The 2019 Film Release Calendar: August

New year, new movies.

I begin every new year by taking a look at what movies there are to come out. It helps me to be aware of stuff so I can actively track it throughout the year, and I think it’s helpful for most people who care about movies to at least be informed of what’s going on. Far too often do I talk to my friends who are casually into movies, and they have no idea what’s coming out or when the stuff they want to see is supposed to come out.

Of course, when I do something, I really do it, so instead of just a casual preview of the big 35 movies of the year, I go all out. You’re gonna get everything as it’s currently scheduled to come out, plus another 200 or so movies that are not dated but are finished and ready to come out, plus another 100 or so that I’ve been tracking from previous years. I dare to say that no one on the internet goes as deep into their coverage as I do.

Today is August.

August

Dora the Explorer

Produced by Michael Bay, I feel, is the important thing to note here.

I don’t know what this is gonna be, but I’m pretty sure we can all say that if this ends up being a 3 star movie, it made it out okay.

The director is the guy who did The Muppets, Muppets Most Wanted and Alice Through the Looking Glass. So capable, bland director with a somewhat broad, family sensibility.

I’m sure I will not care remotely about this movie, because it’s not for me and never was for me. So I will either be completely indifferent about this and it will be 2.5 stars, or I can just assume generic family movie niceness and go 3 stars. I’ve been in a forgiving mood the past year or two, so let’s go with that option.

P.S. Benicio Del Toro is Swiper, so there’s that too.

New Mutants

Five young mutants, just discovering their abilities while held in a secret facility against their will, fight to escape their past sins and save themselves.

This movie was originally scheduled for April 2018. That’s quite the move. They must have reshot the entire movie.

Something tells me they went for something unique and interesting with this, and the studio got skittish and through all the reshoots they beat anything that could be interesting out of this movie.

The director did Fault in Our Stars, and apparently is gonna try to do The Stand next. So good for him for branching out. I really wonder how much of a hell making this movie was. If you remove it from April to do reshoots and then it doesn’t come out for another 14 months, that’s… a lot of changes.

But it stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams, Antonio Banderas, Alice Braga. I mean, it could be somewhat interesting.

My guess is they were trying to make it contained horror movie that could branch out into X-Men, a la Split, but I feel like these reshoots are not promising for what the finished product is gonna be. Maybe I’m making a mountain out of a molehill, but let’s also — you know what? Let’s get into this. I don’t need to get into my reasoning, but it’s been a while and it’s good to bring up.

I wrote an article right after starting this website called How to Read a Hollywood Release. I updated those articles three years later, in 2014. I probably should go in and update them again, and we’ll see if I can get my lazy ass to get around to doing that. But basically, the point of those articles was my methodology for how I figure out how to rate all these movies each year. The thing about it is — it’s really obvious stuff and didn’t require me to write it up. But no one ever has, and I think it’s good for it to be out there. Because it’s the guidelines we all use that no one’s ever really put a name on before. (This is good. It’s making me want to go back in and redo them. This is five years. So they’re ready for an update.)

The gist is — you can pretty much know the quality of a movie based on release date and some other minimal data that’s all readily available. So for me, a movie, released first week of August (which means they’re pretending it’s a summer movie, but not really, because they’re not totally sure how it’s gonna perform, but this is the only weekend in August to try to get any serious box office), that was pushed over a year… that’s not something that makes me want to guess high on. Guardians came out this weekend, but so did Fantastic Four, The Dark Tower and Christopher Robin/The Darkest Minds/The Spy Who Dumped Me.

3 stars has to be the guess. Maybe I can get 3.5 out of this, but unlikely. August is not a breeding ground for good movies most of the time. Maybe you’ll get something that will make a lot of money, but very rarely are they good. I also don’t expect all of these movies to stay here, because this is going up directly against Dora and the next movie. One of them will move off it. Likely the next one. But this one might end up in that October/Halloween spot. If they put this later in August, that’s pretty much a death knell, so keep that in mind.

Oh, but yeah, I’ve gone way off point. This probably won’t be very good, looking at all the stuff that’s happened to it. 3.5 is the max, but I’m thinking standard 3 star studio movie business.

Hobbs & Shaw

This is a weird date for this movie. They must think it’s release date proof. Otherwise, why wouldn’t they slot this back in July, where there’s basically no real competition for it? Or go for the big Thanksgiving money if you’re really confident.

Still, it’s a Fast & Furious movie. The Rock and Statham. That’s basically where the franchise started to go on its own until Vin Diesel basically forced it back into his hands. So now there’s the spinoff. I’m sure tensions on set will be great if this is a huge hit.

That said — David Leitch is directing, coming off John Wick, Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2, and they got Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby and Eiza Gonzalez to be in it too.

I can’t see this being anything less than a 3.5 star movie. If it’s bad, it’s 3 stars. I can’t see it going higher, either. This should be a fun, ridiculous movie that we all enjoy and completely forget about in six months. That’s what this franchise is. Nothing wrong with that at all. And the director they chose knows what he’s doing, because he’s proven it three times now. So this looks like it’ll be fun.

Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl II, a young Irish criminal mastermind, kidnaps the fairy LEPrecon officer Holly Short for ransom to fund the search for his missing father in order to restore the family fortune.

Family movie. But directed by Kenneth Branagh, which is nice.

Branagh doing studio stuff like this makes me automatically think 3 stars. He did Jack Ryan… he’s done generic studio movies. The trailer convinced me this is 3 stars. It looks like A Wrinkle in Time but without the pretense of “this will be a visionary masterpiece.” Looks like a standard 3 star movie.

Brian Banks

An All-American football player’s dreams to play in the NFL are halted when he is falsely accused of rape and sent to prison.

I was surprised when I saw this movie. Not because it was never going to be made, but because of who was directing it. And that’s Tom Shadyac, best known for: Ace Ventura, The Nutty Professor, Liar Liar, Patch Adams, Bruce Almighty, and Evan Almighty. That latter being the last film he directed, because it was such an unmitigated critical and financial disaster that he did not work for over ten years.

And now he returns with a drama about this football player. When I heard that I went, “Well how good can that be? But also good for him.” But, in a post-Green Book era, when 90s comedy directors can reinvent themselves with really solid dramas, I’m not ruling out that this could be solid.

Played Toronto last year, and now it’s getting an August release. Weird time, but also just before football season, so I guess there’s some method there. You’d think they’d want this to compete for awards, but I guess they’ll see how it tests and can always move it later if they think there’s a legitimate play.

I’m gonna go 3.5 stars. I think there’s a chance for this to work. I can’t imagine this is anything but 3 or 3.5 stars. So let’s take a page from the Green book and say this is more solid than you might think based on his previous output. (Plus, Patch Adams is kind of dramatic, no?)

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

A group of kids face their fears in order to save their town.

I don’t really know anything about this, but I imagine it’s going here because of It. I’m sure it’s fine. Seems like a kids movie, so I’ll say 3 stars. I suspect at best it can go 3.5 stars, but that feels unlikely. Seems like they’re doing Goosebumps meets It. Guillermo Del Toro is producing, but there’s no way they’ll let it be as dark as he’d go. So I figure 3 stars, decent, nothing more.

Midsommar

A young woman reluctantly joins her boyfriend on a summer trip where things quickly go awry.

It’s Ari Aster, who did Hereditary, and it stars Florence Pugh. So I’m in for her, and I suspect it’ll be decently solid because of him. Then again, it could also just be another 3 star horror movie. I have no idea.

Let’s assume 3.5 stars because of Hereditary and star and see if it disappoints.

Oh, and he said Black Narcissus is a visual reference for him. Doubt it has anything to do with the movie, but if it’s even 15% Black Narcisuss (especially the last 15% of the movie, if you know what I mean), I’ll be down for this.

The Angry Birds Movie 2

Didn’t we ruin all we needed to ruin with the first Angry Birds movie?

2 stars.

Boss Level

A retired special forces officer is trapped in a never ending time loop on the day of his death.

So Groundhog Day, but with action. Or Edge of Tomorrow without the aliens.

Joe Carnahan is doing it, and he can do action. Not sure the story can differentiate itself as something interesting, which is probably why they’re putting it end of August.

Or it’s because Expendables came out this time and they’re trying to capitalize on that. (How to Read a Hollywood Release, man… it works. I’m telling you.)

Mel Gibson stars, so on that alone, 3.5 stars. Plus Michelle Yeoh, Naomi Watts, Frank Grillo.

If I don’t get 3.5 stars out of this, I’m gonna be really disappointed.

Good Boys

A group of young boys on the cusp of becoming teenagers embark on an epic quest in the San Fernando Valley to fix their broken toy before their parents get home.

This is by the writers of Bad Teacher. Sounds a lot like a kids movie. Wondering how rated R this is going.

Let’s say 3 stars. I don’t know what to make of this, so let’s assume baseline and see if it can be any better. Everything else these guys have done was 3 stars for me, so let’s see if they can break out of that pattern.

Playmobil

Really? This is where we are? A Playmobil movie?

Let’s see if the trailer takes me off my immediate position on this…

Okay, it swayed me from 2 stars to 2.5 stars.

They’re doing Lego Movie, mixed with Tron. I’m sure it’ll be fine. I’m not gonna care, but it’ll be watchable for young kids.

2.5 stars seems almost exact for this one.

Angel Has Fallen

Secret Service Agent Mike Banning is framed for the attempted assassination of the President and must evade his own agency and the FBI as he tries to uncover the real threat.

Oh, so that’s where this franchise is at? Okay.

I’m guessing… oh yeah. Morgan Freeman is the president now. Aaron Eckhart can only take so many assassination attempts. So now Morgan Freeman takes them.

Let’s not beat around the bush. It’s a 3 star action franchise. That’s all this is. Someone tries to kill the president, Gerard Butler stabs people in the face, we go home. We know how this works. I’m fine with this.

Overcomer

This movie will unpack a pivotal issue in the life of students and adults alike.

That’s your synopsis? Man, the fact that I even manage to be halfway decent with these ratings in January is shocking to me.

Oh. OH… this is a religious movie! Oh boy.

The guy who did those other shitty movies. Good thing there was a trailer. Though I would have figured it out by the director.

Okay then.

2 stars.

Bring on the fucking garbage.

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