Film discussion

Summer Movie Guide: Part 4 – August 2019

Now that the big selfish gluttonous Disney bear has had its fill and rolled on over to its side for another snooze, the Summer Movie Season can finally begin in earnest!  All those big exciting-looking movies which had otherwise chosen to hide from the all-consuming Disney ouroboros coming out of their shells to strut their respective stuffs and kick off the most wonderful time of the cinemagoing year!  *hears a grumble in his earpiece*  Hmm?  Sorry, I’m just getting word that we are actually about to enter August and that the season is already practically over.  Well, fuck.  Better late than never, I guess, and every single week of this month contains a big wide-release film that I’m either genuinely excited for or excited for in the sense that they could be fascinating/infuriating trainwrecks which is somewhat preferable to lifeless sludge – at least until I have to watch them.  And if you’re a horror fan, then you’re going to want to schedule the 23rd off work since apparently that’s when every single non-IT horror decided to congregate in a self-defeating effort to avoid the Stephen King sequel’s wrath.

Here’s your Summer Movie Guide for August 2019!

All release dates are UK specific, taken from the Film Distributors Association website and, whilst correct at press time, are subject to change.


Hobbs & Shaw

Date: 1st August
Dir: David Leitch
Star: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba

Man, I can’t believe today cinema as an artform peaks.  Like, after this, we’re done.  It’s finished, we will have reached our fullest potential and the only thing left will be to shut the entire thing down and find something else to do with our lives.  Some of you reading this probably think I’m being sarcastic and let me assure you that such an assumption could not be further from the truth.  It’s The Rock.  It’s Jason Statham.  It’s an 80s-style buddy-cop movie.  It’s a Fast & Furious movie.  It’s got Idris Elba as villainous Black Superman and he actually refers to himself as that in-movie.  It’s directed by the man responsible for Deadpool 2, Atomic Blonde, and one-half of John Wick.  It’s got Roman Reigns and a Siva Tau before the final battle.  I really don’t know what other movie could ever hope to top this.  When the end credits roll, I might legitimately ascend to a higher plane of existence.  Or, at least, I hope that I do.  Please don’t end up sucking.  Normally I wouldn’t even entertain such a notion but it’s 2019 and fucking Boris Johnson has failed upwards into becoming Prime Minister; apparently anything can and will happen at this point.

READ MORE: Our US Box Office Report – News


The Angry Birds Movie 2

Date: 2nd August
Dirs: Thurop van Orman & John Rice
Star: Jason Sudeikis, Bill Hader, Leslie Jones (voices)

Case in point: not only does this sequel to the execrable Angry Birds Movie of 2016 exist, it’s being co-directed by Thurop van Orman of all fucking people!  Thurop, buddy, what are you doing?!  You created The Marvellous Misadventures of Flapjack!  This is beneath you!  Did Sony promise you that if you took one for the team then they’d let you direct a passion project of your own choosing?  Cos, err, ask Genndy Tartakovsky how that deal’s working out for him?  Oh, wait, you can’t cos they’re ploughing ahead with a fourth Hotel Transylvania whilst all his passion projects are sat in various bins or limbos.  Unless this is all part of a long-term plan to have [adult swim] come a-knocking and, to be fair, the trailer’s last gag is half-decent which immediately puts this several steps higher than the first movie…  What even is this year?


Blinded by the Light

Date: 9th August
Dir: Gurinder Chadha
Star: Viviek Kalra, Kulvinder Ghir, Meera Ganatra, Hayley Atwell

Hoping to bounce back in a big way after 2017’s abysmal and controversial Viceroy’s House, the otherwise singular and underappreciated Gurinder Chadha goes back to the basics that launched her career with this period dramedy about British-Pakistani heritage, crushing working-class life in dead-end towns during economic recession, and the universal hope and power of really fucking good music.  Inspired by co-writer and journalist Sarfraz Mansoor’s own upbringing, it follows Javik (newcomer Kalra) an aspiring poet juggling his artistic desires with the conservative ideals of his traditional Pakistani parents, unable to relate to them or the British town he’s grown up and been routinely racially abused in, but who finds solace in the music of Bruce Springsteen.  Notices out of Sundance have been almost nothing but raves and, frankly, this kind of story seems right in the wheelhouse of the woman responsible for Bend it Like Beckham, Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, and Bride and Prejudice so I’m all set for my heart to be torn out in the best possible way.

READ MORE: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Review


Playmobil: The Movie

Date: 9th August
Dir: Lino DiSalvo
Star: Anya Taylor-Joy, Jim Gaffigan, Daniel Radcliffe (voices)

This probably seemed like a lot safer bet four years ago when it first entered pre-production as an obvious LEGO Movie cash-in to be headed by eventual Into the Spider-Verse co-director Bob Perischetti.  Now, $75 million, one studio bankruptcy – t’was originally a Global Road production until they went under – scrapped trilogy plans, and three underperforming (and eventual franchise-killing) LEGO Movies later, this just looks sad.  Director Lino DiSalvo is making his directorial debut and he was a two-decade Disney veteran beforehand, for whatever that’s worth, but I just feel kind of sorry for everyone involved.  I can’t envision anybody at any age voluntarily wanting to see a movie that looks like this, other than maybe the very, very youngest of tykes.  Anya Taylor-Joy is not having the best of luck post-VVitch breakthrough.


The Art of Racing in the Rain

Date: 9th August
Dir: Simon Curtis
Star: Milo Ventimiglia, Amanda Seyfried, Kevin Costner (voice)

OK, I’m calling it.  We have officially hit peak-Sappy Dog Dramedy About the Meaning of Life Based on a Novel.  This is the third one in a year and even with an entirely different creative team (and somehow having the scrilla to lock Kevin Costner in a voiceover booth for a few hours until he begrudgingly delivers his lines) it still looks exactly the goddamn same as the two somehow unrelated W. Bruce Cameron ones from earlier in the year!  I say enough!  No more!  Banish them back to the Hallmark Channel they crawled out of before we get to 2029 and the multiplex is locked into nothing but superhero flicks and glurge-y dog movies and also The Conjuringverse which will have just then hit its 150th entry!

READ MORE: Avengement – Review


Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Date: 14th August
Dir: Quentin Tarantino
Star: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie

In.  Obviously, I’m in.  You’re in.  Everyone’s in for Quentin Tarantino’s ninth feature.  Anyone who says they’re not is clearly lying because even vocal haters of the Problematic Fave Who Hasn’t Been Accused of Sexually Assaulting Somebody (That We Currently Know Of) will go see it purely so they can pump out a bit more gristle for the Hot Take Mill.  What’s it about?  Who the fuck knows.  Television, the changing film industry of the late-60s, Charles Manson is somehow involved because 2019 has decided to become the Year of Manson Movies…  Look, it’s Quentin Tarantino, guy has a flawless track record (you heard me), it could be a biopic about the creation of anal beads for all I fucking care.  Day 1.  In fact, thanks to Release Window Disparity Bullshit, we already have a review from our Canadian correspondent Nicholas Lay, so go check that out!


Dora and the Lost City of Gold

Date: 16th August
Dir: James Bobin
Star: Isabela Moner, Eugenio Derbez, Michael Peña, Eva Longoria

Oh, hey, they turned that Funny or Die sketch into an actual movie!  Why is James Bobin (Flight of the Conchords, The Muppets) directing?  Why is Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Five Year Engagement) writing?  It looks like The Chaperone, that WWE family movie I had to watch the trailer for nine zillion times with Triple H and the girl from Modern Family!  It looks exactly like a film made in the mid-00s that was cryogenically frozen and thawed out for release now, unchanged!  Dear lord, with this and Sonic the Hedgehog (not coincidentally also a Paramount picture), my prediction is coming true.  I told you all that we were being dragged back to mid-00s family filmmaking!  When Show Dogs was prepping for release last year, I warned you all that this was going to happen and nobody listened!  NOBODY EVER LISTENS TO ME!  And now we’re all stuck in the shit together.  But I TOLD YOU!  I TOLD YOU!

READ MORE: The Fast and The Furious Series (2009-2013) – Movie Rewind


Good Boys

Date: 16th August
Dir: Gene Stupnitsky
Star: Jacob Tremblay, Brady Noon, Keith L. Williams

Quick expectation adjustment for both fans and critics: Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg neither wrote nor directed Good Boys.  They are merely producers; this is not their attempt to do-over Superbad in a way which hopefully won’t date atrociously after half-a-decade.  Instead, this is the work of writers Lee Eisenberg and (also making his directorial debut) Gene Stupnitsky previous of Bad Teacher, Year One, and far more promisingly The Office and Hello Ladies.  That said, this does have strong Superbad vibes in its mixture of coming-of-age comedy tropes and R-rated raunch with three social misfits attempting to become the coolest kids in school through being invited to a slightly-grown-up party as hijinks and shenanigans ensue.  Even better, the trailer is really properly funny, in a way that doesn’t seem like it’s cramming the film’s only funny jokes into two-and-a-bit minutes and where the raunch doesn’t feel all that forced or in love with itself, which are the best omens one can have going into a film like this.  Here’s hoping they can stick the landing!

Might have been good, though, if they and the Booksmart people had gotten together and decided on who was going to use ‘Nobody Speak’ for their trailer music.  Does neither film any favours in the inevitable comparison thinkpiece war.


Uglydolls

Date: 16th August
Dir: Kelly Asbury
Star: Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Janelle Monáe (voices)

“Clean-up, Aisle 7.  Need a clean-up on Aisle 7.  Somebody’s spilt an expired carton of Trolls’ run-off and it’s just… everywhere.  Really unpleasant.  Real embarrassing.  Need an adult to come mop this mess out of here, thanks.”

READ MORE: James Bond – The Road to Bond 25, Part Nine: Live and Let Die (1973)


Angel Has Fallen

Date: 21st August
Dir: Ric Roman Waugh
Star: Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Danny Huston

Goddess give me strength, they’ve made another entry in the fucking abysmal Has Fallen franchise following from Antoine Fuqua’s Olympus in 2013 and Babak Najafi’s London in 2016.  London made a third less than Olympus did domestically but doubled the latter’s taking overseas, so now I have to watch yet another entry in the worst of Gerard Butler’s ongoing action franchise attempts which is really saying something.  Cheers for that, you bastards.


Crawl

Date: 23rd August
Dir: Alexandre Aja
Star: Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper

The rare “not screened for critics” movie that’s apparently actually quite fun, Alexandre Aja’s throwback disaster creature feature sees Kaya Scodelario trying to save her father Barry Pepper from being murdered by (in ascending order of threat level) their collapsing Floridian family home, the Category 5 hurricane which has trapped them inside and is flooding the building, the giant-ass alligators hoping to chomp on some tasty human flesh, and the unresolved familial baggage shared between father and daughter because is it really a horror-inflected disaster movie if the main characters don’t also have to self-actualise in order to survive?  I’m being glib, but this is exactly the kind of film I will gladly check out (on Netflix nine months from now maybe) so maybe you should too!

READ MORE: Charlie Says – Review


Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Date: 23rd August
Dir: André Øvredal
Star: Zoe Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush, Dean Norris

Hey!  Entertainment One finally pulled their fingers out and realised they needed to give this UK distribution!  Obviously, I haven’t watched the trailer for this because frequently-established reasons of my being an anxious wreck, but everything about this Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark adaptation really intrigues me.  Cos, like, this is still meant to be a kids’ horror series, right?  From what I’ve heard, Alvin Schwartz’s anthologies had the Goosebumps thing of their illustrations and covers being borderline traumatic and yet their stories are kind of cheesy and silly.  Yet, even with it jacking the premise of the Goosebumps movie instead of doing an anthology, this looks like a genuine grown-up horror movie?  With properly unnerving creature designs and André “Troll Hunter, Autopsy of Jane Doe” Øvredal in the director’s chair?  Is this still going to hit a 12a or have we just been so disserved by kids’ media and especially kids’ horror in recent years that we’ve forgotten how good we can have it?  Very curious to see – or, rather, read about – the results, whatever they may be.


The Informer

Date: 30th August
Dir: Andrea Di Stefano
Star: Joel Kinnaman, Rosamund Pike, Clive Owen

21 Bridges has been bumped to September in the UK, so instead we get this thing to fill our late-August generic gritty crime thriller slot.  Joel Kinnaman stars as an FBI informant of the Polish drug mafia being betrayed on all sides by corrupt FBI handlers, unaffiliated cops he’s gotten mixed up with, prison guards, the Polish mafia itself, and also his wife and daughter get kidnapp…  Sorry, I just dozed off there for a second.  In America, this has been pushed to January of 2020.  Presumably there’s a good reason for that.

READ MORE: One Bedroom – Review


Other Movies of Note

Believe it or not, those spotlighted films only signify a fraction of the flicks dropping over the next 31 days, so let’s try boshing through these as fast as possible.  First of all, the horrors of 23rd: Haunt (23rd) is the directorial debut by the writers of A Quiet Place about a for-reals haunted Haunted House ride, Nekrotronic (23rd) is an Australian horror-comedy about a secret society which fights literal demons in the Internet, and Mary (23rd) is about a haunted boat and supposedly stars Gary Oldman but hasn’t even released a single production still so probably isn’t hitting this release date.  Speaking of films probably not hitting their alleged release dates: Sam Taylor-Johnson directed a critically-reviled adaptation of A Million Little Pieces (30th), that notoriously faked “memoir” about a recovering drug addict, which has been repeatedly shunted around the schedule since its premiere at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival and is still listed as coming out at the end of the month in spite of zero indication of that actually being the case.  And on the subject of apparently bad films: Warner Bros.’ latest failed attempt to ride the YA romance-weepie train to financial success, The Sun is Also a Star (9th), this time selected “unlawful deportation” as its hot-button topic and is apparently, despite my best hopes given that premise, not very good.

But let’s instead focus on the good for there is indeed some (hopefully) good littering the month!  Should-have-been-Academy Award-winner – seriously, go and watch Phoenix if you haven’t before, just go and do it – Christian Petzold finally returns with his mystery refugee drama Transit (16th), a work which, if it’s even half as good as Phoenix, will definitely be one of 2019’s best.  The Mustang (30th) is the feature-debut of actress-turned-director Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, centring around a prisoner rehabilitation programme involving the taming of wild horses (METAPHORS) and has received nothing but raves since debuting at Sundance in January.  The Souvenir (30th) is the latest from Joanna Hogg (Exhibition, Unrelated), acclaimed British dramatist who, for her fourth feature, has gone somewhat autobiographical in her tale of a young woman (Honor Swinton Byrne, daughter of Tilda) being kept under the thumb of a manipulative lover (Tom Burke) as she tries to begin a career in filmmaking.

The hits of the 30th just keep on coming with Mrs Lowry & Son (30th), Adrian Noble’s biopic about the troubled relationship between artist L.S. Lowry (Timothy Spall) and his extremely unsupportive mother (Vanessa Redgrave).  And if all those sound too heavy for you and your children, then there’s a new Asterix, this one called The Secret of the Magic Potion (30th), receiving its English dub and I’m highlighting here because the last one of these, 2017’s The Mansions of the Gods, was legitimately great fun outside of the atrocious dub and the creative team for that are back for this.  Something that definitely should not be seen by children is Isabella Eklöf’s unflinching and proudly provocative Holiday (2nd), finally receiving some form of UK distribution after being one of the standout films of last year’s London Film Festival for better and worse.  (I reviewed it here.)  Meanwhile, uber-influential and highly-prolific Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar re-teams with Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz for the semi-autobiographical and Cannes-winning Pain & Glory (23rd).

Right, what’s still left?  Sophie Hyde follows up her undervalued but deeply-affecting debut 52 Tuesdays with Animals (2nd), a dramedy starring Holliday Grainger and Alia Shawkat about hot mess best friends slowly drifting apart.  Balance, Not Symmetry (2nd) is a grief drama co-envisioned by Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil which I really hope is more interesting and enjoyable than the godawful trailer that’s been put out for it – it’s the constant stock cymbal rolls, they make the whole thing feel bush-league and cheap.  Hail Satan? (23rd) is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek but otherwise respectful and very entertaining documentary about the Satanic Temple which has been out in the US for a while but has finally gotten UK distribution.  Lastly, there’s JT LeRoy (16th) in which Justin Kelly of King Cobra directs the real-life story of how author Laura Albert (Laura Dern) convinced Savannah Knoop (Kristen Stewart) to pretend to be the physical character of Laura’s male alter-ego JT LeRoy to hoodwink the public.  It’s been divisive in the US, perhaps because Knoop herself is credited as co-screenwriter which sets all sorts of alarm bells off, but maybe it at least gives Dern and Stewart some good roles to chew on.


And there’s the Month in Movies for August 2019!  What are you most excited for?  Did I leave off your most-anticipated film?  Maybe cos this is already 3,100 pissing words and we have to stop sometime!  Sound off in the comments anyway!

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