August is always an interesting time in the film calendar. As networks prepare for the jam-packed ‘fall TV’ schedule, studios release projects that are too quirky to be considered awards bait, too avant-garde to be labelled tent-pole movies. With that in mind, this month brings a veritable pick-and-mix of motion picture entertainment.
Al Gore continues tackling climate change in the incredibly timely An Inconvenient Sequel. If watching the world collapse into disrepair and ruin doesn’t sound too appealing, there are several action movies to choose from: Ryan Reynolds is tasked with protecting Samuel L. Jackson in The Hitman’s Bodyguard (which will hopefully be as funny as the premise sounds) and Charlize Theron is the badass Atomic Blonde spy hired to investigate the murder of an undercover agent. Then again, if you’re looking for something a little more obscure, August has plenty to offer…
A Ghost Story – 11th August
Having jumped between genres with his previous films, David Lowery is now trying his hand at supernatural horror. However, instead of creepy children or terrifying serial killers, Lowery has Casey Affleck wearing a white sheet with eyeholes cut out of it. And, if early reviews are to be believed, it’s remarkable.
M (Rooney Mara) is left devastated when her husband C (Affleck) is killed in a car accident. As she grieves and tries to move on, C’s ghost remains in their house, invisible to all the different families that come and go.
Although it may sound a tad peculiar, the trailer suggests an epic tale of love, life and longing. What more could you want on a summer’s afternoon?
The Dark Tower – 18th August
Stephen King, one of the most revered authors of our time, has an extraordinary ability to examine the subconscious fears of the human psyche and weaving his findings into best-selling stories. But I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you how great he is. Now, Nikolaj Arcel – whose 2012 film A Royal Affair was nominated for an Oscar – is adapting King’s The Dark Tower for the big screen.
When Jake (Tom Taylor) stumbles upon an alternate dimension, he joins Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), a Gunslinger who must journey to the Dark Tower to save both of their worlds. Unfortunately, their quest is disrupted by an enigmatic figure known as The Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey).
In all honesty, I don’t have much experience with this series of books, but Hollywood’s previous adaptations of King’s novels are near spot-on. Judging by the trailer, Elba’s natural coolness will factor into his character, but I’m not sure how well McConaughey’s trademark laid back Southern drawl will fit into his role as the antagonist. With any luck, though, his acting will more than make up for it.
Your Name – 23rd August
Have you ever woken up from an amazing dream, but the more you try to remember it, the faster it slips away? In the adaptation of his own novel, Makoto Shinkai takes that idea and moulds it into one of the biggest films to ever open in Japan (Your Name is Japan’s fourth highest grossing film of all time).
Mitsuha (Mone Kamishiraishi), a high school student in a rural town, wishes she could be reborn as a handsome young man living in Tokyo. Her wish comes true when she switches bodies with Taki (Ryunosuke Kamiki); the profound bond that they have soon motivates them to actively find each other – a task that proves to be quite difficult.
Although this doesn’t seem to be the typical premise one might expect from an animation, the trailer has certainly raised expectations. Studio Ghibli this isn’t, but I’m excited nonetheless.
Detroit – 25th August
Five years after her film Zero Dark Thirty caused controversy over its depiction of ‘enhanced interrogation’, and seven years after becoming the first, and so far only, woman to have ever won the Academy Award for Best Direction for The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow returns with a true story based on the Algiers Motel incident during the 1967 12th Street Riots in Detroit.
On the night of 25th July 1967, security guard Melvin Dismukes (John Boyega) and officer Philip Krauss (Will Poulter) are called to investigate a gunshot that was heard at the Algiers Motel. By morning, three black men will have been murdered, with seven more and two white women severely injured.
Detroit promises to be a harrowing, visceral look into how and why this could have happened – questions that are still painfully relevant today.
Logan Lucky – 25th August
Although the words ‘remake’ and ‘reboot’ can often leave a bad taste in audiences’ mouths, one of the few counterexamples of this is Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven, the 2001 version of the 1960 Rat Pack classic. So when Soderbergh decided to come out of retirement (again) to direct a comedy heist film (again), why would we complain?
Siblings Jimmy (Channing Tatum), Mellie (Riley Keough) and Clyde (Adam Driver) plan an intricate robbery, set to take place during the annual Coca-Cola 600 race. But with a 90-year old curse of bad luck on their family, as well as input from the unpredictable ‘Redneck Robbers’, not everything goes smoothly.
So far, reviews have been generous. With a stellar cast, a fantastic director and encouraging trailers, Logan Lucky appears to be a whole lot of fun.
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