The summer movie season has wrapped up and what a rush it was. Hollywood is giving viewers a chance to breath from all the spectacle and is offering the more off-kilter selections from their library. Admittedly it looks to be a slow month, but sometimes that is where you find quirky films you wouldn't ordinarily take the time to check out. Here are some movies to pay attention to coming out in September. (Try and watch the videos in sequence!)
The adaptation of the young adult, science-fiction novel written by James Dashner, The Maze Runner, seems to be sneaking into theaters with little fanfare. The story follows a teen named Thomas who awakens on an elevator, with no memory of the past. He finds himself in a community of male teenagers stuck outside of a mysterious, moving maze. To make things worse, there are monsters that patrol at night, leaving the group stranded.
"Let Me Show You" Clip
YA adaptations usually don't get me into the theaters under my own free will. I haven't read the source material, but it seems to have shades of Lord of the Flies. If it can scratch up a little of that sense of anarchy, it could be fun... Plus, mazes that transform around people is really unfair. If the actors stink, at the least, it could be fun watching a few of them get steamrolled. Did I just say that out loud?
A Walk Among the Tombstones - Sept. 19th
Liam Neeson is back. This time he is playing a former NY police officer, Matthew Scudder, who is now working under the radar as an unlicensed private investigator. He is hired by a drug dealer to locate his wife who has been kidnapped, which gets Neeson into a world of danger.
It has been hard to get excited for Neeson's movies as of late. Simply because since the success of Taken, he has been very comfortable playing similar roles. This movie seems to have a harder edge to it, with a protagonist who doesn't seem like he does the right thing most of the time. That in itself is intriguing. However, it looks as if The Equalizer will be a better version of this film the following week.
Tusk - Sept. 19th
Wanna see something really weird? Follow me...
Apparently director Kevin Smith, made this film after a public dare on his world-famous podcast. The film's plot is a result of a conversation he had on-air about an unusual news story. A cabin owner was offering free lodging to patrons, on the condition they dress up as a walrus. They modified the story and conducted a vote to see if they should make the movie. The response was overwhelming and this movie is the result.
The story follows Wallace Bryton (Justin Long), a podcaster who gets abducted at a lodge by a maniacal man who wants to transform him into a walrus. What exactly that means? I don't know. What exactly entails transforming a human into a walrus? I don't know and I shudder at the thought. Actually... I really don't even know where to go next with this... here, check out the trailer for Tusk in the meantime:
The flick looks to be a cross between Misery, Saw and The Human Centipede. That could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the individual sociopath. I am curious to see the cast however. Smith cast an older, chubbier Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense) who hasn't been seen much in recent years. Even Johnny Depp shows up in this $3 million dollar production. It's interesting seeing Smith stretch himself as a filmmaker. Does that mean I want to catch this one? I don't think so. But you guys can tell me all about it!
The Zero Theorem - Sept. 19th
This is Terry Gilliam's (The Fisher King) latest offering and it looks jam-packed full of ideas. The Zero Theorem is actually the third part of Gilliam's trilogy about the dystopian future, joining Brazil and 12 Monkeys. It stars Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds, Django Unchained) as a computer genius trying to work on a formula that will explain the meaning of life. High concept enough for you?
From Time Bandits to The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Gilliam has had a firm grip on his visual aesthetic and it looks as if he hasn't missed a beat. Plus the film looks full of ideas and concepts (that are hard to imagine can be answered in a single film) that should leave viewers walking out with a lot to think about. Waltz has been on an incredible roll and with a supporting cast featuring the likes of Tilda Swinton and Matt Damon, this looks to be another future cult classic worth checking out. Just don't go in expecting a summer blockbuster experience...expect something very bizarre and it should be rewarding.
The Boxtrolls - Sept. 26
Eggs is an orphaned boy raised underground by the Boxtrolls. He must help them defeat a horrible exterminator to save the day. The end.
Honestly, I don't know much about this one, but I'm a sucker for stop-motion animation and it is produced by LAIKA. The company that brought us Coraline and Paranorman, so it is really hard to bet against this film being as terrible as it might seem. Then again. I've been fooled before.
The Equalizer - Sept. 25th
Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) reunites with Denzel Washington (Flight, Malcolm X) for a remake of the late 80's TV show, The Equalizer. He plays Robert McCall, an ex-special ops agent who is trying to live a peaceful life. Until he befriends and rescues a girl which gets him entangled in a war with the Russian mob.
"Special Skills" Featurette
I'm sure Sylvester Stallone is taking notes as we speak on what Fuqua and Washington are cooking up. The set-up of the film doesn't make Washington a bigger than life super hero, but he does have some old-school powers... A Sherlock Holmes-like awareness of his environment and the power of old man strength. There is nothing more powerful than old man strength...nothing... and it looks like a collection of chumps are going to be on the receiving end of fists, bullets, and fire hydrants.
Official Trailer #2
The plot looks eerily close to the exceptional Tony Scott film, Man on Fire, but hopefully there will be some twists that differentiate it. Sony Pictures already has a sequel in development based on early test screenings and viewings, which has given them uncommon confidence in the grounded thriller. Another good sign is Washington will have to protect Chloe Grace Moretz, aka Kick-Ass' Hit-Girl, so you know that they will be going up against some really tough guys.
Like The Expendables, this is a callback to an earlier era. While this is a remake of a 1980's TV show, it looks to have adopted the spirit of 1970's hard-hitting vigilante flicks, such as Death Wish. This is a very human character. And Washington is taking himself seriously. Old men take themselves seriously. "Gotta be who you are in this world... no matter what." This film seems to be a hard-hitting, R-rated thriller, that knows exactly what it is. That is the main ingredient for a good time at the movies.
We hope you enjoyed this month's Media Roundup! What are you looking forward to? Did the Roundup change your mind or make you want to see anything unexpected? Let us know on the comment boards!
Sources: Point of Geeks, Village Roadshow Pictures, LAIKA, Voltage Pictures, Demarest Pictures, TPSC, 20th Century Fox