Summer Movie Preview: August

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Now that the big blockbusters are out of the way, the final month of the summer season will bring us some smaller-scale and less anticipated films. Will this make August a month to forget or one with some secret horror, comedy and action gems? It may not be award season quite yet, but August looks like it will be a bridge between the two movie seasons.

August 5: The Change-Up, Rise of the Planet of the Apes
August 10: The Help
August 12: 30 Minutes or Less, Glee Live 3D, Final Destination 5
August 19: Conan the Barbarian, Fright Night, One Day , Spy Kids All the Time in the World in 4D
August 26: Our Idiot Brother, Colombiana, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
August 31: The Debt

change-poster

Directed by: David Dobkin

Starring: Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds and Olivia Wilde

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The Change-Up (August 5)

Grisly Gunnar: There is a definite comedy pedigree behind this film (directors of Wedding Crashers and the writers of The Hangover), this is just not a movie I’m looking forward to. Sure we haven’t seen an R-Rated body changing sex comedy before, but what will this add any of the other sex comedies we’ve seen? And I refuse to accept that Jason Bateman isn’t an interesting, attractive person, no matter what the movie is trying to tell me. I am happy that it is finally coming out, though, so I can stop seeing that damn trailer! (Anticipated Grade: D+)

Noah Nickels: I’d rather rent Vice Versa and Like Father Like Son than watch this. Looks like absolute garbage, and it’s too bad because I really like the actors in this. Oh well, maybe… maybe I’ll watch it on HBO in a few years. (Anticipated Grade: D)

Rebel Rikki: I agree with both of you guys, this looks absolutely terrible. I can’t imagine any new ground will be wrung out of the old body switch trick, and how awful is it that this movie hinges on two guys peeing into a fountain at the same time? If you need a Jason Bateman fix, just run through Arrested Development again; I guarantee you’ll enjoy it more than this film.(Anticipated Grade: D)

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Directed by: Rupert Wyatt

Starring: James Franco, Andy Serkis and Freida Pinto

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Rise of the Planet of the Apes (August 5)

Grisly Gunnar: I have to say, beyond all reason, I am sort of looking forward to this. The title is utterly stupid and the human interactions in the trailer look bad, but the monkey effects make me uneasy in a way that I’m excited about. (Anticipated Grade: B)

Noah Nickels: I am very much looking forward to watching some monkeys or apes or both wreck some shit up! This may not end up being a “good” movie, but it sure as hell looks like it will be a fun movie. (Anticipated Grade: 10 bananas)

Rebel Rikki: Here I must disagree with the both of you. I can’t wait for this movie to premiere just so I don’t have to see as many trailers for it any more. I feel like it’s taking the total wrong tone by giving such a silly idea such deadly seriousness. I’ll keep my paws off this damn dirty movie. (Anticipated Grade: D+)

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Directed by: Tate Taylor

Starring: Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer

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The Help (August 10)

Grisly Gunnar:We haven’t seen Emma Stone in a drama yet, so this should be pretty interesting. I always enjoy her, but I’m not digging her hair style here. Still, this should be a decent period piece/message movie. (Anticipated Grade: B-)

Noah Nickels: I like the idea behind the story but it looks to me like something you’d find on Lifetime or A&E. Hopefully it’ll be less melodramatic than it appears at first glance and packs a little bit of a punch. (Anticipated Grade: C)

Rebel Rikki: The first time I saw this trailer I was really into the premise, and the second time not so much. I think the put-on southern accents might get cloying, and it seems as though the movie may be trying to squeeze a feel-good spiritual film out of what’s essentially a giant tragedy. Still, I love Emma Stone, but I’m not sure if she can save this. (Anticipated Grade: C+)

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Directed by: Ruben Fleischer

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride and Nick Swardson

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30 Minutes or Less (August 12)

Grisly Gunnar: Always good to see Aziz Ansari in more featured roles. Could be the funniest comedy of the summer. I’m a little wary that Jesse Eisenberg seems to be playing it like its a Saturday Night Live sketch, though. (Anticipated Grade: B)

Noah Nickels: I am not going to see this movie. I love everyone in it. But I just don’t feel comfortable that they took this idea from a true life crime where someone died. I don’t think its acceptable to just rip off this story and turn it into a comedy. A pizza guy was taken hostage, told to rob a bank and a bomb strapped to his chest. It blew up killing him in front of several people and the police. I don’t see how you read that news story and say, what an amazing idea for a comedy.

Grisly Gunnar: …Spoilers…

Rebel Rikki: Noah, that’s a real bummer; I had no idea about that story. I totally see what you’re saying, but I love this cast too much to not want to see it. (Anticipated Grade: B)

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Directed by: Kevin Tancharoen

Starring: Cory Monteith, Dianna Agron and Lea Michele

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Glee Live 3D (August 12)

Grisly Gunnar: The only real question is: Will it be better than Justin Bieber: Never Say Never? And no matter what Rikki says, I know he wants to see this. (Anticipated Grade: C-)

Rebel Rikki: Gunnar, I do NOT want to see this. I mean yes, I cover Glee for another website and yes, I do quite enjoy the show but I’m not going to see this. I’m not. Really I’m not. I’m not. (Anticipated Grade, if I was to see it, which I’m not: C)

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Directed by: Steven Quale

Starring: Nicholas D’Agosto, Emma Bell and Arlen Escarpeta

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Final Destination 5 (August 12)

Rebel Rikki: It stopped being final four movies ago. Pretty sure it stopped being interesting too.

Grisly Gunnar: While I’m not a fan of the series — I think I’ve only seen the first film — there is an inherent charm to these films that makes me always a little curious to see them. The bare-bones series is also pretty genius in the way that its success is solely hinged on whether the kills are interesting or not. From the looks of Final Destination 5, in particular a scene that promises a LASIK surgery mis-hap, that might be creepy enough to keep me away. (Anticipated Grade: C)

Noah Nickels: I agree with Gunnar, I find the trailers and the premise fascinating and they always have a huge action setpiece in the beginning that is chock full of goodies. But the kill scenes have gotten way too extreme for me. The acupuncture scene is the one that will keep me away. (Anticipated Grade: C)

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Directed by: Marcus Nispel

Starring: Jason Momoa, Ron Perlman and Rose McGowan

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Conan the Barbarian (August 19)

Rebel Rikki: I genuinely want Arnold to appear in this somehow.

Grisly Gunnar: That would be fun, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. I expect this to be pretty bad, but I actually like most of what I see in the trailers. I can only hope that there is more action than dialogue, unless Jason Momoa only speaks Dothraki. (Anticipated Grade: C+)

Noah Nickels: The red-band trailer has a 10 year old Conan running through the forest and then decapitating three enemy clansmen, bringing their heads to his father, dropping them at his feet and walking away bloody and bruised. Reminds me a lot of what i had to put up with as a grade-schooler, so I am in! (Anticipated Grade: 5 Severed Heads)

Grisly Gunnar: I’m loving these alternate rating systems you’re employing, Noah.

Spaceman Spiff: I’m with Noah… this movie looks like fun. I’m sure I’ll find myself watching this in a Sunday matinee at some point this summer.(Anticipated Grade: B for Bloody)

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Directed by: Craig Gillespie

Starring: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell and David Tennant

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Fright Night (August 19)

Grisly Gunnar: I hadn’t seen the original Fright Night until late last year and was surprised by how much fun it was. From all accounts of the trailer, the remake strips out a lot of the fun for a more horror vibe, which I think is maybe to its detriment. (Anticipated Grade: C)

Noah Nickels: I actually have never seen the original. I have heard great things and will definitely Netflix it before I see this. If you’re right Gunnar and they have taken some of the “fun” out of it, I can see how that might turn this into just another vampire movie. It would seem almost like the same movie as Disturbia but with a vampire. I think Colin Farrell can bring a lot of presence to the role, so I am am cautiously optimistic. (Anticipated Grade: B)

Grisly Gunnar: I think the Disturbia comparison is apt, but maybe the trailer is being a little misleading and it’ll be of a similar tone to the original. It certainly has the right cast to make it a little lighter.

Rebel Rikki: It’s nice to see Christopher Mintz-Plasse in anything, but I’m not feeling this trailer. It seems way too much like a legit high school drama, which is not really for me. (Anticipated Grade: C)

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Directed by: Lone Scherfig

Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess and Patricia Clarkson

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One Day (August 19)

Grisly Gunnar: My enjoyment of this film will be tied to how high concept the high concept of the film is — the trailer seems to tone it down, while the concept seems pretty hokey. Still, I like Anne Hathaway and the director Lone Scherfig’s previous film (An Education) was one of the best of 2009. (Anticipated Grade: B-)

Noah Nickels: Zzzzz.. Zzzzzz.. You don’t want to be in the same theater with me when I see this — I tend to snore. (Anticipated Grade: Z)

spy-poster

Directed by: Robert Rodriguez

Starring: Jessica Alba, Jeremy Piven and Joel McHale

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Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D (August 19)

Grisly Gunnar: Maybe the worst trailer I’ve seen in a long time. And that includes Battleship. (Anticipated Grade: D)

Noah Nickels: Oh Robert Rodriguez, so much talent wasted on these pet projects of yours. But hey they make money, so the kids must enjoy them, but these films were not made with me in mind. (Anticipated Grade: F)

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Directed by: Jesse Peretz

Starring: Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks and Zooey Deschanel

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Our Idiot Brother (August 26)

Spaceman Spiff: Very excited for this movie after seeing the trailer… I love Paul Rudd, and right now my only complaint is that I have to wait until the middle of August to see it. (Anticipated Grade: A)

Grisly Gunnar: I’m totally with you. The cast is really superb and the Sundance buzz has had me waiting on this one for a long while. (Anticipated Grade: A-)

Noah Nickels: No reason at all this can’t make my top ten list for the year. (Anticipated Grade: A)

Rebel Rikki: I’ve been really into Paul Rudd lately (just did three nights of Wet Hot American Summer/ The Ten / Role Models last week) but this trailer isn’t doing it for me. I don’t know. The movie seems kind of… aimless… to me. But it will probably be okay. (Anticipated Grade: B)

colombiana-poster

Directed by: Olivier Megaton

Starring: Zoe Saldana, Michael Vartan and Callum Blue

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Colombiana (August 26)

Grisly Gunnar: I’m not well-versed in the Luc Besson-style films, so this isn’t one on my radar. Zoe Saladana is believable enough, but I’m not expecting more than any other assassin out for revenge film. (Anticipated Grade: C)

Noah Nickels: I am a huge early Besson fan, La Femme Nikitia, The Professional and even The Fifth Element (parts of it) are high on my list. But he is hit or miss as a writer. The trailer looks explosive but we’re seeing the same movie over and over again, with minor tweaks. It’s hard to get too pumped up for this outdated concept. I agree with Gunnar Zoe does look the part. (Anticipated Grade: C+/B-)

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Directed by: Troy Nixey

Starring: Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce and Bailee Madison

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Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (August 26)

Grisly Gunnar: There isn’t much better than a Guillermo del Toro horror film, even the films that he doesn’t actually direct. I remember hearing good buzz about this film while it was out at the festival circuit last year, and I’m going to ignore that its theatrical release has been pushed back so far. My hope is that it is the best horror film of the year. (Anticipated Grade: B+)

Noah Nickels: OK, this trailer freaked me out. I am picky about scary movies because most of them rely on cheap scares and gore. DBAOTD looks like it relies on mood and tension to craft the chills. Guillermo Del Toro is a name you can trust. Electricity bills are going to skyrocket after this movie comes out. I, for one, anticipate sleeping with the lights on for a few weeks. (Anticipated Grade: B+)

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Directed by: John Madden

Starring: Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington and Tom Wilkinson

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The Debt (August 31)

Grisly Gunnar: Previously scheduled to come out in time for the awards season in 2010, the push back is a little scary. But I think the trailer is really sharp, the cast is stacked and John Madden is a director I’ve always wanted to see more from. (Side note: If you go to the film’s Rotten Tomatoes page and click on the director’s name, it links you to the football analyst, which is awesome). (Anticipated Grade: B)

Noah Nickels: Not sure what to think. Is this an award winner? Definitely not, not every movie about the holocaust should be released in awards season, they probably made the right move. The trailer picks up at the end and I am glad its not all about the mission during WWII, which looked a little stale. John Madden had made some decent flicks, so I’ll probably give this one a shot. (Anticipated Grade: B-)

tags: 30 minutes or less, Colombiana, conan the barbarian, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, final destination 5, fright night, glee live 3D, one day, Our Idiot Brother, rise of the planet of the apes, Spy Kids All the Time in the World in 4D, The Change-Up, the debt, the help

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