Movie Preview: 10 Films to See in August

  • Publish Date: August 4, 2015
  • Comments: ↓ 2 user comments

This month's notable theatrical releases

Below, our editors have selected 10 interesting films debuting this month, listed in alphabetical order.

. American Ultra Watch trailer(s)
R Action/Comedy | August 21 | Directed by Nima Nourizadeh

Also by this director:

48 Project X (2012)

Jesse Eisenberg stars as a stoner who is actually a sleeper agent, and quite a skilled killer, in this action-comedy from director Nima Nourizadeh (Project X) and writer Max Landis (Chronicle). Kristen Stewart plays his live-in girlfriend (and a badass herself, if the trailers are to be believed), while the supporting cast includes Topher Grace, Connie Britton, John Leguizamo, Walton Goggins, Bill Pullman, and Tony Hale. Let’s hope that Eisenberg’s latest jump into this perfect summer movie genre is more Zombieland than 30 Minutes or Less.

. The Diary of a Teenage Girl Watch trailer(s)
R Drama | August 7 | Directed by Marielle Heller

A critical favorite when it premiered at Sundance this year, this adaptation of Phoebe Gloeckner's graphic novel by first-time feature writer-director Marielle Heller stars Bel Powley as Minnie Gotze, a teenager in 1976 San Francisco, who begins an affair with her mother’s (Kristen Wiig) boyfriend, played by Alexander Skarsgård. Earning praise for its honest portrayal of burgeoning female sexuality, this coming-of-age story with a great period soundtrack (including tracks from Television, The Stooges, T. Rex, and Nico) also stars Christopher Meloni and Madeleine Waters.

. Digging for Fire Watch trailer(s)
R Drama | August 21 | Directed by Joe Swanberg

Also by this director:

70 Happy Christmas (2014)
42 24 Exposures (2014)
71 Drinking Buddies (2013)
62 All the Light in the Sky (2013)
n/a Caitlin Plays Herself (2012)
59 Silver Bullets (2011)
36 Art History (2011)
48 Autoerotic (2011)
59 Nights and Weekends (2008)
63 Hannah Takes the Stairs (2007)

His last few films have mostly scored with critics. But some observers believe that prolific writer-director Joe Swanberg has made his best feature yet with this story of a struggling married couple (Jake Johnson and Rosemarie DeWitt) who get to spend a weekend apart. With the help of a strong ensemble that includes Orlando Bloom, Mike Birbiglia, Anna Kendrick, Brie Larson, Judith Light, Jane Adams, Sam Elliott, Ron Livingston, Melanie Lynskey, Chris Messina, Sam Rockwell, and Jenny Slate, Digging for Fire examines the challenges of commitment, parenthood, and the possibility of discovering a dead body buried in your backyard.

. The Gift Watch trailer(s)
R Thriller/Horror | August 7 | Directed by Joel Edgerton

What if your past comes back to haunt you? In this feature directing debut from actor and writer Joel Edgerton, the peaceful life of Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) is upset by a chance encounter with an acquaintance from Simon’s past. Simon doesn’t recognize Gordo (Edgerton) at first, but after a seemingly coincidental series of encounters proves troubling, a horrifying secret is uncovered, and Robyn begins to wonder who her husband is. Having already impressed critics with his second solo feature writing effort (Felony was the first), Edgerton hopes to surprise audiences with plenty of scares beginning this Friday.

. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Watch trailer(s)
PG-13 Action/Comedy | August 14 | Directed by Guy Ritchie

Also by this director:

48 Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows ('11)
57 Sherlock Holmes (2009)
53 RocknRolla (2008)
25 Revolver (2007)
18 Swept Away (2002)
55 Snatch (2001)
66 Lock, Stock & 2 Smoking Barrels (1999)

After passing through the hands of multiple directors (Matthew Vaughn and Steven Soderbergh) and stars (George Clooney included), it falls on Guy Ritchie and actors Henry Cavill (Man of Steel) and Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger) to bring this 1960s television series to the big screen. They’ll have some help from Ex Machina star Alicia Vikander and a supporting cast that includes Hugh Grant, Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby), Jared Harris, and Luca Calvani. The story follows CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Cavill) and KGB agent Illya Kuryakin (Hammer) as they team up to stop a mysterious criminal organization. Will it be able to capture some of that fun 1960s spy flavor suggested by the trailer?

. Mistress America Watch trailer(s)
R Comedy | August 14 | Directed by Noah Baumbach

Also by this director:

76 While We're Young (2015)
82 Frances Ha (2013)
76 Greenberg (2010)
66 Margot at the Wedding (2007)
82 The Squid and the Whale (2005)
61 Mr. Jealousy (1998)
75 Kicking and Screaming (1995)

The second film written by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach and directed by Baumbach (their first, Frances Ha, was a hit with critics in 2013) follows Tracy (Lola Kirke), a lonely college freshman in New York, who is seduced by the increasingly crazy schemes of her soon-to-be stepsister, Brooke (Greta Gerwig). The film earned excellent reviews when it premiered at Sundance this year. Coming on the heels of the well-regarded While We’re Young, Baumbach’s second release of the year looks to be even better.

. People Places Things Watch trailer(s)
R Comedy | August 14 | Directed by James C. Strouse

Also by this director:

53 The Winning Season (2010)
65 Grace Is Gone (2007)

Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) stars as Will, a graphic novelist and teacher who discovers his longtime girlfriend and the mother of his children (Stephanie Allynne) cheating on him on his twin daughters’ fifth birthday. Even after a year, Will hasn’t put his life together, but being a single father becomes more promising when one of his students (The Daily Show's Jessica Williams) introduces him to her mother (Regina Hall). Written and directed by Jim Strouse (The Winning Season, Grace Is Gone), the film is yet another Sundance hit, having earned good reviews when it premiered at the festival in January.

. Queen of Earth Watch trailer(s)
NR Drama/Thriller | August 26 | Directed by Alex Ross Perry

Also by this director:

76 Listen Up Philip (2014)
53 The Color Wheel (2012)
32 Impolex (2011)

The latest from writer-director Alex Ross Perry (The Color Wheel, Listen Up Philip) stars Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) and Katherine Waterston (Inherent Vice) as best friends who escape to a quiet country retreat only to slip into hysteria. Perry’s last two films took truth telling and dark comedy to extremes, and from the looks of this must-watch trailer, he is once again pushing viewers to watch complicated people in uncomfortable situations. This is his second consecutive film with Moss, but one of a decidedly different tone. Critics have mentioned Bergman’s Persona and Polanski’s Repulsion as touchstones.

. Shaun the Sheep Watch trailer(s)
PG Animation/Family | August 7 | Directed by Mark Burton, Richard Starzak

After receiving good reviews from its release in the UK, the latest animated film from Aardman Animations (Chicken Run, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit) makes its way across the Atlantic this week. Written and directed by Mark Burton and Richard Starzak, the film follows the titular Shaun as he decides to take the day off and have some fun until a mix-up lands all the sheep in the Big City, and they must find a way home. Looks like family fun for everyone.

. Straight Outta Compton Watch trailer(s)
R Drama | August 14 | Directed by F. Gary Gray

Also by this director:

34 Law Abiding Citizen (2009)
37 Be Cool (2005)
68 The Italian Job (2003)
36 A Man Apart (2003)
62 The Negotiator (1998)
54 Friday (1995)

Long in development, the story of legendary hip hop outfit N.W.A. finally makes its way to the big screen under the direction of F. Gary Gray, who got his start directing music videos (including clips for N.W.A.'s Ice Cube and Dr. Dre) before jumping to features with Friday in 1995, written by and starring Ice Cube. This musical biopic chronicles the rise and fall of the seminal West Coast rap group consisting of Ice Cube, played by his real-life son O’Shea Jackson Jr., Dre (Corey Hawkins), Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell), DJ Yella (Neil Brown Jr.), and MC Ren (Aldis Hodge) as they turn their experiences on the streets of Compton into the controversial music that made them into stars. Paul Giamatti plays their manager, Jerry Heller, who came between the members of the group. Early reviews have been good (even at a running time of almost 2.5 hours), and with Matthew Libatique (Noah, Black Swan) behind the lens and an outstanding soundtrack, your eyes and ears should never be bored. The film even inspired Dr. Dre to record his first studio album (Compton: A Soundtrack) in 16 years; look for that to arrive this Friday exclusively on iTunes.

What do you think?

Which films are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments section below. For a complete, updated listing of all upcoming film releases by date, including films arriving later in 2015, visit our Movie Calendar.

Comments (2)

  • MarcDoyle  

    I'm up for Digging for Fire - Joe Swanberg delivers.

  • Denmarker  

    Fantastic Four !?!?

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