Last month of summer movies, and we’re finishing with one of the best—Edgar Wright’s The World’s End—one of the few originals, Elysium, and one of the most promising sequels, Kick-Ass 2. There’s also a bunch of random Wednesday releases this month.
Alternate title: 2 Men Who Are Very Secure in Their Manhoods, No Seriously, We’re Not Compensating for Anything.
Don’t support this asshole. Just don’t.
How this movie doesn’t star the Hemsworth brothers I will never understand.
This is a sci-fi flick about a mission to Jupiter’s moon, Europa, done in a documentary style. It’s gotten decent reviews and seems particularly On Demand-friendly (i.e.: entertaining enough but not worth the trip to the theater). Co-stars Sharlto Copley, who is always enjoyable.
Limited, On Demand
The Spectacular Now
James Ponsoldt’s last film was Smashed, a solid film featuring stellar performances from Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World). On the surface, The Spectacular Now seems less emotionally upsetting, as it’s a coming-of-age tale about a high school delinquent (Miles Teller, Rabbit Hole) who falls for a nice girl (Shailene Woodley). I don’t know, though—Ponsoldt ran directly at the dark, difficult themes of Smashed, and I wonder if The Spectacular Now might have some hidden emotional pot holes. But the reviews have been super good, so I’m totally going to risk it.
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Given that Percy Jackson was one of the worst movies I’ve seen in recent memory and that the box office wasn’t great, I wondered why Fox went ahead with a sequel. Then I saw the trailer and it all made sense.
Because fuck you, that’s why.
We’re the Millers
After seeing Blackfish, that part in the trailer where the orca eats the seal has taken on a new, darker meaning.
Also this movie sucks.
Neill Blomkamp follows up District 9 with Elysium, starring Matt Damon, Jodie Foster and Sharlto Copley, with bonus Diego Luna. It’s about a future in which all the rich people live on a space station with no poverty or sickness while everyone else struggles on shitty, disease-ridden Earth. I’ve heard some people theorize that the reason all the villains these days seem to be rich white people is because Hollywood doesn’t want to offend any ethnic/racial groups, but I don’t know. I think everybody just really hates rich white people.
I Give it a Year
Have not heard good things about this British comedy starring Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids, Damages) and Rafe Spall (Prometheus). It’s about a couple who hits the skids the second they say “I do”, which is the most original idea for a romantic comedy ever.
Limited, On Demand
In a World…
Lake Bell (Children’s Hospital) wrote and directed this movie about a woman who aspires to be a voice over actor, and whose father is a Don Lafontaine-esque Movie Trailer Voice Guy. I’m not as big on Lake Bell as some people, mainly because for as much as everyone keeps insisting she’s a comedy girl, I never find her that funny. Maybe she’s better at being a filmmaker. I’m sure I’ll find out in 4-6 months on Netflix.
Speaking of trailer voices, when was the last time you saw a trailer with a voice over?
Amanda Seyfreid stars as 1970’s porn star Linda Lovelace in a biopic that was initially meant to have some Oscar cache. But since it’s coming out in August, I’m going to go ahead and assume it’s not quite up to snuff.
Cars is the least charming movie by Pixar, and Planes is its even less charming cousin, produced not by Pixar but by their similarly charmless parent company, Disney.
Starring the ever-likable Paul Rudd and that massive tool Emile Hirsch, Prince Avalanche got strong reviews at Sundance, particularly for Rudd. David Gordon Green returns to his character-driven roots after spending years making comedies like Pineapple Express (and then Your Highness and The Sitter, but those NEVER HAPPENED) and working on Eastbound and Down. Prince Avalanche is largely a two-hander about a couple of guys working on a road, and it does look good, but more Netflix-good than theater-good.
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
Another Sundance film, and I can’t figure out why it’s coming out in August and not even one month later, in award season proper. There is a lot of admiration for this film, starring Rooney Mara, Ben Foster and Casey Affleck. The only complaints I’ve heard is that it’s slow and derivative of Terrence Malick—seems like those two things pretty much go hand in hand—so either it’s really just too derivative or it’s that distributor IFC Films has zero Oscar game. Probably at least a little bit the latter.
I want to support this movie because I like Jane Austen, Bret McKenzie and Keri Russell, and the book was cute, but it’s produced by Stephenie Meyer and ugh. It’s got decent reviews, and I’m choosing to focus on the “produced, written and directed by women” part, rather than the “brought to you by Stephenie Meyer, she of no taste” part.
This is blatant Oscar baiting and I’m going to be the asshole who says it—this looks like a cheap Lifetime movie of the week.
Starring Ashton Kutcher as Computer Jesus.
Bonus gratuitous shirtless Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
This is an actual movie.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
Warning: Contains incest.
Wong Kar Wai’s long-awaited epic biopic of Ip Man, the Kung Fu master who taught Bruce Lee comes out at last. It’s a little uneven, being too long and at times off pace, but it is GORGEOUS. If you’re even remotely into Kung Fu movies you should definitely take the time to find it. And if you’re not into Kung Fu movies, it’s still worth watching. It’s beautiful and well-acted and the pacing issue never overcomes the narrative. The action is explosive but the story being told in between is interesting, too. This is a beautiful film from a master filmmaker.
Short Term 12
Brie Larson (21 Jump Street, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) stars in writer/director Destin Cretton’s feature film adapted from his own short of the same title. It got strong reviews at SXSW, with a lot of praise going toward Larson, who’s been steadily building momentum in the indie scene. Could be her break-out piece, but I suspect The Spectacular Now, which she is also in, will still be dominating the art house landscape at the end of the month.
The World’s End
Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright close out their “Cornetto trilogy” by parodying alien invasion movies. Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz set the bar really fucking high, but reviews have been pretty great. I can’t wait for this one.
Another home invasion horror movie, this time set during a family reunion. The Conjuring used up my allotted tolerance for horror movies until the annual Halloween schlock splurge. Pass.
I can’t deal with Rebecca Hall. I’m still not over Lay the Favorite. Which, if you don’t know, is one of the all-time worst movies I’ve ever seen. EVER. And she was TERRIBLE in it.
It’s cute, nothing groundbreaking. Come for the Anna Kendrick, stay for the Nick Miller Jake Johnson. Definitely an on demand pick.
Limited, On Demand
Ethan Hawke now stars in Selena Gomez movies. Or, Selena Gomez is now starring in an Ethan Hawke movie. Either way, this is a straight up bizarre bit of casting.
One Direction: This is Us
Inexplicably, this is directed by documentarian Morgan Spurlock.