Monday, April 15, 2024

Preview: August Urges Moviegoers to Look Beneath the $$$

For those that keep up with my monthly posts may have noticed that July’s was absent. This is not because July had nothing to talk about, but was due to simple negligence on my part. In fact, it was a regrettable negligence. Many of you fine moviegoers will agree that the month of July was a monster; the trilogy closing War for the Planet of the Apes, Christopher Nolan’s WWII epic Dunkirk, David Lowery’s hauntingly beautiful A Ghost Story, the innocent fun of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Kumail Nanjiani’s culturally significant The Big Sick, need I say more? To call these films great summer entertainments is a disservice; these are works that we’ll more than likely still be talking about come year’s end, whether Nolan has a chance at finally earning a Best Directing Oscar, or if the Academy will be ready to honor Andy Serkis in some way or another, or if I see a movie that makes me cry harder than A Ghost Story.

Can August live up to July’s trend of high standards? I guess that depends on where you look.

Following the heels of Dunkirk, August sees another commercial depiction of a powerful historical event; Kathryn Bigelow reunites with writer Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty) to dramatize the 1967 civil rights riots in Detroit. Already garnering high praise, could this be yet another big summer release gearing for a hard hitting Oscar campaign? If the early buzz is any indication, a betting man would be stupid to bet against that.

After Detroit, however, commercial entertainment becomes a bit tricky. While the return of Steven Soderbergh with Logan Lucky is guaranteed to garner excitement (who doesn’t want to see Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, and a barely unrecognizable Daniel Craig in a NASCAR heist flick), is anyone really excited for The Dark Tower? How about Annabelle: Creation (despite positive early buzz)? This is where knowing where to look becomes important; more specifically, it’s the indie circuit once again (what else is new).

Already a Sundance darling, Taylor Sheridan’s (writer of Sicario and Hell or High Water) directorial debut Wind River sees Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner amidst a hellish murder mystery within the snowy plains of Wyoming. And if that isn’t enough to satisfy your love for Elizabeth Olsen (you love her, trust me), how about seeing her team up with Aubrey Plaza in yet another Sundance hit with Ingrid Goes West? A very different film than Wind River, but perhaps a riot nonetheless. And already generating an incredible amount of buzz, Kogonada’s debut dramedy Columbus brings together John Cho and young beauty Haley Lu Richardson for a series of familial hardships set in Columbus, Indiana.

Wait, there’s more? After its critical success at Cannes, A24’s crime drama Good Time will begin its limited run this month, which already has Robert Pattinson joining the Oscar race (he’s a great actor, folks). As we continue to look, to those that were big fans of Short Term 12 (I’ll be one to raise my hand here), Brie Larson reunites with writer/director Dustin Daniel Cretton for The Glass Castle, the true story about Jeanette Walls who was raised by a dysfunctional family of nonconformist adventurers; the film also stars Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson (okay, now you’re excited). And how about another round of your favorite snarky improvisers touring Europe? Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon return for The Trip to Spain which is slated for a limited release this month.

The indie circuit will more than likely save the month of August, closing a rather hit-or-miss summer with enough hits to go out on a high note. Now we have September to look forward to, the autumn version of the January wasteland; it’ll be a problem if September’s only good release is the 40th Anniversary of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Here’s hoping a killer clown and some British spies are worth the wait.

Summary of films to look out for this August: Detroit, Logan Lucky, Wind River, Ingrid Goes West, Columbus, The Glass Castle, Good Time, The Trip to Spain.

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