Not sure what to see this month? Here is a rundown of what I’m most excited for. In order to include more films I’ve added a “rent” section. These films are ones that don’t need to be seen in the theater, but should be checked out at some point.
12. A Perfect Getaway (Twohy, August 7th)
Synopsis: Two pairs of lovers (Zahn & Jovovich, Olyphant & Sanchez) on a Hawaiian vacation discover that psychopaths are stalking and murdering tourists on the islands.
Why You Should See It: Timothy Olyphant and Steven Zahn are usually entertaining and David Twohy has proven he can make a great action thriller. Don’t expect this to set any new standards, but this will be a fun time out at the movies.
11. The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (Brennan, August 14th)
Synopsis: Used-car liquidator Don Ready (Piven) is hired by a flailing auto dealership to turn their Fourth of July sale into a majorly profitable event.
Why You Should See It: Jeremy Piven stars in this low-budget comedy. His appearance, along with director Neal Brennan (writer and director of many Chappelle Show episodes) give me faith that this will be an enjoyable summer comedy.
10. The Final Destination (Ellis, August 28th)
Synopsis: After Hunt’s (Zano) premonition of a deadly race-car crash helps saves the lives of his peers, Death sets out to collect those who evaded their fate.
Why You Should See It: Like this year’s My Bloody Valentine 3-D this is bound to be fun. Director David R. Ellis proves he knows what audiences want with Snakes on a Plane. Comic-Con footage also proved this is going to be a glory, bloody mess.
9. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (Sommers, August 7th)
Synopsis: An elite military unit comprised of operatives known as the Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity look to dismantle Cobra, an organization headed by a Scottish arms dealer.
Why You Should See It: Originally this looked the the worst film to come out this summer, then Transformers 2 was released and I came to the realization that no movie could ever touch the depths of hell where that film was born. Expect fun mindless action and an actual somewhat cohesive story and you won’t be disappointed.
8. Cold Souls (Barthes, August 7th)
Synopsis: Paul (Giamatti) is an actor who feels bogged down by his participation in a production of Chekov’s play, Vanya. His condition which leads him to an organization that will store his soul while he treads the boards, though complications (and international travel) arise when his soul goes missing.
Why You Should See It: Well received at Sundance, this film is now getting a limited release. I love Giamatti and this looks like a wonderful weird mix between Being John Malkovich and Synecdoche, NY.
7. It Might Get Loud (Guggenheim, August 14th)
Synopsis: A documentary on the electric guitar from the point of view of three significant rock musicians: The Edge, Jimmy Page and Jack White.
Why You Should See It: Guggenheim directed the standard Inconvenient Truth, so I’m interested to see if can work his magic again in a documentary where he doesn’t just have to film a presentation. The buzz around this at Toronto last year was also pretty high.
6. World’s Greatest Dad (Goldthwait, August 21st)
Synopsis: A comedy about a man who learns that the things you want most may not be the things that make you happy, and that being lonely is not necessarily the same as being alone.
Why You Should See It: Robin Williams may save his career in this twisted dark comedy. Then again, I’m sure Old Dogs will put him back in his place.
5. Paper Heart (Jasenovec, August 7th)
Synopsis: Artist Charlyne Yi blends fiction, fantasy, and documentary in her exploration of what loves means to different people; all the while, she is courted by her real-life boyfriend, Michael Cera.
Why You Should See It: I’m interested to see if Charlyne Yi can hold her own in this feature film. The wealth of cameos and the inclusion of Michael Cera gives me hope.
4. Taking Woodstock (Lee, August 28th)
Synopsis: When Woodstock organizers have the plug pulled on their event, Elliot Tiber (Martin), a young man who is spending the summer working on his parents’ farm, helps the event land a permit, and puts the organizers in touch with Max Yasgur (Levy), a dairy farmer whose plot of land could serve as a perfect spot for the concert.
Why You Should See It: Ang Lee returns with a light, enjoyable tale about the beginnings of the greatest music festival in the world. Don’t expect another Oscar winner, but this will be a nice precursor into the Academy season.
3. Ponyo (Miyazaki, August 14th)
Synopsis: An animated adventure centered on a 5-year-old boy and his relationship with a goldfish princess who longs to become human.
Why You Should See It: Miyazaki has crafted classics with every new tale. I’ve seen this film and while I don’t think it lives up to some of his other work, it is definitely a must-see.
2. Inglourious Basterds (Tarantino, August 21th)
Synopsis: An American-led killing squad known as “The Basterds” terrorize the Nazis in German-occupied France during World War II.
Why You Should See It: Tarantino is back with an odd ensemble cast and a twisted story that looks to have the right ingredients for one hell of a ride. If you want a lot of nazi scalps, then you may be disappointed as Cannes reviews suggested this is more about the story then the violence. I’m sure there will be just enough of that though as well.
1. District 9 (Blomkamp, August 14th)
Synopsis: A sci-fi/action story set in a fictional world, where extraterrestrials have become refugees in South Africa.
Why You Should See It: The first review calls it a “landmark film that will now be spoken of alongside such films as Aliens, The Thing, and 2001.” I know that is just one man’s opinion but I couldn’t be more excited for this film. It looks like smart, action-packed sci-fi adventure with a heavily realistic tone.
FREE Avatar Preview (Cameron, August 21st)
Synopsis: A band of humans are pitted in a battle against a distant planet’s indigenous population.
Why You Must See It: In an unprecedented event James Cameron is showing 15 minutes of his highly anticipated epic sci-fi fantasy adventure only in IMAX. Only in 3-D. Only on August 21st. For Free.
Bandslam (Graff, August 14th)
Synopsis: An outcast (Connell) bonds with the popular girl on campus (Michalka) over their shared love of music, and together they decide to form a rock group and enter their school’s upcoming battle of the bands competition.
Why You Shouldn’t See: This sequel to High School Music…err, I mean completely original story seems like a retread of a number of similar films in the recent years. I’m sure Disney Channel fans will eat up and we will get a Bandslam 2 very soon so look out for that on a “avoid” list in the near future.
Post Grad (Jenson, August 14th)
Synopsis: Ryden Malby graduates from college and is forced to move back into her childhood home with her eccentric family, while she attempts to find a job, the right guy, and just a hint of where her life is headed.
Why You Shouldn’t See It: If that synopsis doesn’t get you excited for the film then you must be a normal human being. Fox Searchlight is usually good at picking films, but this just doesn’t seem worth watching.
Halloween II (Zombie, August 28th)
Synopsis: Laurie Strode (Taylor-Compton) struggles to come to terms with her brother Michael’s deadly return to Haddonfield, Illinois; meanwhile, Michael prepares for another reunion with his sister.
Why You Shouldn’t See It: Rob Zombie is set to shit out another mind numbing, painful, overbearing take on the Halloween series. Remember when he was just a bad musician? I want those days back.
Julie & Julia (Ephron, August 7th)
Synopsis: Frustrated secretary Julie Powell (Adams) tries to shake up her life by chronicling her attempt to cook all 524 recipes in Julia Child’sMastering the Art of French Cooking in a year’s time.
Why You Should Rent It: The talent involved is fantastic, but every time I see the trailer I cringe. Nothing in this film looks very interesting, but I’m intrigued why Streep would do such a project, so I say eventually see it.
The Time Traveler’s Wife (Schwentke, August 14th)
Synopsis: A romantic drama about a Chicago librarian (Bana) with a gene that causes him to involuntarily time travel, and the complications it creates for his marriage.
Why You Should Rent It: This film got delayed over and over again and after seeing the trailer I can see the reason. Schwentke is a good director, and the two leads are good, but this film looks as bland as they come. The talent involved and the original source material make it worth a watch down the road though.
Spread (Mackenzie, August 14th)
Synopsis: In Los Angeles, Nikki (Kutcher) is a sexual grafter who uses his assets to enjoy the city’s richest women and their lifestyle. Soon he finds himself torn between two very different women: Samantha (Heche), a lawyer who gives Nikki more than he’s ever had before, and Heather (Levieva), a waitress and equally savvy grafter in her own right.
Why You Should Rent It: Although this looks like a commercial for Kutcher, rather than a piece of cinema, Mackenzie’s other work has proved he can direct with grace.
Shorts (Rodriguez, August 21st)
Synopsis: Toe Thompson’s discovery of a colorful, wish-granting rock causes a stir in the suburban town of Black Falls, and grand-scale chaos occurs when the object falls into the hands of local adults. Can Toe and his two newfound friends save the residents of Black Falls from themselves?
Why You Should Rent It: Rodriguez has proved he can directed a children’s film but this one seems too immature even for him. Since he is behind it though, I will check it out eventually.
Do you agree with the list? What are you watching this month?