Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to September

“Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials”

Who: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Aidan Gillen and Patricia Clarkson
What: After escaping the Maze, the Gladers face a new set of challenges on the open roads of a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles.
When: September 18th
Why: The first installment in the “Maze Runner” trilogy started out as a really cool twist on “Lord of the Flies” before devolving into a hurried mess of half-baked sci-fi concepts, and although that may have cooled my interest in the series, it didn’t extinguish it completely, especially after seeing what returning director Wes Ball has in store for the upcoming sequel. The action looks bigger and better, the new additions to the cast are excellent (especially Aidan Gillen as the villain), and there seems to be a greater understanding of where the overall story is headed, which should allow Ball to delve further into the backstory of James Dashner’s post-apocalyptic world without all the confusion.

“Sicario”

Who: Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro and Jon Bernthal
What: An idealistic FBI agent is enlisted by an elected government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico.
When: September 18th
Why: Canadian-born director Denis Villeneuve has quietly been putting together a really solid resume of interesting and diverse films (if you still haven’t seen “Prisoners” and “Enemy,” stop what you’re doing and go watch them now), and his new crime thriller – which seemingly plays with the strained relationship between the U.S. and Mexican governments – is no exception Written by Taylor Sheridan (perhaps best known as Deputy Chief Hale on “Sons of Anarchy”), the movie has all the makings of a dark horse awards contender, with both Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro practically guaranteed to receive some sort of recognition. After all, if Villeneuve’s past movies have taught us anything, it’s that he always gets top-notch performances from his actors.

“The Intern”

Who: Anne Hathaway, Robert De Niro, Adam DeVine and Rene Russo
What: 70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site founded and run by workaholic Jules Ostin.
When: September 25th
Why: Nancy Meyers’ last feature film, 2009’s “It’s Complicated,” was so terrible that it probably took her six years just to build up the courage to try again. But while the main premise of “The Intern” doesn’t sound very promising, the trailers for the movie reveal a softer, more emotional side that suggests there may be more to it than a silly comedy about an old guy working for someone half his age. That certainly comes through in the casting as well. Anne Hathaway is a lot funnier than people give her credit for, and though Robert De Niro is still a shadow of his younger self, he’s gotten much better about selecting the right roles since working with David O. Russell.

“Mississippi Grind”

Who: Ben Mendelsohn, Ryan Reynolds, Sienna Miller and Annaleigh Tipton
What: Down on his luck and facing financial hardship, Gerry teams up with a younger, charismatic poker player in an attempt to change his luck.
When: September 25th
Why: There has been an unusual number of gambling addiction movies released in the past few years, but “Mississippi Grind,” which earned positive reviews at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, has the potential to stand out among the rest thanks to its two stars. Ryan Reynolds has delivered some really good performances lately, although he’s capable of so much more, while Ben Mendelsohn is without a doubt my favorite character actor working today. Mendelsohn can seemingly do no wrong at the moment, and while he’s poised for an even bigger breakout when the “Star Wars” spinoff film hits theaters next year, “Mississippi Grind” is exactly the kind of gritty, low-down drama that always brings out the very best in him.

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