Summer movie season has finally drawn to a close, with a rather alarming mix of lower-than-average box office and higher-than-average quality, but we’ve got no time to dwell on that: September is here, and there are lots of movies to see. Studios tend to start rolling out their awards hopefuls this month, which puts the indies – customarily functioning as counter-programming – into an awkward position. So this month’s recommendations are a little more esoteric than usual, running the gamut from broad comedy to foreign thriller to rural drama, plus a handful of truly terrific documentaries.
Goon: Last of the Enforcers
RELEASE DATE: September 1
DIRECTOR: Jay Baruchel
CAST: Seann William Scott, Alison Pill, Liev Schreiber, Wyatt Russell, Elisha Cuthbert
Actor/writer Baruchel follows up his 2011 sleeper hit (and takes over directorial duties this time around) with the further adventures of hockey star Doug Glatt (Scott), who is, as a TV commentator puts it, “known for his fists and, frankly, not much else.” This time around, mere moments after his appointment as team captain, he’s put out of commission by a particularly nasty fight; after trying and failing to make it in a “real job,” he attempts to get back in the game with, Rocky III-style, the help of an old rival. And the Rocky comparison is apt, because this is more a boxing movie than a hockey movie – and it hits many of the same beats. Baruchel and Jesse Chabot’s script occasionally swerves into a kind of joyless vulgarity, and the scenes concerning Scott’s marital woes (and impending fatherhood) are not only wheezy, but commit the cardinal sin of wasting Alison Pill. But there is a lot to like here: the funny SportsCenter-style bits with an unhinged (is there any other kind?) T.J. Miller, the way Liev Schreiber says “Good for you, kid,” and Scott’s characterization of Doug, dim but sweet, is a fine anchor for this scrappy little franchise.