Traditionally, August is the month for movie studios to release (or dump) expensive near misses when it comes to summer blockbuster season. This year, however, a handful of motion pictures could ride the renewed enthusiasm of audiences that Barbie and Oppenheimer have created (although I think we can officially retire “Barbenheimer” at this point). This once-in-a-generation cinematic event, and a few surprises like Sound of Freedom and Insidious: The Red Door, have brought the box office total well above the previous years’ lackluster performances. This is a small conciliation for studios, as they are, as of this writing, in the midst of an industry shutdown due to the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) strikes. That being said, if you’re looking to beat the heat and head to your nearest Showplace Cinemas or AMC Theater, here’s a list of releases to keep an eye on this month:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (August 2nd) – Do we really need another animated reboot of TMNT? Maybe! This time around, the comedic writing/producing team of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Superbad, Pineapple Express) bring in an all-star voice cast, the directors behind 2021’s hit animated feature The Mitchells vs. The Machines, and a new visual style that looks closer to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse to begin a new chapter in this classic series.
Meg 2: The Trench (August 4th) – Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water with Jason Statham, along comes this sure-to-be campy sequel to the 2018 surprise hit. With all three original writers returning, and British independent horror director Ben Wheatley at the helm, prepare yourself for a ridiculously fun time (and lots of gruesome kills)!
Gran Turismo (August 11th) – The “based on a true story” tale of a working-class kid (Archie Madekwe) who overcomes insurmountable odds and a domineering coach (David Harbour) to make his racecar gaming dreams a reality by competing in real life against professional drivers. Neill Blomkamp (District 9) directs from a script by Jason Hall (Thank You for Your Service).
The Last Voyage of the Demeter (August 11th) – If high-octane racing action isn’t your thing, this horror-filled telling of a single chapter in Bram Stoker’s classic tale Dracula ought to do the trick. Norwegian director André Øvredal (Troll Hunter, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark) enlists Corey Hawkins (Kong: Skull Island, Straight Outta Compton) and David Dastmalchian (Dune: Part One, The Suicide Squad) to board this gothic tale about the legendary ill-fated voyage.
Blue Beetle (August 18th) – With newly-crowned DC Studios co-chairs James Gunn and Peter Safran publicly stating that several DC characters and storylines will be reenvisioned or abandoned, the fate of this lesser-known character, and future appearances in the new DC Cinematic Universe, is uncertain. Xolo Maridueña (Cobra Kai) stars as the title character, who stumbles upon an ancient relic with life-altering powers. George Lopez and Susan Sarandon co-star, with Angel Manuel Soto (Charm City Kings) making the leap to direct this anticipated comic book adaptation.
Strays (August 18th) – The literal definition of the phrase, “dog days of summer,” this CG/Live-Action hybrid showcases the voice talents of Will Ferrell, Will Forte, Jamie Foxx, Randall Park and Isla Fisher as a group of ragtag dogs seeking revenge on the owners who unceremoniously abandoned them. On paper, this concept should not work; but what it has going for it are uber-producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller (too many great credits to list, so just Google them) and director Josh Greenbaum, who recently helmed the fantastically absurdist comedy Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar.
The Hill (August 25th) – Another year, another incredible and inspirational true story motion picture starring Dennis Quaid. In this year’s installment, Quaid plays Pastor James Hill, who does his best to discourage his young, brace-legged son Rickey Hill (Colin Ford) from pursuing his dream of becoming a Major League Baseball player. Spoiler Alert: through grit and determination, he makes it to the big leagues. Hoping to capitalize on the recent successes of the independent faith/inspirational-based market, church groups and baseball fans may flock to this one.
Henderson resident McManus Woodend will soon be an Assistant Professor of Digital Media at the University of Southern Indiana and has worked in film, television, and commercials for over 20 years. To see some of this work, visit www.mcmanuswoodend.com.