August Movie Preview

E: Typically by August, the studios have given up on summer.  All the interesting films have been released, and there’s perhaps one impressive project and a few horror movies left as scraps.  As M mentioned in last month’s preview, however, August of 2013 brings us much more interesting fare.

August 2nd

2 Guns

C: The name of this reminds me of the fake Lindsay Lohan-James Franco movie trailer created by Cameron Diaz’s character in The Holiday. “How do you happen to have two guns?” “I didn’t think one would be enough.”

E: That’s true — it’s so filled with smooth cliches that it really could be fake.

M: Somewhat similarly, it makes me think of the line in Tombstone where a bad guy is mocking Val Kilmer’s Doc Holliday for being so drunk he’s seeing double, to which he replies “I’ve got two guns… one for each of you.”

E: As for the actual movie, Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg star as undercover cops; this looks like a bruiser that doesn’t require the subtle talents of either lead actor.

M: With Denzel and Marky Mark as the leads I really want to be excited about this movie, but nothing I’ve seen has gotten me there. It seems unfortunately like a paycheck movie for both of them.

300: Rise of an Empire

C: What? Six years later, somebody shelled out a ton of CGI money to make a 300 prequel? That is baffling.

M: Without 300 (and Man of Steel) director Zach Snyder, to boot. It would seem like an odd choice, if anyone running movie studios had an ounce of common sense. We’ve gone over that before, though, so let’s get back to ancient Greece.

C: Going by the trailer, here’s the plot: a baby-man with necklaces on his face and Eva Green with the usual three pounds of eyeshadow lay waste to… stuff. Green screens are born, live desperate lives, and die in glory. David Wenham sadfaces over his inability to get a good part after Faramir. Points to the movie, though, for the finest specimen of Fateful Voice-Over Narration of Complete Nonsense that I have ever heard.

Cockneys Vs. Zombies

M: I will admit (as my work schedule has been daunting) to have not even watched the trailer for this. Is it as blatant a Shaun of the Dead rip-off as it sound like it is from the title?

E: Okay, having seen the trailer, I can say this.  It’s far gorier than Shaun of the Dead (which yes, I finally broke down and watched).  The cockneys — including some amusing old people — really, really get their kicks out of killing the zombies.  In fact it seems more like a zest for murder set free; the characters are able to live out their movie and video game fantasies without the smallest qualm of conscience because who cares if you re-kill the undead?  And though it’s definitely gross, it doesn’t look frightening at all.

The Spectacular Now

E: Rather fantastically named teen romance starring the fantastic Shailene Woodley.

C: I saw this girl on the Daily Show and I was pleasantly surprised; she handled herself well and was frank and charming without seeming conceited. Wouldn’t be surprised if she’s studied tapes of interviews with Jennifer Lawrence (whose career path, and coiffure choices, she seems to be following).

M: You have to admit, given the minefield of bad “role models” in Hollywood, Jennifer Lawrence is as good choice of someone to emulate as she could make right now.

E: She certainly is.

C: Though I bear a heavy skepticism toward anything billed as a “coming-of-age story,” the clip of the movie was also rather appealing. I’d be interested to hear an opinion from someone other than a Sundance critic.

E: Based on what I’ve seen, I could check this out.  I could be that opinion.

C: Then I, like our readers, will eagerly await your review.

August 7th

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

E: (Raises outraged fists to the sky.)  Damn you, production team!

C: Why, why, why? The Quibbling Siblings are all fans of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson book series, but the first film was widely hailed as an embarrassment. I’m about as interested in this one as I am in seeing the next Smurfs movie. Which is to say: actively moving in the opposite direction.

E: I can’t even imagine where they’re going with this after actively destroying the characters, timeline and plot of the series in the first installment.

M: I understand where you guys are coming from, but I’m actually kind of excited for this.

E: But you were as disappointed in the first movie as we were!  You have some ‘splaining to do, M.

M: Willingly. And excited might not be the right word. Hopeful, maybe. Now to ‘splain. No, there is to much, let me sum up.

C: You had to, didn’t you.

E: Of course he did.

M: I am nothing if not spontaneously predictable. So, anyway, I’ve watched the trailers/teasers for it a bunch of times, and it seems like they learned from the debacle that was the first one. It looks like this one is going to try to skew back to the actual plot (and characters) in the book. Obviously, they can’t get over the flaw of the ages of the actors, which is a big deal, but they are pulling in Kronos, and Clarisse, and looking to make up for things they screwed up in the first one. Plus, they threw a bone directly to the Quibbling Siblings and cast the portly Nathan Fillion as Hermes.

E: They did what?  Okay.  That’s definitely a step in the right direction.  Sadly there’s a gaping chasm to cover here.

M: As gaping as the pit into Tartarus that they left out of the first movie, yes.

C: This is me pointedly ignoring your attempt to reopen an old debate, M.

M: Well within your rights, albeit less fun.

C: The age thing, though, is too much for me to get over. I mean, Percy and friends are supposed to be 13 in that book. Have Hollywood producers seen an 8th grader recently?

Dear Hollywood Producers,

I would like you to meet these random Google-image-searched 8th graders:

Isn't it strange how they look like children?

Isn’t it strange how they look like children?

That’s because they are children.

And these are adults. See the difference?

And these are adults.

See the difference?

M: Nope. 😉

C: Only the winky face saves you from destruction.

August 9th

The Canyons

E: Can Lindsay Lohan’s career be redeemed?  The folks behind this movie hoped so.

C: Yes, well, the trailer calls this “an acid-etched horror story of souls wandering through a hyper-materialistic hell.” The film’s trailer. That means that was the best thing they could think to say about it.

M: I think the best thing I can say is “pass.”

E: So be warned.  This may be the feel-bad event of the summer.

C: I always thought Lohan was head and shoulders above the average teen actress in terms of genuine acting talent. It’s positively painful to see her, face preternaturally aged, trying to sell some kind of trainwreck sex appeal in a twisted-looking movie full of naked nobodies.

Elysium

E: One of the last good movies released in August was District 9, and South African director Neill Blomkamp continues his streak of late-summer sci fi releases.

M: This looks super slick, has an interesting concept, and Matt Damon and Jodie Foster are both great. Plus, I’m a sucker for sci fi. So, yeah, I’m hoping to see this.

C: That concept, for our readers who may not know, is that in the future the wealthy live on a space station while the Earth has become a slum. One of those obvious-parallels-to-present-social-issues sci fi movies. (Wait… does that describe all sci fi movies?)

M: Admittedly, I am interested in the concept more than the parallels, which usually seem forced.

I Give It A Year

E: British rom-com about a couple (Rose Byrne and Rafe Spall) who may have married in haste, the bitter family who don’t think their relationship will last (Minnie Driver) and the temptations that try to get in the way (Anna Faris, Simon Baker).

C: Don’t forget one other credit. “From the writer of Borat.”

E: Yeah.  The writer of Borat would be an expert in what you want to see in a romantic comedy for sure.

M: Borat was entertaining in spots, and parts of it were well written. It was at least far better than every Sacha Baron Cohen vehicle since.

E: Assuming that’s true, the name does not inspire confidence in this situation.

C: Anyway, this looks like exactly the kind of sordid “romantic comedy” of unappealing, character-less characters making stupid decisions that makes me long for the days of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan!

In a World…

E: Lake Bell attempts to become a voice over star.

M: Let me digress for a second… her REAL name is Lake, it’s not a stage name. What kind of a sick parent names their daughter Lake?

C: Lake’s better than a lot of hippie names.

M: But a lot worse than a human name.

C: Okay, Mr. Negative.

M: Sue me: Mrs M and I are expecting, and looking at names now, so it’s kind of on my brain. Let’s move on.

C: Yes, back to the movie! Ron Swanson and Vinnie Van Lowe play supporting characters. Trailer includes the line: “Let’s give the voice over industry something to talk about here!” I could like this.

E: I’m intrigued by the presence of Tig Notaro (there’s another name for you, M).  The smooth voiced comedian has a role in this movie, too.

M: Agreed, the concept and supporting cast are definitely appealing!

C: It has a certain Little Voice quality to it, as least the way they’re pitching it.

E: And that can only be a good thing.

Lovelace

E: Amanda Seyfriend plays the titular character in this biopic of the infamous porn actress.

C: Peter Sarsgaard and James Franco play sleazy creeps, something new for them.

E: Shocking!

M: Yeah, they’re both usually so straight-laced, clean cut and totally trustworthy.

C: The movie looks less terrible than I would have expected — except the seventies facial hair, which is even more terrible — but it definitely seems to be venerating Linda Lovelace as some kind of heroine/innocent/pixie dream girl. However, though Lovelace eventually became an anti-pornography advocate, the movie seems oddly nostalgic about the romantic early days of porn.

M: Ahh yes, romantic porn…

Planes

E: It’s Pixar, so I should be excited.  As it is, I’m weirded out by them double dipping in the world of Cars.  Is that fair?

M: No, but it’s fair to be skeptical of them triple-dipping (what this is), especially when Cars 2 is the lowest quality movie they’ve ever put out.

E: Double dipping in the sense of two similar sets of creatures in the same universe.  It’s just too close – it’s like bad fan fiction rather than an original work.

C: I don’t know if it’s fair to object to a spinoff on principle, but it seems like a shame that they’ve been doing so many sequels and spinoffs lately, when they used to be the one studio you could rely on for high quality original content. “It’s like Cars… only about planes!” Whoop de do.

M: I agree, it’s far too much of a retread plot, and just not something that’s grabbing my attention. For Pixar, that’s a huge step down.

Prince Avalanche

E: Supremely quirky-looking indie starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch as two guys painting lines and taking care of public roads out in the woods.  It’s aiming to be something profound about human connection, and also crowd-pleasing.  Does it have the heart of the lovely, charming Moonrise Kingdom, or the strangely mesmerizing Napoleon Dynamite?  Judging by the artistically terrible clothes, that’s the territory to which this film aspires.

C: After watching the trailer, it’s unclear whether the film in fact has a plot. With a soundtrack by Explosions in the Sky, though, maybe you’re just supposed to lay back and dream?

E: Um, yeah.  No plot I could see either.  Or references to royalty or avalanches.

M: Maybe the reference is to the artist formerly known as Prince?

C: And the artist formerly known as Avalanche?

M: Works for me.

We’re the Millers

E: Ed Helms, Jason Sudeikis, Emma Roberts and Jennifer Aniston star in this story of a small-time pot dealer (Sudeikis) who needs a fake family to help him get a major shipment across the border.  Enter stripper Aniston, “street-wise” teen Roberts, and would-be buyer Will Poulter.  Does hilarity ensue?  I don’t know, but I bet you anything that the two fake kids try to get it on.

C: Wait, you just mentioned one fake kid. Don’t tell me Ed Helms is the other.

E: No, Helms is the drug kingpin (type casting, I know).  Wannabe Poulter is the other kid.

M: This looks sooooo bad to me. It looks in the line of things like that other dreck-ish Jennifer Aniston movie, Just Go With It, where she pretends to be Adam Sandler’s wife. Can we stop this would-be genre, please?

C: Let’s get up a petition. We’ll call ourselves the Society for the Prevention of Unfunny Fake Families. SPUFF.

E: Nice!

M: Kickstarter.com here we come!

August 16th

Austenland

E: Often, studios will toss out one female skewing comedy in August — Mamma Mia, say, or The Devil Wears Prada.

C: This is the story of a woman obsessed with Jane Austen (Keri Russell) whose friends and relatives think she’s pathetic for living in a dreamworld. Thus far, this could be one of at least six different chick-lit novels released in the last decade.

M: Thus far it could be the story of either of you.

E: C, did he just accuse us of living in a dreamworld?

C: You only think we’re pathetic because you’ve never read the books. ANYWAY, in this story the obsessed fan ends up at a sort of Jane Austen-themed bordello, where rich women pay to stay at a nice country house, be waited on by servants, dress as Regency ladies, and have Regency-costumed gigolos romance them.

M: And thus ends the comparison!

E: Um, thanks for something, anyway. Much as C and I adore Austen, there’s something distressing and, I don’t know, condescending about premise.

M: You don’t say.

C: Frankly, nothing about this would appeal to me were it not for the male actors — J.J. Feild, an awesome British actor I’ve seen in several miniseries — plays the romancer, and Bret McKenzie — yes, Flight of the Conchords Bret McKenzie! — plays her other love interest, a gardener or something. What’s McKenzie doing in this movie? Is it going to be secretly hilarious? His presence makes me hope.

M: Wait, nothing? Not the Jane Austen obsession, or the existence of a sort of Jane Austen theme park (minus the bordello aspect, of course)? Those both seem like things you would LOVE. What am I missing?

C: Something essential. This type of story is based on a very common, complete misunderstanding of the true Jane Austen fan, who loves Austen’s books because they are brilliantly written and funny and offer incisive social criticism, not because she wants have sex with Colin Firth.

E: Sing it, sister.

C: The true Austen fan may also fancy Colin Firth, but that’s incidental. Most people don’t appreciate it when you assume their tastes are based on the lowest common denominator of appeal. Like E said, it’s extremely condescending.

M: And that wasn’t what I was saying at all. Like you two wouldn’t enjoy if there were a Jane Austen-themed resort, again minus the sex part, where you could go pretend to be in Victorian times?

E: Okay, not to get all English majory and historically accurate on you, but why do so many people assume all British costume dramas are Victorian?  Jane Austen died before Victoria was even born.

M: Because everything is marketed as Victorian, and no one outside of die hard Royal fans know when the heck Victoria lived.

E: Marketed as Victorian?  I defy you to find an instance of anyone involved with this movie using that word. You just mean that it has costumes and is set in England before World War 2, so it clearly must be Victorian – even though C has correctly identified the historical period as Regency mere sentences ago.  Ugh!

M: Back to the point, I’m not saying this all in any kind of condescending way, I think you would have fun with that, and that it’s perfectly reasonable. Like a dude ranch, for those who are into that sort of thing. A period adventure vacation… kind of like Total Recall. 🙂

E: It’s the gigolo part, not the dress up/tea and crumpets part we object to.

M: C said “nothing” except the casting of hot men, which is what I challenged. Not the gigolo part. Anyway.

E: We’ll see whether the movie falls into the fallacy C notes above, or manages to satirize it. I’m curious to hear the reviews for sure.

The Butler

E: I have to say, director Lee Daniels’ follow up to his best pictured nominated debut Precious looks pretty darn spectacular.  Oscar winner Forest Whitaker takes on the mostly true story of the White House’s butler, serving seven presidents and their families over at least three decades.

C: A compelling idea, definitely.

M: And Whitaker is such an odd duck, in an interesting way. He’s legitimately one of the strangest looking people I’ve ever seen (face, body type, lazy eye, nothing seems to look quite right), but despite that he not only never really looks quite the same from picture to picture, he doesn’t get typecast the way most odd-looking actors or actresses do. From Platoon to Good Morning Vietnam to The Last King of Scotland, heck to Species. I think it’s wonderful, and so atypical of Hollywood.

E: I totally agree – he’s so unlikely. Here, the butler’s life is a prism for the civil rights experience in America. The film features performances such luminaries as Oprah Winfrey, Robin Williams, Liev Schrieber, John Cusack, Lenny Kravitz, Alan Rickman, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terence Howard, David Oyelowo, Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave and many more, truly an extraordinary ensemble. I expect to be writing about this one quite a bit come this winter.

Drew: The Man Behind the Poster

E: Documentary about the Drew Struzan, fellow who drew those posters that graced the bedroom walls of my generation — Star Wars and Indiana Jones.  Features interviews with the legendary directors whose work he immortalized.

M: One of them graced the walls of my bedroom. Very cool subject.

Kick-Ass 2

E: I still need to see the first one of this.  I hear it was fun.

M: Me too. Definitely has a cult following.

C: Really? I heard it was disappointing.

M: That may depend on what people were expecting.

Jobs

E: Here it is, the long-awaited biopic of the late great inventor and business man, starring a fellow who at least manages to look a great deal like Steve Jobs — Ashton Kutcher.  Whether he can carry a movie so outside his normal sphere is an entirely different question.

M: What is that “normal sphere”? Rom-com? Stoner? Action? Jackass in camera commercials? I’m not really sure these days.

C: Whatever his sphere may be, this is bizarre casting. Then again, last time I saw Jobs on screen he was played by Noah Wyle…

M: I still like Noah Wylie.

E: Me too, but I’m not sure that’s here or there. Kutcher actually looks like Jobs; I guess that was enough for the filmmakers to overlook everything else about his relative fitness for the role?

M: I’ll be interested to see if he has the chops to pull it off, and if the script is any good. There’s certainly a good story in there.

E: Eh, I’m dubious.

Paranoia

E: Liam Hemsworth is a pawn caught up in Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman’s corporate rivalry.

C: Wow, Gary Oldman manages to look so different in every role that I didn’t recognize him.

M: One of the many reasons I love him!

C: And Ford is bald. But that’s okay, because I’m pretty sure this film is actually just about how handsome Liam Hemsworth is. (That’s what I’m getting from his many shirtless or sleek-suited poses in the commercials, anyway.)

E: Well, if you had Liam Hemsworth in your movie, what would you do with him?  That has to be the go-to marketing ploy at the very least.

C: What would I do with Liam Hemsworth if I had him…? Um, let’s move on from that question.

M: Yes, moving on, I’m SUPER interested in this one. So much so that I’m hoping I win a drawing for tickets to an already full screening of it in a couple weeks. With the three leads, Richard Dreyfus playing Hemsworth’s father, and Josh “Sawyer” Holloway as an FBI agent trying to bring them down, this looks really good to me.

C: Oo, nice to see Sawyer getting work, I always thought he was good.

E: Then tune in for more of his work in September!

M: And Ford is having a big year of resurgence, by the way. Between 42, this and this fall’s HIGHLY anticipated sci fi classic Ender’s Game, he’s on his way to making up for Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

August 23rd

The Chef/Comme Un Chef

E: Jean Reno of The Professional stars in a French language comedy about the relationship between a young aspiring chef (Michael Youn) and an older, world weary one (Reno).  Bringing a surprising amount of buzz for a foreign language comedy — and I can’t help thinking, it sounds like the kind of thing our dad would like.

C: That it does. Since The Dinner Game he’s been surprisingly drawn to French goofy comedies.

M: And it’s not like Reno hasn’t done plenty of comedies before. Or like the French aren’t good at cooking. 🙂

Drinking Buddies

E: Rom-com about two drinking buddies who are perfect for each other yet can’t be together since they’re already with other (clearly less appropriate) people.  Stars Olivia Wilde, Ron Livingston, Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick, and The New Girl’s Jake M. Johnson.

C: Wilde plays a brewery worker here, which seems an odd departure from her established pattern of playing ethereal sci fi hotties and other action chicks — though I guess she has indie roots. I’m a little dubious about the casting of Livingston in this; he’s a good 15-20 years older than the others, which seems weird.

E: I will say, I really like the naturalistic look of it all.  No theater necessary, but I could be convinced to rent this.

M: That’s definitely in the realm of possibility, but honestly, I find Wilde to be pretty poor at choosing projects. What’s she been in that was good?

C: That may be a fair point. She was good in Tron, but Tron was not good.

E: And with that phrase you can sum up most of her career.  Better luck this time, Olivia!

Frozen Ground

E: John Cusack and Nicholas Cage star. They look depressingly old…

M: Because they are!

E: …and I’m not sure the presence of Vanessa Hudgens or 50 Cent helps.

C: Helps them from looking old, or helps the movie look more appealing? I’ll go with neither.

E: And that’s just what I meant – neither. Cage is a determined Alaskan State Trooper — a real one, actually — on the hunt for a Cusack’s serial killer.

C: “A real one”? Meaning what, Nicholas Cage actually joined the Alaskan State Troopers?

E: Oh, yes, that’s exactly what I meant. You hadn’t heard that he left acting?  No, silly.  The movie’s based on a true story.

M: That wasn’t remotely clear, I thought the same thing C did. And yes, we’re ganging up on you again.

C: She should expect it, it’s one of our favorite pastimes.

E: Oh, believe me I do.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

C: Oh lordy, but does this look awful.

E: I said it about Austenland, but maybe this is the movie aiming to be the female skewing blockbuster of the summer — an adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s best selling series.  Except, holy ew.

C: Female teen-skewing. They’re promoting it really heavily in places like Newbury Comics. I read the first book, and it wasn’t very good — entertaining, but ridiculously derivative of things like the TV series Roswell (except with “shadowhunter” siblings in place of the aliens) and even the relationship dynamics of the original Star Wars trilogy. The movie, I’ll say in Clare’s favor, looks infinitely worse.

E: Producers are trying desperately to repeat the box office success of girl-powered YA blockbusters Twilight and The Hunger Games. We had Beautiful Creatures in February, now The Mortal Instruments series, and a whole host of other projects in the pipeline, the most prominent of which is probably Divergent starring Shailene Woodley.  While the latter might find success, the prospects of the others appear less rosy.

M: To be fair, as we discussed above, they’re still trying to repeat that success for male-powered ones like Percy Jackson, too.

C: True, but this seems primarily aimed at girls.

E: Also, just because Percy Jackson is male doesn’t mean his fan base is.  It’s not like Harry Potter was only interesting to boys.  However, there’s only one Harry Potter wannabe out now and quite a few more female-centric YA adaptations.

C: I just can’t believe they’re trying to sell this guy as the heartthrob lead. HIM?

E: Yeah.  It’s beyond.  The character is supposed to be so hot that the main character wants him despite some, er, extremely prejudicial circumstances.  Who thought this casting was a good idea?  Really, the whole film looks like cheese.

M: Do we really have to go back to the double standard you guys apply? You guys kill me.

E: “Hot” in this sense is as much about his acting as his looks, and it’s the acting failure – on all levels – that makes this so lame.

C: I don’t even care, M. Call me superficial all you like, but when the entire point of a character is that he’s crazy hot, you simply should not cast someone who looks like a grease-dipped albino ferret.

M: Well, when you put it that way.

The World’s End

E: Because this is the summer of the apocalypse…

C: Let’s hope not!

E: On the silver screen, at least. If I were going to see any of those movies, I’d probably be most tempted to see Simon Pegg’s.  First a zombie apocalypse, and now an apocalyptic pub crawl?  Isn’t he in danger of repeating himself?

M: I love the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost/Edgar Wright trio. I mean, how cool would it be to make movies with your life-long childhood friends, and not only that, but to have those movies become huge hits and make you set for life? And give you the freedom to make whatever movies you wanted? Oh, and they’re really funny and clever. I’m completely in for this.

August 28th

Closed Circuit

E: Thriller starring Oscar winner Jim Broadbent, the ever excellent Ciaran Hinds–

C: Hold up, what?

E: –plus the under-appreciated Rebecca Hall, Julia Stiles looking the same as ever, and, um, Eric Bana.

M: She didn’t hold up.

C: No, but it’s okay. I couldn’t believe someone had made a thriller “starring” two aging British male actors whose names are probably unknown to most Americans. But now it makes sense.

E: Bana and Hall must work together to defend a terrorism suspect despite unsettled personal feelings caused by their romantic history.  Have I made it sound enough like a romance novel yet?

M: I was out at “Bana,” but yeah, you have.

C: Hm, it sounds more like the typical airplane novel. Suspense with a flavor of romance thrown in, a la the first Bourne movie. Sounds like it could be good, actually, though Bana is a wild card.

E: Okay, having now checked out the trailer, I’d say yes, more thriller than typical romance novel.  It’s all those old British men, I think.  And, I agree.  Could be really good.  I wish they’d cast Clive Owen in the Bana role, though…

M: From your lips…

C: Where have you gone, Clive Owen? WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN US?

August 30th

Getaway

E: Hacker Selena Gomez helps race car driver Ethan Hawke recover his kidnapped wife in this would-be thriller.  At least no one’s planning a romance between those two.  Ick!

M: “Hacker Selena Gomez.” So they’re going for realism.

C: Lol.

The Lifeguard

E: In this indie dramedy, Kristin Bell struggles with turning thirty, so moves home and goes back to her life guarding job at a community pool.  She picks up with high school buddies (Mammie Gummer, yay!) and seems to enter into some dangerous water with a teenage boy.

C: Another movie where the troubled 30ish protagonist moves in with his/her parents and starts a romance with a much younger person to rejuvenate his/her life. How many is that this year, seriously? 3? 4? 5?

M: Too many, that’s all you need to know.

C: Is this supposed to be the story of our times?

E: Yes, clearly.

C: I am sad for our times.

One Direction: This is Us

E: Ah, the inevitable end-of-summer concert film.  It astounds me that enough people are willing to see these in the theater to make them worthwhile.

M: Once again, from your lips…

Passion

C: Rachel McAdams reprises the role of Regina George from Mean Girls, this time with rich adults! (Watch the trailer and tell me I’m wrong.)

E: No, that seems pretty much spang on target. She and Noomi Rapace headline this Brian DePalma venture into cutthroat corporate culture.

C: And make out. And kill people and/or one another.

E: Yeah.  That’s weirdly unclear.  I don’t know, though, are lesbian kisses really that shocking anymore?  I mean, this movie wants us to think it’s very edgy, but I just don’t see it.

M: Neither edgy or appealing, no.

C: The film clearly has ambitions to be both, but just looks bad. That’s August for you!

E: Though thankfully not the whole of August, at least this year. Phew!

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13 comments on “August Movie Preview

  1. I love the Percy Jackson series. But the actress who plays Annabelle is the same age as me. That’s just silly.
    I love Shannon Hale but Austenland was a terrible book. I love regency costumes, JJ Felid and Keri Russell so I may end up watching it anyway.

    • E says:

      Well, exactly. We all love the Percy Jackson series – and M and C are huge fans of White Collar, on which the actress playing Annabeth has been credibly playing an adult since its first season. I really like Logan Lerman, but not only is he too old to be Percy, but Annabeth is way too old for him. It’s all ridiculous.

      I haven’t read Austenland (though I’ve really liked the other Shannon Hale books I’ve read) but I agree, it’s a tough call between the condescending premise and the appealing cast and costumes.

      • C says:

        Just a couple corrections — Alexandra Daddario’s character on White Collar (spoiler alert!) got killed off a while ago, and she did look too young to have a long relationship history with Matt Bomer’s character. But still like an adult. And the show started in 2009.

  2. Stephen says:

    I enjoy these previews since I hardly ever see movie trailers anymore, and this way I know what’s coming out. (Austenland is the only one here I’d even heard of.)

    1. I, too, was confused by the “real” Alaskan State Trooper reference.

    2. I saw the first Kick-Ass, and found it disturbing/depressing. I think there were 10 minutes of funny, and then I spent the rest being appalled by the real injuries (real in movie context, at least) and the adult, violent situations they kept putting this far-too-young little girl in.

    3. You make me want to read the Percy Jackson series; I’ve heard good things previously, too.

    4. I thought Austenland looked pretty decent, if a bit creepy for the aforementioned gigolo reasons. I am looking forward to Bret McKenzie and Keri Russel. The trailer looked like it would manage to satirize the stereotype, so I think there’s hope.

    • E says:

      Hey Steve, sorry not to get back to you sooner!

      1) I guess I really wrote that poorly, then. But sometimes, we let stuff like that stay in because the mockery is so much fun.

      2) Ugh. So maybe I’ve been right in not seeking out the first movie all this time and should continue to not seek it out. Not that I was doing it so much on purpose.

      3) We all really like the Percy Jackson series, although it took a few books to get totally hooked.

      4) I think the cast of Austenland is super appealing; I’m hopeful it’ll be worth seeing. It’s tricky for sure.

      • Stephen says:

        No need to apologize; we both have quite enough else going on!

        1) Oh, the mockery is absolutely entertaining! I was just throwing in on C’s and M’s side. Which, now that I type that out, suggests I’m just piling on. Oh dear… (However, I kind of like the idea of an actor actually joining the State Police, etc., to give the role that much more verité!)

        2) it might have just been my mood at the time. On the other hand, I think I’m usually fairly insensitive / far too willing to completely suspend disbelief.

        3) I’ll keep that in mind; thanks! Sounds like it’s worth it.

        4) Austenland, I suspect, will be a case where where my aforementiond lack of sensitivity / utter credulousness will come in handy!

  3. thepresidentrix says:

    My gosh, this was a really entertaining movie preview. I would consider seeing several movies on this list, though I’ll probably get distracted with work and not see any of them. Sad day!

    One word in Pixar’s defense: I had the same reaction the first time I saw a teaser trailer for Planes, but my sister pointed out that, aside from creating the world in which the story takes place, Pixar can’t be held responsible for Planes at all. It’s a purely Disney project, and Pixar’s name isn’t mentioned. Now, granted, I’m just taking her word for it, not even bothering to wikipedia the matter properly, and now passing the information on to other as if I know! But I think she’s right, and I can’t help but be glad for every minute of Pixar’s time they *didn’t* spend on Planes.

    Having just seen a longer version of the Planes trailer (at Despicable Me Too, because I was home with the fambly for vacation and apparently Despicable Me is, like, my mom’s favorite movie – who knew?), I’m even more baffled regarding the film’s supposed appeal. I guess little kids like it when vehicles talk. Yay. Because: 1) Aren’t film makers ever going to get tired of the ‘so-and-so probably shouldn’t win a race because he’s not the sort of thing/person who wins this sort of race, but he’s probably going to win the race anyway because this is a movie’ plot? I mean, if I thought for a moment that the crop-duster-plane-ill-suited-to-racing might *not* actually win, maaaaybe I could bring myself to care…? And 2) The trailer seemed much more interested in the stereotypical hispanic funny-man plane called, like, El Chupacabra or something, which made me wonder: if he’s more fun than the main character, why not make him the main character of the movie?

    Good grief, I’m getting cynical in my old age, you guys. Just listen to me.

    • E says:

      I am so with you! Why do we have the funniest characters as comic relief rather than the focus? The reason there is beyond me. Or beneath me. Or somewhere I just can’t see.

    • E says:

      Also, gosh, I’m so glad you said that about Pixar and Planes. It honestly looks like a direct to video/cable project, not a theatrical release. I wonder if they’re releasing it in the theaters to make sure there are 15 full length animated theatrical releases this year, thereby guaranteeing a Oscar for Best Animated film? But ah, that’s me – I’m paranoid and I think everything is Oscar centric. 🙂 I’m sure it’s just about cashing in.

      • thepresidentrix says:

        What a fascinating theory! I hadn’t thought of that at all, but I find the idea very plausible. Is there an annual danger of fewer than 15 theatrical animated movies? When you factor in the cute European ones and the anime-style releases, too? Or do the latter not count toward the total?

        Btw, regarding Despicable Me (Too) 2, it’s probably the case that families who are going to see it together already have, but:

        I don’t *unrecommend* it. I’m sure it’s cute and funny enough to keep kids entertained, and yet, from my grown-up stand-point, I wasn’t that impressed with it as a whole movie. It struck me less as one cohesive, well-told story and more as a series of comic bits, where some of those bits were truly funny and others were predictable and fell flat. (Possibly little children were more impressed by the episodes of rote fart humor, for example). I think I liked the character they introduced as a love interest for Gru – I kept seeing her as a kind of madcap redheaded cartoon Cate Blanchett (even though she’s played by Kristen Wiig), and that’s certainly an interesting genre of woman – but I don’t think I ever quite got to that ‘awww’ moment where you’re really, really invested in and charmed by the leads coming together. I don’t know *why,* though. I wanted *something* more from both the new character and her courtship with Gru than the movie delivered, and I just don’t know what that was.

        Maybe the most unexpectedly hilarious aspect of the movie, for me, was the slapstick physical comedy. That’s not usually my comedy-style of choice, but it turns out that when you can animate characters’ bodies to take on a rubbery consistency, you can get some amazing physical gags out of the process.

        • E says:

          That’s a really excellent question. You have to have a theatrical release in the U.S., and I suspect most anime doesn’t – there was one this year (something something Poppy Hill, which I actually want to see, looked charming) but that’s all I know about. You’d think promoting foreign films would be cheaper than making a whole new one, but whatever. Now that you pointed it out, I’ve seen that the logo says “Disney’s Planes” which is rather a relief. I’m more used to Disney making bad choices and producing inconsistent films than Pixar.

          We did see Despicable Me 2, and I have a confession to make. I enjoyed the first movie, but didn’t fall in love with it – more of a mild enjoyment than it seems to inspire in most people. I probably liked the sequel nearly as much as the original, but I’ve read most adults having your same response. Since I was less emotionally invested, I think my standards were relaxed.

          Now that I think about it, Despicable Me came out one of the years that there were only 15 animated releases (sorry about being off above, I always forget it has to be more than 15), which was ever so painful as an Oscar watcher because I loved the movies that year – not just DM but Megamind (my favorite of the competing villain as hero flicks), Tangled, How To Train Your Dragon, and Toy Story 3, to name the biggest ones.

  4. […] E: Do you even need to ask that question?  Obviously the answer is no. […]

  5. […] Yeah, once a movie’s actually been named after that cliche, you should really only use that phrase in […]

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