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Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to September

“PRISONERS”

Who: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello, Viola Davis and Paul Dano
What: When Keller Dover’s daughter and friend go missing, he takes matters into his own hands as the police pursue multiple leads and the pressure mounts.
When: September 20th
Why: They say that just being nominated for an Academy Award is an honor, but as Canadian director Deniz Villeneuve (“Incendies”) would likely attest, it can do wonders for your career as well. After all, he probably never imagined working with so many talented actors for his Hollywood debut, and yet “Prisoners” features one of the year’s finest casts, comprised of four fellow Oscar nominees and one winner, and that doesn’t even include Maria Bello and Paul Dano. Despite its amazing ensemble, however, the movie looks like such a blatant piece of Oscar bait – the kind that sticks great actors in subpar material, praying that their talent masks the inadequacies in the script. And with far better options on the way, it’s doubtful that “Prisoners” will still be on anyone’s mind come awards season.

“RUSH”

Who: Daniel Brühl, Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde and Natalie Dormer
What: The story of Austrian Formula 1 champion driver Niki Lauda, who, after nearly dying in a horrible crash, made a prompt return to challenge his rival, James Hunt.
When: September 20th
Why: The last time that Ron Howard teamed up with screenwriter Peter Morgan, they made the riveting drama “Frost/Nixon,” so it’s not at all surprising that the duo has turned to the history books once again for their second outing. Though it’s safe to say that not many people in the U.S. know much about Formula 1 racing, let alone the Lauda/Hunt rivalry, the story is practically tailor-made for the Hollywood treatment, and if Howard could make a bunch of two-headed conversations stimulating, then he shouldn’t have a problem with car racing. The biggest question mark is whether Daniel Bruhl and Chris Hemsworth can carry a potential awards contender on their own, because while they’re both exciting talents, “Rush” is on a whole other level. Yes, even compared to playing Thor.

“THANKS FOR SHARING”

Who: Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Ruffalo, Josh Gad, Alecia Moore and Tim Robbins
What: A romantic comedy that follows the lives of three friends who meet while attending 12-step meetings to help treat their addiction to sex.
When: September 20th
Why: For as sex-obsessed as Hollywood tends to be, it’s surprising how few movies have been made about sex addiction. The only ones that come to mind are “Shame” and “Choke,” and in the latter film, it what was more of a peripheral subplot than anything of much substance. Writer Stuart Blumberg looks to remedy that with his directorial debut, “Thanks for Sharing,” and if it’s any bit as good as “The Kids Are All Right” (which earned Blumberg an Oscar nomination), then it could make September’s lack of releases a little less depressing. The presence of Mark Ruffalo and Gwyneth Paltrow is enough to perk my interest, because those two rarely disappoint, and it’ll be interesting to see how Alecia Moore (aka Pink) fares in her biggest acting role to date.

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