Bryn Mawr Film Institute

What a month of movies. September 2012 will be remembered for being one of the most lacklustre months of film releases in recent times.

Paul W.S. Anderson’s Resident Evil: Retribution was the highest grossing movie this month with $34.7m dollars. That’s right: the fifth Resident Evil movie is the highest grossing film of the month.

Just to compare let’s look back at September 2011. What a great month that was. Resident Evil: Retribution would not have ranked in the top six last year, and the quality of the films was just so much higher. We had superb films like Moneyball, Drive¸ and 50/50, all grossing on average $57m.

That is not to say that all of September’s movies have been bad because they have not, there have been some fantastic films. Paul Thomas Anderson’s long awaited The Master is a beautifully shot, surreal journey through the psychological oddities of a scientology-like cult, in an idyllic America. It is a wonderful film featuring Oscar worthy performances from Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix.

Let’s just hope that October is better, otherwise we may see stateside cinemas turning into that dusty one you see in those pre-film piracy adverts, except there will be fewer cobweb covered people.

Taken 2 opens October’s releases and is sure to eclipse the box office takings of any of September’s films. As long as there is a threatening Liam Neeson speech the cash will flow.

The now yearly instalment of the Paranormal Activity franchise is also out towards Halloween as yet another promising horror franchise is milked dry.

Cloud Atlas, starring Tom Hanks, is the sleeper hit of the month. Tom Hanks is always held in very high esteem in the US and the subject material is well suited to the Oscars, so keep an eye out. Overall, though, October looks dreary. November on the other hand, well, we’ll get to that …

This month I decided “No, I’m not prepared to pay $12 (£7.50) for a cinema ticket. I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it!” Well, I didn’t actually say the second part, but I did watch Network. So, I went in search of other cinemas and I found a gem.

Opened in 2004 by no other than Sir Ben Kingsley, the Bryn Mawr Film Institute (BMFI) is a true throwback to the glory days of American cinema going. With its neon marquee, marble floored lobby and corridor-like theatres, BMFI is refreshingly authentic.

The Master was the perfect film to watch in a cinema like the BMFI as it harkened back to a time gone by when every frame of a movie could be a painting. It felt like the 1950s, making the whole experience engrossing and highly enjoyable. If you’re ever in Philly, the BMFI is a must-see.