Summer Movies – August 2016

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad
Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad

As we reach the finish line of summer 2016 there’s one final gasping month to redeem the summer movie season of 2016. It hasn’t been a great summer for movies folks.

I’m not the only one who has noticed this. Just recently website ScreenCrush ran an article titled – 2016: The Worst Summer Movie Season Ever?

Nope, it hasn’t been a very memorable summer. Blockbusters that have been hyped up and released have been cooly received and by the end of the weekend pushed aside and quickly forgotten. Usually you can point to a few movies and say, “that was the summer such and such came out, that was the big hit”. While some movies have earned some cash, it doesn’t appear there’s many that will be remembered past their opening weekends. Most have already vanished from audiences minds and should spend the rest of their existence in bargain bins at Walmart.

One flick you can point to is Finding Dory as a success both critically and commercially. Along with Life With Pets drawing the kiddies in and will most likely sell lots of toys and dvds around Christmas. But other than that it’s a pretty barren mountaintop so far.

I suppose a year from now we’ll be able to recall the controversy of Ghostbusters, the third Star Trek movie was better than the second and that Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne still gets audiences excited, but there really isn’t that much else to talk about from these past few months. Although you can have a good laugh by looking at the Rotten Tomato ratings of so many big-budget movies that audiences were treated to. Great job Hollywood! Servicing the people with top quality product!

Well, maybe August will redeem things. August – the usual dumping ground of movies for Hollywood who felt they didn’t warrant higher profile dates in the middle of summer. We’re reduced to looking for that for some hope. Okie doke!

By the way, one film I was looking forward to seeing in August got pushed back later in the year, The Founder with Michael Keaton. I love Keaton and the movie looks like it could be a good one. I guess they’re hoping for a bit more award exposure if they push it back to the cooler months.

August 5, 2016
Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad DC Comics Expanded Movie Universe superhero villain

Well, now wait a second, it might be my sarcastic comments will be proven wrong with the start of August being the opening of a highly anticipated comic book movie that has gotten attention since it was first announced. It’s the arrival of the anti-hero DC movie Suicide Squad. Yeah, this looks like it will be a huge hit.

Even with mega-star Will Smith in this, out of the whole cast there are two actors that have and already stolen the spotlight. Jared Leto’s Joker and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn.

Leto’s Joker was met with mixed reactions when we got our first look at him, but somehow that has simmered down. I haven’t heard much complaining about his appearance lately. I’m still not completely sold on him. I’m not that impressed with his wild antics offscreen staying in character and all that. I’ll wait until I see his interpretation of the character before I pass final judgment.

Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is already a fan favorite when she was first revealed. I never understood why fans would get a tattoo of her as Harley to ink on their bodies before ever seeing the movie though. I get liking the character and she looks like she’ll be good in the part, but I would need to know if the movie is halfway decent before I brand myself with a character from it. She’s probably going to be the standout in this and she’ll lead to lots of fans dressing up in Harley inspired costumes at conventions and Halloween parties in the future.

Nine Lives

Nine Lives Kevin Spacey in children cat comedy

If Suicide Squad seems a bit too dark and violent for the kiddies there’s always the option of watching Kevin Spacey turning into a cat as a way to reconnect with his family!

That’s about the gist of this flick. Watching the trailer I had flashbacks of Look Who’s Talking? and Jack Frost. It’s also funny how Christopher Walken looks like he’s playing the same role as he did in that Sandler Click movie.

Eh, maybe the kids will enjoy this one. Everyone seems to love those stupid cat videos on Youtube. It looks harmless enough with a lot of silly cat antics on display. I wonder if they’re going to drag this cat out for interviews and promotion. Those marketing ideas always ends up embarrassing and awkward. Who knows, it could be a big hit or it could be a big miss that will end up re-running on the Disney Channel for the next decade.

August 12, 2016
Pete’s Dragon

Disney Pete's Dragon remake 2016

Speaking of Disney, an updated remake of Pete’s Dragon, the middle-of-the-road classic from 1977. I call it a ‘middle-of-the-road classic, since it’s not a huge title in Disney’s library. Let’s be honest it’s not like Fantasia or Pinocchio. When I’ve gone to Disney parks I never saw any dolls or mascots of the purple haired Elliot the dragon. It’s fondly remembered by one generation of movie watchers, but I think if you weren’t the perfect age when it hit it’s not high on the recognizable Disney meter.

I haven’t watched the original Pete’s Dragon in ages, but as I recall it was a light comedy, some music, rough animation, a bit of sentimentality. This time around it looks more – ‘gritty’. Yes, that popular word in regards to movies being made today. It looks very much a standard – lost kid is found, everyone is scared of his friend who they think is a monster, but who is really nice, meanies want to kill the friend, kid tries to protect his friend and vice versa, some nice people try to help him – you know that kind of story.

It doesn’t look very special to me. The design of the dragon I haven’t warmed too. I’ve heard the question, “why does the dragon have fur?” a lot. I’m surprised Robert Redford is in this too. Kids have fun, perhaps it will be a brand new experience for you. I’ll pass.

I would have preferred a remake of The Apple Dumpling Gang.

Sausage Party

Sausage Party 2016 adult animated movie

Something a bit more on the adult end is Sausage Party. A hot dog by the name of Frank discovers the inevitable destiny of food and sets out to warn all his comrades before they’re all consumed.

Initially when I first heard about this I thought this was just some bizarre kids movie about hot dogs running around. I had no idea this was from the Seth Rogen crew with the voices of Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Michael Cera, James Franco and all those guys unleashing a raunchy animated tale. It wasn’t until I watched the ‘official restricted’ trailer that I got the real gist of it that this is not something for the kids.

And I have to say it does look pretty funny. An R-rated animated movie with F-bombs, dark humor, sexual innuendos, a Saving Private Ryan homage – this could be a cult hit along the lines of Team America. I’m not sure if the joke can sustain an entire movie, but from what I’ve seen this could be a real hoot.

August 19, 2016
Ben Hur

Ben-Hur 2016 remake Jack Huston Morgan Freeman

Everyone was so upset about the remake of Ghostbusters this year, but no one seems to care that William Wyler’s 1959 classic has gotten one too. Maybe because that film was a remake of a 1925 silent film and there’s been a few versions of the story made since then. I remember there was a mini-series not too long ago and I think an animated movie with Charlton Heston lending his voice. So what’s wrong with doing it again!

But this time we’ll really ramp up the action with special effects, make the battles and chariot racing even more epic-er and exciting with fast cutting and do some stylish color grading to make it all look really cool. Plus, Freeman will lend his authoritative, smoothing voice to the proceedings. Sounds like a plan.

This looks like such a disposable, bland flick that I’ve already forgotten about it. I don’t think audiences are going to turn out for this in huge numbers. Perhaps I’m being unfair, this Ben-Hur could be good, but I doubt I’ll ever find out for myself. I’d save time and just chuck it into one of those bargain bins.

August 26, 2016
Mechanic: Resurrection

Jason Statham Jessica Alba Mechanic Resurrection 2016 action movie

Remember when sequels would just simply slap a ‘2’ onto themselves. Today the most overused titling for a sequel is adding ‘Resurrection’ or ‘Redemption’ or some word ending with ‘tion’. Hollywood can you please just go back to basic numbering sequels in sequential order!

In case anyone remembers it, this is a sequel to the 2011 Statham vehicle The Mechanic, which was a remake of the ’72 Charles Bronson film. This time Statham’s experienced hitman is forced to kill a bunch of folks around the world in creative ways or else his girl Jessica Alba will be killed by the bad guys who have kidnapped her. It’s something like that.

I actually enjoyed The Mechanic, but this ‘Resurrection’….doesn’t look as special. Quite frankly it looks about as routine a Statham action movie as one could hope for. None of the set-pieces looked very special from the trailer and some of the special effects and explosions looked really, really rough. Even the addition of Tommy Lee Jones looking like he’s doing one of his more colorful performances and the added eye-candy of Alba makes this appear to be a very, very forgettable actioner. It’s probably the perfect time of year to release this flick. I don’t have much hope for it.

 

YAWNNNNNN……


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2 Responses

  1. No one is upset with the Ben-Hur movie because
    a) it has no Proton back pack
    b) no one has actually seen the Heston version from beginning to end. Some say they did but they are lying. Oh sure its always on TV but no one has actually sat down for 3 hours and watched it. Never. And even those people who did see it 70 years ago in the theaters most probably fell asleep some time after the chariot race.
    c) no one cares – see (a) and (b)

  2. spaceodds says:

    Rotten Tomatos is a joke. Great reviews for the unfunny and down right annoying Ghostbusters remake/reboot and awful reviews for Jason Bourne?! It's not the first time RT have gotten it wrong for me, one such example is Noah, a hit on RT with a 76% score, but an absolute atrocity for me (my worst film of 2014) Jason Bourne may not have matched the phenomenal brilliance of the original trilogy, but it did stand out and it has become my favourite film of the summer (even though the story is disappointing) Ghostbusters; forget it, no comedy chemistry between the team, and an infuriating film to boot. As for the others; Suicide Squad I am giving a miss, Batman Vs Superman has put me off the DC universe, and Margot Robbie and Jared Leto are just getting on my nerves now (the hype surrounding Heath Ledger's Joker was more down to the fan speculation rather then industry push) Mechanic will be a hit… on VOD where I am planning to see it.

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