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Movie Preview: August 2011

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With summer finally starting to wind down, it’s always around August we have to prep ourselves for the oncoming genre films. It’s now all just a matter of biding our time waiting for the year’s Oscar bait to finally pounce. From comedies to horror to action, there’s always something for everyone before some head back to school while the rest of us just get through the work week. Let’s take a gander and see what the end of summer has cookin’.

August 5th

After six films and a TV series, not even Tim Burton and Marky Mark could properly reboot the Planet of the Apes franchise. Now Twentieth Century Fox is at it again with a little help from Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital which is hilariously trumpeted in the first teaser trailer for Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Now we get to see how a more modern take on Pierre Boulle can take on the rest of the series, now with James Franco, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, and Freida Pinto, and Andy Serkis as the new “Caesar” leading the way. With only a prison break film under his belt and working again with Cox, we’ll just have to see if director Rupert Wyatt can lead these apes to a new box office revolution. All signs point to greatness so far and clocking in at well under two hours is an instant plus. Here’s hoping Wyatt and the writer’s of one of my favorite guilty pleasures (The Relic) can provide us the summer of “Hail!”

On the lighter side of things, David Dobkin is back to his R-rated stomping grounds with The Change-Up to prove that Wedding Crashers was no fluke and that hopefully Fred Claus was. Along with the writer’s of the original Hangover (Jon Lucas, Scott Moore) we can only hope that they’ve still got some funny in them. From the previews, this has to be better than The Hangover Part Douche because that was essentially a hugely unfunny remake of their original success. Maybe they figured they were too good for the sequel and wanted to focus on more original things, even if it’s just a body swap feature. But with Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds in the leads we should be able to expect some hilarity to ensue even if it may be off the written path.

August 10th

Opening all on its lonesome mid-week comes writer/director Tate Taylor’s adaptation of author Kathryn Stockett’s The Help. Another popular book found on coffee tables across the country gives us our third helping of Emma Stone goodness in less than a month. The movie gods are surely smiling upon us right now. I suppose this is all just to tide us over until she’s gets to be Spidey’s girlfriend next summer but in the meantime she’s still got her (mostly) red hair on as future writer “Skeeter” Phelan. Skeeter decides she wants to start interviewing the local titular help and turn a Mississippi town upside down in the process.

August 12th

Speaking of out to prove their last film was no fluke is Ruben Fleisher. Working with a script from first time scribe Michael Diliberti means he isn’t straying too far from Zombieland territory as that too was an original sophomore screenplay. Packed to the gills with a hilarious cast including Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride, and Nick Swardson in the leads and a plot involving chest bombs, bank robbery, and hillbillies in gorilla masks, this should be the summer’s funniest out-right comedy since Bridesmaids.

Meanwhile, Warner Bros. marketing has gone and added a “5” to the title of their latest Final Destination installment as it’s clearly obvious The wasn’t quite final. People love these movies, even if in an over-the-top sometimes so bad their fantastic sense. And let’s face it, the more gruesome they are the harder we fans cheer. The fourth installment was the goriest one yet and with it having been converted to 3-D became the highest grossing installment yet. Now they’ve hired Avatar’s second unit director (Steven Quale) to actually film this one in the third dimension to hopefully make this the craziest entry. With “Champ” Kind himself (David Koechner) along for the dismemberments hopefully writer Eric Heisserer (last year’s A Nightmare on Elm Street remake and October’s The Thing) can show us why laser eye surgery can be bad for your health. If the new kill or be killed angle gives us something new, then Final Destination 5 just may leave us screaming “whammy!” by the end credits.

Also, the summer just wouldn’t seem complete without at least one 3-D concert event at the local theaters now would it? Thankfully this time it’s not the Jonas Brothers, Justin Beiber or Hannah Montana. The kids of McKinley High School are up on the big screen for Glee: The 3D Concert Movie. Filmed live and in 3-D, everyone is accounted for bringing all of our favorite TV showstoppers in your face. While I’m sure Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) is rolling over in her coffin, so to speak, the film only plays for two weeks to ensure that every fan will be running out for a ticket to bide their time until season three finally premieres in September.

August 19th

A slew of films invade theaters to vie for our attention as no less than four open this day. To sum it up a little quickly; Robert Rodriguez is back to his worst tendencies (aka family films) by unleashing a fourth Spy Kids upon us, subtitled: All the Time in the World 4D. This time starring a new family of spies including Jessica Alba and Joel McHale in the parental roles with Mason Cook and Rowan Blanchard as the new Kids. Of course all of Rodriguez’ friends are back, ranging from original Kids Daryl Sabara and Alexa Vega, along with Antonio Banderas, and Danny Trejo, to series newcomers Ricky Gervais (voicing the family dog) and Jeremy Piven as the lead bad guy. Meanwhile, the director of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th remakes continues his own trend this time updating the silly looking and gory seeming Conan the Barbarian. We’ll just have to see how the first of the two Arnold Schwarzenegger remakes fares here. Hopefully this one leans more towards Nispel’s Friday than Chainsaw as it was far more fun.

Speaking of Schwarzenegger remakes and remakes in general, Colin Farrell stars as everyone’s favorite sexy maybe-vampire neighbor Jerry Dandrige in the Fright Night do-over courtesy of director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl) before Farrell gives the mentioned second Schwarzenegger remake next year with Total Recall. Genre vet Marti Noxon is taking Tom Holland’s original to task and moving the setting to Vegas. Thankfully all the original characters are back as it just wouldn’t be Fright Night without Peter Vincent, Charley and Jane Brewster, “Evil” Ed Thompson, and Amy Peterson, now all being played by David Tennant, Anton Yelchin and Toni Collette, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Imogen Poots. The international cast gives me high hopes, but even more so is the sustained R-rating. My fingers and stakes are crossed that this stays true to the original as it’s one of the best horror/comedies most people haven’t seen.

Finally, the 19th brings us something for date night with One Day. Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess star as a couple of college grads who sleep together on the night of their graduation before the film shows us where each of their characters are on the same day of each year prior. Director Lone Scherfig knows a thing or two about love and heartache as shown in her last film An Education. Author David Nicholls adapts his own novel for the big screen and we’ll just have to wait to see if the apparently star-crossed lovers find happiness, or even each other, by the end of the film.

August 26th

Another busy day of genre leads the way here with a comedy, action, and horror. Having already seen the now titled Our Idiot Brother during this year’s Sundance Film Festival, you can read that full review now. However, it was one of the funniest films of the year by that point and still stands its ground. Meanwhile, Guillermo del Toro (one of my favorite director’s) takes a writing credit and a seat in the producer’s chair for director Troy Nixey’s Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark update. With the year’s spookiest trailer, here’s hoping Mrs. Scientology (Katie Holmes) can hold her own against Del Toro and co-writer Matthew Robbins’ things that go bump in the night alongside Guy Pearce.

The last time director Olivier Megaton collaborated with uber-producer/writer Luc Besson and co-writer Robert Mark Kamen we got the third Transporter film. Now they are bringing us Columbiana; which just may be what we’ve been needing to whet our appetite until Quentin Tarantino finally gets around to making Kill Bill Vol. 3. Zoe Saldana is the new “it” girl for action and after her turns in Avatar, Star Trek, and The Losers, she should be more than primed and ready. Hopefully Megaton, Besson, and Kamen remember that fun is the key word when it comes to these hyper-stylized exercises in excessive violence. Saldana plays the O-Ren character that witnesses the murder of her parents and grows up to be an assassin, naturally. While I was one of the few still entertained by Transporter 3, at least they’re trying something different while that franchise seems headed for a new TV show last I heard.

So that about rounds out the summer fun before September brings up whatever the studios have decided to dump upon us. At least this summer seems to be aiming to go out with a bang but there is still a lot of fun headed our way this fall movie season. Until then, I’ll be sure to keep you up to date on which of all these is worth your hard earned cash and most importantly, your time.

Photos courtesy DreamWorks, DreamWorks SKG, FilmDistrict, Lionsgate, Touchstone Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros. Pictures

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About Cinenerd

A Utah based writer, born and raised in Salt Lake City, UT for better and worse. Cinenerd has had an obsession with film his entire life, finally able to write about them since 2009, and the only thing he loves more are his wife and their two wiener dogs (Beatrix Kiddo and Pixar Animation). He is accredited with the Sundance Film Festival.