Six September Movies to Catch

Here are a half-dozen September films leading off the Race for the Oscars...

1. Time Out Of Mind (theater release September 11)

This upcoming movie will put homelessness under the microscope with magnification set to 400x. “Am I homeless?” is the question, but the premise is whether homeless people exist and how one person deals with their plight.  Will Richard Gere’s character help save himself?  Or will it take others, willing to step up and help those down on their knees, to get Gere back up on his feet again?  Either one of those scenarios, or a combination of them, could tell a very compelling story.  The key to this film’s success, and its connection with viewers, will be if Gere’s character can right his ship in a believable way?  If they can accomplish that difficult task, Time Out of Mind stands to be a powerful emotional and inspirational journey for moviegoers.  Oscar potential.

2. Pawn Sacrifice (theater release September 16)

Based upon the true story of American chess prodigy Bobby Fischer, Pawn Sacrifice follows the life of the world’s youngest grandmaster and future champion. Academy Award-winning director Edward Zwick (for Shakespeare in Love in 1998) teams up with brilliant writer Steven Knight (from last year’s The Hundred-Foot Journey) to give us a good old-fashion, red-white-and-blue war of perception against the evil Soviet Union. With all of Putin’s current shenanigans in the former Soviet Union, Americans are getting geared up to lay some well-deserved lumber to our Cold War adversary.

3. Black Mass (theater release September 18)

Johnny Depp’s incognito appearance as Irish mobster James “Whitey” Bulger is getting mass publicity–and deservedly so.  This FBI collaboration with Bulger to take out a common foe, makes this 1970s true story from South Boston one not to miss.  Tons of Academy Award “Best Actor” discussion for Depp’s intense portrayal of the brutal gang leader.  Coming out in September should help this film gain traction as it officially opens Oscar Season and avoid an already packed November-December holiday release party.  After all, who wants to go see this type of violence on Christmas Day?  Joel Edgarton (director/star in “The Gift”) co-stars as FBI Agent John Connolly.  Depp will shine in this film. If director Scott Cooper (“Out of the Furnace”) can keep the violence quota down to acceptable limits and let the story tell itself–“Black Mass” could garner several Academy Award nominations.

4. Everest (theater release on September 18)

Three very compelling, but completely different storylines unfold this same week; “Black Mass”, “Everest” and “Sicario”.  This one offers the greatest box office potential for its adventure and exploration. Oscar nominated director Baltasar Kormakur (2012’s The Deep in the Best Foreign Language Film category) returns to his native Iceland to film most of the scenes from this 1996 true story.  This movie covers the deadly 2-days atop the world’s tallest mountain and stars Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler), Josh Brolin (Guardians of the Galaxy), Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game) and Robin Wright (Netflix’s House of Cards).  Other portions of the movie were filmed in Nepal.  Look for Gyllenhaal to continue putting audience members in theater seats and for this to be his breakout career year (see: 2014–Chris Pratt).  Whose ready to do some climbing?

5. Sicario (theater release on September 18)

This movie isn’t about cooperation between neighboring countries or an eager FBI agent seeking her “by-name request” into a clandestine U.S. unit. And its sure not about curbing the drug war by the time the film credits roll.  No, this action thriller–with a superb music score–is about enlightening and educating audiences to the violent crime that already exists, and operates, inside our southern U.S. border–and illustrates the dangers associated with this fact.  ‘Sicario’ showcases three top-shelf performers – Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow, 2014), Academy Award winner Benicio del Toro (Traffic, 2000) and Oscar nominated Josh Brolin (for 2008’s Milk).  The trio meet along the blurred borders of corruption, deception and drug cartels within Mexico and the southwestern U.S.  A frustrated and naive Blunt (FBI) finds herself embedded between a tough CIA Operations Chief (Brolin) and a mercenary (Toro) who tends to lean in the direction of the highest payer.  Together, they fight drug lords and a jurisdiction system that still tilts in favor of the criminal minds.

6. The Walk (theater release September 30)

This film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as real-life high-wire artist Philippe Petit as he attempts to cross a tightrope between the World Trade Centers in 1974 New York City.  The movie is based upon Petit’s personal memoirs called To Reach the Clouds, which were the basis for the 2008 Academy Award-winning documentary “Man on Wire”.  Academy Award winner Robert Zemeckis (“Forrest Gump”) co-wrote and directs this film, which also stars Oscar winner Ben Kingsley (1982’s “Gandhi”).  Hitting only limited theaters at the end of this month, “The Walk” enters most locations in early October–which poses a problem for this movie as it goes face-to-face with this ginormous release on October 2nd.  Talk about walking a fine line.

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