Call for Feature Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Film
Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA

As we enter the dog days of summer, we get the summer movie season dregs as well. Still, there’s some stuff to look forward to, including the latest from Neill Blomkamp, a biopic on Linda Lovelace, more Disney cross promotional marketing, and the latest from the almost always brilliant Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost. 


 

cover art

2 Guns

Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Cast: Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Paula Patton, James Marsden, Bill Paxton, Edward James Olmos, Fred Ward
2 August
2 Guns


It seems like, every once in a while, a film teams up two actors/stars that seem perfect together… that is, until you see their actual onscreen working relationship. By the time you read this, the film will have been screened for critics, but as of now, all we have is the trailer to go by, and from the looks of it, a certain African American superstar doesn’t appear too pleased to be slumming with the former leader of the Funky Bunch. Now, we love Mark Wahlberg just as much as anyone else. From Boogie Nights to The Departed to Ted, he’s been an efficient leading man. Standing alongside Denzel, he looks small and unimportant. 


 

cover art

The Spectacular Now

Director: James Ponsoldt
Cast: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kyle Chandler
2 August
The Spectacular Now


Last year, writer/director James Ponsoldt surprised many an indie film fan with Smashed, his look at alcoholism and recovery among 30-somethings. Now, he goes back a bit further, adapting Tim Tharp’s coming of age novel about a high school senior who only lives “in the now”. When he is befriended by a “nice girl” (Oscar nominee Shailene Woodley) who loves science fiction, he starts to learn that there is more to life than immediate self-gratification. Earning acting nods at Sundance, critics have been equally kind to Ponsoldt for his funny fresh take on the tired teen angst genre. Whether this film can break beyond the arthouse crowd remains to be seen. 


 

cover art

Europa Report

Director: Sebastián Cordero
Cast: Sharlto Copley, Michael Nyqvist, Daniel Wu, Anamaria Marinca, Christian Camargo
2 August
Europa Report


Yes, this is another found footage film. Yes, we understand that it’s about a group of astronauts on a privately funding mission to one of moons of Jupiter and, well, you can probably guess what they find there. When you consider that it features District 9‘s Sharlto Copley and the original Mikael Blomkvist, Michael Nyqvist, this sounds promising. When you learn it was shot entirely in Brooklyn on a greenscreen set, such hopes quickly diminish. Still, the critics have been kind, with NASA even adding to the accolades by claiming it’s as realistic as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Moon. Hmmm…


 

cover art

Elysium

Director: Neill Blomkamp
Cast: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura, Talisa Soto, William Fichtner
9 August
Elysium


Speaking of District 9, Neill Blomkamp’s follow-up to his Oscar nominated future shock epic looks equally amazing. Matt Damon plays a desperate ex-con living on an Earth scorched by poverty and ruination by the privileged. Indeed, said wealthy have taken everything up to an orbiting space station called Elysium, run by an aggressive security secretary played by Jodie Foster. While the trailers have been vague about how the two finally confront each other, we know Sharlto Copley is back as well playing an assassin out to stop Damon’s mission. Sounds like another brilliant combination of speculative fiction and social commentary.


 

cover art

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

Director: Thor Freudenthal
Cast: Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Leven Rambin, Jake Abel, Stanley Tucci, Nathan Fillion
9 August
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters


Among the many attempts at turning young adult novels into blockbuster tentpoles (The Spiderwick Chronicles, City of Ember, The Golden Compass), this one apparently remains cheap enough, and did well enough at the box office (only $226 million, though) to warrant a second go round. For those unfamiliar with the fledgling franchise, our hero is a demi-god adolescent who joins up with others of his kind to take on contemporary version of the classic Greek myths. This time around, Percy and his pals go after the famed golden fleece. At least previous director Chris Columbus is out. He hasn’t made a good film since Harry Potter was pre-pubescent.


Since deciding to employ his underdeveloped muse muscles over five years ago, Bill has been a significant staff member and writer for three of the Web's most influential websites: DVD Talk, DVD Verdict and, of course, PopMatters. He also has expanded his own web presence with Bill Gibron.com a place where he further explores creative options. It is here where you can learn of his love of Swindon's own XTC, skim a few chapters of his terrifying tome in the making, The Big Book of Evil, and hear samples from the cassette albums he created in his college music studio, The Scream Room.


Related Articles
26 Feb 2014
Wong Kar Wai’s overkill kung fu epic about Bruce Lee’s teacher doesn’t cohere even as well as his more esoteric work, but its assembled shards make for a brooding, sumptuous experience.
22 Jan 2014
In the hands of James Ponsoldt, The Spectacular Now becomes a teen movie that resembles real life more than other teen movies.
By PopMatters Staff
13 Jan 2014
Sometimes, a bad movie inspires a bit of unnatural love. In other instances, films overlooked by the masses make it into our personal preferences. Whatever the case is here, we have several examples of efforts we feel bad for enjoying, but love nonetheless.
8 Jan 2014
Ain't Them Bodies Saints has been compared to Terrence Malick’s work, because both display a keen eye for capturing the beauty of nature. That’s where the similarities end.
Comments
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.