Fall Movie Guide: September 2011 – Week 5

Week 1: September 2nd, 2011

Week 2: September 9th, 2011

Week 3: September 16th, 2011

Week 4: September 23rd, 2011

Week 5: September 30th, 2011

Title: What’s Your Number?

Based on the novel 20 Times a Lady by Karyn Bosnak

Writer: Jennifer Crittenden & Gabrielle Allan

Director: Mark Mylod

Starring: Anna Faris, Chris Pratt and Chris Evans

“A woman looks back at the past twenty men she’s had relationships with in her life and wonders if one of them might be her one true love.”

Romantic comedies are good standard money makers, but typically they do best rated PG-13 and starring the hot female actress that has been in everything lately. Here, director Mark Mylod (a resident Entourage director) has a bit different task on his hands, with the rising star of Chris Evans to help him out, but Anna Faris isn’t technically the hottest actress in town. However, The House Bunny was a mild success, so I suppose her drawing power is safe enough for this type of fare. The other big difference is this film is rated R, cutting out the large teenage girl demographic that would normally hit these type of films.

However, with this in mind, they might actually have something to say, I’m sure studio execs wanted this PG-13, but maybe they fought for an R to stay true to the book. Not having read the book, I can’t say for sure, but it’s a good sign for those looking for something outside the typical rom-com. The trailer has a few moments that make it look like it could be funny in places, if a romantic comedy is what you’re looking for.

The drawing power of Chris Evans was confirmed after Captain America so now his name can only help a film like this, where presumably the girls are looking for some eye candy just as much as the guys they drag to this movie. I think they’ve done alright in that department, now it’s up to the screenwriters to make a serviceable story to keep the film entertaining. This has had little advertising so far, and I doubt it will get a big push, but at the same time, it could be a funny movie. Word of mouth will tell.

Opens September 30th, 2011 from 20th Century Fox in theaters nationwide. The film is Rated R.

Title: 50/50

Writer: Will Reiser

Director: Jonathan Levine

Starring: Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick and Joseph Gordon-Levitt

“A comedic account of a 27-year-old guy’s cancer diagnosis, and his subsequent struggle to beat the disease.”

Based on writer Will Reiser’s true-life battle with cancer while working in the entertainment industry, this one has had a lot of positive press in the months counting down to its release. Director Jonathan Levine has previously wooed Sundance with his great generational film The Wackness a few years ago. This year, he has again been the talk of critics based on the very highly praised script from Reiser, and the excellent cast he has put together for this film.

Seth Rogen is playing a very Seth Rogen character, but early word has said it’s very fitting for the film, and Rogen is in top form here with good material to live out. Joseph Gordon-Levitt continues to wow audiences and critics alike with his strong, versatile role choices. Here is no different, where he has stepped in when James McAvoy had to step down, he has made the role his own and seems to be the shining beacon for this film. Anna Kendrick has become a quick audience favorite with her roles in Up in the Air and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and here she plays Gordon-Levitt’s therapist throughout his cancer treatment.

The script was a Black List favorite a few years ago, and the film has been through some trials, but being Levine’s first wide platform release is a good thing, more audiences need to be exposed to his unique brand of filmmaking and I couldn’t think of a better script to do it with. Teamed with a strong cast, there’s no reason this won’t be a home run. Anthony got to see an early screening of the film and he had some positive words for it, if you want to read that, go here.

50/50 opens September 30th, 2011 from Summit Entertainment. The film is Rated R.

Title: Courageous

Writers: Alex Kendrick & Stephen Kendrick

Director: Alex Kendrick

Starring: Alex Kendrick, Ken Bevel and Kevin Downes

“Four men, one calling: To serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, they face danger every day. Yet when tragedy strikes close to home, these fathers are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, and their faith. From this struggle will come a decision that changes all of their lives. With action, drama, and humor, the fourth film from Sherwood Pictures embraces God’s promise to “turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers.” Souls will be stirred, and hearts will be challenged to be … courageous!”

From the makers of Fireproof comes another Christian-themed film aimed to bring glory back to our national heroes, this time police, after Fireproof was aimed at the fire fighters of America. Audiences, especially the well-spending elderly, love these uplifting inspirational films while critics from their circle laud them, and everyone else sees them as pushy propaganda trying to push the Christian agenda through mainstream cinema.

While some are bothered by this, most people understand that the audience, though well spending, is actually pretty limited for these type of films, and that’s why the few that come far between each other do so well. While there is demand for these PG-13 feel gooders, general audiences either never hear about them, or if they do, scarcely check them out.

The producers, though, have found a low budget model that works, and the worldwide network of Christian faith is their bread and butter money-wise, and as I said, they are good spenders. Financial success is a foregone conclusion, all that remains to be seen is how general audiences respond once they understand the message, if they ever do.

Facing the Giants, from the same producers, never really caught the public like Fireproof did, but I’m sure both were financially successful nonetheless. For those looking for an uplifting movie that most of the family can watch and understand, this will be serviceable entertainment. Hardcore cinema fans will be turned off by the soft narrative and preachy themes, but everyone’s grandmother needs something to do every Sunday afternoon after church.

Courageous opens September 30th, 2011 from Tristar Pictures. It will be rated PG-13.

Title: Dream House

Writer: David Loucka

Director: Jim Sheridan

Starring: Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts

“Soon after moving into their seemingly idyllic new home, a family learns of a brutal crime committed against former residents of the dwelling.”

When Will (Craig) moves his wife (Weisz) and children to a small New England town, he thinks he is escaping the bustle of big city life when he quits his job in New York. Soon after moving into the house, he quickly learns something isn’t right. When he learns from the neighbor (Watts) what happened there, he begins to investigate, and quickly realizes he might be the next person on the hit list.

Director Jim Sheridan has been versatile in his choices, sometimes to his detriment, as people believed when he did Get Rich or Die Tryin’, which I thought to be a serviceable, if not completely accurate, film. However, he is also the director behind such Daniel Day-Lewis hits as My Left Foot, The Boxer, In the Name of the Father, and the critical darling In America. Here I hope he brings more dramatic weight to the material, elevating it to something more than another creepy house movie.

If the trailers are any indication, there is something more than meets the eye to the story, and I hope there is more to it than the trailers lead on. Much of the movie’s content has been overshadowed by the tabloid story of Craig and Weisz’ romance on this film, and subsequent marriage. Looking past that, it could be a creepy little film, but my expectations aren’t through the roof. I’m also afraid that even if it is good, it’s not a straight up Halloween season horror film, but it’s also not a pre-awards season contender, and for those reasons, it may get lost in the shuffle of other movies suited either towards pre-awards season or the fall horror slate. Early word of mouth isn’t super positive, with most that have seen the movie saying it’s a waste of both Craig and Weisz’ talents. We’ll see later this month.

Dream House is rated PG-13 and it opens from Universal Pictures on September 30th, 2011 in theaters nationwide.

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