Category Archives: Looking Forward

10 reasons why I’m looking forward to September (part 2)

By Tom Kapr

In part 1, I wrote about seven films being released in September that should be getting wide release, but there are three more films I’m looking forward to next month that are listed as getting a limited release–meaning I’m not sure if they’ll be coming to a theater near enough for me to go see them, or if they do, when exactly that will be.

Nevertheless, here are the three limited releases to round out my 10 reasons:

Director Gus Van Sant’s new film Restless is getting a limited release on September 16. The IMDb’s synopsis reads, “The story of a terminally ill teenage girl who falls for a boy who likes to attend funerals and their encounters with the ghost of a Japanese kamikaze pilot from WWII.” Come on, that plot sounds fantastic. And that teenage girl is played by Mia Wasikowska, who after her phenomenal performances in The Kids Are All Right and Jane Eyre is one of my favorite newcomers. (She was also one of the better ingredients in Tim Burton’s misguided Alice in Wonderland.)

The other two films get their limited releases on September 30: writer/director Jeff Nichols’ Take Shelter and Eli Craig’s Tucker & Dale vs. Evil. In Take Shelter, Michael Shannon plays a family man who starts seeing visions of the apocalypse, but doesn’t know whether they are real portents of things to come from which he must protect his family–or if he himself is the impending threat to his wife and children. Another of my favorite up-and-coming actresses, Jessica Chastain, co-stars. (I recently saw her in The Help and The Tree of Life, and she was amazing in both films. I’m hoping she gets an acting nomination this season for The Tree of Life. I hope the same for Mia Wasikowska for her Jane Eyre performance.)

This final film on my list not only has one of the best titles ever, but has a premise that excites me more than maybe any other for this month. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil stars Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, and Katrina Bowden, known for their characters on the TV shows Reaper, Firefly, and 30 Rock, respectively. Now here is the premise from IMDb: “Tucker & Dale are on vacation at their dilapidated mountain cabin when they are attacked by a group of preppy college kids,” turning the entire genre on its head. I love it already. Add Alan Tudyk to anything, and you automatically make it better (he had the one truly inspired comedic moment in Transformers: Dark of the Moon); and it will be fun to see Katrina Bowden out of her 30 Rock short-shorts (that sounded better before I wrote it) and in a different setting where she can show off her comic timing.

So there are 10 reasons why I’m looking forward to going to the movies next month. The Rant Pad will be back on its regular schedule come September, with Steve’s articles appearing on Mondays (he’ll be into the home stretch of his apocalyptic film series), Nate’s appearing on Wednesdays (he’ll be continuing with his series on adaptations), and my own articles appearing on Fridays. I’ll be starting a new series called “The Old Toy Chest,” where I’ll be looking at movies that I haven’t seen since I was a kid that had a big influence on my childhood. Also look for more Buried Cinema articles, and possibly more reviews of terrible horror movies (though nothing on the scale of what I did last October).

Thanks for reading!

10 reasons why I’m looking forward to September (part 1)

By Tom Kapr

On September 2, sci-fi thriller Apollo 18 finally will be released. This “found footage” film about the “truth” of NASA’s moon expeditions has been pushed back a few times since it was originally slated for release this past March. Truly good found footage films are rare since the genre essentially began with The Blair Witch Project back in 1999 (Cloverfield is a towering exception, and Paranormal Activity is not too far behind), but I am always drawn to the genre for its pure visceral experience. Here’s hoping for a good one–in space.

September 9 sees the release of the newest team-up between director Steven Soderbergh and headliner Matt Damon. The premise of Contagion is nothing new–the threat of a potential deadly worldwide pandemic (see Wolfgang Peterson’s Outbreak or any number of much cheaper films)–but it’s never been done with Soderbergh’s personal style or with a cast that includes Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne, and John Hawkes. The trailer gives away one of the film’s most shocking moments, but somehow it only makes me want to see this more.

September 16 has what is possibly the most exciting film of the month. The plot of Drive may sound like a Jason Statham film–”A Hollywood stunt performer who moonlights as a wheelman discovers that a contract has been put on him after a heist gone wrong” according to the film’s IMDb page–but the director is a well-respected if not well-known creator of some gritty, intense films; and the cast is headed up by Ryan Gosling, one of the most interesting and exciting actors of the past decade. Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, Bryan Cranston, Carey Mulligan, Oscar Isaac, Albert Brooks–this is an amazing cast. This could be the indie film to put to shame most Hollywood action-thrillers. And it already has a rating of 9.0 from more than 1,200 viewers on the IMDb. I cannot wait for this film.

September 23 has yet another exciting, low-profile action film in Machine Gun Preacher, which at first sounds ridiculous until you realize that it is a biographical account of, again according to IMDb, “Sam Childers, a former drug-dealing biker tough guy who found God and became a crusader for hundreds of Sudanese children who’ve been forced to become soldiers.” And that it’s directed by Marc freaking Forster, whose every film is a complete departure from the last and has a track record of quality that any director would kill for, including Monster’s Ball, Finding Neverland, Stranger Than Fiction, The Kite Runner, and Quantum of Solace. Lead Gerard Butler could finally break free from his own less than stellar record.

Also being released on 9/23 is a more family-friendly film, but one that could actually be really good. Charles Martin Smith directs Morgan Freeman in Dolphin Tale in “a story centered on the friendship between a boy and a dolphin whose tail was lost in a crab trap” (IMDb). I’m looking forward to seeing a well-made inspirational tale. Plus, dolphins are awesome.

September 30 also has two major releases I’m having trouble choosing between, in terms of which I’d rather see. One is 50/50, a comedy/drama in which Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character deals with his cancer diagnosis with the help of his friend, played by Seth Rogen. With talented beauties Bryce Dallas Howard and Anna Kendrick in the mix, and the reliable presence of Anjelica Huston, this is a cast I am truly anticipating.

On the other hand, In America director Jim Sheridan directs Daniel Craig, Naomi Watts, and Rachel Weisz in a mystery-thriller about a family that moves into a house with a violent past. Dream House is not a horror, but has potential to be truly horrifying in its more down-to-earth mystery plot.

In a couple days, I will write about limited releases Restless, Take Shelter, and the delightful-sounding Tucker & Dale vs. Evil.