Can you hear it? That's the sound of studio marketing machines revving up for the annual awards cycle. Around this time art house and multiplexes alike get log jammed with "serious" content. But beware of false prophets, because if history has taught us anything it's that there will be many of them.
September's releases don't look great outside of two potentially interesting biopics: Clint Eastwood's Sully (Sept. 9) and Oliver Stone's Snowden (Sept. 16). Tim Burton's Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children (Sept. 30) could be a return to relevance for the director. Other notable releases: Ira Sachs' Little Men (Sept. 9), a standout rep double feature of The Fallen Idol and Elevator to the Gallows (Sept. 16, Ken Cinema), and the Guatemalan drama Ixcanul (Sept. 30, Digital Gym Cinema).
October leads off with Nate Parker's problematic heavy hitter The Birth of A Nation (Oct. 7), currently mired in controversy. Andrea Arnold's divisive Cannes-award winner American Honey (Oct. 14) surveys modern America through the eyes of rabble-rousers led by Shia LeBeouf. If you're a Tom Cruise fan, then Jack Reacher is back in...Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (Oct. 21).
Barry Jenkins' hypnotic LGBTQ drama Moonlight (Nov. 4), Paul Verhoeven's bruising revenge film Elle (Nov. 11), and Kenneth Lonergan's devastating tragedy Manchester By the Sea (Late November) make for a fascinating triple bill. Higher profile Oscar contenders such as Denis Villenueve's sci-fi The Arrival (Nov. 11) and Ang Lee's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (Nov. 11) will be big screen experiences. Jeff Nichols' Loving (Nov. 18) and Robert Zemeckis' Allied (Nov. 23) look like this years' period pieces to beat.
December has a slew of high profile releases, including Star Wars: Rogue One and Damian Chazelle's musical La La Land (Dec. 16). Justin Kurzel's adaptation of Assassin's Creed (Dec. 21), and Denzel Washington's Fences (Dec. 25) are also of interest. Alas, we are still waiting with bated breath on release dates for Maren Ade's Toni Erdmann, Jim Jarmusch's Paterson and Martin Scorsese's Silence, all must-sees.
Argentina: Director Carlos Saura directs this ravishing performance film that weaves a tapestry of Argentine culture through dance and art. Screens through Thursday, Sept. 8, at the Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Complete Unknown: Rachel Weisz and Michael Shannon headline this drama about a married man whose life is upended when an old flame re-enters the picture.
Disorder: In this French thriller from Alice Winocour (Augustine), a Special Forces soldier (Matthias Schoenaerts) joins a protective detail to protect the wife and son of a corrupt international businessman. Screens through Thursday, Sept. 8, at the Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Morgan: A risk-management consultant for a corporation must decide whether or not to terminate an artificial being created in the laboratory.
The Hollars: Actor John Krasinski makes his directorial debut with this romantic comedy about a man who must confront the past after returning home to be with his ill mother.
The Light Between Oceans: Based on M.L. Stedman’s novel, this sweeping drama follows a lighthouse keeper and his wife who find a baby adrift in the waves and decide to raise it as their own.
One Time Only
Dumb and Dumber: Two idiotic friends decide to drive cross-country because of a delusional romantic whim. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
Roman Holiday: Audrey Hepburn plays a bored and sheltered princess who falls in love with Gregory Peck’s American journalist. Screens at 8 p.m. Thursday – Sunday, Sept. 1 – 4, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Mars Attacks!: Tim Burton’s masterful comedic satire about an alien invasion of Earth is as hilarious and relevant today as it was upon release in 1996. Screens at 11:55 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3 and 11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 4 at the Ken Cinema.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High: The ultimate high school comedy features a cast of Sean Penn, Phoebe Cates, and Jennifer Jason Leigh (among others) as teenagers maneuver the tricky path toward adulthood. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.