Summer Movies – August 2014
|Jessica Alba in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For|
I had heard from a few online reviewers describing this years summer as being ‘a great summer movie season’.
I just don’t understand that statement.
Granted I haven’t seen every big movie release that’s come out like these folks, but I really wouldn’t want to! Whereas summers past there would be a movie every few weeks coming out that I would at the very least be mildly interested in or even a few things that seemed like they could be so-so time wasters, this summer has been a desert of boredom. It’s gotten to the point where I didn’t even look forward to writing these summer movie blog posts this year knowing that the majority of films for the upcoming month I would have zero interest in.
Even looking at the top ten movies every week this summer and seeing their average scores on Rotten Tomatoes is somewhat shocking. I don’t think of Tomatoes as gospel, but when I see such overwhelmingly low numbers it stands out to me. It’s almost like the bar this summer was lowered so much if a film was able to reach a 50% rating this summer it was a real feat.
If I had time I would average out the Tomato ratings for all the major summer releases just to see what the overall average number is that audiences got this summer of 2014.
So let’s get the rest of this summer movies out of the way with August 2014! Oddly enough, whereas August is typically a dumping ground for summer flicks, this year it looks to have more interesting offerings that I’m interested in than the earlier summer months.
August 1, 2014
Guardians of the Galaxy
|The Guardians take a heroic walk to box office glory|
Marvel attempts to continue their dominance of the blockbuster superhero market by branching out into the realms of space and featuring more less recognizable characters for mainstream audiences.
Peter Quill (Chris Pratts) leads an intergalactic team consisting of green-skinned assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), a hulking warrior by the name of Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), a tree-like creature (voiced by Vin Diesel) and Rocket, a genetically engineered raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper). Can this group save the galaxy from destruction?
This is certainly one of the oddest recent superhero films that has come down the pike. And that’s what makes it looks so interesting! Just the poster looks like a weird throwback to some of those early 80’s strange sci-fi movies.
Star Wars sort of started that general poster design and eventually it got used by every sci-fi movie that came in its wake. I don’t know what it is about it that reminds me of those flicks, like Ice Pirates, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, Flash Gordon, Megaforce.
This wild cast all standing around in action poses in front of a space backdrop with weird stuff flying all around them. Maybe it’s just me that gets that reaction from looking at it and I’m completely nuts. The poster certainly looks more exciting than the overused format of big faces of the actors in blue light, which seems to be the norm for movie posters today.
Anyway, I’m sure general audiences will be unfamiliar with the comic book or any of the characters. Fortunately, the name Marvel is gold today and audiences will still be drawn to it just to learn what this is all about and how it fits into Marvel’s ever-expanding cinematic universe. Ever since seeing the trailer my nephews have learned as much as they can about the Guardians and are as excited to see it as all Marvel fans, so this is going to do some pretty decent sized business and plans for a sequel won’t seem premature at all by the end of its opening weekend.
It also helps that this summer has been so lousy that this movie looks to be one of the few things to be excited about.
Get On Up
|Boseman as the Godfather of Soul|
After playing Jackie Robinson Chadwick Boseman moves onto playing another black icon – James Brown.
The film recounts Brown’s impoverished upbringing to his rise of becoming one of the most influential entertainers of the 20th century.
He broke the rules – broke barriers – he shook the world.
The trailer for this makes it look like yet another generic musical bio that follows the standard format that has been laid out and followed several times before – rough upbringing, defiance, hardships, major success.
It really doesn’t look very special to me. Granted I’m just basing this on my initial reaction from a trailer, so maybe it will have some good performances and offer some insight into Brown and his music. At the very least it will have some good music in it, but it’s really not something I’m dying to see.
August 8, 2014
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
|Fox interacting with weird CGI turtles|
The four pizza-loving, sewer-dwelling, ass-kicking reptiles are back and ready to save New York City from the evil Shredder and his foot clan. With the help of reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox) the Turtles hope to attract a new generation of fans and sell plenty of toys and Pizza Hut pizzas as possible. They’re already optimistic about their future with sequels already being planned to continue their adventures.
As I’ve said before, I have never been a fan of the Turtles nor do I have any interest in this movie. I am however curious as to what kind of reception it will get. Already longtime Turtle fans have voiced their fervent opinions of what they’ve seen so far – and it’s not that positive from what I’ve heard. While younger fans are extremely excited about this new Turtle incarnation.
I have sympathy with the older fans. If a property I loved fell into the hands of Michael Bay of all people, Megan Fox had been cast in a lead role and the heroes had been drastically redesigned resulting in very oddish appearances, (these Turtles look pretty weird to me) I’d be upset too.
Just the fact that initially the Turtles were going to be aliens in this new film and dropping their whole ‘mutant’ origin set off alarm bells. I guess they’re still going with that concept or maybe they retooled it – I don’t know.
This is sure to be a big hit. Will fans actually like what they see will be the real question. If I had any kind of investment in this movie I would certainly be very worried. Despite Bay not directing this but being in a producing role he’s sure to be a major influence in what ends up onscreen. And consider the quality of the films that he solely produced have been. I won’t remind you and will only say – they sucked.
I predict this is going to rake in the bucks, but won’t embrace itself to fans – especially the older ones. The rants it will elicit should be fun to watch. The more optimistic audience members will hope the sequels will improve on things, much the same way that futile optimism falls onto each subsequent Transformer film. But maybe I’ll be proved wrong and everything will work out for the best for every Turtle fan.
Into the Storm
|Look up in the sky – it’s another disaster movie!|
An onslaught of tornados touch down in a small town and a group of kids document the destruction and aftermath with their trusty handheld cameras. There’s also a group of storm chasers on the prowl who are driven to get as close as possible to as many storms as they can and willingly risk being swallowed up by some major CGI mother nature destruction all for the sake of getting some sweet weather data.
Alternate titles were: Tornado Movie, Twister 2, Blatant Generic Disaster Porn, Get Your CGI Destruction Fix Here and A Flick That Looks Like A Cable Movie But You Can Pay To See It On The Big Screen!
After watching the trailer I was shocked this was going to be coming to cinemas. It really looks like something you could catch on the SyFy Channel or something. Maybe even a Weather Channel movie of the week. It’s just a disaster movie about tornados. I really don’t think the characters will be important. It’s just a lot of effects and cardboard characters running around and getting sucked up into vortex’s of wind and stuff flying at them.
I’m guessing the kids recording the events is what’s supposed to make this unique – are we not tired of this ‘found footage’ gimmick yet??? Geez, how many movies have used this first person recording crap format! And are audiences that infatuated with CGI destruction they’ll go see this? My forecast is probably not.
I’ve liked Sarah Wayne Callies since seeing her in Prison Break, always thought she was cute, but she’s not enough to make me trek out to see this. Maybe it could be a fun no-nonsense disaster flick, but to me it doesn’t look like anything special and I’ll wait to catch it on the tube one day. I’m betting Callies’ storm chasing character falls for the father of the kids. You need some kind of romance/flirting to break up the monotony of running away from debris.
August 13, 2014
Let’s Be Cops
|Fake cops and comedy|
Pals Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. dress up as cops for a costume party and realize people actually believe that they are indeed real cops. They decide to make it into a full-time gig and hi-jinks commence with the pair getting respect from onlookers, playing with a siren, answering calls for help and landing some ladies, including the cute Nina Dobrev.
It’s all fun and games until their fake cop personas complicate the business of mobster Andy Garcia and a group of dirty detectives. Now it will be up to the pair to actually bring some bad guys to justice.
The trailer for this high-concept comedy appears to have gotten mainstream audiences hooting, laughing and curious to see this. It’s a simple plot and the guys get hit, scream and fall down a lot. Seems like the basics are covered for attracting an audience to a comedy nowadays. Is there anything else to this though? I’ll go with my gut and say we’ve seen the best this movie has to offer.
August 15, 2014
The Expendables 3
|The Expendables 3 – guys with guns|
Sylvester Stallone and his all-star aging action stock company are back again. Some returning, some new faces and all with lots of guns and flexing muscles.
When this Expendables series started I was excited. I thought it could be an extremely fun throwback to the action movies of yesteryear.
Unfortunately I didn’t care for either of the previous two entries. The biggest kick they provided was hearing who was going to appear in the cast. The idea sounded so cool – all these big name action guys in one movie! Then I saw it and the execution was nowhere near as good as it should have been. The second one was just as disappointing.
Now we’re at number three. This time the new additions are Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, Harrison Ford and Antonio Banderas. And missing is Bruce Willis who supposedly wanted a truckload of loot for a few days work or something.
The trailer looks like it has a bit more going on than the previous entries with a prison escape involving Snipes, Gibson being Stallone’s nemesis and a rescue mission being unhatched. And Ford fans don’t get your hopes too high, he’ll probably be onscreen for about five minutes, if that.
I’m expecting this to be pretty much the same as the others and am not allowing myself to fall for this again. I’d love to be wrong, but I’m not holding my breath.
Recent news is a copy of The Expendable 3 has leaked and it’s now being downloaded weeks before its official release. The word from those who are watching it right now are saying it’s not very good. I’m always curious how this stuff happens and sometimes wonder if it was some kind of intentional buzz-creating strategy by the studio or something. Or maybe Bruce Willis leaked it and is getting some payback on Stallone for not meeting his salary demands.
August 22, 2014
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
|Eva Green as Ava Lord in Sin City: A Dame To Kill For|
Directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller revisit the bleak town of Sin City and set out to tell more black and white hardboiled stories with shady, unique characters. Returning in their roles from the original are Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson, Jamie King and Bruce Willis. New citizens come in the form of Eva Green, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin and Ray Liotta.
I enjoyed the first Sin City and am expecting more of the same with this followup. It’s hard to say how this will be. It looks just as good as the first, but who knows. It’s definitely a flick I want to see though.
August 27, 2014
|Brosnan looking like a lethal bad ass|
Pierce Brosnan is a retired CIA assassin who’s still just as deadly as ever when he’s brought back to the world of bullets and killing. He has to protect the life of Olga Kurylenko from his former employer who want to silence her – ie kill her. That’s always the best way to silence someone.
Knowing Brosnan’s the best and will be a formidable opponent, the agency assigns his protege to take him out. Now it’s old versus young and some tense action scenes commence as we await to see who will be the last man standing.
This looks like an intriguing movie. It’s not the plot that has made my ears perk up, we’ve seen this kind of thing before – older teacher up against younger student. Whatever.
It’s that Brosnan back in a starring action role and looking to have a much different tone than what has come before. He looks to be a much more dangerous character, harder, more deadly and ‘gritty’, the often-used description his James Bond predecessor Daniel Craig gets.
This looks like what his 007 could have been. While I might go overboard with my whining about his performance as James Bond, I’m not alone in my assessment. And one person who has also expressed disappointment with his Bond performance is Brosnan himself. He had always said he wanted to make his interpretation of the character ‘grittier’. And with November Man it looks like he’s going to get his chance.
It’s funny how this is coming out during the Craig-Bond era. The newer Bond films have definitely had an influence on what we’re going to see here. They even cast Craig’s former Bond girl Kurylenko as Brosnan’s leading lady! So it’s Brosnan getting a chance to play a spy in the post-Jason Bourne spy renaissance. It’s like the Broz Identity!
Would I be reading too much into this that Brosnan’s student is a studly blonde-haired dude by the way? Yeah, probably.
It will be difficult for anyone to leave November Man and the 007 comparisons aside, but from what I’ve seen it looks like it will be more exciting than any of Brosnan’s Bond films and he’ll be much more captivating and given more to do than when he was wearing his tux. Either that or it could be a miserable experience like the recent similarly retired spy hero Kevin Costner played in Three Days to Kill. I’m predicting it will be better than that though.