While the summer season may have completely fizzled out as far as box office returns go, there was still plenty of good films thrown our way this August. Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Fright Night, and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark all pushed the boundaries of the remake/reboot trend, while The Help proved itself to be the moneymaker DreamWorks was surely hoping for even if Warner Bros. will barely break even on their fifth Final Destination. To add insult to injury, here comes another helping of the bottom of the studios’ barrel with their September releases. Not everything looks as bad as you’d expect from the annual “dump month” but it doesn’t look entirely great either. Let’s take a peek.
Hitting a day early is The Debt with some great pedigree behind the scenes and a few in front as well. Director John Madden is not the football hero you’re thinking, but when he sets up a project at least know some thought will be put into it. It doesn’t hurt to bring along a writing team consisting of Matthew Vaughan and Jane Goldman (the duo behind X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass, and Stardust), and Peter Straughan (The Men Who Stare at Goats and the upcoming Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy adaptation). Hopefully with a cast consisting of Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, Ciarán Hinds, Jessica Chastain, Sam Worthington, and Jesper Christensen, it will make up for having sat through the trailer for what feels like at least a year now. Originally scheduled for release in 2010, maybe Focus Features is praying for some kind of Oscar buzz about their little espionage thriller that hopefully can.
Having a director (David R. Ellis, Final Destination 2 and 4, Snakes on a Plane, and Cellular) who knows a thing or two about both schlock and 3-D should help Shark Night 3D. Getting a PG-13 rating on the other hand either shows that the film was seriously dumbed down and heavily edited or the studio knew this was a good way to get more butts in the seats. Either way, any feature film featuring sharks is okay by me as they are my favorite animal next to my mini-dachshund named Beatrix Kiddo. With Sara Paxton cast possibly because she loves stripping down to her underwear, it makes you wonder what Donal Logue is doing in a 3-D horror movie about genetically-altered fresh water sharks. Hopefully he was cast as a comic relief because the man sure knows how to bring on the funny.