September Smackdown: What’s Good in TV and Film


Every month, Fresh Fiction’s editors pick the movies and TV show they’re excited to watch, and then check out Fresh Fiction Editors’ Top Picks for September to see what books have our editors’ attention!

Gwen Reyes, Critic

the-bastard-executioner-poster-530x795THE BASTARD EXECUTIONER – September 15

It has not been quite a year since Kurt Sutter’s SONS OF ANARCHY ended in a blaze of bullets and birds, but the hardcore auteur is back with a new brutal drama for FX. In THE BASTARD EXECUTIONER Sutter dips into 14th century England and the reign of King Edward I, whose determination to unite the Welsh people with England turns bloodier by the minute. The show stars the hunky Lee Jones, who I can proudly say is not the only reason to watch when the show premieres on Tuesday, September 15th, as a broken man and former knight named Wilkin Brattle living with the terrors of his past and the darkness of his future. The first episode is a little on the longer side, sitting at a swollen 2 hours, but it does take that introduction to get the story going.

THE BASTARD EXECUTIONER is not for the faint of heart, but if Sutter has proven anything it’s that he can do sweeping dude dramas that appeal to all of us.


Preston Barta, Features Editor

Captive_(2015_film)_posterCAPTIVE – September 18

This is the eighth movie to be named CAPTIVE. I suppose the studio thought it would put more butts in seats than the name of its book, which is the equally as generic UNLIKELY ANGEL. However, this film has quite a talented cast attached (Kate Mara and David Oyelowo), and the rumor is the performances rise above the material. I believe it, too.

This true story recounts the 2005 experience of Ashley Smith (played by Mara here), a recovering drug addict and single mother who was taken hostage in her apartment by alleged courthouse killer Brian Nichols (Oyelowo). This is remarkable story about healing, and with everything going on in the news lately, it may be just what this month needs.

– September 25

Denis Villeneuve, who directed the hugely arresting PRISONERS (2013) and spinned a web of real curiosity with ENEMY (2014), takes on the drug war along the U.S. and Mexico border with SICARIO. The word “sicario” means “hitman” in Spanish, but don’t let that reflect your judgement, as this is going to be a movie of much more depth than HITMAN: AGENT 47.

Oscar vets Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin co-star in this action drama written by SONS OF ANARCHY actor Taylor Sheridan. The film finds Emily Blunt – who has become quite the action star after EDGE OF TOMORROW – as a sensible FBI agent drafted to aid a task force that is fighting the war on drugs.

It should also be mentioned that SICARIO sees Roger Deakins (SKYFALL, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN) as the cinematographer again (Deakins lensed PRISONERS, too). So you can bet it will be aesthetically pleasing, whether or not the narrative lives up to the look. But I’m willing to bet it’ll be great all around.


Cole Clay, Critic

sleeping_with_other_peopleSLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE – September 11

SLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE isn’t going to let the tropes of other romantic comedies stand in its way. Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie star as two ex-lovers who try to maintain a platonic relationship 12 years after they first met…. in the biblical sense.

Director Lesley Headland (BACHELORETTE) called her latest film “WHEN HARRY MET SALLY for a-holes.” Headland sharply observes the struggles of the modern relationship that can end with just a single swipe. The sum of the talent involved rises higher than other romances that go for broke with sugary goodness. The endless amount of comic flare for the two leads has a rude and raunchy recipe that subverts the genre, while still celebrating the strongest (and most endearing) elements. With a cast including Adam Scott, Natasha Lyonne, Amanda Peet and Jason Mantzoukas, SLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE bolsters some of comedies brightest talents.

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