The last official month of the summer movie season brings some popcorn movie leftovers, franchises and the beginnings of awards season fare.
2 Guns (August 2)
You guys…Denzel “Man on Fire” Washington and Marky Mark are in this random action movie about two guys and two guns. It’s about a DEA agent (Denzel Washington) and a naval intelligence officer (Mark Wahlberg) find themselves on the run after a botched attempt to infiltrate a drug cartel. I really wish this was a straight-up comedy, I think I might have been interested in seeing it if that was the case. Also…Denzel…what is HAPPENING with that facial hair!?! And Mark, say “Hi” to your mother for me.
The Spectacular Now (August 2)
The Spectacular Now is receiving amazing reviews from critics and audiences alike. I love the trailer, and I think the cast and writers elevate it from what could have been a typical story about a party animal falling for the not-so-typical nice girl. People are drawing comparisons to John Hughes’ 80’s teen romance classics – which is a great sign. I’m a huge fan of John Hughes’ films, and the comparison alone has got me really excited to see this. Shailene Woodley (The Descendents) and Miles Teller star in this film penned by the team that brought us 500 Days of Summer.
Elysium (August 9)
Elysium is another one of those big-budget, sci-fi extravaganzas that we’ve seen a lot of this summer. The differentiating factor might be the really intriguing storyline and the sheer wattage of the star power involved. The film takes place in the year 2154, where two classes of people exist: the very wealthy who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. The people of Earth are kept out of Elysium by extreme and violent means. Max De Costa (Matt Damon) needs a cure, and his only means of survival are on Elysium. He fuses his body with a powerful exoskeleton and infiltrates the unbreachable Elysium. Neill Blomkamp (District 9) wrote and directed this sci-fi epic starring Matt Damon, Jodie Foster (Silence of the Lambs), and Sharlto Copley (District 9), Matt Damon where have you been?! This looks phenomenal. Can’t wait!
We’re the Millers (August 9)
Ugh… Jason Sudeikis…you’re better than this. I’m probably not going to see this. It looks like most of hte laughs are already featured in the trailer. What a waste.
Kick-Ass 2 (August 16)
Get ready for another round of costumed vigilantes. Kick-Ass was a great, ultra-violent and really refreshing take on superheroes in the “real world”. I’m looking forward to the second installment. The original characters are back, including Kick-Ass (Aaron Johnson), Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz), and Red Mist (Christoper Mintz-Plasse). There are more characters, vendettas and revenge expected in the second installment. The movie has its fair share of drama off-set as well, with Jim Carrey’s announcement that he wouldn’t be promoting the film, in order to distance himself from the violence depicted in it.
Lee Daniels’ The Butler (August 16)
Awards season officially begins with release of Lee Daniels’ The Butler (yes, that’s the actual title…after a long-debated legal issue concerning a silent film called The Butler). The ultra-talented Forest Whitaker plays Cecil Gaines, who eyewitnesses notable events of the 20th (1952 to 1986) century during his tenure as a White House butler. The cast is huge, with the Queen herself, Oprah Winfrey cast as Gloria Gaines, Lenny Kravitz, Liev Schreiber, Robin Williams, Minka Kelly, James Marsden, John Cusack, Jane Fonda, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Alan Rickman! The trailer looks good, but nowhere near as gritty or challenging as Lee Daniels’ Precious. It’s Oscar-bait at its finest, and I’ll probably end up seeing it.
Jobs (August 16)
Ashton Kutcher has been tapped to play technology-wizard Steve Jobs in this biopic of the Apple innovator. I’m sure that there’s going to be a lot of glossing over of facts and how much of a jerk Jobs seemed to be. But hey, it’s Kelso playing a genius. I’m really surprised that this isn’t a TV movie.
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (August 16)
Casey Affleck just can’t catch a break. He’s ultra-talented and has been living in the shadow of big brother Ben for some time (Ben is still my favourite Affleck though). I really like Casey Affleck, and he’s turned in some devastating performances in recent years’ Gone Baby Gone and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Casey Affleck and the wonderfully intense Rooney Mara (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) star in this western romance about an outlaw. I think Ben Foster (Hostage) is such an interesting actor – and is always great in supporting roles. From the trailer, we can tell that it’s shot beautifully and will probably be wrought with tension.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (August 23)
based on a series of young adult novels (written by Cassandra Clare), studios are hoping for another Twilight or Hunger Games with this film. It’s the story of Clary Fray (Lily Collins), a seemingly normal girl who finds that she is the descendant of a line of Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of young half-angel warriors locked in an ancient battle to protect our world from demons. Featuring Jamie Campbell Bower (Sweeny Todd), Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (Match Point) and Lena Hedley (Game of Thrones). Prepare for teenage girl frenzy at the movies.
The World’s End (August 23)
The Cornetto Trilogy comes to a close with The World’s End. I LOVE the Nick Frost, Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright trio. They’re such fun and such nerds about it. Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead were fun surprises, and I’m expecting a lot of laughs and references to geeky pop culture. Can’t wait for this! What a perfect end to the summer movie season.
Other August releases include Disney’s Planes, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Paranoia, and the One Direction Concert Movie.
That’s it for summer releases. September brings awards season hopefuls and the 38th Toronto International Film Festival (http://wp.me/p3pq8p-6N) – the only time of year that the rest of Toronto matches my excitement about movies and celebrities! Some really great talent and films will be invading the Great Canadian North. In the words of Jessica Spano…I’m so excited…I’m so excited!