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15 Films to See in September

Written by on August 31, 2017 


If you’ve already read our comprehensive, three-part fall-movie preview totaling 80 films, then you already have a strong sense of what will be included in this monthly round-up, but as new titles make their way to release calendars and our reviews come in, things will certainly shift. This month features the kick-off of fall film festivals, including Venice, TIFF, and NYFF, so check back for our coverage from each.

In the meantime, check out our recommendations of new releases below. It should be noted that this weekend, a 40th-anniversary restoration of Close Encounters of the Third Kind will get a nationwide release, thus proving to be the best option in an otherwise scarce lineup.

15. It (Andrés Muschietti; Sept. 8)


Synopsis: A group of bullied kids band together when a monster, taking the appearance of a clown, begins hunting children.


Why You Should See It: Following The Dark Tower, the next Stephen King adaptation has nowhere to go but up. While early buzz from studio-picked press has been positive thus far, I’ve heard less-than-stellar things from more trusted critics. That said, I’ll watch any film shot by Chung-hoon Chung, Park Chan-wook’s go-to cinematographer.

14. The Unknown Girl (Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne; Sept. 8)


Synopsis: A woman gets obsessed with the case of a dead woman after learning that the woman had died shortly after having rung her door for help.


Why You Should See It: It feels strange not to anticipate a Dardennes film with every fiber of my body, but after a mixed response at Cannes last year and a delayed release, The Unknown Girl is quietly opening this month. We said in our review that it feels like the directors are “on auto-pilot,” but with some re-editing, perhaps a better version is now in store.

13. Super Dark Times (Kevin Phillips; Sept. 29)


Synopsis: Teenagers Zach and Josh have been best friends their whole lives, but when a gruesome accident leads to a cover-up, the secret drives a wedge between them and propels them down a rabbit hole of escalating paranoia and violence.


Why You Should See It: One of our favorite films from this year’s Tribeca, we said in our review, “Set in an familiar and ambiguous time and place (mid-90s in anytown USA), Super Dark Times functions as a kind of trojan house until its twist. Delivering horror thrills, the Kevin Phillips-directed feature first and foremost invests in character development as an effective and sympathetic coming-of-age story until it lives up to its title.”

12. The Force (Peter Nicks; Sept. 22)


Synopsis: Goes inside an embattled urban police department struggling to rebuild trust in one of America’s most violent yet promising cities.


Why You Should See It: As the rallying cries for police reform get louder by the day, one filmmaker is diving into the middle of the issue. Peter Nicks’ The Force goes deep inside the Oakland Police Department and the results look to be a gripping, unsensationalized document. We said in our review, “The Force examines one of the most talked about issues in America from an ideal vantage point, revealing disheartening complexities with an intriguing momentum.”

11. American Made (Doug Liman; Sept. 29)


Synopsis: A pilot lands work for the CIA and as a drug runner in the south during the 1980s.


Why You Should See It: Though The Mummy proved to be far from the cinematic-universe-starter that Universal hoped, they are staying in the Tom Cruise business. The action star has reteamed with his Edge of Tomorrow (aka Live Die Repeat) director Doug Liman for American Made, which finds Cruise playing Barry Seal, a TWA pilot who smuggled drugs, got busted, and was recruited by the CIA in the process. It sounds relatively grounded, at least in Cruise terms, and judging from early reactions, it’s said to mostly deliver. In a telling comment on Cruise’s current career, it’s already starting to be released in international territories.

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