Fall Movie Preview Spectacular! Part 1 – The Films of September

Resident Evil: Retribution

Release Date: September 14th

Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson; Starring Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, and Michelle Rodriguez

 

You have to hand it to the Resident Evil team. Even if none of their films have ever set the box office on fire, sequels keep getting greenlit, to the point where the franchise has become one of the longest running sci-fi series in film history. Retribution is the fifth installment, if you can believe that, and in addition to the continued presence of franchise bedrock Milla Jovovich, it sees the return of Michelle Rodriguez, who co-starred in the first feature a full ten years ago. I have no major investment in this series, but they seem to please their fans just fine, and I’m sure Retribution will be no different.

 The Master

Release Date: September 14th (Limited)

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson; Starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, and Amy Adams

 

P.T. Anderson’s first feature since the masterful There Will Be Blood is one of the most exciting propositions of the season. A mysterious story about a dangerous religious leader, The Master features an incredible ensemble, and every bit of footage seen so far looks positively spectacular. As with Blood, I suspect we will have no clear sense of what this movie actually is until we have actually sat down to watch it, but that’s what makes Anderson such a fascinating filmmaker.

He packs his films to the bursting point with grand ideas, characters, and imagery, but always with a precise and thoughtful simmer. Shooting on 70mm film seems like a natural step forward to his craft, and early reactions to screenings in the format indicate the film is indeed a visual and psychological powerhouse. I cannot wait to see what Anderson has in store.

Finding Nemo 3D

Release Date: September 14th

Directed by Andrew Stanton; Starring Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, and Alexander Gould

With Pixar having chosen to move in a more overtly commercial direction in recent years, a 3D re-release of Finding Nemo – which was, until Toy Story 3, their highest grossing film – is a no brainer. It is one of the greatest of all American animated features, a triumph of heart, comedy, and characterization that pushed CGI as an artistic medium several steps forward.

Though the visuals are now nine years out of date, the film’s beautiful, timeless art design will no doubt hold up spectacularly on the big screen, and one can always trust Pixar to perform a respectful and immersive 3D conversion. Would I personally prefer to see the film in 2D? Of course, but 3D is the current standard for animation, and if the additional dimension means a new generation of children get to discover this masterpiece, that’s a fair price to pay.

Arbitrage

Release Date: September 14th (Limited)

Directed by Nicholas Jarecki; Starring Richard Gere, Brit Marling, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Roth

 

Many things about Arbitrage intrigue me, but none more so than the presence of Brit Marling, a brilliant young actress whose work in Sound Of My Voice still stands as one of the most gripping performances of the year. Will she have room to impress that much in this film? Probably not, given that this is a showcase for Richard Gere, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

This looks like a strong part for the seasoned thespian, and I’m equally excited to see some of the other performers at work, including the often underutilized Tim Roth. The trailer hints at an effective, slow-burn thriller atmosphere, but it’s also narratively unclear. Is Gere playing a bad guy who pretends to lead a good life? Or is he a good guy caught up in bad events? How exactly does his legal firm work into all this? I have no clear sense of the story after watching the trailer, which is fine so long as the film itself knows what it’s doing. In any case, this is one I’ll be watching out for.

Continue the Preview on the next page…