August at the multiplex is another confusing month- some call it summer, some call it fall. I call it both, as evidenced by the diversity of films coming out this month. Some are clearly leftovers of the big summer films that couldn't quite find a place among the superheroes and fighting robots. And some are the beginning of the fall films, which are middling entertainment at best, squished in between the big movies of summer and Thanksgiving. But I'm a firm believer that there's always something worthwhile playing at the theater, as long as you find one with a lot of screens. In that spirit, here are my picks for the month of August.
Friday, August 5th
Think if Fready Friday had been made by dudes, and for an R-rated audience. That's exactly what The Change-Up is, an old tired premise given a raunchy facelift. Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman play their typical characters- a hunky womanizer and a responsible dad with a career, respectively- until they magically switch bodies and have to live out each other's lives. Allowing both actors to play against-type is sure to be insanely funny, considering it's from the director of Wedding Crashers and the writers of The Hangover. The last big comedy of the summer.
Wednesday, August 10th
Clearly not my kind of movie. But guys: never underestimate the ladies. The same crowd that made the novel by Kathryn Stockett a massive success will also propel the film adaptation to success. The film stars the lovely Emma Stone, playing a young white journalist in the South who chooses to write about the struggles and bigotry black maids go through on a daily basis. The book has received comparisons to To Kill a Mockingbird. I doubt the movie will be that sensational, but it will certainly be a hit.
Friday, August 19th
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Despite a slew of new releases this week, there's nothing really worthwhile coming out. (A Conan the Barbarian remake in 3-D? Yawn.) So instead, check out this two-weeks old film, after the crowds have gone away. A prequel to the classic 1968 film charting how primates came to be superintelligent and take over the world, this movie seems mostly unnecessary, but still entertaining, even for people who aren't fans of the franchise. Stars James Franco, Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), and Andy Serkis (Gollum in The Lord of the Rings) as the ape leader Caesar.
Friday, August 26th
Okay, so I lied. There is one may-be-good movie opening on the 19th. The horror film Don't Be Afraid of the Dark looks promising, but it may open in limited release, so instead see the one-week-old One Day, another chick flick based on a popular novel. The cliched story is made unique by its premise: two people meet and have a one-night stand, only to decide to become friends, and don't realize their love for each other until years later. The layout is more complicated than that: over twenty years, only one day a year is dramatized, cutting out all the middle stuff and allowing our actors to age two decades. The actors in question are the lovely Anne Hathaway and the appealing Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe). The design is built for a book platform and may not work so well on screen, but it's still worth a look if you're into romance films.
Fall starts in full force in September, so stay tuned for my picks next month!