If catching up on films you may have missed in-between the wretched doldrums of this summer's releases is your goal, then you are in luck. Even if you have to wait until September to do it. As reported last week, we are in the in-between of home entertainment announcements while the studios fill-up the month before October when the market will begin to flood with early summer titles and potential holiday sell-through wonders.
The best of these titles is Anchor Bay's Solitary Man from directors Brian Koppelman and David Levien (responsible for writing Rounders and Ocean's Thirteen.) This one features Michael Douglas doing his best work since Wonder Boys in a variation of his morally-corrupt businessman routine forced to confront his own mortality and a community of friends and family that is slowly dwindling. The cast includes Susan Sarandon, Jenna Fischer, Danny DeVito, Jesse Eisenberg and a feisty, standout performance from Imogen Poots as the daughter of his lover (Mary-Louise Parker) that he escorts to a college campus and becomes a kind of Roger Dodger/Ghosts of Girlfriend's Past mentor to the romantically-challenged Jesse Eisenberg. Once this pathetic summer at the cinema ends, you can pick this up on Sept. 7.
Magnolia has announced their September lineup as well and it kickstarts with Neil Jordan's lovely romantic fable, Ondine, on Sept. 21. Colin Farrell plays an Irish fisherman who finds the stunning Alicja Bachleda in his net one day. Is she a mythical sea creature who eats the shells off lobsters? Nothing so broadly defined, yet the mystery still remains and helps carry this rather enchanting tale that our own Scott Weinberg called "sweet and frankly lovely" and "may be one of the best films Neil Jordan has made. Even if it was edited down to a PG-13 from its clear "R" from last year's Toronto Film Festival. And if you want to get a debriefing on the sordid Jack Abramoff story before George Hickenlooper's Bagman opens in October, the studio has Alex Gibney's documentary Casino Jack and the United States of Money arriving on Sept. 14, but only on DVD. For a more traditional romance (in storytelling, not casting), Fox will release Queen Latifah and Common in Just Wright on the same date.
Speaking of Latifah, she will also be featured as part of Fox/MGM's Celebrated Women of Color Collections on Aug. 31. The first volume will contain Jason's Lyric, Out of Time, The Secret Life of Bees and Woman Thou Art Loosed and Volume Two features Beauty Shop, Holiday Heart, How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Waiting To Exhale. On Sept. 21, the studio will also release The Stallion Collection starring Vincent Spano. OK, so that's just how Amazon has it listed. It is actually a three-film set containing The Black Stallion, The Black Stallion Returns and Lightning the White Stallion. Hardcore Spano fans will be disappointed to learn he only appears in one of those.
Those interested in a different kind of horror have a new anthology film to look forward to from Alternative Cinema. Faces of Schlock features short films from "4 of the best underground filmmakers you've never heard of," Andrew Shearer, Justin Channell, Chris LaMartina and Henrique Couto. Yep, I had to look 'em up too. The studio's Defiled also streets the same day on Sept. 21.
For a more recognizable name, Warner Bros. on Oct. 5 is delivering Humphrey Bogart: The Essential Collection. How essential you may ask? This is not just a little collection of some of his lesser-known works. No Bogarting here. Just me regretting thinking up that line. That and, count 'em, 24 Bogart films:
Across the Pacific, Action in the North Atlantic, All Through the Night, The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse, The Big Sleep, Black Legion, Brother Orchid, Casablanca, Dark Passage, Dark Victory, High Sierra, Invisible Stripes, Key Largo, Kid Galahad, The Maltese Falcon, Marked Woman, Passage to Marseille, The Petrified Forest, The Roaring Twenties, San Quentin, They Drive by Night, To Have and Have Not, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Virginia City
Did you count 'em? That's 24 titles right there. And if you buy now, the studio will throw in a 25th title, the documentary The Brothers Warner. Actually, you can buy whenever. The doc is part of the package.
Warner Bros. is not stopping there, however. If Universal's announcement of the Back to the Future trilogy earlier this week wasn't the cream of the crop already, then WB's trio would be. Sticking with the Bogart theme, you can get two of the best in that package on Blu-ray. Both The Maltese Falcon and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre will be available on Oct. 5 and they will be joined on Oct. 12 by David O. Russell's great comic war adventure, Three Kings, which this year's A-Team owes a few credits towards. Sony is still laying the groundwork for their September - which could include films like Mother and Child and Micmacs - but for now will start with Blu-rays of The Who's Tommy and a solo release of In Cold Blood and on the 7th in case you didn't want to pay for its coupling with Capote.
For further planning, just click on the following links for a full schedule of DVD and Blu-ray releases.