Monday, August 2, 2010

At the Movies – August 2010

Must See in Theatres:

The Other Guys (Adam McKay) – Comedy – Aug 6
The film is about two mismatched NYC detectives living in the shadow of the city’s top-cop duo who finally get a chance to seize an opportunity to step up – problem is, things do not turn out quite as they planned. When friends writer-director Adam McKay and Will Farrell get together funny happens. Their last three films together were Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and Step Brothers. And while Farrell’s always the same guy comedy has worn a bit thin, he usually steps up his game when working with McKay. The crew on the film features McKay production designer Clayton Hartley and Bourne series cinematographer Oliver Wood, working on his third film with McKay. Staring with Farrell is Mark Wahlberg and the film has a great supporting cast with Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne Johnson (but you can call him The Rock), Michael Keaton, Lindsay Sloane, Ray Stevenson (mandatory Rome plug), Eva Mendes, Steve Coogan, Paris Hilton (what, wait, really), Anne Heche, Rob Huebel, and Rob Riggle. So why is this the ‘Must See’ of the month (especially with not only Step Up 3-D but also Piranha 3-D coming out too!!!)? Well, because this film looks to be a great mix of action and comedy (yeah I know the summer is overloaded with action-comedies, but how many of them have such a good comedy pedigree and perfect genre mixing cast?) that should provide a very enjoyable and entertaining cinema experience. Check out the trailer.

Worth Checking Out (if not in theatres then at home):

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Edgar Wright) – Action/Comedy – Aug 13
The film, based on the comic, is about Scott Pilgrim, a young man who must defeat his new girlfriend’s seven evil exes in order to win her heart (for some reason that the film will probably explain). Comedy writer-director extraordinaire Edgar Wright seems like the perfect person to helm this film (he did Spaced, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz).  And to make the behind the camera crew even better, Wright has his production designer Marcus Rowland, composer David Arnold and super action cinematographer Bill Pope (how super? He shot The Matrix and Spider-Man 2) on the film. The cast is also perfect for the material. (While I am a bit sick of his shtick) Michael Cera seems like a great choice for the lead, and the supporting roles are equally well cast with Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Chris Evans (that’s right Captain America), Anna Kendrick, Brandon Routh (and Superman too), Alison Pill, Jason Schwartzman, Ellen Wong, Satya Bhabha, Mark Webber, Mae Whitman, Bill Hader, Aubrey Plaza, Brie Larson, Erik Knudsen, Johnny Simmons, Abigail Chu, Nelson Franklin, and Ingrid Haas all co-starring. The film looks to be a lot of stylistic fun, and with all involved there is almost no chance of it not being entertaining. Check out the trailer.

Good for Dates:

Eat Pray Love (Ryan Murphy) – Drama – Aug 13
The film is about a happily married woman trying to get pregnant who realizes that her life needs to go in a new different direction. So, after a painful divorce, she takes a round-the-world journey. Director Ryan Murphy’s last feature film Running with Scissors was not all too great, but he is the creator of Glee and Nip/Tuck so he has some leeway. The crew on the film is great, headlined by wonderfully talented cinematographer Robert Richardson and featuring production designer Bill Groom and composer Dario Marianelli. The cast is also great. The film stars Julia Roberts who has been getting a little Oscar buzz for her performance. James Franco, Javier Bardem, Billy Crudup, Richard Jenkins, and Viola Davis co-star. The film has an odd release date for something that could otherwise be considered an Oscar contender, which casts some suspect questions over it. From a cast and crew standpoint, it looks top-notch, but if it were really good it would be coming out in November or December like other Oscar contenders (and of course there are exceptions like last years The Hurt Locker). Check out the trailer.

Going the Distance (Nanette Burstein) – Romance – Aug 27
The film is about a couple who goes through the trials and tribulations of a long-distance relationship. Documentary director Nanette Burstein makes her narrative debut. Her documentary The Kid Stays in the Picture about producer Robert Evans was good. The film features a fantastic crew with production designer Kevin Kavanaugh (art director on The Prestige and The Dark Knight), cinematographer Eric Steelberg (Juno and Up in the Air) and composer Mychael Danna (Dollhouse and (500) Days of Summer). The film stars Drew Barrymore and Justin Long, co-stars Christina Applegate, Ron Livingston and Kelli Garner. But what makes the cast more intriguing than its stars is all the comedians it also features: Kristen Schaal, Charlie Day (whose menace on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is brilliant), Jason Sudeikis, June Diane Raphael, Natalie Morales, Rob Riggle, and Jim Gaffigan. The film has a lot of talent in front of and behind the camera, so theoretically it should turn out well, and funny, again it has Charlie Day and Kristen Schaal, not to mention Ron Livingston, in it. At the very least it should have some amusing and entertaining parts. Check out the trailer.

Fun Movies:

Step Up 3-D (Jon Chu) – Dance – Aug 6
The film is about a tight-knit group of NYC street dancers who team up with an NYU freshman as they compete against the world’s best hip hop dancers in a high-stakes showdown that will change their lives forever (are you serious, high-stakes dancing! And in 3-D! This is going to blow my mind! High-stakes dancing, lives are on the line, they literally hang in the balance, kids are not just going to be served, oh no, in 3-D it is dance or implode, which is way worse than exploding, surveys say so, 3-D is all or nothing). Director Jon Chu is back because clearly he did not say all he needed to say with Step Up 2: The Streets. Though, kidding aside, the movie has tested reasonably well and the score should be good with work from composer Bear McCreary who scored Battlestar Galactica and Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles. The film stars lesser known actors Alyson Stoner, Harry Shum Jr. (from Glee), Rick Malambri, Adam G. Sevani (yup this kid has a Thriller remix video), Ally Maki, Stephen Boss, Sharni Vinson, and Christopher Scott, presumably favoring actors with dancing talent as a higher priority to a good acting resume. Really this film should be considered a spectacle rather than narrative cinema, sure it will have a plot of some sort, but that is not the point. Fans of dancing and the past two films will probably find this just as fun. Check out the trailer.

The Expendables (Sylvester Stallone) – Action – Aug 13
The film is about a team of mercenaries who head to South America on a mission to overthrow a corrupt evil dictator (sidebar, does it even matter what this is about with the names in the cast? Also, who else is shocked this does not also have ‘3-D’ in the title?). Sly Stallone, creator of Rocky and First Blood, is back and he brought a few friends with him for the ride: Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Terry Crews (this dude is in everything this month), Mickey Rourke, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Bruce Willis (as awesome as this cast is, I still cannot help but wish Steven Seagal, Kurt Russell, Chuck Norris, and Maximum Van Damage were in this too.) The film also stars David Zayas, Giselle Itie and Charisma Carpenter. Stallone also has a good crew with him – production designer Franco-Giacomo Carbone and composer Brian Tyler worked with him on his last film, and he also has action cinematographer Jeffrey L. Kimball (who shot Top Gun and True Romance). This is almost a must see for 80’s and 90’s action movie fans. It will probably be along the lines of The Magnificent Seven, The Wild Bunch and The Dirty Dozen, just with more graphic violence. Check out the trailer.

Piranha 3-D (Alexandre Aja) – Horror – Aug 20
The film (much like My Bloody Valentine taking full advantage of the 3-D stupid craze) is about scores of prehistoric man-eating fish that are set free on spring-breakers after a sudden underwater tremor (so my first question is how did these ‘man-eating’ fish survive in the rock below the water for thousands of years without food, cannibalism? Wait, wait, its not important). An unlikely group of strangers on holiday now must band together to stay alive and not become fish chum (it’s a modern retelling of the classic tale: Piranha, only this time it is even more awesomer because your mind will be blown by crazy razor man-eating fish teeth in crazy-awesome 3-D, YEAH!). Horror veteran, who had hits directing the remake of The Hills Have Eyes and High Tension, Alexandre Aja, takes the reigns here. The film’s crew has done their fair share of horror films in the past and seems, with director Aja, to be a good fit. The cast features a somewhat random ragtag bunch, but all in all actually seems kind of perfect for the film – Elisabeth Shue, Adam Scott, Christopher Lloyd, Richard Dreyfuss, Eli Roth, Dina Meyer, Ving Rhames, Jerry O’Connell (has he made anything good, other than season 1 of Sliders and Stand By Me?), Kelly Brook, Steven R. McQueen, and Jessica Szohr among others all star. With a name like Piranha 3-D (I wonder, if ‘3-D’ is in the title, can they also exhibit it in 2-D?), the viewer pretty much knows exactly what they are walking into, this film really does not even need a trailer, the name is enough. (But just in case) check out the trailer.

Vampires Suck (Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer) – Comedy – Aug 20
The film is a spoof on all the vampire-themed movies and TV shows that seem to be constantly coming out recently. The story itself is about Becca, a young girl who finds herself torn between two boys. Spoof masters (if you can call them that) Friedberg and Seltzer are back to make jokes on Twilight, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, and other vampire-infused pop culture items. The writing and now directing team got their start with Scary Movie. The film stars newcommer Jenn Proske and has an overall lesser known cast, aside from Ken Jeong. Like most of the ‘fill in the blank’ Movie movies, this will probably be awful and mostly not funny (but hey, sometimes I am wrong). Check out the trailer.

Lottery Ticket (Erik White) – Comedy – Aug 20
The film is about a young man who lives in the projects. One day he wins the $370 million lottery. Now he must survive a three-day weekend after his opportunistic neighbors find out that he is holding the winning ticket. Music video director Erik White makes his feature debut with this film after working with B2K and Soulja Boy Tellem and it is executively produced by Ice Cube. While the film stars Bow Wow, it features supporting performances from Terry Crews, Keith David, Brandon T. Jackson, Mike Epps, Bill Bellamy, Loretta Devine, Ice Cube, Ghenga Akinnagbe, T-Pain, and Naturi Naughton. The film may not be great cinema, but the premise seems like it could make for a funny and escapist form of entertainment. Check out the trailer.

The Switch (Josh Gordon and Will Speck) – Comedy – Aug 20
The film is about an unmarried woman who wants to have children, so she turns to turkey baster insemination. Seven years later she reunites with her best friend who has a big secret: he switched his sperm with the donor that she selected. The film is directed by the comedy minds that made Blades of Glory and a few episodes of the short-lived (and awful) Cavemen TV show. The crew is good with production designer Adam Stockhausen (whose background includes art direction on The Darjeeling Limited and Synecdoche, New York), cinematographer Jess Hall (who shot Hot Fuzz and Son of Rambow) and comedy composer Alex Wurman. The main aspect of a comedy, especially with suspect directing, is the cast – this film stars Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman, with supporting work from Patrick Wilson, Jeff Goldblum, Juliette Lewis, Caroline Dhavernas (her TV show Wonderfalls in amazing), and Todd Louiso. All in all, a decent cast. (While I may not have high hopes for this, the tagline is ‘The most unexpected comedy ever conceived’ after all) the film may turn out to be funny based on strong comedic work from its actors. Check out the trailer.

Takers (John Luessenhop) – Crime – Aug 27
The film is about a group of bank robbers who have their plan to steal twenty million dollars interrupted by a detective set of catching them. Director John Luessenhop returns to make his second film after a ten year gap. His last was a similarly urban crime capper. Luessenhop has put together a pretty good crew with lower budget production designer Jon Gary Steele, talented cinematographer Michael Barrett and action composer Paul Haslinger. The film seems like a synergy/tie-in experiment though with T.I. and Chris Brown executively producing, staring and providing singles from their new albums to the soundtrack. The rest of the ensemble cast is made up of Zoe Saldana, Hayden Christensen (will we get good acting Hayden from Shattered Glass or bad acting Hayden from Star Wars Ep II), Paul Walker, Idris Elba, Matt Dillion, Jay Hernandez, and Michael Ealy. One potentially troubling aspect of the release of the film is that it was delayed from March/April to August (where bad movie go to die). Though, it looks like a decent crime film and should be entertaining to some extent. Check out the trailer.

The Last Exorcism (Daniel Stamm) – Horror – Aug 27
The film is about a troubled evangelical minister who agrees to let his last exorcism be filmed by a documentary crew. Director Daniel Stamm wanted the film to feel real, so he cast relatively unknown actors throughout, though some may recognize lead Patrick Fabien from reoccurring parts on Big Love and/or Veronica Mars. The film features a score from True Blood composer Nathan Barr. The film is targeted at a very specific audience, those that like horror thrillers, especially lower budget realism centric ones. For those fans, this will probably be entertaining, for everyone else, probably will not be missing much if it is not seen. Check out the trailer.

Art-House Watch:

Middle Men (George Gallo) – Drama – Aug 6
The film is about the chronicles of Jack Harris, a pioneer of internet commerce (aka internet porn), as he tries to keep his head on straight amidst struggles with his morals, conmen, mobsters, drug addicts, and pornstars. Writer-director George Gallo has not had a successful career directing, in terms of producing quality work, but he did create the story for Bad Boys and write Midnight Run. Maybe this film, which has received mediocre buzz, will be a breakout for him. It certainly has an interesting character and story to explore. The film stars Luke Wilson but features a fantastic group of supporting actors: Terry Crews (this guy is hilarious in his bit parts), Giovanni Ribisi, Kelsey Grammer, James Caan, Laura Ramsey (love her episode of Mad Med), Gabriel Macht, Christopher MacDonald (who eats pieces of shit like you for breakfast), Kevin Pollack, Robert Forster, Rade Serbedzija, and Jacinda Barrett. The film does not have a great director and has sort of a ‘B’ crew, but the cast as a whole is pretty great and the subject matter seems like something that would make an entertaining film (this sort of reminds me of Breast Men). Check out the trailer.

Flipped (Rob Reiner) – Romance – Aug 6 (limited)
The film is about two eighth graders who begin to fall in love with each other even though they are total opposites and do not seem to be consciously looking for love. Rob Reiner made a bunch of great films in the 80’s and early 90’s (like The Princess Bride and When Harry Met Sally) but his recent track record is not too great., though he did have a hit with The Bucket List. While the film is about young love, it seems to be targeted more towards adult viewers – sort of a nostalgic feel to it. Reiner has put together a solid crew to work on the film including production designer Bill Brzeski, TV cinematographer Thomas Del Ruth and composer Marc Shaiman. The film stars Callan McAuliffe and Madeline Carroll and features Rebecca De Mornay, Anthony Edwards, John Mahoney, Penelope Ann Miller, and Aidan Quinn in support. The movie looks to be a bit like Little Manhattan and if it is close to as good it should make for a nice youthful romance. Check out the trailer.

Mao’s Last Dancer (Bruce Beresford) – Drama – Aug 6 (limited)
The film is based on the autobiography of Li Cunxin, a ballet dancer who was taken from home at age eleven and brought to Beijing to study. Then in 1979, during a cultural exchange in Texas Li feel in love with a woman he meets. Li now plots to defect to get back to his love and out of China. Director Bruce Beresford is sort of hit or miss, he works a lot (having directed around 29 films), but not too many are good (his best films being Breaker Morant and Driving Miss Daisy). However, the early buzz from this film has been generally positive. The cast includes Bruce Greenwood, Kyle MacLachlan, Joan Chen, and Amanda Schull. Newcomers Chi Cao, Chengwu Guo and Wen Bin Huang play Li at different stages of his life. The film seems to be a feel-good drama along the lines of last year’s The Blind Side and should appeal to fans looking for that type of movie. Check out the trailer.

Tales from Earthsea (Goro Miyazaki) – Animation – Aug 13 (limited)
The film is about strange events that start happening around the kingdom. People are starting to see dragons, which should not be in the human realm. A wandering wizard makes it his mission to investigate the cause of these bizarre happenings. It is the debut film by writer-director and artist Goro Miyazaki (he is the son of Hayao Miyazaki) and is touted as a potential best animated film nominee at the 2011 Oscars. The film that is being released in the U.S. has been redubbed into English with Willem Dafoe and Timothy Dalton, among others, providing voice work. The film features art direction from Yoji Takeshige, who worked on Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. The film should appeal to fans of Hayao Miyazaki’s films and animation style. Check out the trailer.

Centurion (Neil Marshall) – Action – Aug 27 (limited)
The film is about a small group of Roman soldiers who fight for their lives in a foreign land after their legion is ambushed and decimated. Writer-director Neil Marshall, best known for The Decent, is back with another action based thriller. However, the setting, England during the Roman invasion, is new as he has not done anything period before. The film has a solid cast including Michael Fassbender (who is turning his acclaimed role in Inglourious Basterds into lots of staring film parts), Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko, and David Morrissey. Marshall is again working with production designer Simon Bowles and cinematographer Sam McCurdy, who both worked on his last three films. Talented composer Ilan Eshkeri is providing the score. The film looks like a more violent rougher version of some of the scenes of HBO’s Rome series, but not quite as stylized as Starz newish Spartacus: Blood and Sand – fans of those will probably like this to some extent. Check out the trailer.

No comments:

Post a Comment