The 2016 Film Release Calendar: August

Every January, I preview all the films that are scheduled to come out for that year. I go through the existing release calendar, month by month, and guess how much or how little I’m going to like each of the films.

The major benefit is that it allows me, come the end of the year, to see which movies ended up surprising me for better or for worse, or which ones I had wildly disproportionate expectations for. It also gives me a chance to know what’s coming out and what to look forward to.

I also take all the films that are filming or in post and theoretically able to come out that year and preview those too, along with all the films from the previous year(s) that have yet to come out that I’ve been tracking. In all, I end up previewing more films than pretty much anyone else, I’ve been told.

August

Nine Lives

A stuffy businessman finds himself trapped inside the body of his family’s cat.

Starring Kevin Spacey.

Kevin Spacey gets turned into the family cat.

Oh and Christopher Walken is in this too.

Tell me you’re not immediately excited by how insane this sounds.

Sure, Jennifer Garner is in it, and Barry Sonnenfield is directing. And he’s miss-or-miss most of the time. But I’m willing to go along on premise.

3 stars. I need it to go higher, but I’m willing to be way wrong on this rating if it means a good movie.

Suicide Squad

A secret government agency recruits imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency.

Here’s the thing… I trust David Ayer.

Fury was a top ten movie for me two years ago. End of Watch was great. Street Kings was really solid. Harsh Times was good. Sabotage was better than it deserved to be. The man makes good movies.

Yes, I know this is a superhero movie, but this looks like a gritty version of Guardians of the Galaxy, with misfit characters doing their thing mostly separate from the rest of the stuff.

Margot Robbie is Harley Quinn, Jared Leto is the Joker, Will Smith is Deadshot, Scott Eastwood is in this, Cara Delevingne, Jai Courtney, Joel Kinnaman, Ike Barinholtz, Viola Davis, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Common, Adam Beach — the cast is really solid. And apparently they’re getting Affleck to be in it as Batman.

I’m thinking I’m getting 3.5 stars here. Maybe even 4 stars. And you know what? Fuck it, 4 stars. I don’t think I’m getting less than 3.5 here.

Ben-Hur

A falsely accused nobleman survives years of slavery to take vengeance on his best friend who betrayed him.

We know what this is.

The original film is really good. But I’m not opposed to a remake.

Timur Bekmambetov is no William Wyler, so my hopes aren’t overly high. Plus the August release date means they don’t have complete faith in this to make the budget back.

John Ridley wrote the script. And was apparently re-written, because there’s a co-writer on this now.

Jack Huston stars, with Nazanin Boniadi. Rodrigo Santoro is playing Jesus, Morgan Freeman is Sheikh Ilderim.

My response to this is going to be directly related to how much unnecessary CGI is in it. Also how long it is.

If this is a straight 2 hour movie, no. If this is 2.5-3 hours, I’m in.

Right now, this is looking to be one of those movies where it’s too serious, too action heavy, and too modern to really work. This is before I’ve seen a trailer or anything. So that, with the date, makes me think 3 stars. 3.5 stars is max here, I’d wager. I hope we can get there.

Pete’s Dragon

A young orphan seeks refuge from his abusive adoptive parents with the help of a pet dragon and a couple who live in a lighthouse.

This should be cute.

David Lowery is directing. He did Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, which I really liked.

Bryce Dallas Howard stars, with Robert Redford, Karl Urban, Wes Bentley.

It’s Pete’s Dragon. 3.5 stars. I’m gonna enjoy this.

Sausage Party

An animated movie about one sausage’s quest to discover the truth about his existence.

This is supposed to be filthy.

Voice acting being done by Kristen Wiig, James Franco, Paul Rudd, Edward Norton, Salma Hayek, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, David Krumholtz, Bill Hader, Michael Cera, Danny McBride, Nick Kroll, Criag Robinson — get the picture?

3.5 stars. I hope this is hysterical.

Spectral

A sci-fi/thriller story centered on a special-ops team that is dispatched to fight supernatural beings that have taken over New York City.

Supernatural beings. That’s… troubling.

2.5 stars.

Not expecting a whole lot out of this. Seems like a generic thriller.

Arms and the Dudes

The true story of two young men, David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli, who won a $300 million contract from the Pentagon to arm America’s allies in Afghanistan.

Todd Phillips. Which can be okay.

Miles Teller and Jonah Hill star.

I know I’m gonna regret this, but 3.5 stars.

The two of them should make a worthwhile movie. I’m okay with Todd Phillips in this case, since it’s not a straight comedy. I think this can be solid.

Kubo and the Two Strings

Kubo lives a quiet, normal life in a small shoreside village until a spirit from the past turns his life upside down by re-igniting an age-old vendetta. This causes all sorts of havoc as gods and monsters chase Kubo who, in order to survive, must locate a magical suit of armor once worn by his late father, a legendary Samurai warrior.

This is Laika. Stop-motion. Their movies are gorgeous.

The trailer for this makes me think it could be my favorite animated movie of next year.

4 stars. Very excited for this.

Bad Moms

A woman with a seemingly perfect life – a great marriage, overachieving kids, beautiful home, stunning looks and still holding down a career. However she’s over-worked, over committed and exhausted to the point that she’s about to snap. Fed up, she joins forces with two other over-stressed moms and all go on a quest to liberate themselves from conventional responsibilities, going on a wild un-mom like binge of freedom, fun and self-indulgence – putting them on a collision course with PTA Queen Bee Gwendolyn and her clique of devoted perfect moms.

Lucas and Moore are directing this. They did 21 & Over, which was okay, and they wrote all the Hangover movies.

That said, this looks like it’ll probably be borderline Unforgivable.

Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell, Christina Applegate, Jada Pinkett Smith.

Yeah, no faith in this to be good.

2.5 stars.

A Man in the Dark

A group of teens break into a blind man’s home thinking they’ll get away with the perfect crime. They’re wrong.

Fede Alvarez is making this. He did the Evil Dead remake.

Don’t particularly care about this, and there’s not really anyone in the cast I care about.

2.5 stars. If I even see this.

Mechanic: Resurrection

Arthur Bishop thought he had put his murderous past behind him when his most formidable foe kidnaps the love of his life. Now he is forced to travel the globe to complete three impossible assassinations, and do what he does best, make them look like accidents.

Another weird Jason Statham reboot at the end of the summer. Last year was Transporter. Though Statham is actually in this one.

The director hasn’t made anything I recognize. Jessica Alba and Tommy Lee Jones and Michelle Yeoh are also in this.

This will either be 2.5 stars or 3 stars. Statham usually makes worthwhile movies, so let’s say 3 stars. That seems easy.

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow is September.

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