With everyone getting their final kicks at the beach before heading back to school, it seems like Summer passed in the blink of an eye. But September's got distractions a'plenty on deck to keep your mind off getting back to the grind, with a barrage of new movies guaranteed to keep those Autumn blues at bay. And of course, CraveOnline is there to break down the goods!
Shark Night 3D
Starring: Sara Paxton, Dustin Milligan, Katharine McPhee, Alyssa Diaz
Directed By: David R. Ellis
A sexy summer weekend turns into a blood-soaked nightmare for a group of college students trapped on an island surrounded by voracious underwater predators in Shark Night 3D, a terrifying thrill ride from director David Ellis (The Final Destination, Snakes On a Plane), featuring a red-hot young cast including Sara Paxton (Superhero Movie, Last House on the Left), Dustin Milligan (“90210,” Slither), Chris Carmack (“The O.C.”), Joel David Moore (Avatar), Chris Zylka (The Amazing Spider Man) and Katharine McPhee (The House Bunny).
Arriving by boat at her family’s Louisiana lake island cabin, Sara (Sara Paxton) and her friends quickly strip down to their swimsuits for a weekend of fun in the sun. But when star football player Malik (Sinqua Walls) stumbles from the salt-water lake with his arm torn off, the party mood quickly evaporates. Assuming the injury was caused by a freak wake-boarding accident, the group realizes they have to get Malik to a hospital on the other side of the lake, and fast.
But as they set out in a tiny speedboat, the college friends discover the lake has been stocked with hundreds of massive, flesh-eating sharks! As they face one grisly death after another, Sara and the others struggle desperately to fend off the sharks, get help and stay alive long enough to reach the safety of dry land.
CraveOnline's Call: We know what we're getting with this one, and it's just as cheeseball as ever. Netflix is casting some serious side-eye right now.
Starring: Lloyd Owen, Waren Christie
Directed By: Gonzalo López-Gallego
Opening: September 2
Officially, Apollo 17, launched December 17th, 1972 was the last manned mission to the moon. But a year later, in December of 1973, two American astronauts were sent on a secret mission to the moon funded by the US Department of Defense. What you are about to see is the actual footage which the astronauts captured on that mission. While NASA denies its authenticity, others say it’s the real reason we’ve never gone back to the moon.
CraveOnline's Call: Chances are there's a reason this has gotten very little promotion or fanfare in the run up to its release. Blair Witch in outer space? Right.
Starring: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh
Contagion follows the rapid progress of a lethal airborne virus that kills within days. As the fast-moving epidemic grows, the worldwide medical community races to find a cure and control the panic that spreads faster than the virus itself. At the same time, ordinary people struggle to survive in a society coming apart.
CraveOnline's Call: A star-studded cast updates the Dustin Hoffman/Renee Russo vehicle Outbreak, only this time it looks a whole lot scarier and a lot better done. Since we're long overdue for a real-life population-decimating pandemic, we may as well check out how Matt Damon & Gwyneth Paltrow will look when they're infected.
Bucky Larson: Born To Be a Star
Starring: Nick Swardson, Christina Ricci, Stephen Dorff
Directed By: Tom Brady
The story centers on a small-town nerd who stumbles upon a family secret: His quiet and demure parents were famous porn stars in the 1970s. This motivates him to leave Northern Iowa for Hollywood, hoping to follow in their footsteps and fulfill his destiny as the biggest adult-film star in the world
CraveOnline's Call: I love Nick Swardson. The man is atrociously funny, but just like the vast majority of his "Pretend Time" show, Bucky Larson really looks to be one of the more inane ideas Swardson's ever come up with. There's no reason anyone with an IQ over 80 should be paying to see this film in a theater. Just wait 2 years until it's inescapable on Comedy Central.
Starring: Alexander Skarsgard, James Marsden, Laz Alonso, James Woods
Directed By: Rod Lurie
The new "Straw Dogs" follows Los Angeles screenwriter David Sumner (Marsden), who moves with his wife (Bosworth) to her hometown in the deep South. Once there, tensions build in their marriage and old conflicts re-emerge with the locals, leading to a violent confrontation.
The original, co-written and directed by Sam Peckinpah, saw Dustin Hoffman in the role of Sumner, with the story set in rural England.
CraveOnline's Call: Will it measure up to the original? Not likely… but we're curious.
Starring: Melissa Leo, John Goodman, Kyle Gallner
Directed By: Kevin Smith
A group of kids encounters a crazed preacher (based on Fred Phelps, founder of the Westboro Baptist Church) who gives a whole new meaning to the term “extreme fundamentalism.”
CraveOnline's Call: Kevin Smith seems to be getting out of films (at least he claims as much), so we should probably shill out the few bucks to see his swan song. But loyalties aside, Red State appears to be a haunting and all-too-realistic portrayal of extreme religious fundamentalism in America – and the world.
Starring: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Robin Wright, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Directed By: Bennett Miller
Based on a true story, Moneyball is a movie for anybody who has ever dreamed of taking on the system. Brad Pitt stars as Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s and the guy who assembles the team, who has an epiphany: all of baseball’s conventional wisdom is wrong. Forced to reinvent his team on a tight budget, Beane will have to outsmart the richer clubs. The onetime jock teams with Ivy League grad Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) in an unlikely partnership, recruiting bargain players that the scouts call flawed, but all of whom have an ability to get on base, score runs, and win games. It’s more than baseball, it’s a revolution – one that challenges old school traditions and puts Beane in the crosshairs of those who say he’s tearing out the heart and soul of the game.
CraveOnline's Call: Brad Pitt knows how to carry a film. This won't be a blockbuster, but it'll have a solid showing, and looks to be a worthwhile underdog story. We're in.
Starring: Jason Statham, Clive Owen, Robert DeNiro
Directed By: Gary McKendry
Opening: September 23
Based on Ranulph Fiennes novel The Family Men, the story follows a group of former British special forces members who are being hunted by assassins, led by Statham's character.
CraveOnline's Call: Jason Statham, Clive Owen & Bobby D all together in an action flick? Where's the line? Let's go!
Machine Gun Preacher
Starring: Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Shannon
Directed By: Marc Forster
Opening: September 23
Machine Gun Preacher is the inspirational true story of Sam Childers, a former drug-dealing criminal who undergoes an astonishing transformation and finds an unexpected calling as the savior ofhundreds of kidnapped and orphaned children. Gerard Butler (300) delivers a searing performance as Childers, the impassioned founder of the Angels of East Africa rescue organization in Golden Globe-nominated director Marc Forster’s (Monster’s Ball, Finding Neverland) moving story of violence and redemption.
When ex-biker-gang member Sam Childers (Butler) makes the life-changing decision to go to East Africa to help repair homes destroyed by civil war, he is outraged by the unspeakable horrors faced by the region’s vulnerable populace, especially the children. Ignoring the warnings of more experienced aide workers, Sam breaks ground for an orphanage where it’s most needed—in the middle of territory controlled by the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a renegade militia that forces youngsters to become soldiers before they evenreach their teens.
But for Sam, it is not enough to shelter the LRA’s intended victims. Determined to save as many as possible, he leads armed missions deep into enemy territory to retrieve kidnapped children, restoring peace to their lives—and eventually his own. The explosive, real-life tale of a man who has rescued over a thousand orphans from starvation, disease and enslavement, Machine Gun Preacher also stars Michelle Monaghan (Due Date), Kathy Baker (Cold Mountain), Madeline Carroll (Mr. Popper’s Penguins), Academy Award® nominated Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road) and Souleymane Sy Savane (“Damages”)
CraveOnline's Call: A gripping and fantastic film that puts Gerard Butler in a new league as a dramatic actor. Machine Gun Preacher will hit your core – get there.
Starring: Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Marton Csokas
Directed By: Jim Sheridan
Dream House tells the story of a successful publisher (Craig) who quits a job in New York City to relocate his wife (Weisz) and two daughters to a quaint New England town. But as they settle into their new life, they discover their perfect home was the murder scene of a mother and her two children. And the entire city believes it was at the hands of the husband who survived. When Will investigates the tragedy, his only lead comes from a neighbor (Watts) who was close to the family that died. As Will and Ann piece together the disturbing puzzle, they discover that the story of the last man to leave Will's dream house will be just as horrifying to the one who came next.
CraveOnline's Call: This psychological thriller/horror film was what brought Craig & Weisz together (they're married now), so it's gotta be good for SOMETHING, right? We kid, but it looks like a spooktacular good time.
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard
Directed By: Jonathan Levine
Inspired by personal experiences, 50/50 is an original story about friendship, love, survival and finding humor in unlikely places. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen star as best friends whose lives are changed by a cancer diagnosis. Rogen also serves as producer, along with Evan Goldberg and Ben Karlin. Jonathan Levine directs from a script by Will Reiser.
CraveOnline's Call: As the big "C" continues to decimate humanity, it's hard to resist a soft spot for films that put a human face on the struggle to maintain normalcy while engaged in the most terrifying fight of one's life. Rogen & Gordon-Levitt have real onscreen chemistry, and their friendship story will undoubtedly inspire more than a few laughs – and probably some tears.