Summer Movie Preview: August 2015

August 7

Cop Car

A group of punk kids steal a sheriff’s car and he then pursues them like a lunatic. Looks awesome.

Limited/VOD

Dark Places

After the success of Gone Girl, you would think an adaptation of a Gillian Flynn book would get more fanfare than this movie has, which ought to tell you a lot about this movie.

Limited/VOD

The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Marielle Heller’s adaptation of Phoebe Gloeckner’s novel about a teenage girl having an affair with her mother’s boyfriend and her sexual awakening. So…Fish Tank, but less predatory?

Limited

Fantastic Four

No one had great expectations, and so far, reviews have been brutal. The most generous thing to be said about Fantastic Four’s dark and gritty reboot is that director Josh Trank started with a good idea for doing a superhero movie in the vein of sci-fi body horror. …And then it went horribly awry.

The Gift

This looks like a cheapo horror dashed off quickly and for paycheck purposes, but people are saying it’s actually a really good, surprisingly thematic thriller. Also one you probably don’t want to know too much about, which may explain the lackluster trailers—they’re trying not to spoil some aspect of the movie in advertising.

The Prophet

Salma Hayek is a big part of getting this adaptation of Khalil Gibran’s novel, done in animated segments by different directors, to the big screen. It looks like a trip, not unlike Gibran’s book, and ought to play well to the arthouse crowd.

Limited

Ricki and the Flash

Director Jonathan Demme and screenwriter Diablo Cody collaborate with Meryl Streep to give Streep’s daughter, Mamie Gummer, a big movie role. Actually, that’s not fair, as Gummer has done good work on stuff like The Good Wife and the short lived but super charming Emily Owens, M.D. It’s just hard to see this and not call nepotism.

Shaun the Sheep

From Aardman Studios, home of Wallace and Gromit and makers of one of my favorite kids’ movies in recent memory, The Pirates! In and Adventure with Scientists. Shaun the Sheep looks witty and adorable, and will undoubtedly crash and burn here in the US, where Aardman has no presence or cache with audiences. It’s too bad, they make wonderful movies.

August 14

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

The increasing dourness of the Bond franchise has opened the door for more light-hearted spy adventures, which is the niche this adaptation of the 1960s TV show, directed by Guy Ritchie, hopes to fill. Starring Superman and the Winklevii, it looks pretty good, but Kingsman: The Secret Service already covered this ground earlier this year.

Mistress America

Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach re-team for Mistress America, about a charmingly disheveled hipster/New York chick who gets into wacky hijinks with a more straight-laced compatriot.

…I’m probably the only person that this schtick isn’t working on. I enjoy Baumbach’s earlier work, but his movies with Gerwig, no matter how winsome she may be—and honestly, I don’t find her that winsome—feel increasingly the same.

Limited

Straight Outta Compton

Whoever’s decision it was to buy ad space for this movie during the Republican presidential debate is a goddamned GENIUS.

August 21

American Ultra

Can’t wait for this one. Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg are fantastic on screen together, and this looks super funny. I’m a little leery because 30 Minutes or Less looked similarly promising and didn’t really deliver, but while they’re striking the same tone, Ultra has a different creative team, most notably Chronicle writer Max Landis. Hopefully Ultra can succeed where 30 Minutes didn’t.

Grandma

Lily Tomlin stars as the titular grandma, a crotchety old lady—aka THE BEST KIND of old lady—who has to spend a day with her truculent teenaged granddaughter. It got stellar reviews at Sundance earlier this year, and is Tomlin’s first star vehicle since the 1980s. Sold.

Limited

Hitman: Agent 47

Ugh, who even wants this?

Sinister 2

This would’ve been better off in February/March or September/October. It’s going to get crushed in August, but then, maybe that’s the point. No one expects anything of it, so no one will be surprised when it doesn’t move the needle.

August 26

No Escape

The part where Owen Wilson chucks his kid off a roof makes me laugh. Probably not the desired reaction.

August 28

We Are Your Friends

Zac Efron stars in a coming of age tale about a would-be EDM DJ because that’s a thing now.

Z for Zachariah

Another Sundance stand-out, this is pretty much just three people in the woods for two hours. But those three people are Margot Robbie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Chris “The music’s gone” Pine, which is a compelling cast, and the story, about the lone survivors of an apocalypse, looks tense. Not really surprised to see this ended up on a specialty release platform, because despite the star power of the cast, it’s firmly in “pay attention” dramatic territory, which is pretty much all it takes to disqualify a movie from wide release these days.

Limited/VOD

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One thought on “Summer Movie Preview: August 2015

  1. Agent K

    I really want to see the Man From UNCLE…

    ….

    …Yeah that’s all I have (yikes), but I will catch Z for Zachariah VOD.

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