The PopMatters Summer Movie Preview - August 2013

by Bill Gibron

31 July 2013

 

23 August and Beyond...

 

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Short Term 12

Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Cast: Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, Rami Malek, Keith Stanfield
23 August
Short Term 12

When it played at SXSW this year, this foster care based film received rabid kudos. Critics couldn’t get enough of this story centering on a dedicated social worker (Brie Larson, of 21 Jump Street and Greenberg)  and her interactions with her kids and her long-term boyfriend. Considering the subject matter and its dramatic possibilities, one can imagine that the accolades it has earned so far are indeed well considered. On the other hand, writer/director Destin Cretton creative output hasn’t been that spectacular. Maybe this is that stunning “debut” everyone dreams of. We kind of think it is.

 

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One Direction: This is Us

Director: Morgan Spurlock
Cast: Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson
30 August
One Direction: This is Us

Justin Bieber’s done it. So has Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry. Even the Jonas Brothers tried to show just how “regular” they were by offering up a clever combination of concert film, Behind the Music biopic, and bubbly backstage access. Now it’s time for Britain’s own boy bastards, One Direction, to showcase their seemingly normal existence while make the teen girls wet themselves. The one oddball element is that the movie was directed by Morgan Spurlock of Super Size Me, Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? , and The Greatest Movie Ever Sold fame. Who knew these flash in the pan adolescent idols mandated a real filmmaker to tackle their tale?

 

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Getaway

Director: Courtney Solomon
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez, Jon Voight, Bruce Payne, Paul Freeman, Rebecca Budig
30 August
Getaway

Remember a few blurbs back when we asked Nicolas Cage what happened? Well, we figured it out. Ethan Hawke swept in and took up all the scripts the former anything-for-a-paycheck wingnut was waffling over. First there was The Woman on the Fifth and Sinister. Then another stab at the Before film franchise with Julie Delpy and Richard Linklater. Then he lead The Purge into becoming a sleeper Summer sensation. Now we get this supposed action thriller which sees the actor ordered around by a mysterious man (Jon Voight). Said villain has kidnapped his wife. There’s also a computer savvy teen (Selena Gomez, still trying to break out of her Disney-fied good girl image). Definitely Cage-worthy.

 

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Closed Circuit

Director: John Crowley
Cast: Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall, Ciarán Hinds, Jim Broadbent, Riz Ahmed
30 August
Closed Circuit

Before heading to TV and the big screen, writer/director John Crowley got his start in the theater. Some might know him from his celebrated 2003 crime comedy Intermission, and he’s worked closely with Danny Boyle to bring some artistic merit back to the British film industry. Now, he’s taking on international terrorism and high profile trials with this look at an mysterious explosion in downtown London and the media/legal circus that results. The title suggests that something caught on surveillance cameras will play a big part in the case. So will co-stars Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall’s onscreen status as ex-lovers and defense counsel. Hopefully Crowley can make this redundant idea relevant.

 

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Passion

Director: Brian DePalma
Cast: Rachel McAdams, Noomi Rapace, Paul Anderson, Benjamin Sadler
31 August
Passion

We’ve been waiting for that promised Brian DePalma return to form for quite a while now. After going all commercial in the ‘80s and ‘90s, he’s been trying to recapture the post-modern mantle he flaunted back during his solid ‘70s heyday. So far, Femme Fatale, The Black Dahlia, and Redacted haven’t been it… and according to critics, don’t expect his latest to reverse said trend. Instead, this pallid remake of the French film Love Crime seems so hellbent on presenting Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace as hot to trot lesbian lovers that the real plot (about a corporate underling who kills her boss and then plots the perfect defense from her jail cell) has been lost.

 

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The Lifeguard

Director: Liz W. Garcia
Cast: Kristen Bell, David Lambert, Mamie Gummer, Martin Starr, Alex Shaffer, Joshua Harto, Amy Madigan
30 August
The Lifeguard

Kristin Bell has gone a bit batty as of late. She seemed poised to step into the role of blonde backup for some Friend of Apatow comedies, but then she started shacking up with Dax Shepard, made his horrible feature debut Hit and Run, and has since been spied running interference for the upcoming, Kickstarter funded Veronica Mars movie. Now she’s going indie, playing a 30-something reporter from New York City who returns to her hometown and her high school job as a lifeguard. Naturally, she takes up with a tormented 16-year-old. Legal or not, sounds like this movie has a big issue at the center that it’s not about to address.

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