If Labor Day’s coming up, that must mean there’s a new Mike Judge movie on the way. It’s also that time of year when a few distributors dust off some well-traveled festival films as the summer winds down and the start of the school year is underway.
A disaster for ordinary citizens, the financial crisis has naturally become catnip for politically minded documentary filmmakers. With “the most feared filmmaker in America” preparing to offer his take a few weeks from now, we can bide our time with Leslie Cockburn’s no-frills exploration of the nuts and bolts of subprime mortgages and the greed of predatory lenders that contributed to the tanking American economy. Probing everyone from buck-passing politicians to financial analysts, lawyers, and lenders, journalist-turned-director Cockburn exposes the shady side of the mortgage boom and those who profited from others’ financial hardship.
Opens in New York.
“Aage Se Right”
Lacking the plush, pristine production values that are the signature of a Bollywood studio flick, director Indrajit Nattooji elected to go viral with his debut (translating to “Gun on the Run”), unveiling this handmade exercise in madcap mishaps through a series of teasing online shorts that invites audiences to join the hunt for the titular firearm that has been misplaced by a bumbling cop (former soap star Shreyas Talpade). Ironically, a love struck terrorist might hold the key to him finding it. In Hindi with subtitles.
Opens in limited release.
“All About Steve”
If only someone were to package together Sandra Bullock’s latest showreel of funny pratfalls and socially awkward earnestness together with Steve Zahn’s similarly themed “Management,” then the whole world could potentially enjoy a his & hers romantic stalker movie double feature on DVD just in time for Valentine’s Day. But Bullock will spend Labor Day weekend fumbling her way across the country in pursuit of a news cameraman (Bradley Cooper), convinced that he is the one she is destined to be with after just one date. Veteran TV helmer Phil Traill makes his feature debut from a script from “License to Wed” scribe Kim Barker.
Having earned a Sundance Award for his debut short, the metaphysical meditation “Larutanatural,” in 2006, Spanish writer/director Àlex Pastor showed he is not one to bow to convention by following that up with another short – a western (!). However, he’s back to horror, and has brought his brother David with him, for their shared feature debut, a spin on the pandemic apocalypse subgenre. Piper Perabo, Lou Taylor Pucci, Emily Van Camp and a pre-“Star Trek” Chris Pine star as a quartet that run from the outbreak who gradually come to learn the shocking truth about the origins of the deadly disease.
Opens in limited release.
From the underrated “Idiocracy” to the gold standard of workplace comedy that is “Office Space,” writer/director Mike Judge once again proves he has 21st century alienation down pat with another detailed map of the modern male psyche and thirtysomething angst. Jason Bateman stars as Joel Reynolds, the perpetually exasperated owner of a flavor extract plant who is frustrated by his employees by day and a cold fish wife (Kristen Wiig) by night, until a smoking-hot temp (Mila Kunis) enters his life and throws both his professional and personal life into disarray. A shaggy-haired Ben Affleck co-stars as Joel’s bartending buddy who eggs on his pal to expand his horizons.
Having snuck in somewhat under the radar with the delicious guilty pleasures of the “Crank” franchise, the writing/directing team of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor have shown themselves adept at cheap, efficient, rough and tumble action, illustrating that the best work gets done when no one looks over your shoulder. Perhaps that’s why their latest is a critique of a society where everyone is being watched, starring Gerard Butler as a condemned prisoner forced to compete in televised death matches in order to win his freedom while being controlled by some pimply-faced teen whose only goal is a higher point total. “Dexter” himself, Michael C. Hall, plays the sadistic big shot secretly manipulating the carnage in this tweaked-up version of “The Running Man” for the online FPS generation.