The 2014 Film Release Calendar: August

Every January, I preview all the films that are scheduled to come out for that year. Not all of them do, of course, and it gets a bit crazy every year in terms of changes, but basically the point of it all is to know what’s coming out, know what to get excited for, know what to start bracing myself for, and, selfishly, guess what I’m going to think about all the movies to see how accurate I was at the end of the year. And also see which movies surprised me, for better and for worse.

It’s gotten to be a whole great thing. Since at first it was just what Wikipedia’s year in film article said, plus a few others that weren’t scheduled that I just knew about. And then the year after that it was a few more films. And last year it was like, 200 or something. And now, it’s probably like 200 or something, plus all the ones from last year that I’m continuing to track. Eventually it’ll be to the point where really the only ones I haven’t heard about or previewed at some point are either foreign films, documentaries, and like 5% of those movies that just come out of nowhere.

What I’m doing is going over everything as it’s currently scheduled. I’m doing the first six months now, then taking a ten day break in between to go over some other stuff (Oscar nominations are going to be announced, the Golden Globes will happen — big stuff), plus allow for the later months of the year to maybe become more solidified, and maybe let a few changes happen, since I’ve discovered that a lot of things do get moved this time of year, often right as I’m putting the articles together. So it works twofold. I get to talk about other stuff and let the dust settle as much as possible so as not to make everything that much crazier come December.

Here’s August:

August

Get on Up

It’s a James Brown biopic starring the dude who played Jackie Robinson last year.

It’s being directed by the guy who made The Help, so there’s that. If that means anything. (Which it really doesn’t.)

Let’s call it 3 stars and see if this is worth anything.

Guardians of the Galaxy

In the far reaches of space, an American pilot named Peter Quill finds himself the object of a manhunt after stealing an orb coveted by the villainous Ronan. In order to evade Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a group of misfits including Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, Drax the Destroyer and Groot. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand — with the galaxy’s fate in the balance.

Chris Pratt is Quill. Zoe Saldana is Gamora, Bradley Cooper is the Racoon, Dave Bautista is Drax, and Vin Diesel is Groot. And Lee Pace is Ronan. And then also in it are Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close and Benicio del Toro.

This could actually be entertaining, given that it’s sounding like it’s gonna have a sense of humor to it. Plus — James Gunn made Super, which was sickly comic. Maybe this’ll be worthwhile.

Fuck it. 3.5 stars.

Prepare for the letdown, folks!

(This is me, falling for another Marvel trap.)

The Hundred-Foot Journey

A story centered around an Indian family who moves to France and opens a restaurant across the street from a Michelin-starred French restaurant.

Directed by Lasse Hallstrom, starring Helen Mirren… and a bunch of Indian actors.

It’s August, so clearly they’re setting this up as the Eat Pray Love, The Help, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel of the year. The movie that old white people are gonna love, and go see at the end of the summer. Last year’s old white person movie was The Butler. This is the one they’ll be looking at for those pandering Oscar nominations for a movie that’s baity as hell.

3 stars. These movies have to win me over. Of that list up there, I only see one that managed anything over 3 stars. And even that took three watches. (And even then, I’m aware that it’s still not particularly good, but it just won me over.)

Into the Storm

A group of high school students document the events and aftermath of a devastating tornado.

Uhh… all right. A found footage tornado movie.

I… can’t really see this being any good at all.

2 stars.

Worst I’ll be wrong is a half star. And that’s only if it manages to go up.

Lucy

Lucy (Scarlett Johansson), a woman living in Taipei, Taiwan, works as a drug mule. The drug she inadvertently takes goes into her system, changing her into a metahuman. She can absorb knowledge instantaneously, is able to move objects with her mind and can’t feel pain and other discomforts.

So this is a superhero movie as written and directed by Luc Besson.

Interesting.

I’m gonna say 3 stars, but given Luc Besson’s history — I’m gonna say this has the potential to go higher, and not lower.

(Though, I don’t know… it’s been a while for him. Maybe he’s lost it.)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Gilbert has to care for his brother Arnie and his obese mother, which gets in the way when love walks into his life.

Sounds great.

(Somehow, I wasn’t that far off on the color, even though I completely picked it out of thin air.)

Megan Fox is April O’Neil, but I think we’re collectively done with her.

William Fichtner is Shredder, which is exciting. I like when he gets to bust loose with a role. (Remember Drive Angry? Or, to a lesser extent, The Lone Ranger?)

Whoopi Goldberg is in this too.

Just in case you thought it couldn’t get any stranger.

3 stars.

Because fuck it. It’s Ninja Turtles, right?

How do you think they’re gonna manage Splinter?

Or justify a crazy dude in a hockey mask?

Let’s Be Cops

A pair of buddies hatch a plan to impersonate police officer but soon find themselves way in over their heads.

Directed by the guy who did The Animal (not good), The Girl Next Door (good), and Something Borrowed (really not good). Starring Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. Also starring Nina Dobrev, Rob Riggle and Andy Garcia.

Sure.

3 stars.

I might end up feeling bad about not going lower, but for now, what the hell?

The Expendables 3

The mercenary group, The Expendables, led by Barney Ross, come face to face with the team’s co-founder Conrad Stonebanks. Ross was forced to kill Stonebanks after he became a ruthless arms trader, but Stonebanks survived and has now made it his mission to destroy The Expendables. Ross resorts to recruiting a new and younger generation of Expendables to help the team overcome his old adversary.

Because why try harder, right?

Mel Gibson is the bad guy. And Harrison Ford is also coming into the fold. And they managed to get Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Robert Davi, Kelsey Grammar and Ronda Rousey.

I mean, hey, they are what they are at this point.

It’s Stallone, so expect bad dialogue, contrived situations, and a few entertaining moments of action.

3 stars. Maybe I’m finally done with this, but I’ll stick with 3 until complete indifference sets in.

The Giver

In a seemingly perfect community, without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice, a young boy is chosen to learn from an elderly man about the true pain and pleasure of the “real” world.

This is not what I thought it was.

Maybe because I initially confused this with “The Giving Tree.” Two completely different things.

It’s being directed by the guy who did Salt, which is Noyce.

(A+ for me.)

The male lead in Maleficent (or rather… Prince Phillip… I don’t know who the hell the male lead is there) is the main dude, and Jeff Bridges is The Giver. Meryl Streep is also in it, as are Katie Holmes, Alexander Skarsgard, and Taylor Swift. Oh jesus.

Uhh… 3 stars? I don’t know what to make of this. I don’t even know what this is about. So I’ll just see it and let it figure out what it’s going to be.

Premise is interesting, but the late August date isn’t inspiring much confidence.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Well, we know what we’re getting here.

Apparently it’s based on four stories.

“A Dame to Kill For”:

Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin) is summoned by his former lover, Ava Lord (Eva Green), who wants his help to escape her abusive husband, billionaire Damien Lord (Marton Csokas). However, Dwight soon learns that Ava’s true intentions are more sinister than they appear.

So Dwight is now being played by a completely different actor.

But other than that — cool. Sounds like a noir. I’m down for this.

“Just Another Saturday Night”:

On the night John Hartigan meets up with Nancy in “That Yellow Bastard”, Marv (Mickey Rourke) regains consciousness on a highway overlooking the Projects, surrounded by dead young men, and unable to remember how he got there.

I’m down for this too. I like the connection to the first film.

“The Long Bad Night”:

Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a cocky gambler, disguises a darker mission to destroy the biggest villain in Sin City at his own game. He beats the wrong man and events take a turn for the worse. Along the way, he meets a young stripper named Marcy (Julia Garner).

I like the title pun.

But Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I like that.

And a fourth story:

Set after Hartigan’s (Bruce Willis) suicide at the end of “That Yellow Bastard”, this story centers around Nancy (Jessica Alba) trying to cope with his death.

I’m down for all of this. As long as it looks the same (and Rodriguez is directing, so it will), I’m down for whatever they want to do here.

4 stars.

Because I haven’t gone this high yet. And I figure, even if it’s just okay, it’s getting 3.5 out of me. So I shouldn’t be that far off.

If I Stay

A chronicle of a car accident that lands 17-year-old Mia in a coma and claims the life of her boyfriend.

Starring Chloe Moretz.

Sure.

Uhh… 2.5 stars. No idea what this could be. It has that weepie spot, and could be good, but for now, let’s stay neutral and let it be better.

Jane Got a Gun

A woman asks her ex-lover for help in order to save her outlaw husband from a gang out to kill him.

I mean… it’s a western, so I’m down for this.

I’m aware of all the production issues this has had (director not showing up on the first day, recasting, etc.), but it’s a western. I like westerns.

The guy who made Warrior is on this now.

Natalie Portman is Jane, and Joel Edgerton and Ewan McGregor are the two men. I’m assuming McGregor is the husband and Edgerton is the outlaw.

Or rather — nope. Noah Emmerich is her husband, McGregor is the leader of the gang, and Edgerton is the outlaw.

For those keeping track — Fassbender was originally cast in the Edgerton role, and Edgerton was in the McGregor role. Then Fassbender left because of “scheduling conflicts,” and Edgerton slid over to his role. Then Jude Law was cast, but when Lynne Ramsey, the director, didn’t show up on the first day, he backed out, because he only wanted to work with her. Then a few weeks later, Bradley Cooper takes over the Law role, but backs out three weeks later, to be replaced by Ewan McGregor. You follow?

So this looks like a giant mess. And because of that, I’m only gonna go 3 stars.

And this is a western. I want this to go higher. But I can’t, given the troubled production history and late August release date, which is the notorious dumping ground for shit movies the studio has no faith in.

So we’ll just see how this shakes out.

Jessabelle

A young woman recuperating at her father’s run-down home after a tragic accident soon encounters a terrifying presence with a connection to her long-deceased mother.

Horror movie.

Nope.

Skip.

The Loft

Five friends who share a loft for their extramarital affairs begin to question one another after the body of an unknown woman is found in the property.

Hey, I remember this from last year. I called it “The Apartment, but if it were a shitty, reverse thriller.”

Thoughts still stand.

Karl Urban, James Marsden, Isabel Lucas, Wentworth Miller, Rhona Mitra, Rachael Taylor, Eric Stonestreet, Margarita Levieva  — sounds like a shitty thriller.

2 stars. I might see this out of pure schaudenfreude.

I’d rather not, though, if I can help it.

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow is September.

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