The final release weekend in September isn’t loaded with releases like some of the previous weeks, but there’s still some interesting options. So, let’s get to it.
Dear Evan Hansen (Theaters)
Writers: Steven Levenson, Justin Paul, & Benj Pasek | Director: Stephen Chbosky
Starring: Ben Platt, Julianne Moore, & Kaitlyn Dever
I’ve been seeing trailers for this movie for what feels like forever; at least all year. Back when M. Night Shyamalan’s Old had it’s theatrical run back in July, somebody out there on the internet used Ben Platt’s picture on the poster (like the one above) and swapped out the titles. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to decouple the idea since there’s a good chance it is going to have an effect on my perception of the movie. Platt won a Tony for his portrayal of this character on Broadway, so I’m sure he’s more than capable. The general consensus among critics hasn’t been good at all, but the audience score from Rotten Tomatoes is very positive.
Birds of Paradise (Theaters + Amazon Prime Video)
Screenplay: Sarah Adina Smith| Director: Sarah Adina Smith
Starring: Diana Silvers, Kristine Froseth, & Jacqueline Bissett
Based on the book by A.K. Small, this movie follows the rivalry and friendship of two ballet dancers at an elite dance academy in Paris as the compete for a contract with the country’s premiere opera company. This isn’t the first movie about the ultra-competitive nature of these institutions and it looks like there are definitely some elements of Black Swan here, both visually and contextually, so if you enjoyed Darren Aronofsky’s 2010 film then you may enjoy this one as well.
The Guilty (Theaters + Netflix Oct. 1)
Adapted Screenplay: Nic Pizzolatto| Director: Antoine Fuqua
Starring: Jake Gyllenahaal, Riley Keough, & Peter Sarsgaard
Netflix must have confidence in this adaptation of Gustav Möller’s 2018 Danish film that he co-wrote with Emil Nygaard Albertsen because they are giving it a stand-alone theatrical release before bringing back to stream on the mothership a week later. It looks like a very tense crime thriller and I like all the players involved. You can’t got wrong with Jake Gyllenhaal playing the lead as a 9-1-1 dispatcher who gets sucked into an active kidnapping. He’s reuniting with his director on Southpaw, Antonie Fuqua who’s made so many films I like and that alone is plenty. Nic Pizzolatto (writer/creator of True Detective) worked with Fuqua on The Magnificent Seven and adapted this screenplay, so I have full confidence.
I’m Your Man (Theaters)
Writers: Maria Schrader & Jan Schomburg | Director: Maria Schrader
Starring: Marren Eggert, Dan Stevens, & Sandra Hüller
I’s always interested in films that don’t get the spotlight and this one, based on Emma Braslavsky’s short story, is a perfect antidote to the mainstream. In a bid to secure funding for her project, a scientist reluctantly agrees to participate in a Turing-test of sorts for a robot that looks human and is designed to make her happy. This German film by Maria Schrader looks very cute and emotionally genuine, which could turn out to be a very interesting portrait of love in a vacuum. It’ll probably be hard to find, but it you’re into indie and foreign cinema, you probably know where to look.
The Starling (Theaters + Netflix)
Writer: Matt Harris | Director: Theodore Melfi
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd,
Last but not least, Netflix double dips with new releases this weekend offering us Melissa McCarthy’s second movie of 2021 for the streaming giant. Hidden Figures director Theodore Melfi directs this story of a couple that’s torn apart by the loss of a pregnancy until a little bird shows up to help them work their way through it. McCarthy has shown some impressive range, given the right role, and she’s supported here by Chris O’Dowd, Kevin Kline (who’s great but I haven’t seen in a long time), and surprisingly NOT Bobby Cannavale. For the right audience, I expect this movie will work as intended but it’s probably not going to land with the fans of McCarthy’s more slapstick efforts.
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