By Andrew Nogay
Web Content Contributor
*KTSW consists of and respects varying opinions within its staff. Opinion articles do not reflect the opinion of KTSW as a whole.
August is a strange month for movies. It’s during the summer, so blockbusters are the norm still, but it is also late enough in the year that legitimate Oscar contenders and winners have been released. Sure, Into the Storm and Rush Hour 2 got August releases, but so did Inglorious Bastards and Unforgiven. There have also been a bunch of memorable comedies that got August releases in the past few years, like Tropic Thunder, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and Jason Vs. Freddy. I think the biggest question that hangs over this month is whether there’ll be a surprise mega-hit like Guardians of the Galaxy was last August. With some of the movies coming out this month, it looks like the studios are at least trying their hardest to find one.
Movies Releasing 8/7
My thoughts: It’s only been a decade since the last Fantastic Four franchise started, but that one and it’s sequel were pretty trash, so I guess this reboot is fair game. The casting here is very interesting to me. I love Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller, but these roles might not be the best for them. Jordan is great at introspective, nuanced acting, like in Fruitvale Station. However, Chris Evans was easily the best thing about the 2000’s Fantastic Fours, and I don’t know if Jordan can match the swagger that Chris Evans brought to The Human Torch. Miles Teller will be Mr. Fantastic, who was anything but the previous films. Hopefully Teller can create something in the character that wasn’t there before. The same goes to Kate Mara as The Invisible Woman, taking over the role from Jessica Alba. As for The Thing, all I know is the actor playing him looks a lot less rock-ish than Michael Chiklis did.
The main point that is separating this movie from the other iterations of the Fantastic Four is that this one isn’t following the original origin story. Instead of four scientists mutating because of an accident in space, now four younger people go to an alternative universe where they have super powers.This is from the Ultimate Fantastic Four comic book series of the 2000’s, and the changing of their beginnings could go one of two ways. On one hand, a lot of these classic comic book origin stories are outdated, illogical and kind of silly. That is sort of their charm of course, but a variation that combines the best of the classic material with the modern world could be interesting. On the other hand, this new origin story doesn’t really make a lot of sense either. I’m not sure what to make of it.
Ricki and the Flash
My thoughts: So in this movie, unanimous national treasure Meryl Streep plays a rocker mom who is much more a rocker than a mom. She returns home to reunite with her family, which invariably leads to shouting and sadness. It is directed by Jonathan Demme, who is almost always good and sometimes fantastic. This should be a nice little movie, I like how it turns the idea of someone who chose fame over family from a male role to a female. It’s also written by Diablo Cody, so it is fair to assume that the women will be well-thought out and developed.
Shaun the Sheep Movie
My thoughts: This is a movie version of the show Shaun the Sheep, which itself is a a spin-off from the Wallace and Gromit movies. I honestly find this style of animation infectiously cool. British animation is always so weird compared to standard American animation. Honestly, anything that isn’t Minions sounds good to me. Shaun the Sheep actually has a 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating, so this could definitely be something to look forward to.
My thoughts: That trailer was actually kind of chilling. It implies something supernatural is happening, but it is never explicit to what that is. I liked it. Strangely enough, I think that Jason Bateman can do great in a role where he is stalked. Just his delivery and natural persona fits that character well. This is also the first feature film that Joel Edgerton, who is also playing the probably antagonist, has directed. That’s pretty cool, I didn’t know that he directed stuff. I guess he figured if Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ryan Gosling can direct a film, he could too.
Movies Releasing 8/14
The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
My thoughts: Even though this is a movie remake of a classic TV show, this trailer…actually captured my attention. I love that back and forth between Henry Cavill’s American spy and Armie Hammer’s Russian spy. I love many of Guy Ritchie’s movies, even though this isn’t one of his original ideas he brings a dynamism to directing that other blockbuster directors don’t. Plus it has Jared Harris, who is just fantastic in pretty much everything he does. Will it be more than just a popcorn movie? No idea, but it has piqued my interest.
My thoughts: This is the newest Noah Baumbach film, and the second that’s been co-written and starring Greta Gerwig, with the other being the acclaimed Frances Ha. With this movie, and this director, you know you’re getting a two things: great dialogue and interesting characters. If you can stand the sometimes over-quirkiness, then this will be a movie for you. Honestly, from the trailer I could see this film getting some Oscar steam especially for original screenplay and Gerwig for best actress. It’s so exciting that we’re getting to the time of year where Oscar nominations are being discussed! Or at least, you know, I am.
Straight Outta Compton
My thoughts: I know what the Oscar for best movie of my life should go to! I’m so unabashedly excited for this movie. As to contain my excitement, I’ll only list a few thoughts I have on this movie. Number one, Ice Cube’s son is playing Ice Cube, which is just awesome. Number two, they already kinda made a N.W.A. movie, Boyz n the Hood, and it’s an amazing movie. Number three, from the trailer at least, they focused so much on Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Eazy-E, it seemed like they ignored MC Ren and DJ Yella. Which is too bad, those guys have feelings too.
My thoughts: This doesn’t really have critical acclaim, and the trailer left me unimpressed, but it can take solace in one thing: at least it isn’t Minions.
Movies Releasing 8/21
My thoughts: The first Sinister scared the crap out of me the first time I saw it theaters. The super 8 films Ethan Hawke found, the strange noises in the house, the jump scares all got to me. However, when I re-watched it, I didn’t like it nearly as much. This one of course doesn’t star Ethan Hawke, but it does give a bigger role to James Ransone, who was fantastic in the first one and as an alumni of The Wire I will always root for him to get good roles. From the trailer, Sinister 2 seems to feature children a lot more than the first, so honestly how good this movie is will probably depend on the acting of the kids. As it is with most horror movies that star children.
My thoughts: This movie stars Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart, the first movie they’ve starred in since the underrated Adventureland. Since that point, Eisenberg became an Oscar-nominated blockbuster-making actor, while Stewart has had to get the stench of the Twilight franchise off of her. Now she was not good in the Twilight films, but in other things she has been. Especially Adventureland. She had such great chemistry with Eisenberg in that movie, and if American Ultra is the movie I hope it is, they’ll have it in here too. I’m looking forward to this movie, it has a talented young crew working behind it and it seems to have a good deal of originality and fun attached to it.
Hitman: Agent 47
My thoughts: This is the third secret agent-type movie coming out this month, behind The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and American Ultra, and from the trailer it was the least interesting to me. I read up on this movie, watched some things on it, and I still have a blank about it. It didn’t move me in any particular way. This is actually the first film its director has ever made, and he has some buzz around his name so maybe the trailers are deceiving.
My thoughts: This looks like a cool film. I mean who doesn’t love rude grandmas? Maybe their relatives, but hey fiction is always better than real life. Lily Tomlin really does look like she’s going to kill it in here. Telling young people how it is, getting her own way, making inappropriate remarks…actually she does kind of sound like my grandma. Huh.
She’s Funny That Way
My thoughts: This is the first feature film for director Peter Bogdanovich in nearly fifteen years, and his reverence in the film community certainly shows in the huge cast. I mean, he was able to get Michael Shannon, one of the best actors in the world, in a bit part, and Quentin Tarantino to play himself apparently. Early reviews on this movie are lukewarm, but hey Bogdanovich made The Last Picture Show, so it’s not like an average movie is going to change his place in film history.
Digging For Fire
My thoughts: This is the newest Joe Swanberg movie, and it probably has the largest cast of any of the movies by the mumblecore extraordinaire. Opinions are heavily divided on Swanberg, and I expect if you like his other work, especially Drinking Buddies, you’ll enjoy this movie too. I couldn’t really tell you the plot of Digging For Fire, but that’s not really what a movie like this is about. If the chemistry between the actors is good, and this cast has a lot of very talented actors, then the movie works. If not, then it probably wont. I don’t want to sound like I see the world in black-and-white, but I think that applies in this situation.
Movies Releasing 8/28
We are Your Friends
My thoughts: My favorite part about this movie is the collective groan the internet let out when the first trailer came out. This just isn’t a movie for a person like me. I don’t listen to EDM music, and the EDM culture in general confuses me. I don’t want to sound harsh, but this movie could actually be really funny, in an unintentional way. It’s just so earnest and serous about its subject matter, which again this movie is about a freaking DJ who wants to be famous. Maybe I’m just being a grumpy old man here.
My thoughts: Nope. Not taking this bait. Next…
Z for Zachariah
My thoughts: A movie whose only three actors are Margot Robbie, Chris Pine and Chiwetel Ejiofor interests me no matter what it’s about. It could be about people waiting in line in a inefficient government building and I’d see it. But a post-apocalyptic thriller? Sign me up. I will admit that when I first glanced at the title of this movie, I thought it was a dramatic interpretation of the documentary Dear Zachary. Then I got sad because Dear Zachary is to this day the saddest thing I have ever seen.
Well, those are a few of the movies coming out this month. If you’re bored, with nothing to do before school starts, I hope this guide helps you in your movie choices.