure!
September 12th – A Most Wanted Man
One of the final performances by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and by all reports the better of them, A Most Wanted Man plunges us up to the neck in the a-typically murky worlds of John le Carré and German espionage. I’m not even going to try to explain the plot to this one more than to say that it involves the German secret service using a Chechen Muslim to unravel some ne’er-do-well plot or something. All you really need to know going in is that it’s directed by Anton Corbijn (of Control and The American), based on John le Carré’s novel and that the trailer showcases Hoffman’s enrapturing growly German diction. If you really need to know more then according to IMDb the screenwriter, Andrew Bovell, did an early draft for ‘Strictly Ballroom’. Not sure how that helps sell this movie, in all honesty.
September 19th – Wish I Was Here
Has it really been ten years since Garden State? What has Zach Braff been doing since then apart from still being on Scrubs and aging very slowly? Well for one month of that time he was securing funds through Kickstarter to make this, his second film since that aforementioned decade-old indie darling. So what’s it all about? Well if it’s anything like Garden State it’ll be about a lot of things and nothing at the same time. If you find such a phrase incredibly tedious, then this kind of film really isn’t for you. You should probably do something constructive like climb a mountain or build a house. We’ll be over here watching a rather quirky, crowd-sourced indie film which co-stars Mandy Patinkin wearing a face-hedge, Kate Hudson in pyjamas and Joey King in the long-since-alluded purple wig.
September 19th – The Giver
Well, lookie here, seems we got ourselves another one of those ‘based on the bestseller’ types. Now why don’t you tell us what makes you so special a’fore we dismiss you like all the rest of you, based-on-a-book good-fer-nothin’s. What’s that? You’re the marriage of Pleasantville and Minority Report featuring core roles by an authoritarian Meryl Streep and a bearded, inspiration-gifting Jeff Bridges? Well… I don’t think I can actually be so cynical as to dismiss a premise such as that, let alone continue to adopt some gruff cowboy-esque speech aesthetic. You do what you have to, ‘The Giver’. You do that.
September 19th – 20,000 Days on Earth
Also dubbed ‘That Nick Cave Documentary’, 20,000 Days on Earth is exactly the kind of off-kilter documentation that a performer such as Nick Cave requires, especially given that he wrote the damn thing in order to celebrate, what else, his 20,000th day on Earth. There’s not much one can really add to a preview for a Nick Cave documentary other than:
If any of that gelled as well as it should have, then 20,000 Days on Earth is more of that. But with more wordy-talky bits. And Kylie Minogue?
September 26th – Ida
I feel I really dropped the ball last month by not mentioning the superlative French drama “Two Days, One Night”, so as penance I have decided to bring to your attention a little Polish film that has been impressing the jaws off of folk at film festivals recently. Before she takes her vows, a novitiate nun, Anna (newcomer Agata Trzebuchowska… nope, not going to try and pronounce it), meets with her final living relative, Wanda (Agata Kulesza), who reveals dark familial secrets that stretch not only back to the Nazi occupation but have severe implications for Anna and her future. Even a cursory glance at the trailer below should be enough to convince the frowniest of faces to pierce the almost-impenetrable sell of a 1960s-set-Polish-nun-drama. It looks THAT good.