This Month in Film: September 2017

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Not gonna lie here, I’m writing this at the beginning of August so I have absolutely no idea of how the month has gone so far other than that The Emoji Movie definitely sucks and it doesn’t really do much to ramp up my excitement for the proposed Meme Movie. But whilst August seemed to be a rather stacked month at the pre-launch stage, September seems comparatively a little bare. It’s a shame, given how the last couple of Septembers have gifted us the likes of Me and Earl and the Dying GirlHell or High Water and Hunt for the Wilderpeople. However, that’s not to say that we can’t still have nice things… let’s have a look at what’s hot in September 2017…

Patti Cake$, dir. by Geremy Jasper

Starring: Danielle Macdonald, Bridget Everett.
Release date: September 1st

Fortunately, September flies right out of the gates with a sure-fire hit. Patti Cake$ became an immediate success story straight outta Sundance, telling the story of Patricia (Danielle Macdonald), a rapper straight outta New Jersey and her quest for rap glory. There’s hardly been a bad word about Patti Cake$ since its first screenings, Geremy Jasper’s feature-length debut has been termed as an instant classic by some and an all round great film by most with Macdonald receiving plaudits galore for her breakout role. With an entirely unknown cast, it’s not only a great platform for Jasper and Macdonald, it’s a chance for the next generation of stars, supporting players and ensemble actors to plant their feet in the foothold of hopeful success, just look at Hunt for the Wilderpeople star Julian Dennison and his upcoming role in Deadpool 2. The indie scene of late has produced a number of fresh, unique and excellent films, Patti Cake$ could well be 2017’s holder of that crown.

American Assassin, dir. by Michael Cuesta

Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Taylor Kitsch.
Release date: September 14th

Lionsgate and CBS Films have been stacking the trailers for American Assassin lately, throwing all the cool imagery, fight scenes, one liners and characters moments they can in a bid to create the biggest impact possible, and I have to say that I’m impressed. There’s been a clear attempt from various studios to capitalise on the action-spy genre of late; Taken slowly diverged into garbage, Bourne has struggled since Ultimatum and Bond surely has little left in the tank (especially after the lethargic Spectre), the studios are trying to fill the gap. The AccountantWhite House DownThe Man from U.N.C.L.E and Atomic Blonde all mark attempts to start something new to give the old dogs a run for their money. American Assassin has the fresh-faced and likeable Dylan O’Brien in the lead, a young actor who is a franchise star waiting to happen (if the franchise can do right by him) and Michael Keaton, who may just be doing the best work of his career lately, to bolster its credentials. Based on Vince Flynn’s 2010 novel of the same name, Assassin tells the story of a grief-stricken college student, Mitch Rapp (O’Brien), who finds himself in intensive CIA training after the death of his fiance at the hands of terrorists, it’s up to Keaton’s Cold War vet Stan to train him as a counter-terrorist agent. Regardless of its occasionally perceived graveyard release slot, generic premise and often troubled genre, American Assassin looks to be a hard-hitting, gritty and relentless thriller, one that could rival another certain September spy franchise as the month’s darling…

Kingsman: The Golden Circle, dir. by Matthew Vaughn

Starring: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Halle Berry, Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, Pedro Pascal, Elton John.
Release date: September 20th

…Speaking of spy movies…

I’ll admit, I wasn’t as enamoured with 2014’s Kingsman: The Secret Service as most people seemed to be; there’s blood, one liners, Bond pot shots, swearing and slow motion action, how revolutionary and edgy. But if you were 15 at the time of release then yes it was the best thing ever, much like Pacific Rim was for 12 year olds the year before. But why do I recommend coming back for this next instalment, despite little change creatively or thematically? Well, it’s the additions to the cast of course. Channing Tatum? Quickly becoming one of the most prolific and likeable actors in the business, he knows how to have fun and his comedic chops are incredible, but also he plays the tough guy action role well enough, his charisma is off the charts and he could well act circles around Taron Egerton’s Eggsy this time round. Julianne Moore? A supremely talented actress who can do anything and everything. Pedro Pascal? He almost stole Game of Thrones season four away from Maisie Williams and Rory McCann. Halle Berry? Eh, why not? Jeff freakin’ Bridges? Take. My. Money. The returning characters are all good, but it’s the inclusion of the Americans and their branch of the Kingsman that should make this all the better.

Borg/McEnroe, dir. by Janus Metz

Starring: Sverrir Gudnason, Shia LaBeouf, Stellan Skarsgård.
Release date: September 22th

This pick comes at the benefit of a little bit of inside information which I am privy to as the glorious leader of The Edge’s Film section… that and the fact that it’s scheduled to open the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, which is usually the first proving ground for the eventual Oscars hopefuls… Anyway, without whatever I may know, Borg/McEnroe instills more than enough confidence that we’ll be getting a good movie. This is a story that many will know, but one that many will want to revisit – the Borg v McEnroe rivalry is iconic, plain and simple, and the match it culminated in is widely regarded as one of the greatest tennis matches of all time. Now you may be questioning the presence of a certain walking-meme actor in the cast, but we all know that LeBeouf can pull a great performance out of the bag, and the Borg to his McEnroe, Sverrir Gudnason, has an award-winning career in the Swedish film industry to help him stack up against Shia admirably. Like Gudnason, director Janus Metz will be a new face to western audiences, Borg/McEnroe being his first feature-length film (he has previously directed several documentaries and an episode of True Detective season two); perhaps this will be the start of an influx of talented foreign filmmakers and actors in the west? Whether it is or not remains to be seen, but Borg/McEnroe should nonetheless be an insightful and a likely crowd pleasing film, heralding the first signs of awards seasons.

EDITOR’S PICK: Wind River, dir. by Taylor Sheridan

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Gil Birmingham, Jon Bernthal.
Release date: September 8th

I basically started this piece with the intention of raving about films like Wind River. Despite its Oscar nominations and critical acclaim, Hell or High Water still feels like a relatively unseen and under appreciated film from last year – going by UK release dates, it was my personal number one of the year. It was a tightly wound and lean thriller, excellently written and anchored by some stellar performances and direction, providing subtle and powerful social commentary on a divided country which may not take care of its own as well as it thinks it does. Why is all this relevant? Well, Wind River is the directorial debut of Hell or High Water‘s screenwriter Taylor Sheridan, who also wrote the script for Sicario, it is the third and final part of this Frontier Trilogy of Sheridan’s, so it’s only fitting then that he gets to be the one behind the camera for the first time. Starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen, Wind River centres on the story of a FBI agent (Olsen) who teams with a veteran game tracker (Renner) to investigate a murder on a Native American reservation. If you need some in-depth fanboying on the prospect of this film then read my ‘One to watch’ piece on this film from a couple of months ago, but I’ll hit you with some brief details on why this will likely be September’s best film:

  • Hell or High Water was great.
  • Jeremy Renner is a great actor.
  • Elizabeth Olsen is a great actress.
  • Gil Birmingham was Hell or High Water‘s secret weapon.
  • Hell or High Water was great.
  • Taylor Sheridan is a great writer.
  • It’s an original movie.
  • It’s a simple premise.
  • Hell or High Water was great.
  • It’s not part of an endless cinematic universe, packed full of world building and exposition.
  • This is a writer’s vision that hasn’t been tampered with.
  • Since its Sundance debut, it’s gotten great reviews.
  • Did I mention that Hell or High Water was quite good?

Good Lord, do I need to sell it to you anymore?

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The Edge's Film Editor 2017-2018, David has an unabashed love for all things Dave Grohl, Jack Black and Lord of the Rings. A compulsive liar who shouldn't be trusted, David once beat legendary actor David Hasselhoff in a hot dog eating contest and is best friends with Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo, they speak on the phone three times a week.

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