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Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to September

“THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU”

Who: Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Corey Stoll, Adam Driver and Jane Fonda
What: When their father passes away, four grown siblings are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week.
When: September 19th
Why: Director Shawn Levy has dipped his toes in dramatic waters before, but never quite to the degree of “This Is Where I Leave You,” which is based on the 2010 novel by screenwriter Jonathan Tropper. Though it’s difficult to gauge where the movie lands on the drama/comedy spectrum, the fact that Levy has cast actors capable of doing both suggests that it’s a pretty even mixture of both. And it’s the very quality of that ensemble cast that’s cause for excitement, because there’s not a single weak link in the group. Jane Fonda and Jason Bateman are the seasoned veterans of the bunch, but don’t be surprised if up-and-comer Adam Driver (so good on HBO’s “Girls”) ends up stealing the film from his much more famous co-stars.

“A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES”

Who: Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, Boyd Holbrook and Sebastian Roche
What: Private investigator Matthew Scudder is hired by a drug kingpin to find out who kidnapped and murdered his wife.
When: September 19th
Why: Liam Neeson has stated that he was initially very skeptical about doing another “Taken”-like revenge thriller until he realized that “A Walk Among the Tombstones” was a different kind of movie. Sure, it has a similar premise, but writer/director Scott Frank appears to have taken a more character-driven approach to the story, which is definitely in keeping with the low-key nature of the source material. Yet another September release to be adapted from a novel (in this case, the tenth book in Laurence Block’s Matthew Scudder series), the hope is that the film will be successful enough to launch a franchise for the beloved character. And if it’s anything like Frank’s directorial debut, “The Lookout,” this could be one of the biggest surprises of the year.

“HECTOR AND THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS”

Who: Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Stellan Skarsgard and Toni Collette
What: A psychiatrist searches the globe to find the secret of happiness.
When: September 19th
Why: Based on the best-selling novel by François Lelord, “Hector and the Search for Happiness” sounds like a mix between “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and “Eat Pray Love” – the kind of unassuming, feel-good movie that pretends to answer big life questions, when in actuality, it barely scratches the surface. While Peter Chelsom’s past work doesn’t inspire confidence that this will be anything other than a mildly enjoyable (but ultimately unmemorable) dramedy, it’s worth seeing for the cast alone, especially Simon Pegg. The British actor has yet to find success in a more dramatic role apart from the brief moments glimpsed in his collaborations with Edgar Wright, but he’s always a joy to watch, and this film likely won’t be any different.

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