Damn, is it that time already? Yes, August is here, which means the summer movie season is about to come to a close. 2016 has been a wonderful year for movies so far. This month, however, doesn’t have a lot to look forward to. A lot of you might be as pissed as I am that The Founder got pushed back to December 16. Without further ado, here are my thoughts on what has yet to come out in August.
Suicide Squad – A lot of summer action films tend to have scenes set in Chicago. It’s always under attack, either Autobots fighting the Decepticons or Batman taking down bad guys in Gotham City (used as the backdrop). In the case of Suicide Squad, DC’s latest “superhero team-up”, it is far from another Avengers. It features a team deemed as the worst heroes ever. The cast is nothing short of stellar. Will Smith. Margot Robbie. Jared Leto. Cara Delevigne. Viola Davis. That’s almost enough reasons to see this movie, along with the visuals, the seemingly dark humor, and the soundtrack.
Nine Lives – I don’t know what the hell Kevin Spacey was thinking before signing for a movie like this. Remember when I said the trailer for Bad Moms was one of the worst I’ve seen this summer? It’s not worse than the trailer for this Shaggy Dog rip-off. As a cat lover, I would rather watch the first Cats & Dogs, Keanu or Homeward Bound rather than this dirty pile of cat litter. It looks like Christopher Walken, who plays the person responsible for turning Spacey into a cat, thought he was doing another movie. So far this decade, we have seen some great computer animation. The CGI on the cat doesn’t look too bad…if the movie came out in the 1990s. And the story alone sounds relentlessly tiring. I am skipping this one for sure.
Sausage Party – Seth Rogen is a hit-and-miss, in my opinion. Like with other comedic actors, I think he’s much better delivering dramatic roles (for example, his portrayal as Steve Wozniack in last year’s Steve Jobs). When he gets the comedy right, he gets it right. For the most part, his sense of humor can get a little twisted for my taste. Sausage Party, the first computer-animated film only suitable for adults, is no exception.
Apart from the beginning, Jonah Hill’s exorcism, and the end of the film, I found This Is the End to be one of the most overrated films so far this decade. And this might be the new This Is the End. I’m amazed on how many people are looking forward to seeing this (not to mention getting positive reception at this year’s SXSW festival). I was flat-out terrified from watching the previews. I might see it, but I won’t get my hopes too high.
Pete’s Dragon – With Disney remaking their classic films, this remake of the 1977 film seems to be the most standard one yet. Bryce Dallas Howard and Robert Redford are two of the most gifted actors working today. From the looks of it, it looks another Jungle Book. But hey—it might be more than just that.
Florence Foster Jenkins – Ah, now this is more like it! Stephen Frears has been popular since the 1980s, and is still going strong. High Fidelity, The Queen, and Philomena are some of his best of the 21st century. Florence Foster Jenkins looks like a masterful piece of work. With the Oscar season in mind, this might be one to pay attention to. Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant are the true definition of “classy”. It’s great to see Simon Helberg (Howard Wolowitz from The Big Bang Theory) in a movie directed by one of the best filmmakers out there. I honestly can’t wait for this!
Anthropoid – Perhaps the first film to depict the World War II operation to assassinate SS General Reinhard Heydrich from entering Czechoslovakia. For a history buff like myself, this mission has never been talked about in history classes. This might be more than just a basic history lesson rather than an experience.
Hell or High Water (everywhere August 19) – The western genre is slowly becoming deader than a doornail. The Coen brothers’ remake of True Grit is one of the biggest hits of this decade, while Jane Got a Gun became one of the biggest flops. After its premiere at Cannes, Hell or High Water (as well as the upcoming remake of The Magnificent Seven) might bring the genre back into the mainstream. Chris Pine, Ben Foster, and Jeff Bridges look stellar here.
Kubo and the Two Strings – Ever since providing the animation for Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, Laika Animation has become a familiar but rather underrated production company. Coraline, ParaNorman, and The Boxtrolls are the only three hits from Laika. Kubo and the Two Strings might be the best animated film of the year. The voice cast is great: Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey (who seems to be hilarious here), Rooney Mara, and Ralph Fiennes. The animation (mixing stop-motion and CGI) looks breathtaking.
Ben-Hur – The remake of the Academy Award-winning film from 1959 seems to be an overblown mess. I don’t know what Morgan Freeman is doing here. Skip!
War Dogs – Miles Teller and Jonah Hill sure do make a great comedic duo. This might the case here in War Dogs, the latest from the director of The Hangover Todd Phillips. There hasn’t been any great comedies this year. I know this might be another Wolf of Wall Street, but I’m hoping there will be some good laughs sprinkled here and there. And hopefully, this will be a massive step-up to those horrendous Hangover sequels.
Mechanic: Resurrection – Jason Statham is one of the coolest action stars today. His villainous portrayal in Furious 7 is among the best in the series. I have never seen the first Mechanic from 2011, and I have no interest in seeing that or the sequel.
Don’t Breathe – With a few exceptions, horror has become a tired genre. The Conjuring 2 is by far the best horror film of the year. Don’t Breathe seems to be what horror is meant to be; having the sense of fear and feature an eerie atmosphere. It’s great to see Stephen Lang after appearing in Avatar seven years ago. His portrayal of a blind man with a dark past might rank among some of the best horror movie villains such as Michael Myers, Freddy Kruger, among others. I’m ready for a needed end-of-summer tension-filled thrill ride.
Hands of Stone – Robert De Niro’s portrayal of Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull is one of the best of his long acting career. He is back in the boxing film genre as a retired trainer going back to his work to train Panamanian fighter Roberto Duran, played by Édgar Ramírez. This might be your standard boxing film, but having it star two wonderful actors is enough to see it.
The Hollars – It’s hard to resist the presence of John Krasinski. In his directorial debut, he plays John, who returns to his home after hearing his mother being diagnosed with brain cancer. You can hardly go wrong with the cast: Richard Jenkins, Margo Martindale, Charlie Day, Sharlto Copley, Anna Kendrick, Josh Groban, among others. This looks like a very funny and sweet film.
Southside with You – The first film to feature Barack Obama as the main character is, surprisingly, not a biopic of his life leading to becoming the President of the United States. This follows his first date with his future wife Michelle in 1989 in Chicago’s South Side. It has the same simple structure of Richard Linklater’s Before films (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight). I love movies like this!
Most Anticipated: Don’t Breathe, Florence Foster Jenkins, Hell or High Water, Kubo and the Two Strings, Southside with You
Least Anticipated: Ben-Hur, Mechanic: Resurrection, Nine Lives, Sausage Party
I hope enjoyed reading my thoughts on what has yet to come out in the month of August. Please feel free to leave a comment on what your most anticipated movies for this month are. I appreciate each and every one of you reading my thoughts on the biggest summer blockbusters as well as some independent films. I’ll definitely do this for next year and the year after that and so on and so on. Stay tuned for more reviews this fall. Take care.