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The Essential September 2015 Movie Guide

Going to the movies this month? Here’s a handy guide on where to spend your hard-earned cash over the next four weeks. In this new feature, we’ll be looking forward at the cinematic landscape of the coming month, covering everything from blockbusters to VOD to limited releases. (As a note, limited releases will be denoted with a †). Just remember who loves you when it comes time to share your popcorn.

The week of September 5


What you absolutely need to see in theaters:

Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine: In the years since his death, Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs has been deified by the media and the iPhone-using public to a point where the famously turtleneck-clad innovator seems beyond reproach. Which is exactly what filmmaker Alex Gibney seeks to deconstruct in his new documentary Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine. Through archival footage of Jobs, as well as candid interviews with many who knew him intimately, Gibney paints a portrait of a maverick businessman who was anything but perfect. Brusque, insensate, exacting, and occasionally cruel, Jobs may have been the face of technological progress, but his own emotional firmware seemed sorely in need of an update. With a slew of films about Jobs both coming out and already released, The Man in the Machine is essential viewing simply because it chooses to think differently about the man himself.

Read Kyle Anderson’s full review.

What you absolutely need to see at home: 

Bloodsucking Bastards: Though it is also opening in theaters this week, the best thing you can watch from the comfort of your couch is Bloodsucking Bastards, a new horror-comedy starring Fran Kranz, Pedro Pascal, Joey Kern, and Emma Fitzpatrick. Three friends work at a soulless, bloodsucking company that actually turns out to be a literal soulless, bloodsucking company in that the management are secretly vampires. Equal parts slapstick and splatter, Bloodsucking Bastards is the perfect way to stick a stake through the heart of Friday night boredom. Grab a six-pack, some friends, and a pint of O-negative and you’re good to go.

Also playing:

Dope: Guess who’s back for a limited theatrical engagement? Dope follows Malcolm, a Los Angeles teenager, who struggles to navigate college applications, SATs, and academic interviews while surviving in his rough-and-tumble neighborhood. But an invitation to a wild underground party could change everything.

Break Point: No, this isn’t the Point Break remake as I thought every time I read a press release for it. Following on the heels of 7 Days in Hell, Break Point is a slightly more serious dramedy about a washed-out manchild of a tennis star (Jeremy Sisto) who tries to get his life together by convincing his estranged brother (David Walton) to be his doubles partner in a last-ditch effort to reclaim professional glory.

Blind†: Ellen Dorrit Petersen plays a woman who loses her eyesight and finds her life upended by both her deepest fears and darkest fantasies in this Norwegian thriller from writer-director Eskil Vogt.

Creep†: A found-footage style, slow-burn thriller in which an unassuming filmmaker (Patrick Brice) winds up alone in a cabin in the woods with Josef (Mark Duplass), whose habits and behavior are thrown into increasingly distressing relief as the film goes on.

The Golden Dream†: A powerful and compassionate film following four Guatemalan teenagers as they make the treacherous journey across the Mexican border into the United States.

Elle L’adore†: A divorced mother of two gets embroiled in a murder mystery involving her favorite rock star in this darkly comedic thriller that examines fame, fortune, and fandom.

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution†: A searing documentary examining the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party, one of the most iconic and controversial political movements of the 20th century.

The Transporter Refueled: Jason Statham may be gone, but the Transporter franchise lives on with Deadpool star Ed Skrein getting behind the wheel to drift his way through fast cars, femme fatales, and all manner of Russian mafioso.

A Walk in the Woods†: Robert Redford and Nick Nolte take a hike in this comedic road trip flick about two men taking on the Appalachian Trail. Sounds awfully pedestrian to me.

Before We Go†: Both in limited theatrical release and available on VOD, Chris Evan’s directorial debut stars the First Avenger in a story about two strangers trapped in New York City overnight and the intense bond that develops between them.

Dragon Blade†: Jackie Chan, John Cusack, and Adrien Brody star in a historical action epic about a Roman general teaming up with a Chinese military commander to protect China’s lands from Western invaders.

But wait, there’s more: 

Chloe & Theo†, Heroes of Dirt†, Imminent Threat†, A Reason†, Life in a Walk†, A Perfect Chord, Welcome Back†, Building Jerusalem, Dirty Weekend, A Sinner in Mecca†, Two Step

The week of September 12


What you absolutely need to see in theaters:

Nerdist Presents: The Hive: Okay, okay, maybe I’m a bit biased because we’re distributing this film, but writer-director Dave Yarovesky has created a delightfully deranged, non-linear summer camp story that delivers scares and smiles in equal measure. With a charismatic cast, creepy-cool aesthetic, and a soundtrack from executive producer Steve Aoki, The Hive is a quintessential midnight movie. After the unbridled insanity of Wet Hot American Summer: First Day at Camp, this film will remind you about the terrifying side of going to summer camp.

If you want to be there for our one-night-only theatrical premiere on September 14, you can buy tickets right here.

What you absolutely need to see at home:

Nerdist Presents: The Hive

Did I mention it’s also going to be available on VOD?


Also playing:

The Visit: A terrifying twist on visiting your grandparents, M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit follows a pair of siblings who discover something deeply disturbing on their grandparents’ remote Pennsylvania farm.

The Perfect Guy: Two men vie for the affections of successful lobbyist Leah Vaughn (Sanaa Lathan). One is her ex-boyfriend, one is a handsome stranger — and Leah isn’t sure which of the two she should trust and which one of whom she should be very, very afraid.

Goodnight Mommy†: Riding high on a tidal wave of festival buzz, Goodnight Mommy delivers a dose of existential horror as nine-year-old twin brothers welcome their mother home after cosmetic surgery. Except beneath the bandages, she might not be the same person. Or even their mother at all.

Sleeping with Other People†: In the spirit of You’re The Worst, Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie play two serial cheaters whose disastrously self-destructive behavior leads them to swear to keep their relationship strictly platonic. Finally, a rom-com for scumbags.

Breathe†: What could go wrong when two teenage girls enter into an obsessive friendship? Well, you the emotionally claustrophobic Breather, a well-acted film that evokes both Blue is the Warmest Color and Single White Female.

But wait, there’s more: 

Meet the Patels†, Wolf Totem†, Listening†, The Challenger†, Time Out of Mind†, Welcome to Leith†, 90 Minutes in Heaven†, 12 Rounds 3: Lockdown, A Brilliant Young Mind, How to Change the World†, Coming Home

The week of September 19


What you absolutely need to see in theaters:

Sicario: If Narcos is feeding your need for hard-hitting stories about the drug trade, then you’re going to want to chase that dragon with Sicario. According to the film’s trailer, “Sicario” is the Spanish word for hitman, which should tip you off that things are going to get awfully bloody awfully quickly. Starring Emily Blunt as a FBI agent who gets entangled in a black-ops mission led by a deep cover government agent (Josh Brolin) and a shifty yet deadly “consultant” (Benicio Del Toro), Sicario delivers a claustrophobic and stylized tale of moral grayness. The fact that this comes from French-Canadian auteur Denis Villeneuve, whose searing work on films like Prisoners and Enemy is cerebral and haunting, elevates it to must-see status. And a fun fact for Sons of Anarchy fans: the script was penned by Taylor Sheridan, who played Deputy Chief David Hale on the show.

What you absolutely need to see at home:

Some Kind of Hate: After screening at the 2015 Fantasia International Film Festival, Some Kind of Hate made waves for its clever twists on the classic “dorky misfit takes revenge on his tormentors” trope. When teenager Lincoln (Ronen Rubinstein) is bullied at school, he defends himself — only to wind up incarcerated in a juvenile detention center. Soon, though, Lincoln finds himself befriended by two women, one being is a real empathetic human woman and the other being a vengeful spirit who wants to wreak bloody havoc on Lincoln’s tormentors. Except Lincoln may not be willing to play along with the spirit’s game — and that never ends well. Turn off the lights, grab a good blanket to hide behind, and let the psychological game of cat and mouse take you on a one-way ticket to Terrortown.

Read Scott Weinberg’s full review.

Also playing:

Black Mass: Johnny Depp eschews scarves, leather bracelets, and guyliner in favor of bringing infamous Boston-area mobster Whitey Bulger to life in an adaptation of Dick Lehr and Gerard K. O’Neill’s true crime book about a FBI agent cutting a deal with Bulger to eliminate the Italian mob in 1970s Boston.

Cooties: Circle, circle, dot, dot won’t save you from an untimely death. Cooties stars Elijah Wood, Allison Pill, and Rainn Wilson as elementary school teachers who find themselves at the mercy of their students who have been turned into ravenous, flesh-eating monsters thanks to contaminated chicken nuggets.

Everest†: Director Baltasar Kormákur (2 Guns) delivers a beautifully shot and emotionally harrowing account of the infamous 1996 Mount Everest disaster, starring Jason Clarke, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Josh Brolin. Shot largely on location, this film deserves to be seen on the biggest screen possible.

Pawn Sacrifice: Based on a true story, Tobey Maguire stars as Bobby Fischer, the American chess prodigy, who gets caught up in a game of Cold War brinksmanship between two global superpowers when he challenges the Soviet Union’s greatest player, Boris Spassky (Liev Schreiber), and by turn, the Soviet Union itself.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials: More running and with a less coherent plot, The Scorch Trials follows our teenaged heroes from the first film as they journey across the desiccated wastes of the Earth, searching for a resistance movement to shelter them from the forces of WICKED. If nothing else, it’s worth seeing and pretending it’s poorly-written Fallout DLC.

But wait, there’s more:

Hellions, The New Girlfriend†, Prophet’s Prey†, War Pigs, About Ray†, The Cut†, Peace Officer†, Captive

The week of September 26


What you absolutely need to see in theaters:

99 Homes: After nearly a decade of flailing, as well as suffering through the economic recession and the subprime mortgage crisis, America seems to be emerging from a long, dark tunnel. Yet the anger, pain, and sense of loss that came with those hardships are still present in many viewers’ hearts and minds — which is precisely what makes 99 Homes so brutally effective. Writer-director Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes is a searing drama that chronicles a hard-working construction worker (Andrew Garfield) who is given a grim proposition after he and his family are evicted from their home: he can join the real estate shark (Michael Shannon) who put him and his family out on the street and do the same to other unwitting families. If he does so, he’ll be able to earn back what’s rightfully his. A story of corruption and desperation, 99 Homes simply demands to be seen.

What you absolutely need to see at home:

A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story: Also out in limited release, A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez story is a powerful piece of cinema chronicling the journey of Lizzie Velasquez, a 26-year-old, 58-pound woman who transformed from the victim of rampant cyber-bullying into a proud anti-bullying activist. Born with a rare disorder that prevents her from gaining weight, Velasquez has been subjected to cruel bullying her entire life, even coming across a YouTube video as a teenager that dubbed her “The World’s Ugliest Woman.” The film follows Velasquez as she prepares to give her now-famous TEDx Talk, as well as her battle to get the first-ever anti-bullying bill passed on Capitol Hill.

Also playing:

The Green Inferno: Welcome to the jungle, Eli Roth-style. When a New York City college student (Lorenza Izzo) takes a trip to the Peruvian jungle, of course she winds up encountering a tribe of cannibals.

Stonewall: The Stonewall Riots, in which members of the New York City LGBT community erupted in violent protest in the wake of a police raid on June 28, 1969, is considered a watershed moment in the gay rights movement. Now, director Roland Emmerich is putting out a fictionalized version of this landmark event — although it is already drawing ire from some critics who are claiming that it whitewashes the events of history.

Hotel Transylvania 2: Though I didn’t see the original, I’m told that it was charming enough to warrant a sequel, which is apparently what Sony thought as well. If nothing else, the animated flick will be an excellent way to ease yourself into Halloween season.

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: Though the glory days of National Lampoon may have come and gone — chronicled in an excellent piece on Vulture — director Douglas Tirola’s new documentary tells the story of the once-venerable comedy institution’s Icarus-like journey through candid interviews.

But wait, there’s more: 

Before I Wake, Everest, The Intern, Hell & Back†, The Keeping Room†, Labyrinth of Lies†, Mississipi Grind†, Ashby, A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story, Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead

What films are you most looking forward to this month? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.


Dan Casey is the senior editor of Nerdist and the author of 100 Things Avengers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die. You can follow him on Twitter (@Osteoferocious).

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