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Kevin Smith’s “Tusk”: Ten Films to look forward to in September

Believe it or not, we’re now into the month of September, which is insane if you ask me. I’ll be updating my Oscar predictions later on this week, but right now, I’m going to preview the films of the month ahead. There’s no shortage of interesting flicks hitting screens, so we’re entering the start of the very best season for cinema. Tis the season for high quality movies, with the upcoming New York Film Festival really kicking off Oscar season for me. That’s not to say that the next week or two won’t have plenty to talk about, but once we’re in October it’s really the heat of the moment then, as it were. Even so, the whole month of September has plenty to be excited about, I assure you of that much. There’s no shortage of quality coming our way, so be excited folks.

Below you’ll see a total of ten titles (plus a pair of honorable mentions) that I feel represent the best of the month. I’ve seen a handful of the films to be discussed, so I can vouch for those personally. The rest? Well, I’ll be reporting in on them real soon. In the meantime, here you go:

10. The Guest – A throwback thriller, I saw this film from up and coming genre filmmaker Adam Wingard (who blew me away with You’re Next last year) recently and liked it a lot. It feels like a B movie from the 1980’s, a slow burn through and through. If you like the sort of thing where you laugh and cringe in equal measure, this one will be for you. It hits on the 17th.

9. The Zero Theorem – Any new work from filmmaker Terry Gilliam is worth taking note of. Even if this isn’t my favorite one of his (I’m currently embargoed from saying too much more), it’s far from boring and has a top notch cast (led by Christoph Waltz). This one comes out on the 19th and likely will divide audiences. Something tells me that Gilliam wouldn’t have it any other way though…

8. Two Night Stand – Another movie I’ve already seen, this romantic comedy is actually a lot better than the ads would lead you to believe. The flick is really charming, with winning turns from Miles Teller and Analeigh Tipton. Ignore the mediocre trailer and trust me here when I say this is rather good. It begins its run on the 26th and expands wider from there.

7. The Equalizer – The early word on this Denzel Washington action flick is very strong, which is kind of surprising, considering this is a big screen remake of a TV show mostly known now for being mentioned in last year’s The Wolf of Wall Street. A top notch studio thrill ride doesn’t come our way too often, so if this film is as satisfying as it supposedly is, count me in. Look for this one on the 26th as well.

6. Tracks – A film that began screening a full year ago at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival, it’s now finally coming our way. It was once thought to be an awards player, and while I think it might have been lost in the shuffle at this point, it’s still a coming of age story worth checking out (apparently with notable work from supporting player Adam Driver and star Mia Wasikowska). Starting on the 19th, you can do just that!

5. The Drop – James Gandolfini’s final performance is contained within this drama, which once upon a time was called Animal Rescue. Tom Hardy costars and not much has been said about this one, so it’s a bit of an X factor for me. I see it next week, and you all can do so on the 12th, so soon enough we’ll know what to make of this one, both in terms of Oscar viability and just overall quality.

4. This Is Where I Leave You – I’m a huge fan of the book by Jonathan Tropper, so my expectations are perhaps higher than most with this dramedy. Tropper writing the screenplay himself has me cautiously optimistic. If handled properly, this should be both heartbreaking and hilarious. I’m certainly hopeful about this one, which has a huge cast led by Jason Bateman and Tina Fey, though it won’t be until the week of the 19th that we find out if everyone involved has successfully adapted the book.

3. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby – I’ve seen all three versions of this movie, though I believe just the combined “Them” version is what’s out this month. The Her and Him versions are superior, but Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy are terrific here, making it a must see just for that alone. The romantic drama announces Ned Benson as a filmmaker to watch as well. When it hits on the 12th, you shouldn’t miss this one, nor the other two versions when they drop in October. Trust me there on this one…

2. Tusk – I’m a huge Kevin Smith fan, so I’m always excited for anything he puts out, but his first foray into full on horror (and body horror at that) has me particularly amped up. Also, really any chance to see Michael Parks put on an acting clinic (seriously, go watch Smith’s last one Red State…Parks is aces) is good enough for me, but this appears to be incredibly unique. I’m hopefully seeing it very shortly (after it debuts at the Toronto Film Festival), but you all will get the chance to see Justin Long turned into a walrus on the 19th of this month.

1. The Skeleton Twins – One of the best flicks I’ve seen this year, this is an indie dramedy that kind of blew me away. Both Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig are top notch comedians and Saturday Night Live veterans (I haven’t watched SNL in years, but apparently they were reasons to still tune in from what I’ve heard), but here they turn in fantastic performances that seamlessly blend comedy and drama. Wiig has been veering in this direction for a year or two, but Hader shocked me with how terrific he is. I’ll be talking about this one a whole lot more very soon, basically between now and the release date of September 12th, but until then…sit tight!

Honorable Mentions: The Boxtrolls and Memphis

Stay tuned for more on just about all of these titles over the course of the month!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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