Unbelievably it is August already. The blockbuster season which started in May is still rolling along with a number of marquee films failing to live up to their hype. In August there a number of major releases vying for your hard-earned cash but mixed in are a few smaller, possibly more interesting movies.
The second of August sees the release of the eagerly awaited (at least here) Only God Forgives. Director Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling team up again after the successful Drive bringing to the screen another slice of moody art house influenced ultraviolence. Set in Bangkok the story revolves around revenge, drugs, boxing and vile mother figures. Kirsten Scott Thomas appears as what can best be described as a unique and terrifying maternal role. This film will divide critics and audiences alike.
Also out on the Second is the Bruce Willis action film RED2. Featuring as many of the cast of the first film that survived, the action in the sequel takes the well-worn path of being bigger, louder and a whole lot dumber. The plot this time involves the team trying to save the entire world from Nuclear destruction. With RED something of a surprise hit the second film could be seen as being a pure money-making exercise. That of course may not be the case but I suspect we have seen the best bits of the film in the various teaser trailers.
A re-release of note on the second is the Michael Cimino western Heaven’s Gate. At the time of release the film detailing the disputes between local land owners and immigrants was widely panned and is still considered the biggest flop of all time. The failure of the film led to the eventual demise of the United Artists film studio and killed the western as a major genre in cinema for a long time. Since then the film has undergone something of a Renaissance with it being critically reappraised and praise poured on to the misunderstood western. It is doubtful that this release will hurt its reputation in any way.
Out on the ninth is Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa. The first big screen outing for the Steve Coogan character sees the eponymous DJ, host of mid morning matters, caught up in a siege situation at the local Norfolk digital radio station after one of his colleagues gets sacked and basically looses the plot. Alan is the only one the nutter will talk to and so becomes the conduit to the Police . The initial teaser trailer for this was hilarious, featuring a set up meeting between Alan and the film makers. The follow-up trailer was a more traditional affair with the usual clips from the film was still laugh out loud funny. This is shaping up to be the comedy hit of the summer.
August ninth also sees the release of the Johnny Depp film The Lone Ranger. Much delayed due to the film’s finances being readjusted downwards by a substantial sum. Armie Hammer also stars as the title character with Depp as his sidekick and narrator of the tales of battling evil and fighting corruption in the old west. The film certainly looks spectacular and it will be interesting to see if the aforementioned issues have affected the final version of the film.
The sequel to Kick-Ass, aptly titled Kick-Ass 2, hits the multiplexes on the sixteenth. This for a lot of people is the must see film of the summer. Following on the events of the first film there has been an explosion of self-styled super heroes in the mold of Kick-Ass. One of these is Colonel Stars and Stripes who wants a team up with Mr Ass. If not controversial enough the film has been disowned by Jim Carrey (Star and Stripes) as he feels the film features an unacceptable level of violence. Mark Miller, the writer, replied with a rather witty and well thought out reply soon after. None of this will diminish the box office takings of course.
Out on the twenty-third is the Sci-Fi drama Elysium. This marks the second film from the director Neil Blomkamp who came to the public’s attention with the 2009 feature District 9. Elysium tells the tale of an exclusive space station for the rich that is orbiting above the wasteland that is now the Earth. Matt Damon and Jodie Foster star in a tale of a commoner trying to gain access to the space station or order to save his life. The visuals look impressive and the early indications are good for this.