by HELEN GEIB
There’s good variety in the lineup for September, mostly of the genre variety, but also including a few comedies. And yet another Madea movie. The full list of films opening in wide release after the break.
All About Steve – All About Steve follows surprisingly close on the heels of star Sandra Bullock’s last film The Proposal. This one sounds more quirky comedy than romantic comedy, though since I never saw a trailer I don’t have much to go on. Where’s the marketing love? Anyway, I was quite pleased with The Proposal. Here’s hoping this one is as enjoyable. Bradley Cooper and Thomas Haden Church co-star; directed by Phil Traill (a few directorial credits for movies I haven’t heard of).
Extract – The title refers to the protagonist’s flower-extract factory and probably has some sort of symbolic meaning in the context of the film. At least, I would hope there’s a good reason for choosing a title that is neither descriptive nor memorable. Extract was written and directed by Mike Judge (Office Space, the “Beavis and Butt-Head” TV series) and stars Jason Bateman.
Gamer – Gerard Butler stars in this virtual reality-set thriller from Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the duo behind the it shouldn’t work but it does Crank. That was enough to sell me on seeing it. Michael C. Hall and Ludacris co-star.
9 (on Wed.) – A rare mainstream animated film that wasn’t made for the family audience, 9 (getting a Wednesday release to capitalize on the 9/9/09 date) is the first of several upcoming Hollywood films set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The landscape is particularly bleak in this one; humans are extinct, along with most other flora and fauna, and the protagonists are animate dolls battling for survival against killing machines run amok. Name voice casts are a dime a dozen anymore in animated movies, but this one still impresses: Elijah Wood, Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau, John C. Reilly, Crispin Glover, and Jennifer Connelly. The film was directed by Shane Acker.
Sorority Row – Yet another slasher movie, this one focusing on a group of scantily dressed young women who are members of a – wait for it… sorority. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve suffered through the trailer for this film, once again raising the question in my mind of what it is about my taste in movies that causes me to see so many awful trailers so many times.
Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself – The latest entry in the astoundingly successful Madea franchise. Taraji P. Henson and Adam Rodriguez head up the supporting cast.
Whiteout – Kate Beckinsale is a U.S. Marshal on the hunt for a murderer in this thriller set in a research station in Antarctica. Directed by Dominic Sena, who pretty much disappeared for eight years after directing Gone In Sixty Seconds and Swordfish. Loved the former, hated the latter. This one at least has an intriguing premise and Kate Beckinsale.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs – The premise of this animated family film: crackpot inventor makes a device that transforms water molecules into food, leading to meteorological chaos and other unintended consequences. Based on a popular children’s book by Judi and Ron Barrett and co-directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
Jennifer’s Body – Screenwriter Diablo Cody’s follow-up to Juno is this horror film about a cheerleader who goes on a man-killing spree. You can let me know if it’s played straight or for satire. Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfreid, and Adam Brody star; directed by Karyn Kusama, who has a sadly tiny number of credits since helming Girlfight in 2000.
Love Happens – Romantic drama starring Aaron Eckhart as a self-help guru who discovers he needs a helping hand after his wife’s death. Jennifer Aniston plays the new love interest. Written by and the directorial debut of Brandon Camp, who has some writing credits in TV.
Fame – Remake of the 1980s musical about young hopefuls trying to make it at a premier New York school for the performing arts. Starring a cast of young hopefuls trying to make it in Hollywood, backed up by a supporting cast of industry veterans (Kelsey Grammer, Charles Dutton, Bebe Neuwirth, Megan Mullally). Directed by Kevin Tancharoen, who has credits in TV.
Pandorum – Science-fiction film with a mystery angle featuring amnesiac spaceship crew members. Another movie I like the sound of but haven’t seen a trailer for. Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster head up the cast; it was directed by German director Christian Alvart (a few German films).
Surrogates – The would-be big movie of the month, this science fiction-action-thriller (by the look of the trailer, which for a change I have both seen and definitely like the look of) stars Bruce Willis as a cop investigating a series of murders in an Matrixy alterna-world where people live virtually through robot “surrogates.” The fine supporting cast includes Ving Rhames, Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike, and James Cromwell; the film was directed by Jonathan Mostow (a handful of credits including U-571 and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines).