Buy, Rent, or Wait: September 2021

Theatrical releases are still a bit of a rarity due to the impact of the pandemic, which means that it can be difficult to learn which films are coming out soon as they’re now delivered through various different platforms. So we’re casting our eyes further afield than just your traditional cinema to find five upcoming new releases for the month. Some will still find their way to the silver screen, but others will be available from the comfort of your home. Our job will be to make wild guesses based on their synopsis and trailer as to whether they’ll worth your time, separating them into one of three categories:

Buy: This film is worth multiple viewings and maybe even a purchase of a hardcopy!

Rent: A movie in this category will be worth the cost of admission, whether that’s an actual ticket or a few dollars as a video on demand.

Wait: This means the film isn’t really worth any additional effort on your part. If you happen to catch it on broadcast television or on a streaming service you’re already paying, then maybe it’ll be worth your time. Or maybe not even that!

Last Month’s Results

Before we get to our film predictions, let us take a look at the outcome of our August predictions!

1. The Suicide Squad

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 91%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 82%

IMDB Score: 7.4

Box Office

Budget: $185 million.

Worldwide: $155 million

The Suicide Squad rectified the studio’s cinematic sins of the past, proving once again that DC-based IPs have a solid future even in a market flooded with the success of the MCU. It seems the critics had more fun than the audience this time around! Although those box office figures demonstrate that Covid is very much still a presence in the film industry.

Our review!

2. Free Guy

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 82%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 95%

IMDB Score: 7.6

Box Office

Budget: $125 million.

Worldwide: $181 million

Free Guy offered a familiar premise but it was done well and it hit the right tone.

Our review!

3. Don’t Breathe 2

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 40%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 85%

IMDB Score: 6.3

Box Office

Budget: $15 million.

Worldwide: $35 million

Don’t Breathe 2 is a tightly-woven horror film that provided audiences the scares they desired, though many critics found the story both a little bland and too far-fetched.

4. CODA

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 96%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 95%

IMDB Score: 8.1

Box Office

Budget: $10 million.

Worldwide: No data—online release.

This emotionally moving coming-of-age drama continues to please critics and audiences alike, shaping CODA to be one of the best films of 2021.

5. Candyman

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 84%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 74%

IMDB Score: 6.4

Box Office 

Budget: $30 million. 

Worldwide: $31 million 

The reviews for Candyman are rather mixed. Some loved the new direction and how this franchise has been expanded, while others felt the story became too bogged down with its own mythos to truly be fun to watch.

And now for the films releasing this month!

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: September 3, 2021

Distribution: Theatrical release.

Synopsis: Shang-Chi, the master of unarmed weaponry-based Kung Fu, is forced to confront his past after being drawn into the Ten Rings organization. (IMDB).

Director: Destin Daniel Cretton

Starring: Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh

Juliana Purnell: I feel like I’m turning into J. Jonah Jameson when it comes to the MCU, as I only want to see pictures of Spider-Man. Out of the remnants of what’s left after Thanos’ exit, Spider-Man is the one of the few characters that still holds my curiosity, while I’m personally finding it a struggle to build up any momentum of interest towards whatever new story arcs the MCU must conjure up in order to keep this money-making train going. Given we are at the start of a new phase, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings logically must be yet another origin story featuring events and a villain that won’t have any real lasting impact on the overarching cinematic universe. It’ll just be two hours of moderate entertainment while they introduce a new character to serve as a replacement for one of the retired Avengers. Top this off with the fact that this script was conceived before Covid—back when Hollywood wished to pander to the Chinese market as much as possible. Considering the world and its relations have now changed, like Mulan, Shang-Chi might have already aged poorly in that regard. If you have access to cinemas, then this latest Marvel film will work a treat on the big screen (mostly thanks to a lack of other options), but if not, I don’t think you’ll miss much if you decide to wait.

Juliana’s Prediction: Rent

Tyler Hummel: I know plenty of people in real life who have burnt out on the MCU, but I’m still very interested in seeing the next half-dozen films they have coming out within the next year. For one, it’s cute that Disney is finally going to put a lampshade on the Mandarin storyline from Iron Man 3 (after EIGHT years). Secondly though, Disney dropped the review embargo for this film more than a week before the release. If they were convinced this was a train wreck they could keep it private till the day of the release if they wanted. I take that as a sign it’s going to be a fun stand-alone martial arts film! 

Tyler’s Prediction: Buy

Cinderella

Rating: PG

Release Date: September 3, 2021

Distribution: Amazon Prime Video.

Synopsis: A modern movie musical with a bold take on the classic fairy tale. Our ambitious heroine has big dreams and with the help of her fab Godmother, she perseveres to make them come true. (IMDB).

Director: Kay Cannon

Starring: Camila Cabello, Nicholas Galitzine, Billy Porter, Pierce Brosnan, Idina Menzel

Juliana Purnell: A reimagining of the Cinderella story? Where have I seen that before? Oh yes! Ever After. Ella Enchanted. Both make for great family viewing. In comparison, this new rendition appears to offer little. Despite decades of women making strides in the business world, this Cinderella appears to want to feel “modern” by thrusting the old debate about whether a woman should pursue a career or love, when in reality I’m finding that most of my female comrades have moved past that dilemma and are now simply wishing for a partnership in sharing the mental load and the burdens of managing both. Simply put, Cinderella feels like it’s trying too hard to be relevant—“woke” if you will—putting up a façade of what it believes will empower female audiences without actually doing the hard yards and truly listening to its demographic. It’s pure pandering. With the story seeming to lack authenticity, the songs in this movie better be good otherwise both critics and audiences will rip into this thing. Unless your child is obsessed with all things involving princesses or musicals, I’d avoid watching this one.

Juliana’s Prediction: Wait

Tyler Hummel: I actually have a free trial of Amazon Prime at the moment, but to be frank I just have no emotions to invest in this movie. I don’t care about Camila Cabello as a pop singer and I REALLY don’t care about her as a straight-to-Amazon movie star. The idea of doing a “modern-day retelling” of a fairytale is a joke premise that felt played out by the time Enchanted came out in in 2007. Unless the reviews for this come back blindingly positive, I don’t plan on watching this.

Tyler’s Prediction: Wait

Malignant

Rating: R

Release Date: September 10, 2021

Distribution: HBO Max with simultaneous theatrical release.

Synopsis: Madison is paralyzed by shocking visions of grisly murders, and her torment worsens as she discovers that these waking dreams are in fact terrifying realities. (IMDB).

Director: James Wan

Starring: Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young

Juliana Purnell: Where has this little film come from? Clearly I haven’t been paying enough attention as this new offering from James Wan only just caught my radar last week. It’s certainly a pleasant surprise! Malignant is an original horror film co-written and directed by James Wan—a man who has previously made his mark in the genre for all the right reasons. For me, James Wan’s attachment to this film is reason enough to be worth bet at the box office. If you enjoy the horror genre and love the communal atmosphere of a theatre, then make Malignant a must-see.

Juliana’s Prediction: Buy

Tyler Hummel: I didn’t realize that this was a James Wan movie till I started researching this. Suddenly my interest was piqued, mildly. Wan is a famous horror director with films like Saw, Death Sentence, Insidious and The Conjuring under his belt in addition to his over-the-top blockbusters like Furious 7 and Aquaman. I’m not saying this is a sure thing or anything given that his track record is very uneven, but if anyone can pull off journeyman horror, it’s him! Plus it’s free on HBO Max so I might as well watch it!

Tyler’s Prediction: Rent

Cry Macho

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: September 17, 2021

Distribution: HBO Max with simultaneous theatrical release.

Synopsis: A one-time rodeo star and washed-up horse breeder takes a job to bring a man’s young son home and away from his alcoholic mom. On their journey, the horseman finds redemption through teaching the boy what it means to be a good man. (IMDB).

Director: Clint Eastwood

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Dwight Yoakam, Fernanda Urrejola

Juliana Purnell: At a time when Hollywood has become over-obsessed with exploring femininity to the point of it being patronizing, Clint Eastwood is one of the few that is keen to delve into the nuances of masculinity. There aren’t many modern films that are covering the tail end of a man’s life, and Eastwood has cornered that market as though it’s a way to pass down his last vestiges of wisdom. Persistent, deep, and plodding, he’s used his last few films to really analyze what it means to be a man and the heavy burdens those loaded expectations can bring, almost as if he’s self-critiquing his own past contributions to the masculine mythos thanks to his history with the western genre. Cry Macho feels like another Gran Torino; it’ll feature a dismantling of society’s understanding of masculinity coupled with a political and racial message. It seems Eastwood still has some things to say, and whether you’ve enjoyed giving an ear to this Hollywood legend will determine if this movie is for you. Worth a look, but it won’t be for everyone.

Juliana’s Prediction: Rent

Tyler Hummel: What can I say about Clint Eastwood in 2021 that hasn’t already been said? Either you love his particular brand of politically charged dramas and thrillers, or you think he’s an obnoxious old man throwing fuel on the fire of modern civilization. It’s almost impossible to view his recent films like American Sniper and Richard Jewel neutrally since they are OVERTLY charged to say things that are controversial in modern discourse. That said, I’m still a huge fan of Eastwood from his older films and I love his less politically charged films like The Mule and Gran Torino. I’m hoping we get at least one more masterpiece from the last surviving director of the classical Hollywood studio system. 

Tyler’s Prediction: Buy

My Little Pony: A New Generation

Rating: PG

Release Date: September 24, 2021

Distribution: Netflix.

Synopsis: After the time of the Mane 6, Sunny–a young Earth Pony–and her new Unicorn friend Izzy explore their world and strive to restore Harmony to Equestria. (IMDB).

Directors: Robert Cullen, José Luis Ucha, Mark Fattibene

Starring: Jane Krakowski, Elizabeth Perkins, James Marsden

Juliana Purnell: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was a brilliant children’s show, one which I have no shame in admitting that I enjoyed myself. It was half an hour of candyfloss fun and was one of the rare television series where the main cast actually developed and grew as characters. It was witty, brightly animated, and served a good message. But all good things must come to an end, and fans have been wondering how this franchise is going to follow up after such a strong act. Now we have our answer… It seems it’s back to entertaining the littlest of kiddies, as this CGI fest feels like a bland overview of the core setting of pony society—a story which will feel very old and repetitive for Friendship is Magic fans. Even children may only find mild entertainment here.

Juliana’s Prediction: Wait

Tyler Hummel: No comment…

Tyler’s Prediction: Wait

Thanks for joining us for Buy, Rent, or Wait! Let us know your predictions in the comment section. Join us in November for our next edition!

Are you looking forward to any of these films? What are your predictions? What film are you looking forward to most in September?

Juliana Purnell

After obtaining a Bachelor of Dramatic Arts, Juliana Purnell has enjoyed a successful acting career, working within theme parks, businesses, and on film sets. She has also taken on crew roles, both in film and theatrical productions. When Juliana isn't working, she enjoys watching movies of all genres at the cinema, writing, and playing with Samson, her pomeranian.

Leave a Reply