The PopMatters Summer Movie Preview - August 2013

by Bill Gibron

31 July 2013

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.
 

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. 

 

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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. 

 

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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. 

 

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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…

 

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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.

 

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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.

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