Coming Soon: September

Fall movie season really gets going in the second half of September, with some films I would’ve expected to land around Thanksgiving (This Is Where I Leave You) hitting theaters rather early. Notably, no major studio release opened over Labor Day weekend (instead, AMC decided to give away tickets to see Begin Again), and nothing really notable hits until September 12. September 19 is a crowded weekend, though, with several anticipated films coming out.

Here’s what I’m seeing in September:

September 12

The Skeleton Twins – SNL BFFs Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader prove their indie chops in the second film from Craig Johnson (his first, starring Mark Duplass, premiered at SXSW in 2009). They star as twins who’s been estranged for a decade, reunited but perhaps as messed up as ever. The trailer for this one is incredibly promising. Watch it.

The Drop – Tom Hardy trades his British accent for an East Coast one in the latest film to be adapted from a story by Dennis Lahane, the writer behind Mystic RiverGone Baby Gone, and Shutter Island. Also James Gandolfini’s last film. If all that doesn’t convince you to give it a look, the trailer might. Watch it.

September 19 

A Life in Dirty Movies – there are two films on this list I have a personal stake in, as they’re Film Movement’s fall releases. This one is a wonderfully intimate – in more ways than one! – documentary about a filmmaker you’ve probably never heard of. Though only opening in New York, it’ll be on VOD the same day, available nationwide. Watch the NSFW trailer (or the safe one, if you insist).

Pride – perhaps the season’s first entry in the “Bring the tissues” category, this British import has all the hallmarks of the feel-good hit this list needs. When a mining town hits hard times in 1980s England, a rag-tag group of LGBT youth lend their support as only another marginalized group can do. Watch the trailer.

This Is Where I Leave You – I am obsessed with everything about this film, since reading the Jonathan Tropper book it’s based on earlier this year. The story is just the right mix of wit and warmth, and the ensemble cast may be the best group of actors assembled since August: Osage CountyWatch the trailer.

Tracks – based on a true story (as it seems a bit too out there to be original, I suppose), Tracks stars Mia Wasikowska as Robyn Davidson, who set out on a 2,000 mile journey walking across the wild outback of Australia. I admit, I haven’t yet found a hook for me in this one, but early reviews out of Venice call it “superb” and “impeccable,” so…I suppose it’s worth a look. Here’s the trailer, which does look pretty impressive.

Maps to the Stars – launched at Cannes Film Festival, David Cronenberg’s latest (Crash, A History of Violence) was greeted with mixed reviews (and is currently rotten on RT!). But the premise – a mish-mash of stories, really – seems just out-there enough to be intriguing. See if you can follow along in the trailer, here.

The Two Faces of January – based on a novel by the same author of The Talented Mr. Ripley, this caper stars Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Isaac in a caper that looks as slick as a Hitchcock masterpiece. An early directorial effort from the writer of Drive, this one has the pedigree of a break-out hit. Check out the trailer.

Other September releases on my radar, but not necessarily my watch-list, include:

A Walk Among the Tombstones – Liam Neeson’s latest shoot-’em-up sees him as a washed-up cop hired to help a man find his kidnapped wife. The trailer promised lots of gunfire, brooding looks and maybe a plot twist or two. Opens September 19; here’s the trailer.

Hector and the Search for Happiness – this one actually looks fun, and if the weekend of September 19 wasn’t already saturated with releases, I may consider it. Oh, and if it weren’t for the absolutely abysmal reviews it’s getting. See the trailer here.