Friday, July 30, 2021

Top 20 Movies to Look Out For In August (2021)

According to: Selina

20 – The Kissing Booth 3 (8/11)

Production/Distribution: Clearblack Films, Komixx Entertainment, Picture Loom, Netflix
Director: Vince Marcello
Writer: Beth Reekles, Vince Marcello, Jay S. Arnold
Actors: Joey King, Joel Courtney, Jacob Elordi, Molly Ringwald, Taylor Zakhar Perez, Maisie Richardson-Sellers, Meganne Young, Stephen Jennings, Carson White, Morné Visser, Bianca Bosch, Camilla Wolfson, Zandile Madliwa, Judd Krok, Sandy Shandu, Hilton Pelser, Frances Sholt-Douglas, Evan Hengst, Joshua Daniel Eady, Trent Rowe, Michelle Allen, Nathan Lynn, Byron Langley, Chloe Williams, Cameron Scott, Bianca Amato, Caitlyn de Abrue, Juliet Blacher
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Rated: TV-14
Length: 112 minutes
IMDb Blurb: It's the summer before Elle Evans is set to head off to college, and she has a big decision to make.
I’ll admit, The Kissing Booth 3 really only made my list because I know how much the younger generation is looking forward to it. I, however, have some issues.
I enjoyed the first movie. It was interesting, it subverted expectations, it kept the characters from being Mary-Sues. It had its issues, but it still stood out. The sequel, however, took no chances what-so-ever and felt like a cut and paste recipe of all the other teen rom-coms out there. It took every easy path there was – except one.
At least there was some resolution, right?
The trailer for The Kissing Booth 3 makes it look like nothing got resolved at all. There’s still a love triangle. There’s still the same jealousies. There’s still the choice between colleges. It makes me think there’s no point for this last flick at all.
Still, I’ve seen a ton of anticipation for The Kissing Booth 3 from teens, and I can’t ignore that. Maybe there’s something in these movies that I don’t personally get. They’re not made for me anyway.
That said, I will be annoyed if they break their streak and cause the main character and her best friend to become romantically involved. My favorite thing about the other films is that they show a male/female friendship with no romantic tension at all. It’s the one thing that’s remained unique and superior. I really hope they keep that. Expect me to judge the film harshly if it doesn’t.
19 – Teddy (8/5)

Production/Distribution: Baxter Films, Les Films Velvet, Canal+, Ciné+, WTFilms, Indéfilms 8, SofiTVciné 7, Région Occitanie/Pyrénées-Méditerranée, Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée (CNC), Société des Producteurs de Cinéma et de Télévision, The Jokers, Cine Canibal
Director: Ludovic Boukherma, Zoran Boukherma
Writer: Ludovic Boukherma, Zoran Boukherma
Actors: Anthony Bajon, Christine Gautier, Ludovic Torrent, Guillaume Mattera, Jean-Michel Ricart, Alain Boitel, Noémie Lvovsky
Genre: Horror
Rated: Unrated
Length: 88 minutes
IMDb Blurb: In a rural French town, twenty-something Teddy is scratched by an unknown beast and slowly undergoes frightening changes.
Teddy is a French-language film coming out on Shudder this August.
I have to note that the trailer does leave something to be desired. I’m not entirely sure how high the quality will be.
Still… werewolves.
I’ve talked about my love of garou lore in the past. It’s very rare for a werewolf film to not catch my eye.
The big question I have, though, doesn’t revolve around quality. I can enjoy a ‘bad’ film – depending on the content. What would bother me is if they go the absolute basic route with the subject.
Very often, we see the werewolf transitions used as a metaphor for abuse in movies. I’m not a fan of that usage. It indicates that the abuser has no control over their actions, and that’s wrong. I disagree with the philosophy of it, so of course I disagree with the trope as well. Any film that utilizes this plot, is going to have a hard time winning me over.
I’m really hoping that they either use another underlying metaphor (puberty is an acceptable one), or just delve into the horror aspects. Either way, I’m still going to watch it.
18 – Infinitum: Subject Unknown (8/6)

Production/Distribution: Fizz and Ginger Films, Gravitas Ventures, Blue Finch Films Releasing, High Octane Pictures
Director: Matthew Butler-Hart
Writer: Matthew Butler-Hart, Tori Butler-Hart
Actors: Tori Butler- Hart, Ian McKellen, Conleth Hill, Wendy Muir Hart, Chris Hart, Holly Dale Spencer, Ben Lee, Graham Butler
Genre: Mystery, Sci-Fi
Rated: Unrated
Length: 86 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A mind-bending slice of British science fiction, with cameos from Sir Ian McKellen and Conleth Hill. Jane (Tori Butler-Hart) is trapped in a parallel universe and is forced to find a way to alter her reality before it is too late.
Infinitum: Subject Unknown looks unbelievably cool. The keyword there being: unbelievably.
Normally, something like this would be significantly higher on my list, but there’s something keeping me from moving this one up.
Writer/director Matthew Butler-Hart (Two Down, E’gad Zombies!, The Isle) admitted, in an interview with British GQ, that Infinitum: Subject Unknown was created as an experiment to test the limits of recording on an iPhone. He concentrated so much on the visual aspects that he opted not to put as much effort into the screenwriting.
That makes me uncomfortable putting it any higher than this.
The trailer absolutely shows that it is visually stunning. I doubt there will be much error in what the movie shows… but without the backup of good writing, it’s likely to not be enough.
Success of a movie is based on the harmony of all its parts. Certainly, one could succeed with one or more of those parts not turning out quite as expected, but to intentionally ignore a huge aspect such as the actual writing, handicaps it.
I’m hoping it’s not as bad as that interview leads me to believe, because the trailer does look exceptional.
17 – The Last Bus (8/27 – UK/Ireland)

Production/Distribution: Hurricane Films, Head Gear Films, Metrol Technology, Kreo Films FZ, DeAPlaneta, Filmcoopi Zürich, Gravel Road Distribution Group, Gravel Road Entertainment Group, LDH Japan, MK2 Mile End, Odeon, Parkland Entertainment, Roadshow Entertainment Video
Director: Gillies MacKinnon
Writer: Joe Ainsworth
Actors: Phyllis Logan, Timothy Spall, Grace Calder, Celyn Jones, Brian Pettifer, Marnie Baxter, Kevin Mains, Iain Robertson, Colin McCredie, Garry Sweeney, Anne Kidd, Matt Costello, Sheila Grier, Olivia Fenton, Saskia Ashdown, Maryam Hamidi, Steven Duffy, Ciaron Kelly, Marianne McIvor, Michael Monroe, Ben Ewing, Keith Warwick, Natalie Mitson, Manjot Sumal
Genre: Drama
Rated: Unrated
Length: 86 minutes
IMDb Blurb: An old man crosses the country just using local buses.
I couldn’t help but think of Up (2009) while I was watching the trailer for The Last Bus. Anyone who’s seen Up understands the heartbreaking nature of the old man’s storyline. The same points are met in this film. The protagonist loses his wife and sets out to fulfill a dream of theirs that they were unable to complete together.
The thought is humbling, and incredibly touching.
The problem I have with it is personal. The trailer makes it seem like the film will be outstanding. However, it requires the audience to believe the world is full of people who would help this man.
If you’re a reader of Trust the Dice, then you know I’m the cynical type. I don’t believe there’s good in this world unless you put it there. I’ve had that frame of thought since I was in high school. Asking me to believe that there’s a whole country of people who would aid a single old man trying to fulfill a dream is the same as trying to convince me there’s a blessing of unicorns living in Prospect Park shitting hamburgers. It’s just not something I’m capable of.
That means that The Last Bus is a practice in suspension of disbelief for me, that will be very difficult for me to accomplish.
Still, I couldn’t ignore it. The trailer does look great.
Who knows? Maybe it will change my mind.
16 – CODA (8/13)
Production/Distribution: Vendome Pictures, Pathé Films, Picture Perfect Federation, Apple TV+, British Film Institute (BFI)
Director: Sian Heder
Writer: Sian Heder
Actors: Emilia Jones, Troy Kotsur, Daniel Durant, John Fiore, Lonnie Farmer, Kevin Chapman, Amy Forsyth, Courtland Jones, Molly Beth Thomas, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo
Genre: Drama, Music
Rated: PG-13
Length: 111 minutes
IMDb Blurb: As a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) Ruby is the only hearing person in her deaf family. When the family's fishing business is threatened, Ruby finds herself torn between pursuing her love of music and her fear of abandoning her parents.
There are a lot of films about deaf people making their way in the world. A lot more about hearing people who meet deaf people who open their perspective and change their lives. I have never seen a film about a hearing child with a deaf family.
It may seem like a basic redressing of the black sheep trope. (A kid taking a path other than what their family took/wants them to take and having to deal with push back.) The thing that makes it special is that unique physiological aspect.
I’m hoping that CODA doesn’t just go into the main character’s desire to get into music, but the family dynamic as well.
I love films like this that give you an insight into a perspective of someone’s life that no one could truly understand without living it. This movie doesn’t just touch on that, it revolves around it.
It would be higher on my list, but I’m a little nervous.
The trailer makes it seem like the family relies completely on the hearing child, and that they might be ‘useless’ without her. If the movie takes that route, that’s a problem.
The possible issue calls to mind the situation with Sia’s Music (2021). Although I was initially interested in that film because of the autism awareness I thought it would raise, the outcome was devastating. It turned out to show stereotypes that bolster stigma against autism, while promoting harmful, outdated, and even deadly methods of therapy for it.
Now, a lot of the problems with Music stemmed from the fact that the creators didn’t bother to get any input from people with autism. They ignored all the criticism from people in the autism community and failed to take any responsibility for the harm that their movie caused. It was all completely avoidable, if they’d just bothered to check in with the community they were trying to represent.
What gives me hope for CODA is that the creators took note of reality. They didn’t just fall to whatever stereotypes they learned from a quick google search. All the on-set interpreters were actual children of deaf adults. That’s huge. As long as the creators listened to those people, and took their advice, this could wind up being a great, educational, film.
I’m crossing my fingers.
15 – Swan Song (8/6 – Limited, 8/13 – Internet)

Production/Distribution: House of Gemini, Luna Pictures, Ascot Elite Entertainment Group, Icon Productions, Koch Media, Magnolia Pictures, Mongrel Media, NonStop Entertainment, Peccadillo Pictures, Tongariro Releasing
Director: Todd Stephens
Writer: Todd Stephens
Actors: Udo Kier, Jennifer Coolidge, Linda Evans, Michael Urie, Roshon Thomas, Ira Hawkins, Annie Kitral, Tom Bloom, Eric Eisenbrey, Dave Sorboro, Bryant Carroll, Catherine L. Albers, Shanessa Sweeney, Ray Perrin, Shelby Garrett, Jonah Blechman, Stephanie McVay, Thom Hilton, Richard Strauss, Justin Lonesome
Genre: Drama
Rated: Unrated
Length: 105 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A formerly flamboyant hairdresser takes a long walk across a small town to style a dead woman's hair.
Sassy and flamboyant, Udo Kier (Downsizing, The Painted Bird, Bacurau) looks absolutely phenomenal in this role. He’s had a career in acting since 1966. He’s been in everything from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) to the original Suspiria (1977) to the beloved animated series Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated (2010-2013) and still, I almost didn’t recognize him because he embodied his part in this trailer so well that he fully became the character.
Everything feels so playful in Swan Song’s trailer. It presents the feeling of wanting to dance along, travel with the main character, and reinvent yourself with him. It’s difficult to not want to see.
It is labeled a single-genre drama, however, which means we will undoubtedly touch on themes like regret, death, and painful nostalgia. Considering the themes, we may also see parts that delve into ageism or homophobia.
In fact, I’d say it’s almost definite that the main character will wind up, at some point, reminiscing over a time when his flamboyance was bashed instead of treasured.
Swan Song is likely to be fun and tear-jerking.
14 – Descendants: The Royal Wedding (8/13)

Production/Distribution: A 5678 Production, Bad Angels Productions, Disney Television Animation, Final Frontier Entertainment, Disney Channel, Disney+
Director: Salvador Simó
Writer: Josann McGibbon, Sara Parriott, Ricky Roxburgh
Actors: Dove Cameron, Booboo Stewart, Cheyenne Jackson, China Anne McClain, Sofia Carson, Jedidiah Goodacre, Sarah Jeffery, Mitchell Hope, Bobby Moynihan, Anna Cathcart, Melanie Paxson, Dan Payne
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Drama
Rated: Unrated
Length: Unknown
IMDb Blurb: Follow Auradon's epic social event, the marriage between dove Cameron Mal and Mitchell Hope's Ben.
I enjoy the Descendants series. Although it has the camp you’d expect from a Disney Channel production, the songs are always catchy and creative, while the stories don’t feel too typical. Sure, there are a lot of basic teen romance tropes utilized, but the delivery system is different enough that it feels fresh.
It’s almost impossible to not enjoy the series, at least a little bit. Regardless of age.
If everything was as planned for Descendants: The Royal Wedding, it would have been part of the top 10. Unfortunately, I can’t bring myself to put it there.
There’s the obvious issue of Cameron Boyce’s absence. The 20-year-old passed away in July of 2019. As Carlos – the son of Cruella de Vil – he stole the show, on many occasions. I’m having significant trouble picturing a Descendants that he is absent from.
According to interviews, the storyline will acknowledge the absence of Carlos, but I’m uncertain how. There are a lot of ways they could screw it up, and only a few ways to get it right. I’m hoping they show Boyce the honor he deserves.
The other wildcard is that this one is animated. It’s the first in the series to go that route.
When a series moves from live action to animation, there is usually a dip in quality. The style looks pretty good in the trailer, but I don’t know how it will hold up as a full-length film.
I’m keeping my hopes up. I’m interested in seeing the continuation of Mal and Ben’s story. With any luck, it will turn out well.
13 – Daisy Quokka: World’s Scariest Animal (8/13 – UK)

Production/Distribution: Like A Photon Creative, Particular Crowd, Odin's Eye Animation, Screen Australia, Universal Pictures Australia, Front Row Filmed Entertainment, Odin's Eye Animation, Splendid Film, Vertical Entertainment
Director: Ricard Cussó
Writer: Ryan Greaves, Trudy Hellier
Actors: Angourie Rice, Sam Neill, Sharnee Tones, Grant Denyer, Lucy Durack, Frank Woodley, Andrew Cook, Ricard Cussó, Karl Stefanovic, Alison Langdon, Richard Wilkins, Ryan Renshaw
Genre: Animation
Rated: Unrated
Length: 88 minutes
IMDb Blurb: An unbearably adorable, eternally optimistic Quokka named Daisy has an impossible dream - to win the 'World's Scariest Games'.
My daughter is 3-years-old and she communicates fairly well. I started wondering if it’d be a good idea to sit her down and let her watch trailers for the family films that I’d chosen for the top 20, just to get her opinion. Now, she’s not quite quotable yet, but her reactions did make me alter the spots of this, and one other film.
Daisy Quokka: World’s Scariest Animal looked like a cute little film to me, but it didn’t seem all that special. Rosalie, however, is part of their target audience… or at least closer than I am.
When she watched this trailer, her eyes went super-wide and she bounced around laughing the whole time. She kept telling me how cute she thought the quokka character was (with pointing, of course, she didn’t know the word quokka yet). I asked her if she thought it seemed scary at all, and she assured me it didn’t.
This is the kid I can’t get to watch any films without some hardcore negotiating.
Despite her continued insistence that she never be shown a movie, she did say she wanted to see this one. That says a lot more than I can express.
As cute as Daisy Quokka: World’s Scariest Animal seemed to me, it must have seemed even more special to her. I think that’s worth noting.
12 – Demonic (8/20)

Production/Distribution: AGC Studios, Stabiliti Studios, IFC Midnight
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Writer: Neill Blomkamp
Actors: Carly Pope, Terry Chen, Nathalie Boltt, Chris William Martin, Michael J. Rogers, Andrea Agur
Genre: Horror
Rated: R
Length: 104 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A young woman unleashes terrifying demons when supernatural forces at the root of a decades-old rift between mother and daughter are ruthlessly revealed.
Admittedly, the effects in the trailer for Demonic leave much to be desired. Still, there’s so much potential in this film.
It’s got a decent plot, with ideas that I don’t believe I’ve seen explored in other flicks before – at least not in this way. The kind of demonic essence with an Inception (2010) flair that Demonic seems to have going for it is pretty interesting. Since most of the graphically edited parts are likely held in someone’s mind, it could be easy to forgive them as part of what separates reality from dreams.
The concept shown here is something I absolutely believe that writer/director Neill Blomkamp (Chappie, Elysium, District 9) can pull off. Yes, his last full-length feature film was released in 2015 – but we don’t know how long he’s been working on this one. As a result, I can’t consider the gap an issue. Clearly a hell of a lot of thought, and work, went into this.
I have a great deal of faith in Demonic. The parts of the trailer that stand out greatly outweigh the red flags. That said, I can’t ignore that there are some, which is why I can’t put it any higher on my list.
11 – The Night House (8/20)

Production/Distribution: Anton, Phantom Four Films, Searchlight Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Forum Hungary, Karo Premiere, Pathé, Ukrainian Film Distribution (UFD)
Director: David Bruckner
Writer: Ben Collins, Luke Piotrowski
Actors: Rebecca Hall, Sarah Goldberg, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Evan Jonigkeit, Stacy Martin, David Abeles, Christina Jackson, Patrick Klein, Samantha Buck
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 108 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A widow begins to uncover her recently deceased husband's disturbing secrets.
It’s easy to feel the thrills in the coming attractions for The Night House. In fact, I’d say it’s an amazingly edited trailer.
One of the most important jobs a trailer has is to suggest questions the audience should have. It’s very easy to get that wrong. There could wind up being too many questions – which is just confusing, or the trailer could reveal everything – then what’s the point of seeing the film? This one strikes a perfect balance.
I have questions, and I really do care about whether or not I get the answers.
I’ve been seeing this trailer for a few months now, and since the first time I’ve been practically salivating to see it.
Why not put it on my top 10 then?
Horror movies like this that go deep into surreal territory, can often go so far that it becomes off-putting. Vivarium (2019) comes to mind, as an example. Often these films can have outstanding concepts with intriguing trailers that the actual project just can’t live up to.
I’m not saying that’s definitely going to happen here. I think that The Night House will be a decent film.

10 – PAW Patrol: The Movie (8/20)

Production/Distribution: Spin Master Entertainment, Nickelodeon Movies, Paramount Animation, B&H Film Distribution, Elevation Pictures, Paramount Pictures Germany, Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Pictures, Towa Pictures, United International Pictures (UIP), Universal Pictures International, Nickelodeon Network, Paramount+
Director: Cal Brunker
Writer: Bob Barlen, Cal Brunker, Billy Frolick
Actors: Iain Armitage, Will Brisbin, Ron Pardo, Marsai Martin, Yara Shahidi, Kim Kardashian, Randall Park, Dax Shepard, Jimmy Kimmel, Tyler Perry, Lilly Bartlam, Keegan Hedley, Callum Shoniker, Kingsley Marshall, Monique Alvarez, Al Saif Alshad, Eva Olivia
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: G
Length: 88 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Ryder and the pups are called to Adventure City to stop Mayor Humdinger from turning the bustling metropolis into a state of chaos.
PAW Patrol (2013 -) is a constant in my house. My daughter adores the show and it has absolutely taken over my life and I hate it. If I could wish for a movie from any of her favorite shows, it would undoubtedly be Bluey (2018 -). Unfortunately, I got the wrong dogs.
Like with Daisy Quokka: World’s Scariest Animal, I sat down my daughter and let her watch this trailer. She had her hand covering her mouth in supreme glee the entire time. Afterwards, she jumped up and down and tugged on my shirt asking me if she could see it.
My opinion doesn’t matter too much here. As a member of their target audience, Rosie speaks for this top 20.
Despite having a slightly different look, and feel, from the series – PAW Patrol: The Movie still brought out the exact same excitement from my daughter. Clearly, the spirit is the same – even if the city they’re a part of has gotten a major facelift.
The only part that makes me a little curious, is the soundtrack.
I can’t remember a non-Disney kids film that made me as interested in the soundtrack as PAW Patrol: The Movie. It’s rumored that we will see songs from MXPX, Juliana Hatfield, 3OH!3, Alien Ant Farm, We The Kings, Mayday Parade, and Simple Plan. Sure, most of it is pop-punk… but that’s still a lot of punk for a movie that’s rated G. Most films that go with a punk soundtrack are definitely not for kids.
It makes me think there may be some hidden bits and pieces for the adults to enjoy as well.
PAW Patrol: The Movie is coming out on Paramount+. I wasn’t looking forward to getting any new subscriptions, but I think I’ll have to for my daughter’s sake.
9 – Don’t Breathe 2 (8/13)

Production/Distribution: Bad Hombre, Ghost House Pictures, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA), Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), Sony Pictures Releasing Argentina, Sony Pictures Releasing International, Sony Pictures Releasing, United International Pictures (UIP), Universal Pictures International (UPI), Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), Stage 6 Films
Director: Rodo Sayagues
Writer: Fede Alvarez, Rodo Sayagues
Actors: Stephen Lang, Brendan Sexton III, Madelyn Grace, Rocci Williams, Stephanie Arcila, Bobby Schofield, Steffan Rhodri, Diaana Babnicova, Christian Zagia, Adam Young
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 90 minutes
IMDb Blurb: The sequel is set in the years following the initial deadly home invasion, where Norman Nordstrom (Stephen Lang) lives in quiet solace until his past sins catch up to him.
I watched the first Don’t Breathe (2016) the moment I saw that the sequel was coming out next month. Mainly because there’s been some controversy over the trailer.
Many fans of the first film are saying that the trailer for Don’t Breathe 2 retcons some of the first movie. Clearly, I couldn’t speak on that without seeing it first. Since I knew the likely-hood of this flick making my list was high, I wanted to be prepared.
I understand what people are saying… I both agree, and don’t.
(Spoilers for the first Don’t Breathe film)
There are 2 reasons people have been side-eyeing the trailer for Don’t Breathe 2.
The first reason is kind of dumb to me. I’ve heard the argument that there’s no way for the little girl in this movie to exist. Due to the death of his captive, and the escape of the female robber, in the first one – he couldn’t have gotten the daughter he was trying for.
I have a few ideas to combat that.
One of the things to consider is how long after the first one Don’t Breathe 2 takes place. If it’s longer than a decade… he could have just had a kid. If it’s shorter, then we may see some of the story showing him going after the female survivor and stealing her sister. It could even be something as simple as him adopting, or – maybe more likely – kidnapping, a little girl. There are many ways to explain the girl’s existence that have nothing, or little, to do with the events of the first film.
The second issue people are having, I understand a lot more.
The trailer seem to be advertising the blind man as a hero in the sequel. If you’ve seen the first one, you know why that is hard to swallow.
Sure, if Don’t Breathe had just shown him kicking the asses of some teen robbers – even killing them – a face-turn would have been fine. He was protecting himself, and the kids just made a bad choice. That’s not all that happened in the first flick, though.
The blind man has kidnapping and sexual assault in his story. That’s harder to swallow. I don’t know if I can buy a redemption arc for him.
Audiences may be jumping to conclusions, though.
In an interview with Total Film Magazine, writer Fede Álvarez (Calls, Evil Dead, Panic Attack!) has explained that the trailer was made to “fuck with people.” He insists that it’s not so much that they’re advertising him as a hero, but as an anti-villain.
It’s that explanation that allows me to hold out hope for Don’t Breathe 2.
8 – Evangelion: 3.0+1.01 Thrice Upon a Time (8/13)

Production/Distribution: Khara Corporation, Toho Company, Toei Company, Khara Corporation, Amazon Prime Video
Director: Mahiro Maeda, Katsuichi Nakayama, Kazuya Tsurumaki, Hideaki Anno
Writer: Hideaki Anno
Actors: Megumi Hayashibara, Megumi Ogata, Yûko Miyamura, Akira Ishida, Fumihiko Tachiki, Kotono Mituishi, Maaya Sakamoto, Motomu Kiyokawa, Yuriko Yamaguchi, Anri Katshu, Hiro Yûki, Mugihito, Kôichi Yamadera, Koki Uchiyama, Mariya Ise, Miki Nagasawa, Miyuki Sawashiro, Ryûnosuke Kamiki, Takehito Koyasu, Sayaka Ôhara, Tetsuya Iwanaga, Junko Iwao, Tomokazu Seki, Akio Ôtsuka
Genre: Animation, Action, Drama
Rated: Unrated
Length: 154 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Shinji Ikari is still adrift after losing his will to live, but the place he arrives at teaches him what it means to hope. Finally, the Instrumentality Project is set in motion and he will make one last grueling stand to prevent the Final Impact.
I’m opening myself to ridicule by admitting this, but I’ve never seen any of the Evangelion (1995-2021) series or movies. That said, I don’t feel like I have to in order to admire the work that’s been put into Evangelion: 3.0+1.01 Thrice Upon a Time.
Writer/director Hideaki Anno (Cutie Honey: Live Action, Petite Princess Yucie, Ritual) fell into a depression after working on Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo (2012). He believed he was done with the story, and possibly his work altogether.
Anyone who’s ever felt that level of depression knows just how hard it is to not give into it completely. Creativity is usually out of the question until that person can get help, or somehow pull themselves out of it. Sometimes it feels completely impossible to do either of those things.
Four years later, a friend convinced Anno to take part in the Shin Godzilla (2016) project. For a while, Anno pushed back, but he eventually decided to give it a shot. His writing and directing work on that film helped revitalize him, and pull him up out of the hole he’d fallen in.
Evangelion: 3.0+1.01 Thrice Upon a Time has been 9-years in the making. To be made, it has not just required the hard work of a film creation team, but the traversing of insane internal hurdles by Hideaki Anno.
It’s good, too, if the scores out of Japan are to be believed. It’s sitting at an astounding 8.2 on IMDb at the moment. Many critics are foreseeing the possibility that the score will rise after its world-wide internet debut next month. It will be available on Amazon Prime Video.
If you haven’t started the series, the original Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995) is available on Netflix. Avoid the dub if at all possible.
7 – Beckett (8/13)

Production/Distribution: Frenesy Film Company, MeMo Films, Rai Cinema, RT Features, Faliro House Productions, Netflix
Director: Ferdinando Cito Filomarino
Writer: Ferdinando Cito Filomarino, Kevin A. Rice
Actors: John David Washington, Alicia Vikander, Boyd Holbrook, Vicky Krieps, Daphne Alexander, Yorgos Pirpassopoulos, Olga Spyraki, Panos Koronis
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Rated: Unrated
Length: 108 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Following a tragic car accident in Greece, Beckett, an American tourist, finds himself at the center of a dangerous political conspiracy and on the run for his life.
John David Washington (Tenet, Ballers, Monster) is an absolute show-stopper. After his performance in Malcolm & Marie (2021), I’m convinced that he can do literally anything. As an actor, I will follow him to any project he decides to take part in. Even if the movie itself doesn’t live up to expectations, I know his work will be flawless. At the very least it will be worth watching for that reason alone.
The trailer for Beckett, also looks pretty good, though.
There’s pulse-pounding action, political intrigue, a missing girlfriend. I feel like I have a lot of question that I actually want answers to. Beckett is the kind of movie that I’ll want to try and unravel as I’m watching it, before the twists hit.
And, I’ll be surprised if there’s not a twist.
This is the full-length feature film debut for writer Kevin A. Rice. That means there is a little bit of a wild card involved. He’s inexperienced and new.
I do think that we need to give a little leeway in situations like this. I tend to be gentler in my judgment of films with new writers and directors, because I understand that they may just be starting to find their voice. Every one of our favorites started somewhere, after all.
6 – Respect (8/13)

Production/Distribution: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), BRON Studios, Cinesite, Creative Wealth Media Finance, Glickmania, United Artists Releasing, Eagle Pictures, Forum Film Poland, Gulf Film, United International Pictures (UIP), Universal Pictures Argentina, Universal Pictures International (UPI)
Director: Liesl Tommy
Writer: Tracey Scott Wilson, Callie Khouri
Actors: Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker, Audra McDonald, Saycon Sengbloh, Hailey Kilgore, Brenda Nicole Moorer, Marlon Wayans, Marc Maron, Tituss Burgess, Kimberly Scott, LeRoy McClain, Tate Donovan, Albert Jones, Beau Scheier, Myk Watford, David Simpson, Nevaeh Moore, William J. Simmons, Skye Dakota Turner, Kennedy Chanel, Peyton Jackson, Chase Burgess, Mary J. Blige, Gilbert Glenn Brown, Alec Barnes, Aba Arthur, heather Headley, Joshua Mikel, Henry Riggs, Leandra Ryan, Christen Sharice, Zach Strum, M. Jearl Vinot, Lodric D. Collins, Christopher Daniel, Jerel Xavier Alston, Joe Knezevich, Kelvin Hair, Thelma R. Mitchell, Michelle L. Williams
Genre: Biography, Drama, Music
Rated: PG-13
Length: 145 minutes
IMDb Blurb: The life story of legendary R&B singer, Aretha Franklin.
Aretha Franklin (Blues Brothers 2000, The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue, Murphy Brown) is a goddess. No one can compare to her voice. On that idea alone, I’d support a biography about her.
I think it’s important to humanize the legends of our time. So many people look at game-changers like Aretha Franklin and forget that she had her own journey, with her own set-backs and hurdles. Forgetting that can lead people to give up on their own dreams because they feel like the only way to make it is over night.
That’s not the only reason I’m draw to this particular biography, though.
Franklin, herself, had a huge hand in what was done with this movie. Not a lot of people get that kind of say in how their story is told. In fact, she hand-picked Jennifer Hudson (Chi-Raq, Sing, Monster) to play her. I think that means Respect is going to be more honest than other films based on historic figures.
I can’t wait to learn more about the R&B singer I grew up on.
5 – Sweet Girl (8/20)

Production/Distribution: ASAP Entertainment, On The Roam, Pride of Gypsies, Netflix
Director: Brian Andrew Mendoza
Writer: Philip Eisner, Gregg Hurwitz, Will Staples
Actors: Jason Momoa, Isabela Merced, Adria Arjona, Justin Bartha, Amy Brenneman, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo
Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 96 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A devastated husband vows to bring justice to the people responsible for his wife's death while protecting the only family he has left, his daughter.
Netflix has quite a few movies on my list this month. Statistically, one of them is bound to under-perform. I don’t think it will be this one.
The plot for Sweet Girl really fits current issues in the USA. It’s a story about a man avenging the death of his wife, killed by an insurance company that refused to pay for her life-saving treatment.
Two days don’t go by when the news talks about another person rationing their insulin, killing themselves over the guilt of putting their family in debt over their treatments, or dying because they were unable to get a treatment/medicine/surgery they needed. Health care in the US is hopelessly broken. Only the rich have a right to life here, and the majority of the population does not have that kind of budget.
Do I think Sweet Girl will take a serious stance on the broken nature of our insurance companies? No… but I don’t think that’s necessary. If it were a documentary, not as many people would watch it. As an action film starring Jason Momoa (Frontier, Aquaman, Braven), however, there’s a possibility that it will open more minds.
Sweet Girl is probably going to be heartbreaking, and eye-opening. I’m here for it.
4 – Reminiscence (8/20)

Production/Distribution: FilmNation Entertainment, Kilter Films, Michael De Luca Productions, Roadshow Films, Warner Bros. Pictures Germany, Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Singapore, Warner Bros., HBO Max
Director: Lisa Joy
Writer: Lisa Joy
Actors: Rebecca Ferguson, Hugh Jackman, Thandiwe Newton, Natalie Martinez, Angela Sarafyan, Cliff Curtis, Brett Cullen, Teri Wyble, Daniel Wu, Giovannie Cruz, Mojean Aria
Genre: Mystery, Romance, Sci-Fi
Rated: PG-13
Length: 148 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A scientist discovers a way to relive your past and uses the technology to search for his long lost love.
Who doesn’t have some kind of regret, or ‘what if’, from their past? This film examines the idea of what people would do to learn more about what’s already happened to them. That alone would be interesting… but they shoved that concept into a dystopian world; a world that is more possible than we’d like to admit.
Dystopian fiction is already my favorite. Add in an extra layer of sci-fi, and wild horses couldn’t keep me away.
Writer/director Lisa Joy (Fallout, The Son, The Peripheral) may be new to full-length feature films, but she’s sharpened her skills on fan favorite TV shows such as Burn Notice (2007-2013) and Westworld (2016 -). Both those shows lend a significant note of credibility to her creative ability.
In Reminiscence, she’s working with award-winning actors, such as: Rebecca Ferguson (Men in Black: International, The Greatest Showman, Life), Hugh Jackman (Logan, Pan, Chappie), and Thandiwe Newton (Westworld, Rogue, 2012).
This project has everything going for it. Any another month, it might have been #1 on my list.
3 – Free Guy (8/13)

Production/Distribution: 20th Century Studios, 21 Laps Entertainment, Berlanti Productions, Lit Entertainment Group, Maximum Effort, Forum Hungary, Kinomania, Odeon, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Argentina, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Germany, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Director: Shawn Levy
Writer: Matt Lieberman, Zak Penn
Actors: Jodie Comer, Ryan Reynolds, Taika Waititi, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Lil Rey Howery, Joe Keery, Comille Kostek, Alex Trebek, Tyler Blevins (Ninja), Seán McLoughlin (Jacksepticeye), Lannan Eacott (LazarBeam), Imane Anys (Pokimane), Daniel Middleton (Dan TDM)
Genre: Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Rated: PG-13
Length: 115 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A bank teller discovers that he's actually an NPC inside a brutal, open world video game.
I have been looking forward to Free Guy since 2019. It’s one of the films I’d say I’ve been MOST looking forward to for when theaters reopened. I think the majority of gamers have.
Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Life) is hilarious, and this part feels like it’s absolutely perfect for his brand of humor.
There’s a special feeling that comes with films like this that juxtapose violence with light-heartedness. In this case, the mild-mannered NPC against the setting of a Grand Theft Auto (1997 -) type of game. In projects like this, you can expect a huge amount of dark humor, which is one of my favorite kinds. With Reynolds, you get that added sarcasm that makes up the rest of what my funny bone reacts to.
I do not expect Free Guy to appeal to everyone. I do expect that it will be hilarious, and memorable, to those of us who are interested in seeing it.
2 – Candyman (8/27)

Production/Distribution: Universal Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, BRON Studios, Monkeypaw Productions, Creative Wealth Media Finance, Forum Hungary, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), United International Pictures (UIP), Universal Pictures Canada, Universal Pictures International (UPI)
Director: Nia DaCosta
Writer: Jordan Peele, Win Rosenfeld, Nia DaCosta, Clive Barker, Bernard Rose
Actors: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Tony Todd, Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Colman Domingo, Kyle Kaminsky, Vanessa Williams, Rebecca Spence, Carl Clemons-Hopkins, Brian King, Miriam Moss, Cassie Kramer, Mark Montgomery, Genesis Denise Hale, Rodney L. Jones III, Pamela Jones, Hannah Love Jones, Cedric Mays, Heidi Grace Engerman, Christiana Clark, Torrey Hanson, Tien Tran
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 91 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A "spiritual sequel" to the horror film Candyman (1992) that returns to the now-gentrified Chicago neighborhood where the legend began.
I only saw the original Candyman (1992) for the first time recently. I’m not sure if I would have enjoyed it if I’d seen it when I was younger – but at this point in my life it really stuck with me. I believe it was ahead of its time. It took on so much about race that it feels like a lot of people might have missed the point in the 90s. Most of its better reviews are more recent.
Horror is, of course, my first love. I always enjoy seeing it combined with something, though. Comedy is my preferred mix-in, but social commentary is a close second. Using fiction to make a point that can then be brought into the real world feels like the best way to make people understand. I’m hoping this Candyman semi-sequel doesn’t lose that aspect.
With Jordan Peele’s (Get Out, Us, Keanu) involvement, I’m pretty sure it’ll stay on that road.
I’m thrilled that Tony Todd (Insight, Sky Sharks, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War) is reprising his role as the titular Candyman. He was so incredibly creepy, and iconic, in the first one that I’m sure this film would have taken a dip in quality without him.
I’ll be seeing Candyman in theaters, without a doubt.
1 – The Suicide Squad (8/6)

Production/Distribution: Atlas Entertainment, DC Comics, DC Entertainment, The Safran Company, Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Singapore, Warner Bros., HBO Max
Director: James Gunn
Writer: James Gunn
Actors: Michael Rooker, Viola Davis, John Ostrander, Joel Kinnaman, Nathan Fillion, Jai Courtney, Flula Borg, Mayling Ng, Pete Davidson, Sean Gunn, Margot Robbie, Stephen Blackehart, Steve Agee, Tinashe Kajese, Jennifer Holland, Fernando Martinez, Idris Elba, John Cena, Daniela Melchior, Dee Bradley Baker, Jaws, Crisp Ratt, David Dastmalchian, Sylvester Stallone, Storm Reid, Jared Leland Gore, Rey Hernandez, Ray Benitez, Alice Braga, Peter Capaldi
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: R
Length: 132 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Supervillains Harley Quinn, Bloodsport, Peacemaker and a collection of nutty cons at Belle Reve prison join the super-secret, super-shady Task Force X as they are dropped off at the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese.
I’m sure everyone knew what #1 would be. The Suicide Squad has been a source of excitement for movie goers for a very long time. Long before it was originally supposed to hit theaters. I’d say the majority of fans have been looking forward to this film since Suicide Squad (2016) disappointed us all.
James Gunn is heading up the effort this time, and I don’t think the movie could have been placed in better hands. Gunn’s work with meshing action and humor has given us behemoths like Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)… a movie in which he made a dance off for the fate of the universe work. If he can do that, he can handle some little-known DC superheroes with quirky origins and abilities.
There’s a lot I could go into with The Suicide Squad, but I’ll try to make it short.
First of all, we need to remember that it is not a reboot/remake. There are actors reprising their roles from the first one, such as: Jai Courtney, Margot Robbie, and Viola Davis. By definition, that makes this some kind of sequel. Gunn has explained that he won’t be ignoring the events of Suicide Squad, he just won’t be using them to fortify the plot in The Suicide Squad.
Next, Gunn is a fan of the comics. That’s a HUGE benefit, because it led to him choosing the most ridiculous, least known characters in order to better stick to the feel of what the Suicide Squad is meant to be.
Finally, there’s the cast. I’m not going through every single name of every single bad ass set to show up in The Suicide Squad. It would take longer than I have to write this article. Every one of the actors on the list has a following, some have full-on cults, most have awards. The line-up of this movie is absolutely unheard of and insane. Sure, it could lead to a ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ situation, but I don’t think so. James Gunn has the experience he needs to heard all those cats properly.
The best news, is that the critics that have been getting their hands on advanced screenings of The Suicide Squad are coming back with amazing reviews. As always, I believe that listening to critics is a good guide, but to be taken with a grain of salt.
I have some serious high hope for this film. I can’t wait to watch it.
Movies to Look out For
According to: Cat
The Kissing Booth 3 .20
Descendants: The Royal Wedding .19
Swan Song .18
PAW Patrol: The Movie .17
Annette .16
Beckett .15
Demonic .14
Teddy .13
The Night House .12
Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms .11
.John and the Hole .10
Don’t Breathe 2 .9
Evangelion: 3.0 +1.01 Thrice Upon a Time .8
Infinitum: Subject Unknown .7
Reminiscence .6
Sweet Girl .5
Respect .4
Candyman .3
Free Guy .2
The Suicide Squad .1

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