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22 August

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Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Director: Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller
Cast: Jessica Alba, Powers Boothe, Josh Brolin, Rosario Dawson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green, Dennis Haysbert, Stacy Keach, Jaime King, Ray Liotta, Jeremy Piven, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis
22 August
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For


Question: How long have we been waiting for this film? Answer: So long that the once daring visual experimentation directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller utilized way back in 2005 looks tired and dated in the light of 2014. Sure, we have little to go on except the tantalizing trailers (and MPAA censured character posters), but nine years is a lifetime in Hollywood. And to make matters worse, one of the highlights of the original neo-noir thriller, Clive Owen, is not back as Dwight McCarthy. Instead, the role will be played by seeming omnipresent Josh Brolin (as a post-facial reconstruction version of the character). Right.


 

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If I Stay

Director: R. J. Cutler
Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Mireille Enos, Joshua Leonard, Stacy Keach, Lauren Lee Smith
22 August
If I Stay

If you aren’t already cried out after The Fault in Our Stars, here’s another young people dying drama to get those tear ducts good and moist. She, Mia Hall (Chloë Grace Moretz), is a musically gifted cellist who falls into a coma after a horrific car accident. He, Adam (Jamie Blackley), is the guitar playing wildboy whom she loves. During an out of body experience, our heroine must decide if she will return to reality and live a life totally different from her previous existence, or slip off into the afterlife. Intense bawling ensues. Since we like Moretz a lot, will cut this claptrap some slack. For now.


 

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When the Game Stands Tall

Director: Thomas Carter
Cast: Jim Caviezel, , Laura Dern, Michael Chiklis, Alexander Ludwig
22 August
When the Game Stands Tall

Wait, didn’t we just talk about this title a few entries back? A coming of age featuring a dedicated coach trying to teach his troubled players right from wrong? Okay, okay, so it’s not really an uplifting tale of perseverance overcoming adversity. Instead, it’s the true story of the record-setting 151-game winning streak by De La Salle High School Football Team of Concord, California, an accomplishment which lasted from 1992 to 2003. Wow. Jesus himself, Jim Caviezel stars as Bob Landouceur, who retired after winning his 17th State Championship. Sounds like an intriguing story. Save the Last Dance/Coach Carter director Thomas Carter is behind the lens.


 

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Love is Strange

Director: Ira Sachs
Cast: Alfred Molina, John Lithgow, Marisa Tomei, Charlie Tahan
22 August
Love Is Strange

John Lithgow and Alfred Molina are a gay couple who’ve been together for 39 years. When they decide to get married, all heck breaks lose. The latter loses his job as a Catholic school music teacher, and the pair can no longer afford their New York City lifestyle (because, you know, Catholic school music teachers make a mint). This results in a financially mandated separation, and some supposedly humorous hijinx. Reviews out of Sundance were relatively sedate, though most pointed out the flawless performances of the two leads. Of course, the subject matter couldn’t be more contemporary, though one imagines less politics and more polite interpersonal foibles in the Ira Sachs-directed effort.


 

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Are You Here?

Director: Matthew Weiner
Cast: Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Poehler, Laura Ramsey
22 August
Are You Here?

He’s written for Becker and The Sopranos and is best known as the guiding light behind the TV phenom Mad Men. Now,  Matthew Weiner is trying his hand at feature filmmaking with this tale of a couple of childhood friends who take a road trip back to their hometown when one learns they’ve inherited a bunch of money from his estranged father. Originally, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Aniston were set to star. Now, we get Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis, and Amy Poehler in the leads. Early reviews suggest Weiner delivers on his prickly primetime promise, with some suggesting a breakout career for Don Draper’s creator.



 

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The Prince

Director: Brian A. Miller
Cast: Jason Patric, Bruce Willis, John Cusack, Jessica Lowndes, 50 Cent, Rain
22 August
The Prince

Bruce Willis. John Cusack. Jason Patric. South Korean pop sensation Rain. American rap idol 50 Cent. So why have we not heard about this crime thriller beforehand? Well, Lionsgate appears sheepish about its prospects at the box office, going the simultaneous VOD route during its perfunctory theatrical release. This reeks of a should-have-gone-direct-to-DVD-if-said-format-was-still-a viable-option effort, with the only unusual element being the non-characteristic roles played by the actors involved. We’ve got a crime boss, a man with a vendetta, and a hitman hired to help defend the don from his everyman menace. Guessing who plays what will be the only intriguing element, here.


 

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The One I Love

Director: Charlie McDowell
Cast: Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss, Ted Danson
22 August
The One I Love

This sounds a lot like Sex Tape, only a lot, lot smarter. Ethan (Mark Duplass) and Sophie (Elisabeth Moss) are a couple whose marriage is falling apart. They seek the help of a therapist (Ted Danson) who suggests they spend time at an unusual retreat. What happens there becomes the basis for their renewed emotional bond, as well as some spoiler-specific weirdness. Without going into detail, the “twist” supposedly turns this from a standard RomCom into a real winner. Screenwriter Justin Lader only had a 50 page script from first time filmmaker Charlie McDowell to work from. The rest is pure Duplass and Moss, and from the reaction at Sundance, it’s delightful. 


 

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To Be Takei

Director: Jennifer M. Kroot
Cast: George Takei
22 August
To Be Takei

He’s already a cultural icon, thanks in part to his work in the seminal Star Trek TV series. But over the years, George Takei has also become a political powerhouse, using his status as an out and proud gay man to shed light on numerous LBGT issues. This documentary follows his entire life, from his earliest days as a prisoner in America’s Japanese Internment camps to his breakout success as Mr. Sulu. Throughout, Takei exhibits his typical exuberant personality as well as his continuing disdain for a certain starship captain. How he’s avoided being a documentary subject before now is baffling.


 

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The Possession of Michael King

Director: David Jung
Cast: Shane Johnson, Ella Anderson, Cara Pifko, Dale Dickey, Julie McNiven
22 August
The Possession of Michael King

If it’s August, especially late in the month, it’s time for Tinseltown to try out a few of its pre-Halloween horror films on the rapidly depleting college age demo (no, they’re not dying, just heading back to classes). In this case, we have yet another found footage fright flick which sees a grieving father on a quest to prove/disprove the existence of God/the Devil and winding up being possessed by a demon in the process. Yeesh. From the looks of this trailer, expect a healthy dose of The Last Exorcism, The Devil Inside, and a bit of Paranormal Activity thrown in for good/groan-inducing measure.


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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