Movies Not to Miss: September 2014

Movies Not to Miss: September 2014

Which of these are you going to watch in September?

September is one of the odd months in the release schedule throughout the year; standing in between the tail-end of the summer blockbusters and the big releases reserved for the award consideration, making it one of those gaps that gets filled in with leftovers from the summer months (that are too embarrassing to have a major release date) while potential award contenders don't want to ruin their chances with an release too early.

Fortunately for this year's September, there's still plenty of action to be had that is nothing to scoff at when considering the veteran leads that are carrying them. Nevertheless, the patchwork release schedule is also good at making sure that anyone who is looking for something a little different than the standard fare if you have not grown a little tired of them from the past few months. If you are not into the upcoming novel adaptations, romance, horror or animation (both local and foreign), then maybe it's a good opportunity to check out movies from Japan during the Japanese Film Festival. Either way, there's not going to be shortage of reasons to get back into the cinema, so here's our list of movies not to miss this September!

The Giver

When young Jonas takes a trip to the edge of his perfect world with no war, racism or sickness, he stumbles upon a hut that lives a man called the Giver. Carrying the knowledge of a world before the time when Jonas was born, Jonas is selected to become the Receiver of Memories from the Giver, as he accepts the knowledge that may be too heavy for him to comprehend about the world that he lives in now.

Based on the novel by Lois Lowry that was published way before the adaptation of young novels became as mainstream as they are now, this adaptation could be said to be long overdue. Although it looks like Phillip Noyce's interpretation it fitted into the young-adult mold of "Divergent" or "The Host", but here's to hoping that with the presence of fine actors like Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep...and if you insist, Taylor Swift, would have to balance this young-adult novel into something more thought provoking.

General Release Date: 4 September


But Always

Two childhood friends who grow close together throughout the span of 30 years and around the world, come to realise their feeling for each other when a chance meeting reunites them in New York.

Last month, we had "Cafe Waiting Love" from Taiwan to melt our hearts and for September we have this feature from China for the couples who want to spend some time in the cinema. This has the feels of a straight up romantic drama which could make a promising name out of its first-time director Snow Zou, and Nicholas Tse and Gao Yuan Yuan certainly don't look like an ugly couple.

General Release Date: 4 September


As Above / So Below

When a team of urban archaeologists decide to explore the catacombs beneath the streets of Paris, they are slowly drawn into the secrets that has been contained by the dead over the centuries, which they may not want to unleash.

"As Above / So Below" is this month's dose of found footage, but what makes us not ready to write this off as 'another one of those' is John Erick Dowdle who last made "Quarantine" and "Devil". While there are the proper scares that you would expect from spelunking in deep and dark tunnels, but things only seem to get weirder that makes this feel like more of a psychological thriller than a supernatural horror. As suggested by the title, this could go either way.

General Release Date: 4 September


The Boxtrolls

In the cheese-loving high society of Cheesebridge, the humans lock themselves in their homes at night for fear of the boxtrolls that comes up from below. However, living with the boxtrolls is a human orphan named Egg who has adopted the life of the underground dwellers since he was an infant. When an ambitious exterminator tries to gain his social standing among the elites of Cheesebridge by vowing to remove the boxtroll once and for all, Egg must return to the surface as a human and bring an understanding between the trolls and the humans, with the help of a rich girl.

2014 has been a great year for animation from the get-go, starting off with "The LEGO Movie" with sequels like "Rio 2" and "How to Train Your Dragon 2", and the momentum doesn't stop with Laika's latest stop-motion animation "The Boxtrolls". Laika is still managing to outdo themselves with each feature they have released despite the painstaking process of stop-motion animation, and in a year without any competition from Pixar, this one could be an award winner in the making.

General Release Date: 11 September


The Maze Runner

Thomas wakes up on an elevator and finds himself in the Glade, where other boys have lived while being unable to escape from the enormous maze that surrounds them. While Thomas believes that he is sent for a reason, a new member is brought up to the Glade to unlock the secrets of the maze.

We've already had many female-centered young novels being adapted for the past few years, and it's about time we get something a little different. Based on the young adult novel by James Dashner, "The Maze Runner" might be that franchise that throws something new into the mix. While Wes Ball has many credentials in the art department that shows in his construction of the maze, it would still highly depend if he has want it takes as a director to create something refreshing from the source material in his feature debut.

General Release Date: 11 September


A Walk Among the Tombstones

Former policeman Matt Scudder is hired as a private investigator to search for the missing wife of a drug trafficker. Upon finding those responsible for kidnapping the wife, Scudder unveils a larger crime at work, and only he can stop them from committing them, outside the law.

We've already seen Liam Neeson earlier this year in "Non-Stop", but that doesn't stop us from wanting to see more of him, solving cases and beating bad guys. Unlike his previously fast and hard hitting movies, "A Walk Among the Tombstones" is more of a slower-paced crime drama, adapted from the book by novelist Lawrence Block, and that pace seems to have been kept by director Scott Frank. Still, it's nice to see Neeson play a real bad cop for once, because we really enjoyed it in "The LEGO Movie".

General Release Date: 18 September


The Purge: Anarchy

Police sergeant Leo Sanchez heads out to the streets on the night of the Annual Purge, seeking the man who killed his son. When Sanchez sees a group of helpless people at the mercy of other purgers, Sanchez makes a life-changing decision to save them and help them to survive through the night.

James DeMonaco is back with a sequel to his refreshing concept from 2013. While a director who lacks imagination may use the premise to churn another home invasion thriller like the first one, "Anarchy" shows that it is taking the premise even further which may please those who were intrigued by the premise but felt that it was flaunted in the first installment.

General Release Date: 18 September


Amir & Loqman Pergi Ke Laut

When Amir and Loqman decide to call it quits from the gang they entered, they must scrounge up enough cash to pay for the 'exit fee'. To do so, the pair decide to commit small acts of crime to collect enough cash, and perhaps have enough to build their dream cafe by the sea.

Director Mamat Khalid is not one of those run-of-the-mill directors who is working in the Malay movie industry today. Although he has done his fair share of the usual genre fares including horror and rock, there is always a subtle subtext hidden within his films as a critique to one issue or another. With the genre of "Amir & Loqman Pergi Ke Laut", it is quite apparent where he is pointing his guns at which will definitely interest film academics or readers of the film language.

General Release Date: 25 September


The Equalizer

Robert McCall is a former black-ops operative who has settled in a quiet life in Boston, where he helps to protect and avenge victims of violence with violence. When he protects a little girl from the Russian mob, McCall is forced to wage a one-man war against those who wants him dead.

Based on the television series from the 80s, there may be concerns if this adaptation could do enough justice to it on the big screen. What should not be a concern though is that we will be enjoying the action if it is directed by Antoine Fuqua of "Training Day" and "Olympus Has Fallen", and McCall could be our next favourite character by Denzel Washington after John Creasy (guess where is that character from).

General Release Date: 25 September


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