I’ll be honest, my initial look at August was pretty weak, but after further review there are some quality films coming out! Oddly, no big-budget blockbusters though (even DARK TOWER cost under $100 mil). So there’s still lots to check this month!
- LOGAN LUCKY – Aug. 18. For a guy who said he was retiring from movies, Steven Soderbergh has been pretty busy. This looks delightfully insane, with a killer cast including Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, and “introducing” Daniel Craig. Initial reviews have been pretty soft, but it’s still a new Soderbergh film dangnabbit!
- DETROIT – Aug. 4. Kathryn Bigelow is finally getting her due as a filmmaker thanks to the massive success of THE HURT LOCKER and ZERO DARK THIRTY, and she’s going dark again with this story of the Detroit riots of 1967. With the current racial climate in America, this is a tough story to tell but with John Boyega (THE FORCE AWAKENS) and Anthony Mackie (HURT LOCKER, CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER) toplining it’s a great cast and creative crew. Still seems like a fall movie though, it’s tough to get folks to think hard during the summer.
- THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD – Aug. 18. Speaking of dumb fun, hey, let’s throw Ryan Reynolds and Sam Jackson together and see what happens! What’s that, it’s a foul-mouthed action comedy? What a shock! Unfortunately the creative side hasn’t made much other than EXPENDABLES III, but the trailer looks pretty good. Expect the actors’ charm to carry the whole film.
- WIND RIVER – Aug. 11. A thriller from the writer of the brilliant SICARIO. Jeremy Renner plays a “veteran game tracker” working on an Indian reservation who discovers a murdered woman and has to solve the crime with an FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) who’s out of her element. Hey, it’s that Hawkeye/ Scarlet Witch crossover you’ve been waiting for! Looks tight.
- BIRTH OF THE DRAGON – Aug. 25. The writer/director of THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU tells the true tale of Bruce Lee’s fight with a Kung Fu master that put him on the path to greatness. An early cut was shown at TIFF last year to unanimous hatred, since it inexplicably focused on a white dude who’s caught up in Lee’s life. How that ever seemed like a good idea is beyond me, and it led to an assault on the IMDB page for the film. Nolfi hasn’t admitted to recutting it but one article online talked about seeing a very different cut last month, and the trailer now shows very little of the white boy. So at least based on the trailer, this looks pretty good.
- GLASS CASTLE – Aug. 11. Before winning an Oscar for ROOM, Brie Larson starred in Destin Daniel Cretton’s SHORT TERM 12 to rave reviews, and they’re reteaming for this one. Brie plays the older version of Woody Harrelson’s daughter, part of a nomad family roaming across the states, evading the tax-man. He paints their life as one of absolute freedom, which she recognizes as a lie as she gets older. Can she reconcile her yuppie adult life with her literally carefree parents? Again, looks like a fall film but it’ll be a tough ride.
- THE DARK TOWER – Aug. 4. I read the first few books in the series, which was one of the first “meta” constructs where elements of unconnected Stephen King books suddenly started appearing together in an exhilarating mix. When they announced a big screen/tv crossover project I was excited! A real attempt to do justice to an amazing series! Then, the worst possible name was uttered: Akiva Fucking Goldsman. Write. Off. The review embargo lifts tonight, so we’ll see what the critics think, but for now King himself seems happy, though I’m sure he’s got a strong financial investment in its success. The box office tracking is very low, so we may not see more anyway. It’s a shame, Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey look great in the trailer.
- ANNABELLE: CREATION – Aug. 11. The prequel to the spinoff of THE CONJURING. Director David F. Sandberg’s LIGHTS OUT was a lot of fun, and Miranda Otto (THE TWO TOWERS) is here, but overall, meh. More creepy doll shit.
- KIDNAP – Aug. 4. Look, just don’t take Halle Berry’s son, okay? If you do, lots of people are going to die. By the trailer, probably a dozen or so people die in traffic accidents she causes. All because she doesn’t trust the cops to do their jobs. I’m sure lots of folks will get off on the idea of becoming a vigilante, doling out bowls of rich, creamy justice to kidnappers. GIVE ME BACK MY SON!
- THE NUT JOB 2: NUTTY BY NATURE – Aug. 11, RealD3D. Hey, it’s the only 3D movie this month! And it’s a shitty sequel to a disposable kid’s movie! The first one was surprisingly successful, so hey, why not make another? It’s a mash up of, well, the first movie, and THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS, only this time it’s a cute lil’ mouse voiced by Jackie Friggin’ Chan. Whatever.
- ALL SAINTS – Aug. 25. I’m harsh on Christian films. But dangit, they’re just so lame! Dry, predictable, unchallenging, and preaching to the choir. This one’s about a church that’s scheduled for closure that sees a resurgence thanks to an influx of refugees who help turn the valuable land into *gasp* farmland! How dare this charismatic priest go against the wishes of the… diocese? Well, whatever organization runs things for this branch. It’ll be interesting to see how southerners take the message of bringing in refugees to shore up failing church numbers.
So there’s more than expected for August! Not nearly as big as years past, but maybe that’s for the best. September has some great films in the wings, so get ready for that in, oh, four weeks or so.