Movies Not to Miss: September 2015

Movies Not to Miss: September 2015

Which of these are you going to watch?

The summer months may be over but September is becoming a busy month for cinemas. While few in this month's lineup shout out as must-sees, there is an abundance of middling titles that could as easily go under the radar as having the potential to be unexpected hits. This month is also a good month for local releases with worthy titles released almost every week.

That certainly didn't make it easy to only select 15 movies to recommend on this list, but that also means there is surely something for everyone. But if not of these picks tickle your fancy, then you could also check out the Japanese Film Festival which will be happening this month as well.

So instead of waiting to wake up when September ends, here is our recommended movies not to miss to keep you awake this September.

After taking on an assignment as a getaway driver for three female robbers, Frank Martin's father is kidnapped by a crime lord whose money was stolen by the robbers. With only 12 hours to find his father before they kill him, the Transporter will need some help and put his driving skills to the test.

Last month saw the reboot involving a bald assassin, and this month we have another reboot involving a bald driver. Except in this 'refueled' franchise, they have also decided to inject some hair back on the vehicle that introduced Jason Statham to the world (with his trademark baldness, of course). But hair jokes aside, "The Transporter Refueled" is intended as the beginning of a new trilogy in collaboration between EuropaCorp and China's Fundamental Films, featuring a younger Frank Martin, or better known as the Transporter. That Transporter is now played by (another) British actor Ed Skrein, who is more likely to be known for his role as Daario Naharis in the third season of "Game of Thrones", and will also be the villain in the upcoming "Deadpool". As for the director, editor-turned-director Camile Delamarre, who has worked on the last "Transporter", will be taking the helm after cutting his directorial teeth with the Paul Walker starrer "Brick Mansions".

General Release Date: 3 September

Jack Dwyer and his family are American expatriates that have relocated to a Southeast Asian country. As they have just started to settle down in their little piece of paradise, a coup breaks out and foreigners are being executed on sight.

While "No Escape" is already putting a human spin to the disaster movie (i.e. a rampaging and raging mob, instead of another tsunami), the weirdest and most interesting choice of this movie is the casting of Owen Wilson, who we can't quite remember when was the last time we saw him in a movie that didn't make us smile. Although having Pierce Brosnan as the action man may just alleviate some of the pressure off Wilson to pull off some of the stunt work, but ultimately the appeal hangs on Wilson who will make or break this movie. This also looks to be director John Erick Dowdle's most expensive production to date (definitely a much larger step up than his debut "Quarantine"), which gives "No Escape" all the makings of an underdog movie that could do surprisingly well, or fail miserably.

General Release Date: 3 September

After escaping from the maze and taken into custody by survivors of the dystopian world, Thomas and his fellow Gladers are interrogated of what they know about WCKD; the organisation that put them in the maze experiment. When Thomas feels that something is amiss of their benevolent captors, they plan an escape, but will they be able to survive the outside world of the Scorch?

"Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials" is the second installment of the young adult novel adaptation with the stakes getting higher. Thinking that all is now well now that they have escaped the maze, the Gladers are just about to find out why they were put there in the first place. Director Wes Ball returns for this second installment (and most likely will do for the rest of the series), but this time from the screenplay adapted by T.S. Nowlin, who is also expected to adapt the final book into a two-parter, instead of Noah Oppenheimer. Also joining the series for the first time is Aidan Gillen as the Rat-Man, and you won't be able to shake off his manipulating voice and wit as he did as Littlefinger in "Game of Thrones".

General Release Date: 10 September

In 1989, five members of the Special Force Regiment are ordered to locate communist guerrillas who are aiming to take control of a strategic point in central Peninsular Malaysia. When communications are cut off due to a malfunction and without backup, the five members are forced to fend for themselves against an army of 200 enemy guerrillas.

If the plot of "Bravo 5" sounds awfully similar to Peter Berg's "Lone Survivor", it would be a good place to note that "Bravo 5" has been in development when the first draft of the script was completed in 2007 (followed by 26 revisions), and was meant for a 2013 release (similar to "Lone Survivor") before it was delayed till now. Shot in several locations in Kuala Lumpur to Perak, Melaka and Johor, "Bravo 5" had the endorsement of the Malaysian Armed Forces (Major Zainal Hayat is the credited screenwriter) with actual soldiers performing the stunts, with additional stuntment called in from Singapore. As for the titular five, they are played by Beto Kusairy, Remy Ishak, Sashi Tharan, Xavier Fong and Frank Peterson, who all undergone two weeks of commando training for their roles. Sofi Jikan also stars here as a communist leader.

General Release Date: 10 September

When Zohri discovers and steals the Vision 2020 time capsule buried by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, he is sent back in time to experience the various historical events that lead up to the independence.

Initially intended for a 2020 release, "Kapsul" was self-written and self-directed by Martias Ali, who had passed away last year. Faizal Hussein stars as the accidental time-traveler, but it is the appearance of Tun Mahathir (in his feature debut?) that has been the hype around "Kapsul". Mahathir is expected to appear in about 5 scenes as he gives a pat on the back of Zohri when he returns to his present. Naturally, this was meant to be a patriotic movie that will trek the road of Malaya's independence from the Japanese occupation, the Communist insurgency and the nationalism movement led by Tunku Abdul Rahman.

General Release Date: 17 September

Set during World War II, a former Nationalist Party spy and a widow peddling opium falls in love and are forced their leave their families in China, escaping to Hong Kong where they have a child together.

Named after the cities of Wu Hu, Shanghai and Hong Kong, "Tale of Three Cities" may have stretched your interest for epic love stories especially if you have been watching recent ones like "The Crossing". While we could point out that this is Mabel Chung's directorial return since "Beijing Rocks" in 2001, you may have watched her documentary "Traces of a Dragon" released in 2003, which follows the family history of Hong Kong's greatest star; Jackie Chan. There is a connecting issue here, since the "Tale of Three Cities" is actually based on the life of his parents, Charles Chan and Lee-Lee Chan. That sentimental story only gets better when you have award-winning actors Lau Ching Wan and Tang Wei taking on the lead roles.

General Release Date: 17 September

In order to take down an anonymous drug lord, FBI special agent Kate Macy is enlisted by government officials to cross the Mexican border and work with a special joint task force formed to track him down.

If you have been left hanging by the questions in his "Prisoners" (or never want to enter a room without checking for spiders after "Enemy"), then you would have much reason to be anticipating for Denis Villeneuve's next feature, "Sicario". Even if Villeneuve's name sounds unfamiliar to you, "Sicario" already has a powerful cast (and their six-degree connection to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is pure coincidence), starting with Emily Blunt in the lead role as the idealistic FBI, shadowed by Benicio del Toro as the sicario (meaning hitman in Spanish), and Josh Brolin. This surprising screenwriting debut of Taylor Sheridan has went for competition at this year's Cannes, and you can be sure that Villeneuve's exploration of the gray areas in the war against drugs will be dreadfully unsettling to watch (now with even more blood). Not to mention beautiful with the cinematography of Roger Deakins in his second collaboration with Villeneuve.

General Release Date: 17 September

While their mother goes on a holiday, Rebecca and Tyler Jamison are sent to live with their grandparents. While there is much to explore, the Jamison siblings are given a rule to never leave their rooms after 9.30pm. When the brother and sister let curiosity get the better of them, they begin noticing strange behaviours from their grandmother and begged their mother to return for them, before it's too late.

After flops, failures and stirring the outrage of fans, the name M. Night Shyamalan is far from inspiring the confidence it once did from the days of "The Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable". Perhaps he has lost his groove for big budget blockbusters, which could indicate that it is time for him to go back to something smaller. Given the formula of small thrillers and big success of Blumhouse Productions, it seemed almost the most logical place for Shyamalan to ply his big name attraction with small scale risks. The result of which, as we have seen in the trailer, is quite possibly where we can see Shyamalan regain his twisted storytelling without setting too high an expectation.

General Release Date: 17 September

During the onset of the Cold War, U.S. chess master Bobby Fischer challenges reigning world champion Boris Spasky that will not only determine the superiority of more than just two minds, but nations. As the pressure mounts for the prodigy to defeat the superpower of the chess world, his own mind is in danger of descending to madness.

Based on the historical chess match in 1972 between two chess legends that would not go unrecognised by avid chess players, "Pawn Sacrifice" goes deeper into the political stakes and the personal stake that was at risk of being lost by 11th World Champion Bobby Fishcer. Tobey McGuire takes the role of one of chess' most eccentric players, who has plenty inner demons that often tips him over the fine line of madness and genius. While premiering with little fanfare at last year's Toronto International Film Festival, it would be a movie of interest to any chess players, especially if they have already seen the Fischer-centric documentary "Bobby Fischer Against the World".

General Release Date: 17 September

Inspector Khai from the Narcotics units of Kuala Lumpur is dispatched to Terengganu where a new type of syabu is found. To bring down its distribution network, Khai will have to work with local Inspector Sani, who knows the nook and cranny of his home state. While Khai prefers quick action, Sani is a stickler for proper procedures, making them incompatible on the field. When Sani's family is dragged and endangered by the investigation, these unlikely partners would have to find a way to work together.

Made with a modest budget of RM2.4 million, "Polis Evo" is setting itself apart from other local actioners of being all about action with very few in between. From the trailers, that seems to be the case and we have to give it to the rather sleek look it has from its contemporaries that could set the boundaries of future local action movies. While we have seen Shaheizy Sam far too many times in a physically demanding role, it was quite surprising to see a buffed up Zizan Razak. This could be Malaysia's definitive buddy cop movie, so we will be checking it out. This is also one of the last appearances of Harun Salim Bachik.

General Release Date: 17 September

When the plane carrying a group of students crashes into the Amazon, they are rescued by a lost tribe only to live through their worst nightmares.

Summer of 2015 gave us the most visually mind-blowing action road movie with "Mad Max: Fury Road", now be prepared to meet its gore horror equivalent with "The Green Inferno". The name Eli Roth alone should already tip you off that it's not going to be enjoyed by the squeamish (see "Cabin Fever" and "Hostel"), and even Roth himself that has taken cues from the ever gut wrenching "Cannibal Holocaust". We wouldn't recommend this to anyone who can't take more than seeing their fair share of guts on screen, but to the die-hard horror fans, this is a challenge that should be accepted.

General Release Date: 24 September

Two expeditions climbing up Mount Everest on the 10th of May 1996 are caught in a deadly blizzard that traps them and raise new challenges as they descent. Fighting against the weather, perilous obstacles and physical limitations, the accounts of the climbers would be recorded as one of the deadliest climbs of Mount Everest.

Based on 1996 Mount Everest disaster and the various books published by its survivors, we didn't quite expect director Baltasar Kormakur to take up making a feature telling of what happened in the eyes of the climbers. Still, he has made up an irresistible cast comprising of Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke, and Sam Worthington as the climbers, with Keira Knightley as loved ones waiting for their safe return. "Everest" is a movie is all about the experience in the best possible way, so be sure to catch in IMAX and Dolby Atmos, but don't forget to keep yourselves warm in the freezing cinema hall.

General Release Date: 24 September

Hotel Transylvania is now open to business to humans as well as monsters, and Count Dracula has become a grandfather when Mavis gives birth to a half-human and half vampire. While the couple are off to see the in-laws, Dracula enlists the help of his trusted monster friends to teach his grandson, Denis, to tap his vampire talents. Then comes, Dracula's own father, Vlad, who returns appalled that the hotel now allows humans and his great-grandson is a half breed.

"Hotel Transylvania 2" may not be even close to play with our emotions as "Inside Out" did, but if you are looking to get some silly laughs then it should fit the bill quite nicely. Adam Sandler returns with his Transylvanian accent as Count Dracula, along with his merry band of monsters voiced by Steve Buscemi, Kevin James and David Spade. Parody legend himself Mel Brooks will be the voice of Vlad.

General Release Date: 24 September

Abused and traumatised by her adopted parents, Jwanita kills them but also picks up the black magic that were practiced by them. When her life is turning for the better after meeting Dr. Farhan, Jwanita discovers that Farhan is engaged to her long lost biological sister Juliaka. Farhan and Juliaka are confused when Jwanita did not attend their wedding, but Jwanita soon returns to them with a vengeance.

Despite a long delayed production that ran up to 3 years, and having 30% of its scenes cut, we are glad to see Osman Ali's "Jwanita" is reaching the finish line, as what could be the closest thing we have to the never-to-be-seen "Dukun". You've already seen her as a vengeful wife in "Nota", but see Maya Karin turn full psycho here as she could pull a performance that might get her two nods at the next Festival Filem Malaysia, and we are just glad to see a cast with Bront Palare, Cristina Suzanne Stockstill and Umie Aida too.

General Release Date: 24 September

When an unknown virus starts turning the rowdy children of an elementary school into ruthless savages, substitute teacher Clint Hadson and his fellow teachers are holed up and have to figure out how to make it out of the school alive.

If there is one genre that needs a little variety now, it is definitely the zombie genre and we are glad that could be the next trend, starting with "Cooties". This directorial debut by co-directors Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion may not come out perfect, with Elijah Wood being the most recognisable out of the cast, but we definitely would welcome any addition that turns the zombie on its head and validate our fears of children.

General Release Date: 24 September

Related Movies:
The Transporter Refueled (03 Sep 2015)
No Escape (03 Sep 2015)
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (10 Sep 2015)
Bravo 5 (Malay) (10 Sep 2015)
Kapsul (Malay) (17 Sep 2015)
The Visit (17 Sep 2015)
Polis Evo (Malay) (17 Sep 2015)
A Tale Of Three Cities (Mandarin) (24 Sep 2015)
Pawn Sacrifice (17 Sep 2015)
Hotel Transylvania 2 (24 Sep 2015)
The Green Inferno (24 Sep 2015)
Cooties (24 Sep 2015)
Everest (24 Sep 2015)
Jwanita (Malay) (24 Sep 2015)
Sicario The Mexican Hitman (17 Sep 2015)

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