10 Movies to See in September 2008

Burn After ReadingIt’s September, which means that the summer movie season is officially over and the crap of Hollywood can make it to the big screen. September is historically a bad month for movies, as kids return to school, vacations end and people scramble for the remnants of good weather. This is also the perfect time for studios to dump the waste onto audiences.

Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean there will be nothing to watch this September. Below is a list of movies I’m looking forward to in September:

  1. Burn After Reading – September 8
    In their follow-up to the Oscar-winning No Country for Old Men, the Coen brothers return with a crime comedy that looks pitch perfect. Brad Pitt, with zany hair, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton and George Clooney are among the cast of misfits. The Coen brothers do idiotic characters well, and this movie is chock full of them. The trailers have been funny, and I foresee this doing good business.
  2. Towelhead – September 12 (limited) / September 26 (wide)
    Alan Ball, best known for writing American Beauty (one of my favorites), returns to write and direct this movie about youth and racism in suburbia. The film focuses on an Arab-American teenager who is starting to discover her sexuality (and that her creepy neighbor, played by Aaron Eckhart, has the hots for her) and that even when you’re all American, you won’t necessarily be viewed as such. The trailer isn’t as powerful as I would have liked, but I’ve heard good things and the subject is definitely interesting.
  3. Lakeview Terrace – September 19
    A hit-or-miss concept, this movie is about a mixed race couple who move into a suburban neighborhood. Unfortunately, their next-door neighbor (Samuel L. Jackson) isn’t exactly fond of their presence, and starts to harass them. Tensions raise and retaliation escalates, but the cops are useless: after all, the neighbor is one. I love the concept, and Patrick Wilson leading up the film, Little Children comes to mind. Again, this is one of those movies that could just be absurdly stupid, but it sure looks pretty good.
  4. Righteous Kill – September 12
    Robert De Niro and Al Pacino team up as police officers investigating a serial killer who murders criminals. Loyalties are torn as all evidence points to another police officer as the culprit, and the fact that the guy is in some ways helping them out isn’t exactly a motivating force. Trailers have been surprisingly weak for the film and the fact that it’s being released in early September doesn’t bode well, but I love me a good serial killer film – and the teaming of two acting greats is hard to pass up.
  5. Eagle Eye – September 26
    Shia LaBeouf continues his efforts to be the ultimate action star in Eagle Eye, which also stars Billy Bob Thornton and Michelle Monaghan. LaBeouf and Monaghan both become unwilling players in a game of cat and mouse, as they are setup by an unseen group of criminals and forced to do whatever they are told. The rather revealing trailers leave a lot of questions on the table, but there is the suggestion that there is a bigger plot and work (I’m thinking political assassination). The marketing has been good and prominent, suggestion the studio thinks this one could be big, but only time will tell. Still, this should be one of the biggest films of early fall.
  6. Choke – September 26 (limited)
    Chuck Palahniuk, the author behind Fight Club, finds another one of his books being adapted into a film, this time the Sam Rockwell-starring movie Choke, about a sex addict who finds true love. The movie looks vulgar, R-rated and funny, and his legion of fans should help make this film some money. Still, the appeal will be rather niche, and I’m not sure if the trailers have been memorable enough.
  7. The Duchess – September 19 (limited)
    The presence of Kiera Knightley is enough to drive me to theaters, but The Duchess looks pretty good. A period piece about a woman who is married to a rich dude (Ralph Fiennes) but who gets involved in politics in an age where women were merely meant to supply babies, the movie looks to have some decent drama. Nevertheless, the September release date suggests that this film – which really won’t make much money – isn’t strong enough to compete with the big boys later in the year.
  8. Miracle at St. Anna – September 26
    Spike Lee continues to expand his focus with a World War II film about a bunch of American soldiers – many of them black – who take refuge in a small Italian village when they are surrounded by Germans. Beyond that, it’s hard to determine exactly what the movie is about. The trailer does a great job of showing things without revealing the overall plot (it starts off with a murder twenty years later), and that has me intrigued.
  9. Battle in Seattle – September 19 (limited)
    It’s rare that Seattle, my location of residence, gets much notice in Hollywood, but the WTO riots of 1999 (I was in high school at the time) are good fodder for a film. The movie examines the politicians, police officers and protestors involved in the craziness, and packed with a lot of well known names (ranging from Ray Liotta to Charlize Theron), Battle in Seattle shows promise. I do find it funny that one of the taglines that is used in the trailer is, “The event that changed a city,” since I’m pretty sure that once everything was cleaned up, nothing really changed. Still, if only for the fact that this movie is about a real event in Seattle that I lived through, I’m interested.
  10. Ghost Town – September 19
    This is probably one to wait for until DVD, but Ghost Town, starring Greg Kinnear as a ghost, Tea Leoni as his ex-wife and the funny guy from the British version of “The Office,” looks quite amusing. It’s about time that Ricky Gervais gets a leading role; I really hope this one helps jump start his career, as the guy is a riot.
  11. Bangkok Dangerous – September 5
    OK, I said “10 Movies to See in September 2008,” so what the hell is Bangkok Dangerous doing on here… in eleventh place. The assassin movie starring Nicolas Cage really doesn’t look good at all – or at least formulaic as shit – so I wanted to include it for the sole reason of pointing it out. If I’m really desperate for a film, this one could be entertaining, but I’m definitely planning on waiting until DVD for this one.
  12. My Best Friend’s Girl – September 19
    I’m pretty sure Dane Cook made this movie last year, and it was called Good Luck Chuck. That movie didn’t exactly fare well among critics or audiences. This one looks about the same, except for this time Cook plays a jackass who guys pay to date their ex-girlfriends to convince them that they were better off before. Jason Biggs foolishly hires the much better-looking Cook to date his ex (Kate Hudson), and of course Cook and Hudson fall in love. Hilarity ensues. Maybe.

Other films are being released on a limited stage, including Appaloosa and Blindness, but since those films are receiving wide releases in October, I haven’t included them on this list.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Movies, Top 10 Movie Lists
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