August Movie Preview

August! The rest of the summer releases are vomited upon a burned-out, exhausted nation! Can anyone get excited about a movie ever again? Or, at least before December? The answer will (not) surprise you! It’s too soon for the Oscar bait, too late for box-office gold, but dammit, there are screens to fill! Let’s take a look at what’s heading your way.

  1. THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. – Aug 14, IMAX. It’s another reboot of a beloved TV series! This one’s been in the cooker for a long time, but Guy Ritchie gets the gold star for bringing it home. Thankfully it’s a period piece, set in the original series’ 1960s, rather than updating it with a modern setting. Brit Henry Cavill plays the American agent Solo, and American actor Armie Hammer plays the Russian, Kuryakin. All they need is a Russian playing a Brit and the circle would be complete! This actually looks like a lot of fun, and should be this year’s KINGSMAN. Wait, that came out this year too? And there’s still a MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE in theatres with a Bond film to come? Hell of a year for spies!
  2. AMERICAN ULTRA – Aug 21. What if Jason Bourne was a stoner? That’s pretty much the setup for this, but it looks like a lot of fun. Jesse Eisenberg plays the unlikely CIA assassin who’s reactivated, but years of weed have altered his conditioning, so he’s deemed a threat and targeted for death. Hell of a supporting cast with Kristen Stewart, Topher Grace, Connie Britton, John Leguizamo, Tony Hale… the only wrinkle is the director, whose only other credit is the teen party found footage comedy PROJECT X. I’m still hopeful for a PINEAPPLE EXPRESS vibe.
  3. STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON – Aug 14. The NWA biopic actually looks really good, and it’s more timely than ever. Can’t wait to see the edited for TV version though.
  4. FANTASTIC FOUR – Aug 7. Nerds aren’t giving this one a chance, and the early reviews seem to be reinforcing it, but there’s a chance they’re setting the table for a much better story down the road. They’ve definitely taken out one thing: fun. It’s pretty grimdark, but other elements show a different path than the megablockbusters have been going down, which could be a good thing.
  5. THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL – Aug 14 limited, Aug 28 wide. Indie time! Kristen Wiig and Alexander Skarsgard are a couple in 1970s San Francisco, and he ends up having an affair with Wiig’s teenage daughter. It’s getting rave reviews on the festival circuit, but will you go see it in the theatre? That’s the $15 question.
  6. HITMAN: AGENT 47 – Aug 21. Another reboot! You may have seen the first HITMAN back in 2007, but you likely don’t remember a damn thing about it. This time the bald badass with the UPC tattoo is out to find others from his program, and Sylar himself, Zachary Quinto, is out to use the hitmen for his own nefarious deeds. Interesting action in the trailer, but it’s a bit over-reliant on CG, which is pretty much par for the course these days. Still could be interesting.
  7. SHAUN THE SHEEP – Aug 7. The Aardman folks are back with more young kid’s fare with a feature length SHAUN THE SHEEP film. Though I love their stuff, I’ve never been able to get into Shaun, since it skews pretty young. The feature brings the sheep into the big city to recover the injured sheep herder, and there’s lots of burping and farting.
  8. THE GIFT – Aug 7. An interesting thriller with Jason Bateman and Joel Edgerton, with Edgerton playing the odd kid from Bateman’s past who returns out of nowhere looking for friendship. Reviews are surprisingly positive, but again, are you going to spend the money to see it in theatres, or wait for Netflix? But it’s nice to have options.
  9. RICKI AND THE FLASH – Aug 7. Meryl Streep plays the titular Ricki, an aging never-was rocker who’s drawn back into the family she left in search of stardom. Seems to be aimed at the older folks, and who doesn’t want to see Meryl do her thing? It’s directed by Jonathan Demme who mined similar territory in RACHEL GETTING MARRIED. Might make a girl’s night for your mom and her bestie.
  10. SINISTER 2 – Aug 21. Didn’t see the first but I heard good things, though it didn’t seem like a franchise. This is likely more of the same, but there haven’t been many horror offerings lately, so it should slake that thirst.
  11. NO ESCAPE – Aug 28. Pierce Brosnan’s had a rough go of it lately, and I don’t think Owen Wilson will help pull him out of straight-to-VOD hell. Wilson’s trying to get his family out of a foreign country as a coup breaks out, but will Brosnan help him escape, or is there something more sinister at play? Director John Erick Dowdle’s previous works are more horror-themed with AS ABOVE, SO BELOW and DEVIL, but it might surprise. Though I doubt it will.
  12. UNDERDOGS – Aug 14. An Argentinian (!) animated offering about a foosball team that comes alive to help a hapless nerd take on a proper football team. No idea why this is getting a theatrical release. The reviews on IMDB seem to be more about Argentinian pride than the film itself.
  13. WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS – Aug 28. What better way to end the summer than this tale of a douchebag DJ trying to be the best damn DJ he can be? But it’s super hard, you guys. It’s so tough for a normal-looking dude like Zac Efron to get a shot at the big time, but darn it, he’s got so much talent to share with the world. It wants to be SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER but it’s more like ENTOURAGE.

And that’s August. A few potential gems, but a whole lot of mediocrity. Which oddly enough mimics September! But that’s for another time.

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