August traditionally has been kind of the anti-climax of the summer movie season. Before Guardians of the Galaxy came out, two years ago, studios seemed content to let the month wind down and segue into Oscar season where maybe they’d put out an action film or two. This year, however, August features a a diverse mix of intriguing movies from superhero blockbusters to remakes of classics, Oscar bait, small character driven indie pictures, you name it. Here are ten of this August’s biggest releases:
Suicide Squad-This could potentially be the summer’s biggest movie- superhero genre, Will Smith, a unique perspective. The marketing campaign for it has been interesting and-only time will tell, but I’ll wager-effective. They’ve revealed little to nothing about the plot. Who’s the film’s main antagonist? What role is the Joker playing? Do the baddies have a soft side? The tone the filmmakers are going for is also still a mystery to me. Will this be campy? Dark? The reviews and buzz it generates will matter, but my feeling is a lot of people will see this movie whether it’s good or not.
Sausage Party-I think you can probably guess what kind of film you are getting with this one just by considering the title. Yeah, it’s a Seth Rogen-Evan Goldberg picture, with all the familiar talent. This time it’s animated though, the conceit being that your food has a will of its own. It will probably make me laugh.
The Little Prince-Another attempt to bring Saint-Exupery’s classic fable to the big screen, advanced reviews would indicate that this go round is successful. The plot apparently is mostly original material with Saint-Exupery’s story mixing in. The voice talent is considerable: James Franco, Marion Cotillard, Jeff Bridges, Paul Giamatti, and Benicio Del Toro among others.
Florence Foster Jenkins-Meryl Streep will likely nab her 20th Oscar nomination for her role as the titular Jenkins, an heiress with a horrendous singing voice pursuing a career as an opera singer with the help of her husband, played by Hugh Grant. Light-hearted fare, should be entertaining.
Pete’s Dragon-Remake of a film I doubt many people have seen. Will nostalgia play any role in its viewing? Do kids still want to watch monsters that are friendly and not destructive? With Robert Redford starring, I’m predicting solid entertainment a little too old-fashioned for its core audience.
Blood Father-Mel Gibson returns to the action genre. The days of a hit Gibson action movie are long past but reviews are strong and I’m a fan.
War Dogs- From the director of The Hangover trilogy, and starring Jonah Hill and Miles Teller, this film takes a comedic look at two war profiteers in danger while working in Afghanistan. The trailers weren’t that compelling. It’s looking mediocre at this point.
Kubo and the Two Strings- Set in ancient Japan with a full roster of gods and monsters, the artists at Studio Laika are clearly striving for something different. As an admirer of gorgeous animation and martial arts films, I’m excited for this movie.
Ben Hur- A fourth adaptation of the famous Lew Wallace novel seems pointless. William Wyler and Charlton Heston’s Best Picture winning 1959 version still looks great, and Cecil B. Demille’s silent version is considered a masterpiece. The producers are calling this a “reimagining” with the character of Jesus playing a much bigger role. Biblical epics are starting to be revived but the last crop (Noah, Exodus) weren’t very good.
Hell or High Water- An indie darling that hit it big at Cannes, this modern day western stars Chris Pine, Ben Foster, and Jeff Bridges in an intense game of cops and robbers, cat and mouse. Rave reviews so far.