Monday, August 1, 2016

Top 20 Movies to Look Out For In August (2016)



According to: Cat


20 – Ghost Team (8/12)


Tag Line: Paranormal investigation. No experience necessary.
Production Companies:  Tandem Pictures, Mott Street Pictures, East 2 West Entertainment, Preferred Content
Director:  Oliver Irving
Writers:  Oliver Irving, Peter Warren
Actors:  Jon Heder, David Krumholtz, Justin Long, Melonie Diaz, Amy Sedaris, Paul W. Downs, Tom Schiller., Joel Marsh Garland
Genre:  Comedy
Rated:  PG-13

I have a fascination with the paranormal. I’ve even experienced a few things that could be considered such. Even so, I’ve got a healthy sense of skepticism when it comes to the investigation shows that are running rampant through television these days. 

Some actually try for debunking and look for scientific explanations before crying ‘spirit.’ Others are simply hacks in it for ratings and will do crazy and reckless things for the sake of such – not to mention calling every bug and speck of flotsam in the air ‘orbs.’ I roll my eyes. So much. 

This movie looks to poke a bit of fun at that while taking a bit of a horror twist to the right when the ‘team’ bites off more than they can chew. 

I’m not really a Jon Heder (Monster House, When in Rome, Reality) fan, though he has earned some brownie points with me lately due to his involvement with the cartoon Star vs. the Forces of Evil (2015-). (It’s one of my daughter’s current favorites.) He has his moments, though. I am looking forward to seeing Justin Long (Just Add Water, Drag Me to Hell, Yoga Hosers) in this, though. He really won me over with his early creature feature Jeepers Creepers (2001). 

19 – Morris From America (8/19)


Tag Line: Nothing rhymes with Germany
Production Companies: Beachside Films, Lichtblick Media, INDI Film GmbH, Südwestrundfunk (SWR)
Director: Chad Hartigan
Writer: Chad Hartigan
Actors: Craig Robinson, Carla Juri, Lina Keller, Markees Christmas, Jakub Gierszal, Levin Henning, Patrick Güldenberg, Eva Löbau, Leopn Badenhop, Marie Löschhorn, Josephine Becker, Roger Ditter, Florian Van Stockum
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Rated: R

I’ve been ‘the new kid in school’ before. I can only imagine what being the new kid in an entirely different country is like on top of that. This looks like it will be both a funny and endearing coming of age story with a musical twist. 

Craig Robinson (Fanboys, Shrek Forever After, Sausage Party) can also be counted on for some solid comedy. I think sometimes his work gets a bit underrated. Paired with his young up and coming co-star, I’m hoping that they both get a well-deserved ‘mic-drop’ with this film.

18 – Hell or High Water (8/12)


Tag Line: Blood always follows money.
Production Companies: Film 44, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment
Director: David Mackenzie
Writer: Taylor Sheridan
Actors: Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Katy Mixon, Jeff Bridges, Dale Dickey, Kevin Rankin, Marin Ireland, Melanie Papalia, Gil Birmingham
Genre: Crime, Drama
Rated: R

So this doesn’t seem to be the most original plot in the world, and yet I am still drawn to this movie. 

It goes beyond that Chris Pine (Carriers, This Means War, Into the Woods) looks odd with that haircut and mustache; or even the fact that The Dude, himself, Jeff Bridges (Seabiscuit, Crazy Heart, The Little Prince) is the law side of this crime tale. 

The trailer gave me a sense that this is a bit of a western meets modern darkness and issues balled up with two boys trying to do right by their mama as an underdog tale. 

We all like rooting for the underdogs and the outlaws for a righteous cause, right? Instead of Robin Hood, they’re robbin the banks. (OK I’m going to quit while I’m ahead.)

17 – War Dogs (8/19)


Tag Line: Money, corruption and the American dream.
Production Companies: Green Hat Films, The Mark Gordon Company
Director: Todd Phillips
Writers: Stephen Chin, Todd Phillips, Jason Smilovic, Guy Lawson
Actors: Miles Teller, Bradley Cooper, Ana de Armas, Jonah Hill, Dan Bilzerian, Shaun Toub
Genre: Comedy, Drama, War
Rated: R

This movie looks absolutely ridiculous, and yet somehow slightly awesome at the same time. I’m fascinated that this is apparently based on a true story as well. Frankly, the trailer did have me laughing and I think that comedy is something that everyone needs a bit of right now with all the tension in the world today.

16 – Nine Lives (8/5)


Tag Line: His life just got put on paws.
Production Companies: EuropaCorp, Fundamental Film
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Writers: Matt Allen, Dan Antoniazzi, Gwyn Lurie, Ben Shiffrin, Caleb Wilson
Actors: Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Garner, Robbie Amell, Cheryl Hines, Mark Consuelos, Malina Weissman, Christopher Walken, Talitha Bateman, Teddy Sears, Jay Patterson
Genre: Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Rated: PG

This movie looks like good fluffy fun for the whole family. 

From what I have seen in the trailers, the plot looks a bit like Click (2006) and The Shaggy Dog (2006) were put in a blender with a twist of feline. The laughs should be easy, and while the CGI on the cat will likely be hard to ignore… it’s a good bet for the end of summer before the kids have to go back to school.

Aside from the stars Kevin Spacey (Beyond the Sea, Horrible Bosses, Elvis and Nixon), and Jennifer Garner (The Kingdom, Draft Day, Miracles from Heaven); this cast has a lot more to offer. 

Robbie Amell (Max, X-Files, Code 8) is on board here, and I can’t wait to see what his role is. I always like to support his work – especially after his sci-fi show The Tomorrow People (2013-2014) got cancelled unjustly.  He’s been getting some really quality roles to go alongside the sillier ones lately. Keep your eyes on him. He’s going places. Seriously.

Malina Weissman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Thirsty, Difficult People) has but a small part as the younger self of Supergirl (2015-), so I’m really interested in seeing what she does when a lot of the spotlight is on her. 

Last but definitely not least, there’s Christopher Walken (Kill the Irishman, Seven Psychopaths, One More Time). That man could make reading the care instructions for grass fertilizer interesting. It doesn’t matter how small his part is in a movie – he always makes it stand out. 

We all need more cowbell. 

15 – Natural Selection (8/26)


Tag Line: Survive High School.
Production Company: Modoc Spring
Director: Chad L. Scheifele
Writer: Chad L. Scheifele
Actors: Katherine McNamara, Anthony Michael Hall, Catherine Missal, Amy Carlson, Mason Dye, Esther Zynn, Anthony Del Negro, Tyler Elliot Burke, Anna Friedman, Ryan Munzert, Ryan Boudreau
Genre: Drama
Rated: NR

This is one of those movies that will probably make many uncomfortable, given today’s climate of mass shootings around every corner. 

Sometimes that’s not a bad thing. (Uncomfortability. Definitely not shootings. Those are always bad.)

It’s not capitalizing on such tragedies, or even glorifying such actions. Sometimes we just need to open our eyes more to the people around us. People can be the equivalent of a lit powder keg, depending on their psychological makeup and what has impacted their lives – some have longer fuses than others. Sometimes you can see that fuse burning in time to snuff it out and prevent catastrophe for themselves or others… and sometimes it’s well hidden. 

This looks like a twist on the classic high school drama staple - the new kid in school recipe taken to a different level. 

Did I mention that Anthony Michael Hall (The Breakfast Club, Aftermath, Foxcatcher) is in this? Sold.

14 – Florence Foster Jenkins (8/12)


Tag Line: The inspiring true story of the world's worst singer.
Production Companies: Qwerty Films, Pathé Pictures International, BBC Films
Director: Stephen Frears
Writer: Nicholas Martin
Actors: Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg, Rebecca Ferguson, Nina Arianda, Stanley Townsend, Allan Corduner, Christian McKay, David Haig, John Sessions
Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama
Rated: PG-13

Having money certainly helps in fulfilling lifelong dreams. There’s also something to be said for never giving up, even if you are poorly equipped to accomplish what you’re really passionate about. Hallmark card ideology aside, this movie looks like a fun ride for a biopic. 

Meryl Streep (Lions for Lambs, The Iron Lady, Suffragette) can always be counted on for an excellent performance. She looks to deliver this role with grace and respect for her subject while embracing the humor of it all. 

Hugh Grant (Music and Lyrics, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) comes across quite endearing in the trailer, as well. I’m interested in seeing more of the role Rebecca Ferguson (Drowning Ghost, The White Queen, Despite Falling Snow) has in this movie. I’m going to have to watch the trailer again. 

But seriously – we all have that one friend that loves to sing but can’t. Imagine they found a way to a packed Carnegie Hall by chance. 

13 – The Remains (8/5)


Tag Line: Evil comes to play.
Production Companies: Diablo Entertainment, EBF Productions
Director: Thomas Della Bella
Writer: Thomas Della Bella
Actors: Todd Lowe, Nikki Hahn, Lisa Brenner, Brooke Butler, Samuel Larsen, Ashley Crow, Maria Olsen, Hannah Nordberg, Tava Smiley, Dash Williams, Jenni Blong
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rated: NR

Truth be told, I’ve missed seeing Todd Lowe’s (Redline, 50 to 1, True Blood) scruffy face on the screen.

Aside from that, this movie seems to be adding a new element to the recipe of ‘family moves into huge beautiful old house that ends up being haunted.’ I can’t say that I’ve seen a creepy replica dollhouse utilized in such a way before. I’m curious as to how that fits into the puzzle. 

12 – Let's Be Evil (8/5)


Tag Lines: Evil see. Evil do.
Production Companies: Let's Be Evil, Posterity Pictures
Director: Martin Owen
Writers: Elizabeth Morris, Martin Owen, Jonathan Willis
Actors: Jamie Bernadette, Kara Tointon, Elliot James Langridge, Isabelle Allen, Martin Owen, Helene Wilson, Elizabeth Morris, Paul Casar, Jonathan Willis
Genre: Thriller
Rated: NR

Augmented reality is all the rage right now. It’s a blend between virtual reality, where the landscape you see is entirely digitally created, and the real world. From Google Glass to mobile game sensation Pokémon Go, there are many applications for a digital layer adding to the way we perceive and interact with the world. These uses are benign or even helpful – but what if someone were to bend the technology unethically? 

Children’s minds are so impressionable. 

Movies that successfully utilize children to amp up the creep factor are both disturbing and brilliant. (Children of the Corn (1984) anyone?)

11 – Sun Choke (8/5)


Tag Line: There are a lot of ways that this world can hurt you.
Production Companies: Lodger Films, Easy Open Productions
Director: Ben Cresciman
Writer: Ben Cresciman
Actors: Christina Amber, Derek Bevil, Jim Boeven, Barbara Crampton, Sarah Hagan, Evan Jones, Sara Malakul Lane, Riley Litman, William Nicol
Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller
Rated: NR

The trailer for this movie disturbed me – quite a bit. 

The ‘invasive’ examinations and holistic remedies that the description of this movie references borderline on madness all on their own. Is it any wonder that the poor young woman that had already suffered a psychotic break is still drowning in the madness? 

As much as the trailer disturbed me, I am also intrigued.


10 – Billionaire Ransom (8/19)

 
Tag Line: Outthink. Outmaneuver. Outlive.
Production Companies: Pinewood Pictures
Director: Jim Gillespie
Writer: Alexander Ignon
Actors: Ed Westwick, Phoebe Tonkin, Jeremy Sumpter, Dominic Sherwood, Elliot Knight, Sebastian Koch, Mark Bonnar, Jolia Ragnarsson, Anna-Louise Plowman, Simon Merrells, Anna Wilson-Jones
Genre: Thriller
Rated: NR

When I watched this trailer, I had the feeling that I’d seen something like this before. Turns out I had. There was a little known movie called Masterminds (1997) with Patrick Stewart (Match, Green Room, Blunt Talk) that had a similar plot. It really was more of Home Alone (1990) at a boarding school. 

This movie, on the other hand, seems to elevate the concept to an interesting new angle. Not only are the ‘kids’ older, but the survivalist boot camp gives it a little more ‘relevance’ with a modern audience. Military school just doesn’t have the same weight as a threat of reform as it used to. Sending a reckless spoiled teen off to a remote island with no social media or other technological outlets? Brilliant. Throw in a generous splash of redemption, and you’ve got a winner.

The casting looks great for this movie, also. Ed Westwick (Chalet Girl, Last Flight, Wicked City), Phoebe Tonkin (The Secret Circle, Bait, The Ever After), Jeremy Sumpter (Soul Surfer, Into the Storm, The Squeeze), and Dominic Sherwood (Not Fade Away, Vampire Academy, Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments) are just some of the names that make this film definitely worth watching. 

9 – Blood Father (8/12)


Tag Line: They left him no choice.
Production Companies: Why Not Productions
Director: Jean-François Richet
Writers: Peter Craig, Andrea Berloff
Actors: Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty, Diego Luna, Michael Parks, William H. Macy, Miguel Sandoval, Dale Dickey, Richard Cabral, Daniel Moncada, Ryan Dorsey, Raoul Max Trujillo
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rated: R

This movie is apparently based on a novel. I’ll admit that I haven’t read it. The concept, itself, looks entertaining. Who doesn’t love a story about a parent protecting their child? Situations where estranged fathers make good also find a bit of a soft spot with me. 

I think that fans of crime dramas with an action flare, such as Sons of Anarchy (2008-2014), might find this one up their alley. (I’m hoping, at least. I LOVED that show and it was excellent. It should have won awards. I don’t make the comparison lightly, and I hope this movie doesn’t make me regret it.)

Is Mel Gibson (Edge of Darkness, The Beaver, Get the Gringo) on a redemption road? Cinematically, perhaps, but personally – let’s just say I am not recommending the movie because he’s a ‘great guy.’ Let’s keep the man-behind-the-curtain out of it and just see if the storytelling matches the hype.

8 – Kubo and the Two Strings (8/19)


Tag Line: The quest begins.
Production Company: Laika Entertainment
Director: Travis Knight
Writers: Marc Haimes, Chris Butler, Shannon Tindle
Actors: Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Ralph Piennes, George Takei, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Brenda Baccaro, Rooney Mara, Matthew McConaughey, Meyrick Murphy, Minae Noji, Alpha Takahashi, Laura Miro, Ken Takemoto
Genre: Action/Adventure, Family, Animated
Rated: PG

I think that the short description posted to this movie’s official Facebook page just about sums it up: “This August, the fate of the world lies in the hands of a boy, the paws of a monkey, and the armored fists of an oversized man-bug.”

Now pair the voice of Charlize Theron (Hancock, Dark Places, The Last Face) with the monkey; Matthew McConaughey (The Paperboy, True Detective, The Sea of Trees) with the man-bug, Beetle; and Art Parkinson (The Anomaly, Dracula Untold, Game of Thrones) with the title hero who, in the trailer, learns to shoot a bow and arrow. George Takei (Heroes, Money Fight, Entourage) even voices one of the characters.

The meta level of the dot-connecting here is high enough to watch the movie for that reason alone. I swear if Kubo has to run from arrows or if Beetle says ‘allright allright allright’ I will probably just keel over. (Though after our last comedy special we reviewed, that particular triple-worded phrase sounds a bit different in my head.)

But shenanigan thoughts aside, this movie really looks like it’s going to be a real gem. I love the fact that the protagonist uses a special musical instrument just as much as the comedic elements in the movie. There’s something profound under the surface of this animated movie in the young boy literally seeking to take up the mantle of his father and carry on his legacy.

This movie would normally have been much higher on my list, but there were just too many to juggle at the top this time around.

7 – Ben-Hur (8/19)

  
Tag Line: First to finish. Last to die.
Production Companies: Film Production Consultants, LightWorkers Media, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Paramount Pictures, Sean Daniel Company
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Writers: Lew Wallace, Keith R. Clarke, John Ridley
Actors: Morgan Freeman, Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, Nazanin Boniadi, Ayelet Zurer, Sofia Black-D'Elia, Haluk Bilginer, Pilou Asbæk, Marwan Kenzari, Rodrigo Santoro, Moises Arias, Yasen Atour, David Walmsley, James Cosmo, Julian Kostov
Genre: Adventure, Drama, History
Rated: PG-13

It seems like the desire to retell the classics has come to this story once more. I think there was a TV mini-series that re-spun this tale within the last few years. I didn’t watch it, though. 

I think I watched the original Charlton Heston (Planet of the Apes, Midway, Cats & Dogs) movie from 1959; but sometimes a lot of his movies run together for me these days. I watched them years and years ago.

From what I’ve seen in the trailer, and the cast attached to this movie, it actually looks like they’re really doing this remake justice. I mean come-on. Morgan Freeman (The Bucket List, RED, The Lego Movie) plays the title character’s mentor. That got my attention immediately. 

For fans of the sword and sandal genre, as well as good old fashioned historical drama (no pun intended), this movie certainly should be on your must-see list.

6 – Don't Breathe (8/26)


Tag Line:  This house looked like an easy target. Until they found what was inside.
Production Companies:  Ghost House Pictures, Good Universe, Screen Gems, Stage 6 Films
Director: Fede Alvarez
Writers: Fede Alvarez, Rodo Sayagues
Actors: Jane Levy, Stephen Lang, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto, Sergej Onopko, Jane May Graves, Katia Bokor, Emma Bercovici
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rated: R

Talk about falling in with the wrong crowd. I seriously worry for the survival of Jane Levy’s (Evil Dead, Suburgatory, Frank and Cindy) character and those with her when they break into the home of the blind man. I guess they forgot that blindness tends to make all your other senses sharper.

Stephen Lang (The Girl on the Train, The Monkey's Paw, Into the Badlands) is excellent at playing a hard case. He is seriously creepy in the trailers for this movie. This movie eerily proves that evil doesn’t have to see you to hurt you. 

This is one horror thrill ride that will have some jump scares, surely, but the heart-pounding moments will likely stem from some genuine dread and suspense. 

5 – The Hollars (8/12)


Tag Line: None Available
Production Companies: Sycamore Pictures, Groundswell Productions, Fancy Film Post Services, Sunday Night
Director: John Krasinski
Writer: James C. Strouse
Actors: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Anna Kendrick, John Krasinski, Sharlto Copley, Charlie Day, Margo Martindale, Richard Jenkins, Mary Kay Place, Josh Groban
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rated: PG-13

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this family drama with a heavy dose of comedy looks like a masterpiece. Just from the trailer, I found myself relating to this family. I really want to see how this one turns out – and I have a serious feeling that there will be some tears by the time it’s over.

4 – Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV (8/19)


Tag Line: Every saga has a beginning.
Production Companies: Square Enix Company, Square USA
Director: Takeshi Nozue
Writer: Takashi Hasegawa
Actors: Aaron Paul, Lena Headey, Sean Bean, Adrian Bouchet, Liam Mulvey, Andrea Tivadar, Greg Blackford, Edward Saxby
Genre: Adventure, Animation, Drama
Rated: PG-13

The graphics for this movie are absolutely stunning. There were times during the trailer that I forgot that I was watching CGI. Of course, this is a bit to be expected from the folks at Square Enix. Each of their animated movies have been visually incredible, and actually have good substance to them.
This movie is no exception. 

I am just hoping that the game release that follows will be cross-platform so that it can be played on my old X-box 360. I have a feeling that I’m really going to want to know what happens next, and the games are even a cinematic experience all their own.

3 – Pete's Dragon (8/12)

   
Tag Line: Some secrets are too big to keep.
Production Company: Walt Disney Productions
Director: David Lowery
Writers: David Lowery, Toby Halbrooks, Malcolm Marmorstein, Seton I. Miller, S.S. Field
Actors: John Kassir, Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Oakes Fegley, Oona Laurence, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Marcus Henderson, Aaron Jackson, Phil Grieve
Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Rated: PG

I grew up with the Mickey Rooney (Night at the Museum, Lost Stallions: The Journey Home, The Woods) version of this movie from 1977. When I heard that they were doing a remake, I was really skeptical. 

I don’t know if I want them to mess with one of my childhood favorites. 

After watching the trailer, I can say that I am optimistic about this movie. It seems to be taking an entirely different spin on the story of a boy and his dragon. I also find it interesting that Eliott is furry instead of scaly. It looks like a great family movie to introduce a whole new generation to this story of friendship. 

2 – Mechanic: Resurrection (8/26)


Tag Lines: They hired him. They betrayed him. They'll pay.
Production Companies: Chartoff-Winkler Productions, Davis-Films, ME2 Productions, Millennium Films
Director: Dennis Gansel
Writers: Philip Shelby, Tony Mosher, Lewis John Carlino, Rachel Long, Brian Pittman
Actors: Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Tommy Lee Jones, Michelle Yeoh, Natalie Burn, Yayaying Rhatha Phongam, Sam Hazeldine, John Cenatiempo
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Rated: R

My primary reason for recommending this movie, you ask? Jason Statham (Crank, Death Race, Wild Card) is my answer. 

The man is a real badass. Not only is he well versed in mixed martial arts and performs the majority of his own stunts, he also spent 12 years on the British National Diving Team and was ranked 12th in the world at one point. He was even inducted into the International Sports Hall of Fame in 2014. 

Badass.

There’s one point in the trailer you see him diving off of a cliff. I bet you anything he really did that. 

I have really enjoyed his action movies over the years. He gives this suave grace to his characters while effortlessly projecting the ‘don’t mess with me’ vibe. Pair that with his deadpan dry sarcasm and it’s worth the ticket price every time. 

Of course, he’s not alone in the movie. The fact that Tommy Lee Jones (In the Valley of Elah, Hope Springs, Lincoln) and Jessica Alba (Awake, Machete, The Veil) also play significant roles is just icing on the cake.

1 – Suicide Squad (8/5)
 


Tag Line: We need them bad.
Production Companies: Atlas Entertainment, DC Comics, DC Entertainment, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, Lin Pictures, Warner Bros.
Director: David Ayer
Writers: David Ayer, John Ostrander
Actors: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Jared Leto, Ted Whitall, David Harbour, Robin Atkin Downes, Shailyn Pierre-Dixon, James McGowan, Jim Parrack, Common, Jai Courtney, Ezra Miller, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Cara Delevingne, Joel Kinnaman, Scott Eastwood, Kevin Vance, Tyler Grey, Alex Meraz, Adam Beach, Karen Fukuhara,  Kenneth Choi, Ben Affleck
Genre: Action, Crime, Fantasy
Rated: PG-13

How could this not be at the top of the list? Impossible. Done. Do I really need to explain all of the reasons why this movie is a blockbuster must-see this summer? 

If nothing else, I’ve GOT to see Jared Leto (Highway, Lord of War, Mr. Nobody) as The Joker. I don’t even care that he looks different than the traditional representations of that character. 

The man was so method, he freaked out the other cast members during filming.

There are so many other notable cast members and things to make the collective comic book geekdom squee. Just watch the movie.
Movies to Look out For
According to: Selina

Amateur Night - 20
Morris from America - 19
Nine Lives - 18
Ghost Team - 17
Blood Father - 16
Anthropoid - 15
Sun Choke - 14
Kubo and the Two Strings - 13
Mechanic: Resurrection - 12
The Hollars - 11
Florence Foster Jenkins - 10
Imperium - 9
War Dogs - 8
Let's Be Evil - 7
Pete's Dragon - 6
Ben-Hur - 5
Don't Breathe - 4
Billionaire Ransom - 3
Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV - 2
Suicide Squad - 1


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