Summer blockbuster season is now well and truly behind us, with the red leaves of autumn lining the ground. The bombastic films of the summer are now mostly behind us, with September representing an opportunity for studios to put out some of their smaller releases.
This year, September is a mix of comedies and interesting, low-key dramas. There are new films from all-time greats like David Cronenberg and Woody Allen, but there’s also a bunch of intriguing British movies hitting cinemas before October.
Here are ten films you really should take the time to see in cinemas this month.
10. Sex Tape (Sep 3)
Jason Segel is perhaps best known for his roles in The Muppets and How I Met Your Mother. However, he’s shedding his family friendly image with a raunchy part alongside Cameron Diaz in R-rated comedy Sex Tape.
Segel and Diaz fall foul of the internet’s strange attitude to privacy when their homemade sex tape is inadvertently uploaded to the Cloud. The couple must quickly locate a number of the devices with access to the video before everyone they know can see the saucy video.
Hollywood does not have a good record for adult comedy recently, but with Segel on board, Sex Tape could be an exception to that rule.
9. A Walk Among the Tombstones (Sep 19)
Outside of The Expendables, the most dominant force in modern action cinema is, without doubt, Liam Neeson. He is set to dial things down a little now for his performance in crime drama A Walk Among the Tombstones.
The big screen adaptation of Lawrence Block’s novel has been in development hell for years. In 2002, Harrison Ford was reportedly attached to take the lead role, with Disturbia’s DJ Caruso set to direct. The film is finally going to hit cinemas this month, with Caruso replaced by writer-director Scott Frank, who has co-writer credits on Minority Report and last year’s The Wolverine.
It’s a dark tale of an ex-cop who is hired to investigate the kidnapping of a drug dealer’s wife. The trailer teases plenty of gloom and a murky plot, full of twists and turns. Could it be this year’s Se7en?
8. What We Did On Our Holiday (Sep 26)
It’s always nice to see David Tennant. Since hanging up his keys to the TARDIS on Doctor Who, Tennant has showcased his range as an actor with projects as diverse as TV’s Single Father, horror remake Fright Night and a villainous turn in Postman Pat: The Movie.
In What We Did On Our Holiday, Tennant and wife Rosamund Pike cover up their relationship difficulties in order to keep Tennant’s father (Billy Connolly) happy on his birthday.
It looks set to be a fluffy, but fun, comedy with plenty of British charm. Well worth a watch as the euphoria of summer fades away.
7. Magic in the Moonlight (Sep 19)
Woody Allen is on a bit of a roll recently, with Midnight in Paris and Blue Jasmine showing that it isn’t just his “early funny ones” that mark him out as a true titan of cinema. With reliably excellent performers Emma Stone and Colin Firth on board for his latest effort, the 78-year-old filmmaker could well hit another home run.
Firth plays Stanley, an illusionist who regularly debunks those who claim true magical abilities. He is alerted to the case of Stone’s Sophie, who believes that she has clairvoyant powers. Stanley is instantly smitten with Sophie and this begins to cloud his investigation.
Allen on top form is a joy to experience and the talent on board suggests that this is going to be a huge success. Can it mimic the awards success of Blue Jasmine?
6. The Equalizer (Sep 26)
Trailers for The Equalizer seem to set up a rather generic thriller, starring Denzel Washington as a wise-cracking former cop who now seeks to enact justice of his own on the streets. The film lets Washington reunite with Training Day director Antoine Fuqua.
The twist, though, comes in the shape of the ever-reliable Chloe Grace Moretz, who appears to be channelling Jodie Foster’s iconic performance in Taxi Driver with her role as a young girl in the clutches of the Russian mafia.
Denzel Washington is a charismatic screen presence and Moretz is continuing to craft an interesting early career for herself. The Equalizer could be one of the most enjoyable thrillers of 2014.
5. Maps to the Stars (Sep 26)
David Cronenberg is not a man who makes conventional, mainstream films. Right from his early days making visceral body horror films like Shivers and Videodrome to recent dramas A Dangerous Method and Cosmopolis, his movies have been odd, intriguing features that explore the darkness of humanity.
Map to the Stars is his latest film, coming fresh off a lot of buzz at the Cannes Film Festival. It was nominated for the Palme d’Or and Julianne Moore picked up the prize for Best Actress in her role as a fading star doomed to a career in her famous mother’s shadow.
The film looks like an interesting way of commenting on the world of Hollywood and the way it mistreats the people within it. With Cronenberg at the helm, it’s sure to be beautifully weird.
4. The Riot Club (Sep 19)
With a Tory government in power, there’s a lot of debate about class in society. The disconnect between the privileged and the less privileged is the subject of posh boy drama The Riot Club.
The film focuses on a fictionalised version of the famously exclusive Bullingdon Club and the debauched activities of its members. It stars Sam Claflin, Max Irons and Natalie Dormer. The latter has shone in a number of supporting roles since her breakout performance on TV series The Tudors.
The Riot Club looks set to be an interesting drama with some real punch to it, even if the trailer does basically recount the plot.
3. Pride (Sep 12)
The tale of how a group of gay people helped the cause of striking miners in the 1980s is not exactly well known. Pride depicts a group of LGBT activists who raised a large amount of money to aid a mining community in a Welsh village.
First shown at the Cannes Film Festival, where it scooped the Queer Palm award, Pride has been attracting rave reviews from critics. At the time of writing, it has a rare 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Pride looks like a very warm movie that balances feel-good charm with some beautifully lewd humour. It could be one of the best films of the year.
2. The Guest (Sep 5)
Director Adam Wingard made a big statement last year with You’re Next, which was one of the most interesting slasher movies of recent times. His next film, The Guest, is more of a thriller but there will surely be a rich vein of horror running through it.
The Guest stars Dan Stevens as a former soldier who moves in with the grieving family of one of his fallen comrades. A sinister chain of events soon casts doubt over whether Stevens is truly who he claims to be.
With an intriguing premise and a pleasingly ambiguous set of trailers, The Guest is a film that I can’t wait to see. Wingard has proven himself to be a great filmmaker and this could be an excellent movie.
1. The Boxtrolls (Sep 12)
The animation studio Laika is crafting a really strong reputation, following successive hits Coraline and ParaNorman. Utilising a truly unique style, the company has cemented itself as one of the more interesting voices in children’s movies.
The Boxtrolls is their latest movie, telling the story of an underground society of Womble-like creatures who scavenge rubbish from the human world at night. Their world is targeted by an evil exterminator and only a young boy named Eggs – who was brought up by the trolls – can help save his adopted family.
Early reviews for The Boxtrolls have been incredibly enthusiastic, highlighting the unusual style and great voice cast – featuring great British talent as diverse as Simon Pegg, Richard Ayoade and Jared Harris.
In a week period for children’s films, it seems like there’s very little competition for The Boxtrolls. It’s going to be the animated film of the year.
Do you agree with my film choices? Which movies will you be trying to see in September, and which ones will you be avoiding like the plague?