The 2020 Film Release Calendar: August

This has been perhaps the strangest Release Calendar I’ve ever done. Because the Oscars were held a few weeks earlier than they usually are, I wasn’t able to fit in the majority of the calendar before them. Usually I get the whole thing done by late January. And now, we’re post-Oscars, and I’m only on March. And the only reason January and February got done is because I wanted to get them up before some of the films actually came out.

But, here we are, working our way through the rest of the calendar for all the films to look forward to. I think you all know how this works — I’m gonna preview everything that’s set to come out (and a lot more that isn’t), and then guess what I think I’m gonna rate them all when I do manage to see them. And then we’ll use this as evidence of my ineptitude come the December wrap-up articles. These are my own twenty-seven 8×10 colored glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one.

Anyway, here’s August:


The Empty Man

On the trail of a missing girl, an ex-cop comes across a secretive group attempting to summon a terrifying supernatural entity.


2.5 stars.


A man discovers that his hallucinations are actually visions from past lives.


Antoine Fuqua directs from a script co-written (or probably punched up) by John Lee Hancock and Mark Wahlberg stars. Wahlberg and Fuqua did Shooter together, so I have no reason this won’t be more of the same.

Feels like an easy 3 stars.


James Wan horror movie. They’re doing the thing where they’re saying it’s not related to his Conjuring stuff or whatever, but given the generic title, it almost has to be related to something, right? Since they’ve been so hush hush about the whole thing? The question is, what’s it gonna end up being revealed to be?

Oh, wait, it seems to be original. He bought the rights to a graphic novel with that title.

Alan Gates, a cancer patient with a terminal diagnosis, is resigned to his fate…until he discovers that his tumor is actually a mysterious parasite! Granted a second lease on life and incredible, otherworldly powers, Alan must fight against an evil army buried beneath society’s skin, all the while unlocking the secrets of his forgotten past.

Okay, I guess. At least it sounds more interesting than that supernatural horror shit. So we’ll go 3 stars and hope it can be good. The more action it is and less horror, the more I’m gonna care and enjoy it.


A bystander who intervenes to help a woman being harassed by a group of men becomes the target of a vengeful drug lord.

So it’s directed by the guy who did Hardcore Henry. Great. Written by the guy who wrote John Wick. Also great. Bob Odenkirk appears to be playing the guy and Christopher Lloyd appears to be the drug lord. Which — fucking awesome.

3 stars. I can’t assume more, but shit, man, I’d love for this to be great.

The One and Only Ivan

A gorilla named Ivan tries to piece together his past with the help of an elephant named Stella as they hatch a plan to escape from captivity.

Animation. But it’s also Disney? But not Disney? Oh, I see, it’s hybrid. Sam Rockwell is the gorilla, but Bryan Cranston is acting in it.

I guess I go 3 stars, just because it’s Disney. And if it was straight animation and anyone else, I’d say automatic 2.5. But because it’s Disney, I have to at least assume their dedication to mediocrity.

Escape Room 2

Great, a sequel. To a movie that was just barely okay. The problem is, they can’t do anything interesting here. Just give you more escape rooms and then build up the ‘there’s a big evil villain behind it all’ angle. And I don’t care. The best this will go is 3 stars, but I can’t even guess that.

2.5 stars. You got your surprise 3 out of me. Now you have to earn the next one.

Bill & Ted Face the Music

Once told they’d save the universe during a time-traveling adventure, 2 would-be rockers from San Dimas, California find themselves as middle-aged dads still trying to crank out a hit song and fulfill their destiny.

I already know where this plot is going. But that doesn’t make me any less intrigued.

3 stars. I’m not getting more than 3 out of this, unless it’s got a really nice emotional hook at the end, at which point I’ll still only say 3.5 is the max. This feels like an easy 3.

Let Him Go

A retired sheriff and his wife, grieving over the death of their son, set out to find their only grandson.

Stars Kevin Costner and Diane Lane. I’m so in.

3.5 stars.

No idea what kind of movie I’m getting, but those two alone make me go 3.5. Costner picks solid material always.

Fred Hampton Project

The life story of Black Panther Party member Fred Hampton.

Daniel Kaluuya stars, along with LaKeith Stanfield, Jesse Plemons, Martin Sheen, Ashton Sanders, Lil Rel Howery. Director is kind of a first-timer. I’m worried that it’s out mid-August. But I’m assuming that’s because that’s when they put Detroit out and they figure, “One black movie’s as good as another.” They don’t have real awards aspirations for this, but they’ll push it as such. That’s what that sounds like to me.

I’m gonna go 3.5 stars alone on that cast, but this could be another Seberg where it’s only 3 stars and just whatever to me.


A father survives a plane crash in rural Appalachia, but becomes suspicious of the elderly couple who take him in to nurse him back to health with the ancient remedies.

Yawn. Horror movie.

2.5 stars.

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard

It’s a sequel, and I’m guessing Salma Hayek is now the person who needs protecting instead of Samuel L. Jackson, which means that it’ll just be Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson doing their thing again with more Salma Hayek in it.

Works for me.

3 stars.


Rachel is running late getting to work when she crosses paths with a stranger at a traffic light. Soon, Rachel finds herself and everyone she loves the target of a man who feels invisible and is looking to make one last mark upon the world by teaching her a series of deadly lessons. What follows is a dangerous game of cat and mouse that proves you never know who you’re driving next to.

K. But Russell Crowe stars in it, so I’m kinda interested. It looks schlocky, but that doesn’t mean anything. I’m the person who gets something out of these things.

3 stars.

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