Summer Movies – August 2015

Fantastic Four The Thing Jamie Bell 2015
The Thing is back in Fantastic Four

I sometimes feel bad for the months of August and January. They have the unfortunate position on the calendar to follow some of the most popular movie-going seasons.

In the fall after all the big Oscar bait film have come out and they’re ready to collect their awards, January is a dumping ground for lesser films that studios shrewdly know would never have cut it to compete for any award – maybe some Razzies. They quietly dump them into theaters while most of the attention is going towards praising the award-worthy movies.

It’s almost like the Hollywood version of that old trick of walking up behind someone, tapping them on the shoulder you’re not actually behind and making them look the wrong way for you. By the time they know what happened a slate of crap has already hit screens.

August is the stranger month though. August is part of the summer season, but it continually gets the shaft for showcasing the prime summer flicks and I’m not sure how this happened.

Maybe it’s because the summer movie season has begun to stretch into May and even April, so movies would rather be one of the first big blockbusters out rather than one of the last. An earlier placement will give them more of a chance to make more cash. Just last year Guardians of the Galaxy proved that isn’t necessarily true when it came out in the U.S. in August.

Or maybe it’s because studios are hoping their movies will hang around as long as they can and the best chance of that happening is releasing them in the beginning or middle of the summer.

Oh well. I figure people want to see good movies no matter what the month is, but Hollywood has their own philosophies going on. So let’s see what they’re going to dump on us this August!

August 7, 2015
Fantastic Four
Fantastic Four 2015 Kate Mara Invisible Woman

A new more contemporary re-imagining of the classic Marvel superhero team – only ten years after the ones with Jessica Alba started.

Four young outsiders teleport to an alternate dimension where reboots are a common occurrence and the value of holding onto Marvel properties exist. Their trip also changes stars Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Bell’s physical forms by making them stretchy, transparent, fiery and rocky. What a relief that they’re good kids and want to use their new abilities to save the Earth from a bad guy.

Yep, I’m jaded with this movie. Really this new Fantastic Four has gotten a lot of negative chatter for the longest time. Rumors around the filming and the tone, questions regarding the story and the casting, behind-the-scenes problems, reshoots that took place, Dr. Doom is a blogger??? None of it has ignited much enthusiasm for it.

It didn’t help that everything about the movie was so secretive for so long. Clips weren’t being shown at Cons and it was like no one wanted to talk about it at one point. It was really strange. Especially considering today the marketing of these big superhero movies starts before even a scene is filmed! Are they trying to keep things from audiences and hope they can get away with a sneak attack? Opening weekend they clean up with some box office before negative buzz kills this latest reboot?

To me, this doesn’t look like anything special. It’s taking a darker and more realistic take on the Four and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be much fun. Since this has been announced everything from then to now that I’ve seen or heard hasn’t changed my feelings of indifference about it. I’ve never been much of a Fantastic Four fan and probably would have had little interest in another movie about them anyway and this one looks even less interesting than what I’ve seen before.

August 14, 2015
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

The Man From UNCLE Henry Cavill Armie Hammer 2015

It’s the early 1960’s, the Cold War is in full swing and a mysterious international organization has got ahold of nukes and hi-tech software they plan to use for some very evil things! Fortunately, U.N.C.L.E (United Network Command for Law Enforcement) agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) team up to find the daughter of a missing German scientist that might be the key to stopping the bad guys.

They hop-scotch to plenty of exotic locations, wear awesome looking clothes, engage in incredible action and have plenty of fun banter back and forth in the midst of getting their spying gig done.

This looks like it could be really good! I never watched the original television show. I’ve seen an episode here and there, but mainly when I see original actor Robert Vaughn I think of – The Magnificent Seven, Bullitt, heck even Superman III! So I’m not able to make comparisons to the original show to director Guy Ritchie’s interpretation. Maybe the movie is completely different, but it looks like it could be a lot of fun!

Henry Cavill Armie Hammer Man from UNCLE

Just from the trailers Cavill and Hammer exude more charisma, charm and personality than their starring roles in Man of Steel and The Lone Ranger allowed them. It’s pretty amazing! It really surprised me when I first saw the trailer and thinking how cool and funny they both came off. It left me pondering the real potential they have to be leading men and how badly they were used in those big roles. And U.N.C.L.E looks like it could really help give them a boost attracting more fans.

So yeah, this looks like it could be one of the bright shining movies this summer.

Underdogs

Underdogs animated movie 2015

Young Amadeo is having a rough time. He’s in love with his friend Lara, but is afraid to tell her and gets picked on by the town bully Flash. However, Amadeo is an expert foosball player and can beat Flash everytime on the table. Flash has enough of getting his butt whupped and leaves the town vowing revenge on his enemy.

Fast-forward ten years later and Flash returns as a Football superstar and has plans to level the town to build a football academy and to win the heart of Lara. When Amadeo’s foosballl game pieces come to life he proposes a real world game against Flash with them as his team. Can Amadeo save his town and get the girl?

This is apparently an Argentine film that was released in 2013 that ended up being extremely successful. The film was picked up by the UK, dubbed in English and released as ‘The Unbeatables’ in 2014. Now it’s the U.S.’ turn I guess.

It looks like a nice little story kids would like. It’s got a bit of that ‘Bad News Bears‘- thing going on. It could hook them in – if they know what foosball is nowadays. It does look a bit nutty though. For some reason it reminds me of that Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs movie.

August 19, 2015
Masterminds

Masterminds comedy Zach Galifianakis Kristen Wiig 2015

An overnight security guard feels stuck in a rut, until he gets the idea of pulling off one of the biggest bank heists in American history. With a team of nitwits helping him out he and his gal are swimming in millions of dollars. It looks like a fairy tale ending, until his double-crossing accomplices try to take all the loot and leave him to take the fall.

It’s no secret I’ve practically given up on Hollywood comedies at this point, but I have to admit when I first saw the trailer for Masterminds I thought this might have potential. It looks like it’s full of the standard sight gags and pratfalls and bodily harm that populate comedies nowadays, but I didn’t see any fart or poop jokes – and that’s encouraging! Can you imagine that’s become my grading curve for comedies nowadays??? “Hey, no one’s falling into a pit of human excrement! This looks like it could be funny!”

Oddly enough, I’m not a big fan of the cast. I don’t really care about Galifianakis. It just seems like he plays the same dopey, dim-witted character in every flick. Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis I never thought much of them, but they look like they could be funnier here than in anything else I’ve seen them in. I do like Wiig though. I remember thinking she was really funny back years ago when I first saw her on The Joe Schmoe Show – but I guess I’m the only one who remembers her from that.

I suppose this could be hit or miss. It looks much better than We’re the Millers or that new Vacation movie at least.

August 21, 2015
Hitman: Agent 47

Hitman: Agent 47 Rupert Friend 2015

A genetically engineered expert assassin who goes by the name Agent 47 (Rupert Friend) has to take down an evil corporation that wants to create an army of killers even more deadly than him. So they need his DNA and a hot chick’s who doesn’t know she’s an unbelievably gifted assassin in order to start production on their killer army. Cue the action!

I have no familiarity to the video game this is based on. Nor did I see the last time they adapted this character for a movie in Hitman back in 2007.

It appears this is taking a cue from the Bourne series. There’s been an escalation with this style of action films – fast cuts, lightning moves, CGI-assisted unbelievable stunts, dashes of slo-mo to marvel at the computer effects and a hero who can pretty much do and survive anything. It’s gotten to the point where action heroes have become virtual video game characters.

I was talking with someone about action movies recently and noted the drastic change to what happened to one of our favorite action heroes – John McClane. In 1988 he’s almost taken down and seriously injured by a floor covered in broken glass and spends a scene crying in pain trying to pry pieces out of the bottom of his feet. In 2013 with a helicopter exploding coming towards him he falls several stories through a series of glass skylights, landing in a pool of water located in the middle of radioactive Chernobyl, brushes himself off and shares a joke with his son.

He could have saved a lot of time back in 1988 by just jumping off the Nakatomi Building, do an impact absorbing roll on the ground, bandage his feet up and share a Twinkie with Al.

A Good Day To Die Hard Bruce Willis Jai Courtney

There’s quite a contrast going on. What the heck has happened when once upon a time a feared killer robot that kills anyone that gets in his way of terminating his objective has become a smiling adorable robot called the Guardian and is lovingly referred to as ‘Pops’? I wonder how that first random Sarah Conner who opens the door only to get riddled with bullets would feel about that.

Anyway, I’m getting way off topic. So Hitman: Agent 47, it looks like standard action fare. With the first trailer I thought it started to look pretty decent with some old-school grounded action, of course dialed up to 2015 unbelievable levels – like he can shoot off his handcuffs with a rifle from across the room. Ok, sure, but I’ll go with it. Then things started to go overboard with CGI exploding cars and helicopters and all the usual ridiculous invincible stuff I guess they feel the need to toss into action movies today.

Maybe it could be kind of a fun B-action movie and have a few stylish, strategically placed ‘cool moments’. At least it’s supposedly rated R for action fans. But I’d say it’s looking like a crappier version of John Wick.

American Ultra

American Ultra Jesse Eisenberg Kristen Stewart 2015

Speaking of unbelievable action heroes…

Jesse Eisenberg is a stoner working convenience store clerk who is really a well-trained ‘sleeper’ government agent. As he’s preparing to propose to his girlfriend Kristen Stewart he’s marked for termination by the agency. However, his skills and pot smoking habits make him a difficult target to kill.

The Bourne films really must be the most influential action template since the idea of teaming a pair of different cops together.

Again, we have a lot of unreal action and abilities on display, but this time it’s played for laughs. I like this idea for two reasons: One, it looks to turn the whole ‘Bourne’ premise of hidden skills and an unstoppable, lethal character into a joke. Let’s face it, enough movies have had these type of action characters to the point that it was bound to venture into parody. And two, it reinforces my belief that anyone can be an action movie hero nowadays.

I think this looks like it could be pretty good, I haven’t seen a good action-comedy in a long time and this might have some decent laughs. I’m not sure it will attract mainstream audiences, but maybe with some decent reviews it can manage to become a modest hit. I can see this becoming a future cult film. I don’t think the title is too good though.

Sinister 2

Sinister 2 horror movie 2015

I’ve been doing these posts about upcoming summer movies for several years now. Every year I do a selected list of summer movies to quickly talk about and not surprisingly there are some that ultimately disappear and are forgotten. They don’t leave much of an impact other than the first weekend they come out and then they go the way of redbox and netflix to rest amongst the millions of movies titles out there.

I noticed this is the case for a lot of the horror movies that have come out during the summer I end up listing. Granted I’m not a huge horror aficionado, but I’ve just never heard about them again. Deliver Us From Evil, You’re Next, The Apparition. I completely forgot about them until I got to thinking ‘weren’t there other horror movies I mentioned in past summer blogs’ and had to go back and look them up.

This time we have a sequel to a movie I never saw. There’s something about kids moving into a house and I guess there’s a serial killer who makes them watch films of killings or something. Then there’s a mystery writer investigating it. I don’t really know and my apologies to horror fans for the lame synopsis.

I believe the first Sinister was a pretty low-budget affair and did fairly well. I can’t say anything about the quality of it or if this sequel is drastically different. I know Ethan Hawke isn’t in it – or did he die in the original? No idea. Someone will have to let me know how this goes, since it’s not on my radar of interest.

August 28, 2015
Max Steel

Max Steel movie 2015

Since Crouching Dragon Hidden Tiger II is no longer on this slot on the calendar movie fans will be left with Max Steel…..maybe.

Based on the popular Mattel toy it looks like a movie attempting to cash in on the superhero craze. Teenager Max McGrath discovers he has powers and when combined with an alien pal by the name of Steel they become Max Steel! He has super powers and a costume and stuff and has to fight evil aliens.

I don’t know if this will ever come out this year, let alone in August! This is the best release date I can find for it. There’s really not a lot of info for this movie. And other than a few photos floating around out there it’s like they’re intentionally trying to keep this quiet. There’s no trailer for it, appears to be getting zero promotion and there’s no real confirmation as to when this will hit theaters – or even ondemand or streaming. It’s very odd. And I thought I had a bad feeling about Fantastic Four being so hush-hush for so long!

I doubt we’ll be seeing this movie this summer and if we do I’m getting the vibe it will be a poorly made cheap movie that barely anyone will be interested in watching. Maybe a few hardcore Max Steel fans are anxious to see it. I have a feeling if I keep doing that Superhero video series of mine and if I ever get far enough to include Max Steel it will be in for a roasting.

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1 Response

  1. CKulik says:

    I looked a the trailers for some of these. This FANTASTIC FOUR actually grabs my attention because of the cast, as I've enjoyed Miles Teller, Jamie Bell and Michael B. Jordan (of FRUITVALE STATION fame) all in other projects. The only good thing about the other FANTASTIC FOUR films is Chris Evans, as it his turn as The Human Torch was actually a perfect audition for Captain America. It shall be interesting to see the critical and commercial reaction, if this property has any hope of surviving. It might be okay, I'm just sick of Hollywood Dark Knight-ing everything.

    I have to admit that the MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. trailers make it seem like a cut above most movies based on old television show properties. it might be amusing, but it will wait until DVD for sure if it ever plays on my television. UNDERDOGS and MASTERMINDS seem kind of funny, too, but strictly dvd rentals.

    True story: when I went to see a movie in November of 2007, I had the choice of HITMAN and BEOWULF. Despite the fact I love Robert Zemeckis as a director and a storyteller, I don't really care for this motion-capture stuff he's been doing for a long time. So I went with HITMAN which was okay, just really and over-the-top, in a RESIDENT EVIL-ish type of way. This reboot actually looks better.

    I also did see the original SINISTER and actually really liked it. It was the better of the 2 horror films starring Ethan Hawke (the other being THE PURGE, of course). The Baghool itself is kind of a joke, but I still think you will have a good time with the first picture. This one…not so sure!

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