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8 August

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Cast: Megan Fox, Pete Ploszek, Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, William Fichtner, Danny Woodburn
8 August
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


Steven Spielberg and George Lucas stick Indiana Jones in a lead-lined refrigerator during the first nuclear bomb test and fans scream about having their childhood raped. Michael Bay, on the other hand, produces this pitiful CG take on the classic comic book “heroes on the half-shell”, complete with wholly unnecessary nostrils, and the outcry has been less than apoplectic. Maybe it’s the significantly lowered expectations that have come from the first few trailers and Jonathan “because Shaun Levy was busy” Liebesman behind the lens. The Rock’s Hercules was predicted to be the big box office bomb this season. Looks like we have a new candidate for said title.


 

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The Hundred-Foot Journey

Director: Lasse Hallstrom
Cast: Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, Charlotte Le Bon
8 August
The Hundred-Foot Journey

This film takes place in France and focuses on a snooty (and seemingly racist) French restaurateur who revolts when a displaced family decides to open up an eatery across the street from hers. Oprah Winfrey and Steve Spielberg have paired to produce, and Oscar winner Helen Mirren is the feisty female who will stop at nothing to close down her competitor. Some critics have called it cinematic comfort food. Others argue its nothing more than food porn with a decidedly dated message.


 

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Into the Storm

Director: Steven Quale
Cast: Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Matt Walsh, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Arlen Escarpeta
8 August
Into the Storm

We have this because Twister is too subtle for today’s audiences. Indeed, while moviegoers back in 1996 didn’t seem to mind the occasional CG tornado interrupted by silly, superficial storytelling, the makers of this 2014 quasi-update are determined to out disaster the master Roland Emmerich in the whole computer based destruction dynamic. The trailers have absolutely no narrative, just endless scenes of nature doing the 120mph nasty on various buildings, vehicles, and victims. A studio synopsis suggests it’s supposed to be a found footage effort revolving around a bunch of students recording the events and aftermath of a killer storm. Oh, goodie.


 

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Step Up: All In

Director: Trish Sie
Cast: Ryan Guzman, Briana Evigan, Misha Gabriel, Adam Sevani, Alyson Stoner ,Mari Koda
8 August
Step Up: All In

Are these kind of movies still a thing? How many have there been now? (The answer, sadly, is five.) Yes, Channing Tatum got his start in Step Up and Step Up 2: The Streets, but since then, these interchangeable efforts have merely been showcases for insanely talented dancers having their efforts mangled by ADD-addled directors. The latest wannabe auteur to sit behind the lens is choreographer Trish Sie, perhaps best known as the mastermind behind OK Go’s “Here We Go Again” and “White Knuckles” music videos. This will be her first feature film, and the narrative promises more fleet footed workouts, this time within a Las Vegas all-star battle. 


 

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About Alex

Director: Jesse Zwick
Cast: Maggie Grace, Max Greenfield, Jane Levy, Max Minghella, Nate Parker, Aubrey Plaza, Jason Ritter
8 August
About Alex

Okay, so we’ve got an (attempted) suicide which brings a bunch of college friends coming together for a weekend of reconnections, reflection, and dramatic overreactions. Didn’t we already do this three decades ago with a little something called The Big Chill? Of course, both can claim direct lineage to John Sayle’s superior The Return of the Secaucus Seven, but let’s not nitpick. Jason Ritter is the troubled title character, a man-boy whose millennial adult life just hasn’t worked out. After his failed bid for attention, his buddies come together to grouse. Sounds overly familiar and derivative, but who knows? Maybe it can compete with its classic compatriot.


 

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What If

Director: Michael Dowse
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazanm, Megan Park, Adam Driver
8 August
What If

This used to be called The F Word, and no, not for the reasons you think. (Get your mind out of the gutter.) This Canadian RomCom, revolving around the relationship killing “friend” stage (thus the previous title) sees Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliff, trying to remind us that there is more to this 25-year-old than a boy wizard. Actually, he replaced Casey Affleck, who was originally set to star. The script won an award and is based on a celebrated play (which, oddly enough, had another name, Cigars and Toothpaste). How the distributors settled on What If we’ll probably never know.


 

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Moebius

Director: Ki-Duk Kim
Cast: Jae-hyeon Jo, Eun-woo Lee, Young-ju Seo
8 August
Moebius

From the poster art and ambiguous plot description, this looks like a softcore South Korean sex film. Apparently, we have a father and son both vying for the physical affections of a mystery woman while the mother looks on with bitter, jealous rage. Apparently, bloody mayhem ensues. This is from Kim Ki-duk, the same director of the ethereal Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter… and Spring. And to make matter worse, a single actress (Lee Eun-woo) plays both female roles. Huh? Add in rape, incest, castration, sexual abuse, gore, and a lack of dialogue and you’ve got one bizarre boudoir-oriented bloodbath.


 

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The Dog

Director: Allison Berg, Frank Keraudren
Cast: John Wojtowicz
8 August
The Dog

For a long time now, we film fans have known that Sidney Lumet’s classic 1975 crime film, Dog Day Afternoon, was based at least partially on a true story. Now, Drafthouse Films has the documentary to prove it. In this fascinating effort from Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren, we learn of John Wojtowicz, a self-described “pervert” who attempted to rob a bank to pay for his lover’s sex-reassignment surgery. The resulting stand-off resulted in a six year prison term, and a brilliant portrayal by a devilishly young Al Pacino. Apparently, Wojtowicz was influenced to change his life around after seeing Lumet’s take on his tale. Interesting.


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.


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