Can we all just admit that we’ve all now had it up to here with anything Minions related? In case you can’t tell I’m raising my hand as high as it can go without my falling off this chair. I realize that the summer films schedule is going to have some things that rub you the wrong way, but I’m kinda glad it’s coming to an end, y’know? Before you know it it’ll be awards-season and the cinemas won’t have to pander to reboots, sequels, and cuss-awful attempts at appealing to kids, or even worse, Adam Sandler fans. But we’ve still got August to go, so let’s see how the cinema plans to treat these waning weeks of summer 2015.
Fantastic Four – August 6th
Now, I’m not saying the first few Fantastic Four movies were bad, but Michael Jackson released a musical review on them in September 1987 from the perspective of the films themselves. That’s a reference to the song ‘Bad’, in case you didn’t quite get that. In any case, fearing reacquisition by reigning superhero money-makers Marvel Studios, 20th Century Fox threw ‘Chronicle’ writer/director Josh Trank into a van full of money and asked him to reboot one of their remaining Marvel franchises with young bit things. Details are scarce, but expect to see Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, and Jamie Bell become the Family Fantastic and stop the token bad ‘un from running away with the plot.
Absolutely Anything – August 14th
I feel a bit bad for Simon Pegg. I don’t mean it’s because his Mum died recently (God, I hope that’s not the case Mrs Pegg), but he just seems so typecast now. He just seems to play the same guy in everything, and whilst The Fresh Pegg is surely a nice enough chap it’s a shame he can’t do something a bit more robust. I dunno. I mention this because in Terry “Yes, the one from Monty Python” Jones’ new film Absolutely Anything, Pegg plays one of the many Simon Peggs from across the Multiple Peggiverse, but this one’s called Neil Clarke. Neil is bestowed with INFINITE COSMIC POWER by an intergalactic consortium (played by the Pythons) and hijinks ensue. Also his dog is voiced by Robin Williams. There’s your sell.
Mistress America – August 14th
Noah Baumbach features a lot in these previews, doesn’t he? Wait… that’s Jason Schwartzman. Or is it? How come I’ve never seen them in the same room at the same time? Shit, it’s like Batman and Bruce Wayne all over again. But who’s the alter-ego of who? In any case, Baumbach’s back with a film about, you guessed it, New York, friendships, relationships, soundtracks, artsy types and Greta Gerwig. I’m starting to sense a formula with Baumbach’s work, but if you’re into your little films about contemporary Noo Yawkers who do stuff then this is exactly what you need to remedy the troubles of overblown summer cinema.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. – August 14th
Guy Ritchie has always wanted to make a Bond film. I bet he’s been looking at that new trailer for Spectre and sobbing quietly at the fact he just won’t get that gig. I don’t know why he’s crying, mind you, he’s made crazy success with his Sherlock Holmes’ films and gets to bring one of television’s most celebrated spy shows to modern day big screens. Some people, eh? In the middle of the Cold War, Russia and America secretly put their differences aside to set their two top agents Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) on a mission to stop a rogue power from instigating nuclear war. If only the two of them would just stop fighting long enough to prevent, y’know, the end of the world?
Bill – August 21st
Have you ever watched Yonderland on Sky1? How about ‘Horrible Histories’ either with your kids or as part of a lazy Sunday’s background education? I’m really hoping one of those answers is ‘yes’, not because it’ll affect your reaction to Bill, but because you really oughta. The team behind ‘Yonderland’ and ‘Horrible Histories’ (Matthew Baynton, Simon Farnaby, Martha Howe-Douglas, Jim Howick, Laurence Rickard and Ben Willbond) bring their incredibly British sense of humour to the story of one the most incredible Britons of all time: down-and-out lute player, sporter of trend-setting facial and occasional playwright, William Shakespeare.
Vacation – August 21st
Now I know what you’re thinking, “Scott, surely Vacation represents, nay, IS, the kind of shameless American comedy loosely-tied to a former, respectable IP that would incur your wrath and derision and as such not deserve a spot on the Monthly Preview?”. Well, voice of stating the bleedin’ obvious, that’s true. Whilst this Ed Helms, Leslie Mann and Chris Hemsworth-starring follow-up to the cult classic National Lampoon’s Vacation should be this month’s whipping-boy and fecal dartboard, I respect it’s heritage and what ‘National Lampoon’ used to stand for. Well, that and it was either talk about this or Pixels and I really, REALLY didn’t want to talk about Pixels this month. It looks like cinematic arsenic pouring out the wrong end of a rancid Koala. And you know those things are just riddled with chlamydia.
Hitman: Agent 47 – August 27th
So we’re rebooting The Fantastic Four, The Man From U.N.C.L.E, and sorta rejigging ‘National Lampoon’ this month? What else can we restart this month while we’re at it? How about Hitman? Hitman? Yes, Hitman! The popular(ish) video game franchise about a cue balled clone who moiders for money and whose cinema career started and ended with Timothy Olyphant’s attempt in 2007. Yeah, why not. Hitman: Agent 47 sees Rupert Friend trade his hair for a small barcode and the titular role as he kills a load of dudes, helps a lady (Hannah Ware) and causes problems for a fella in an expensive suit (Zachary Quinto).
45 Years – August 28th
As lovely and engaging as some of these films on display are, I kind of want something a bit more stimulating. I mean, awards season is not far off and maybe, just maybe, I’m in the mood to watch an award-winning piece of personal drama. It doesn’t all have to be explosions, comedy and young people, you know. In an incredible change of pace from this month’s goings-ons we have 45 Years: just as Kate (Charlotte Rampling) and Geoff’s (Tom Courtenay) 45th wedding anniversary comes about, startling news reaches Geoff that could upset all they’ve built for the past four and half decades. Rampling and Courtenay left the 65th Berlin International Film Festival with silver in their hands for this, and now we get to see why.
Trainwreck – August 28th
Comedienne du jour, Amy Schumer, after winning plentisome awards for her telly and live shows and such, takes her next logical step and embarks on the good ship ‘Movie Platform’. The ‘Movie Platform’ is a fine boat if you know how to handle her, but be wary, Miss Schumer; many a hopeful cap’n has met their watery, and yet also fiery, doom by mishandling The ‘Movie Platform’. Just look at Dana Carvey. Actually don’t, it might make you ill and/or depressed. I only hope your film about a commitment-phobe dealing with her problems through the medium of Bill Hader is a crew stalwart enough to see you journey safely on such an infamous vessel.
Straight Outta Compton – August 28th
I occasionally forget just how prevalent biographical films are in the movie-making industry. The story of how that one white dude we couldn’t always bank on overcome some adversity and saved/revolutionized the world/America (delete as appropriate) is one that people keep paying to see. But you know what I’d pay to see? The true story of how five disenfranchised youths from Compton formed a group in the 1980s that showed just how [SERIES OF EXPLETIVES DELETED] off they were with the way society, the establishment and the law treat them through the power of music. The story of two of America’s most bankable black male figures outside of the President (by which I mean Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, naturally), the story of emergent West Coast Rap, the story of NWA. That’s what.