Summer Movie Preview: August 2013

It's been a shaky summer for movies. All the big tentpoles are collapsing, and Hollywood is wringing its hands, wondering if they'll have to actually focus on producing well-written, well-acted, and well-directed films instead of just two hours of collapsing buildings or formulaic sequels nobody asked for. Uh-oh! I've been pretty pleased with the movies I've seen so far, but I haven't asked for much but diversion this summer. How will the movies of August fit into this trend? Let's take a look, and do the usual sift into Must-See, Rental, TBD, or Pass. Spoiler alert: All you have to do is read the titles for the upcoming month, and you can probably guess which category is going to catch most of them.

August 2

2 Guns: Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg are bickering agents who reluctantly team up to take on a drug cartel. I saw the trailer, and it appears to be a pretty basic buddy cop thriller. It didn't look terrible or anything, but I have to admit that I'm finding this genre increasingly dull. (Pass)

300 Rise of an Empire: Speaking of sequels nobody asked for. (Pass)

Cockneys vs. Zombies: A bunch of residents in London's East End team up, and fight off an undead horde to rescue the elderly folk in a retirement home. Fans of zombie movies have sure gotten more than their fair share of properties lately. When are my tastes going to start getting excessively catered to? (Pass)

The Spectacular Now: This is a coming-of-age romance that I've heard a lot of chatter about on film sites and podcasts. It involves a popular guy who becomes interested in a quiet wallflower of a classmate who has more to her personality than meets the eye. I liked Shailene Woodley in The Descendants, so if this continues to make film geeks talk, I'll probably put it on the Netflix queue. (Rental)

August 7

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters: I haven't read the books (though I've been meaning to), and I didn't see the first movie (and don't really have any intention to), so this one looks like it'll be easy to skip. (Pass)

August 9

Elysium: Neill Blomkamp likes to delve into the harsh grimness of social justice through his work, and it looks like this one is no exception. It stars Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, and takes place in a future where Earth is a ravaged, third-world slum, and all the affluent people have left for the glittering, titular space station. The movie promises to explore topics like health care, immigration, and class warfare, so whether or not I see it will largely depend on my mood at the time. It certainly looks like the most personal movie of August, and the one in which the most care was taken to make something special. (TBD)

In a World...: Lake Bell is an aspiring voiceover artist, and competes with her more established father for jobs. (TBD)

Lovelace: Poor Amanda Seyfried. She's a talented actress, but either her taste in scripts is awful, or she's got a terrible agent. Finally, though, she's got a role that can do her some good. Linda Lovelace was a '70s porn star with a tragic life, and her story is ripe for the biopic treatment. All the promotional material for this movie looks very promising, and even if I don't feel the need to rush to a theater to see it, it's likely I'll catch it at some point. (Must-See, but probably as a Rental)

Planes: Cars is easily my least favorite (and one of the least successful) property to come out of Pixar, so I'm unsure why people felt this spinoff about airplanes was needed. Add in a starring voiceover turn by Dane Cook, and you've effectively killed any modicum of interest I might have had. (Pass)

We're the Millers: Jason Sudeikis has to transport a bunch of weed to Mexico, and in order to sneak by the border patrol, he has a stripper (Jennifer Aniston) portray his wife, and a couple of neglected youngsters act like his kids. It looks fairly stupid. (Pass)

Prince Avalanche: Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch spend the summer repainting a road ravaged by wildfire, and in the course of their strained friendship, learn a lot about themselves and each other. Meh. (Pass)

August 14

The Patience Stone: A movie from Afghanistan about a woman who hopes an enchanted rock will leech her problems away. (Pass)

August 16

Austenland: Keri Russell stars in a movie about women who go to Jane Austen reenactment events, hunting for old-fashioned soul mates. I haven't heard much about the plot besides that, and though it sounds intriguing, my spidey sense is tingling. Maybe it's because Stephenie Meyer is a co-producer, and that's just not a good sign. (Pass)

Haute Cuisine: A French movie about a woman named Danièle Delpeuch, and how she was appointed as the private chef for François Mitterrand. (Pass)

Kick-Ass 2: I didn't see the first one, mostly because I don't get much out of movies that solely exist to glamorize ultra-violence. That sounds so preachy and moralizing, but I don't begrudge people that do find that kind of thing entertaining. I'm just not one of them. (Pass)

The To Do List: I didn't used to like Aubrey Plaza much, but lately, she's been growing on me. I have to admit this comedy about her applying her nerdy bookishness to unlocking the secret to losing her virginity piques my interest. A sex comedy from the woman's perspective is long overdue, and I may just watch this one to see how they bring it off. No pun intended. (Rental)

August 17

Ain't Them Bodies Saints: An indie in which Casey Affleck plays an escaped convict making his way across Texas to reunite with his wife. Though I've been beating up on blockbusters lately, that doesn't mean that every independent movie is a thoughtful, well-made gem. This one doesn't really appeal to me, but I'd be willing to rent it if it gets enough praise from people I trust. (TBD)

August 23

The Colony: I believe this one has been pushed back to September. Bill Paxton and Laurence Fishburne are part of a group of survivors forced underground by an impending ice age, and must fight to preserve humanity. I'll need to hear more about this one. (TBD)

Drinking Buddies: A modern romance set in a brewery. I like a lot of the stars (Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, etc.) - but I'm not a fan of the mumblecore movement as a whole, and what little I've glimpsed of this movie makes it appear to be as annoying as the other members of the genre. (TBD, but a likely Pass)

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones: I know this will be difficult to believe, but they made a movie out of a young-adult fantasy series. I know! I was shocked, too. So there are demons and monsters and whiny love triangles, and it all seems squarely aimed at a target audience that I am very clearly not a part of. (Pass)

Thérèse Desqueyroux: An adaptation of a 1927 novel, starring Audrey Tautou as a housewife that stifled by the tedium of provincial life and the intellectual mediocrity of her husband. So she attempts to poison him, and gets caught. Ooh! Intriguing. (TBD, but sounds like a good candidate for a Rental)

The World's End: Being a gore wimp is tough sometimes. I have no doubt that I would really enjoy Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, but I had to skip them because of the splatter. The World's End is another Edgar Wright movie, this time about an alien invasion interrupting a group of friends during a pub crawl. I guess I'll have to pass on this one, too, but I'm bummed about it. (Pass)

You're Next: A run-of-the-mill horror flick starring nobody I've ever heard of. This sentence will be the last thought I ever give to it. (Pass)

August 28

Closed Circuit: Following a mysterious explosion in a busy London market, two lawyers involved with the high-profile trial of the main suspect are caught up in a dangerous web of conspiracy and governmental cover-ups. I like a good thriller as much as the next guy, but I'd like to see some initial word-of-mouth and reviews before I sign up. (TBD)

August 30:

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane: A dumb slasher movie. Good thing I don't care about it, because the entire plot (including the twist and identity of the killer) are given away in the Wikipedia summary. (Pass)

Getaway: Ethan Hawke teams up with hacker Selena Gomez to track down his kidnapped wife. Noooooope. (Pass)

One Direction: This Is Us: Ahahahahaha! (Pass)

Satanic: A movie so ignored it doesn't even have an IMDb page. Here's their full report: "Box Office Mojo added a movie called Satanic to its schedule of upcoming releases, with a release date of August 30, 2013. The listing says that Haley Bennett (pictured above), previously seen in The Haunting Of Molly Hartley, Kaboom and Joe Dante’s The Hole, will star—and that’s all the info that seems to exist on-line." (Pass)

The Lifeguard: This one is odd. Kristen Bell plays a reporter who leaves her life in New York City to go back home to get her high school job as a lifeguard. About to turn 30-years-old, she begins a relationship with a troubled 16-year-old. It looks like it's just getting a limited release. I don't know how comedic or dramatic this movie is supposed to be, and though I like Bell and some of the other stars, it's tough to gauge my interest. (TBD)

August TBD

Don Jon: The release date for this one has actually been pushed back to October, which does seem to suit it better. It doesn't really fit into the summer landscape. It's Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut, and stars him, Scarlett Johansson, Tony Danza, and Julianne Moore. He plays a womanizing dudebro who learns an important lesson about how people treat each other, of course, but I have to say that I'm really looking forward to this one. Gordon-Levitt chooses good projects, and I've liked him in everything I've seen him in, so I'm sure I'll be in for this one. (Must-See)


Anonymous said...

Don Jon's release date is September 27 in the U.S. and has been for a while now....

Limecrete said...

Thank you! I'll keep my eyes peeled for local screenings.

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