Generally, you should be wary of any movie that’s released between August and October. August is when the summer movie season begins to wind down and studios release movies that maybe weren’t quite cool enough for the start of summer, then comes a slew of films the studio made but then realized they didn’t know what to do with. From October to January it’s the Oscar season, so that’s when you can expect all of the studios to push out their prestige pictures that they’ve been conveniently holding onto. Wouldn’t it be great if prestige pictures were interspersed through the entire year, or if we could have big budget spectacles during the doldrums of September? Instead we have this limbo season where a lot of films are released without much fanfare or following. Every once in a while, this time of year will produce some good movies, since the studio execs have no real clue as to what makes interesting art, sometimes what they think of as just a financial flop can be a thought provoking or engaging picture.
I think the rest of August will be the worst of it. In this time, we’ll probably be deluged with too many previews for movies like Fright Night, Conan The Barbarian, and Final Destination 5, which to my mind all sound pretty awful. There are some things coming out this month that might be good, like 30 Minutes or Less which finally gives Aziz Ansari (Tom Haverford on Parks and Recreation) a starring role. Plus, there’s not one but two films coming out this month with Helen Mirren (The Queen). One is called The Debt and I believe is a thriller about chasing a Nazi war criminal; this might be good because it also stars Tom Wilkinson, and he’s given some of the most memorable performaces of the last decade, like his role in Michael Clayton. The other with Helen Mirren is called Brighton Rock, which is based on a Graham Greene novel and has John Hurt and Andy Serkis (Gollum from The Lord of the Rings).
The film which I am looking forward to most this month is Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. I think I heard about this movie all the way back in January, and have been looking forward to it ever since. It’s a suspense/horror movie directed by Guillermo Del Toro. He’s made some fantastic films like The Devil’s Backbone and I for one really enjoyed the Hellboy franchise while it lasted.
Preview for Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
In September, a lot of stuff’s coming out that doesn’t look particularly good at all, like a 3D shark movie (why didn’t they release this during shark week?) and a movie called Creature, with the tagline “Terror has teeth.” It looks like Steven Soderbergh will be returning to mainstream cinema in September with a movie called Contagion starring Matt Damon and Marion Cotilliard–that could go either way. There are two coming out this month that I think look like they’re worth plopping down ten bucks to see: Moneyball and Take Shelter. Moneyball is a baseball drama with Brad Pitt. I’ve seen the preview and it looks like it could be interesting, and not just a run of the mill sports movie either. Take Shelter I’ve wanted to see for a while. It gives Michael Shannon a starring role, for one thing (do you remember him in Revolutionary Road?). Plus, it sounds like a pretty timely film, as it’s all about a guy who sees natural disasters as portending to the Apocalypse.
Preview for Take Shelter
I don’t know if I’ll be going to the theater at all in October.
November Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy comes out, which could be very good.
Since we’re hitting a movie slump, now would be a good time to save some money, stay and home, and take in some old movies. I’ve reviewed quite a few.
Or maybe just spend your free time doing some reading.
I’ve recently published a book…