My Movie Recommendations for 8/15 + Official Trailers

It's mid-August -- and pleasantly air-conditioned multiplexes are packed with blockbuster studio tentpoles and quirky little indies. This lazy, hazy period between June's Los Angeles Film Festival and September's Toronto International Film Festival is the only time of year when I can regularly attend press and preview screenings, so I've been taking advantage of that three to four times per week. Between those movies and the ones now being released that I saw at festivals over the past several months, there's a remarkably high percentage of films currently in theaters which I've seen. As such, I can make some recommendations on 21 movies currently playing.

OPENING WIDE:

The Giver -- 5/5 (opening at 3003 locations) -- currently 29% rotten -- See my review + official trailers and music video

The Expendables 3 -- 2/5 (opening at 3221 locations) -- currently 35% rotten -- I think any action can look exciting at five cuts per second. Imagine the days before digital editing. Unfortunately, I couldn't recall one single line of dialogue the next day. I was also heartened at the discovery that blood does not flow when people are shot or stabbed to death, and bombs blowing up in people's faces do not cause limbs to fly. They simply disappear intact. Come to think of it, this movie is a great military recruiting tool. The only redeeming element in this film is Antonio Banderas in kickass comic relief. Who knew?? "The Expendables 3: One more reason to see The Giver" -- Rejected Weinstein tagline but you're welcome to it, Harvey.

Let's Be Cops -- 2/5 (opening at 3094 locations) -- currently 9% rotten -- I can't fairly give this one a full review since, despite several attempts, they couldn't get the sound to work in the first 10 minutes of the film. That's more than 10% of the total, and there are several events which take place in those opening scenes which are then referred to throughout the film and resolved at the end. But if you pretended to be a cop and held a gun to my head, I'd say you're better off seeing one of the many very good movies out right now. And while I don't generally put a lot of stock in the Rotten Tomatoes number, well, it has a 9. 'Nuff said.

 

OPENING LIMITED:

Coldwater -- 5/5 -- See my review, photos of the World Premiere Q&A, and video interviews with director & stars

Frank -- 4/5 -- currently 90% fresh (63 to 7) --  See my review + official trailer

Ragnarok -- 4/5 -- See my review and photos of the World Premiere Q&A

 

EXPANDING:

Boyhood -- 5/5 (expanding from 507 to 771 locations) -- currently 99% fresh (179 to 2) -- See my interviews with director Richard Linklater and stars Ellar Coltrane & Patricia Arquette, along with photos and a half hour audio of the entire Q&A at the Arclight Hollywood screening on June 16

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles -- 4/5 (expanding from 3845 to 3980 locations) -- currently 20% rotten  -- Viacom's big budget entry into the crowded mid-summer tentpole marketplace has much of the broad appeal of Guardians with a (not surprisingly) more kid-friendly sensibility. Instead of hunky Chris Pratt we get curvy Megan Fox, instead of talking raccoons and trees we get adolescent terrapins, and instead of a new world in outer space we get one in subterranean New York. Which comes close. And while both movies are quite adept at mixing drama and humor, TMNT is a great deal lighter and can much more confidently be labeled a comedy than GOTG. No spoilers here so I'll just say that the random cultural references were a big hit with this audience. The budget was reported at $125 million and they squeezed out every penny's worth, much of it at ILM -- and nobody does it better. TMNT is pure fun, with dazzling visual effects, state-of-the-art motion capture, and sound design that gave me goosebumps. I saw it in non-IMAX 3D (conversion), which was better than Hercules but not as good as GOTD in its effectiveness. Save some money and go for the 2D. I had a smile on my face from opening to closing credits.

The Hundred-Foot Journey -- 4/5 (expanding from 2023 to 2043 locations) -- currently 66% fresh (65 to 34) -- See my review + official trailer, poster, and stills

Land Ho! -- 4/5 (expanding from 12 to 31 locations) -- currently 75% fresh (51 to 17)

What If -- 3/5 (expanding from 20 to 786 locations) -- currently 72% fresh (54 to 21) -- It was titled The F Word when I saw it at TIFF 2013 and retains that title for its Canadian release by Entertainment One but changes to What If for its release in the US by CBS Films. See my capsule review and photos of Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, and more at the World Premiere Q&A 2013 Toronto International Film Festival

Words and Pictures -- 3/5 (expanding from 12 to 15 locations) -- currently 42% rotten

 

DECLINING:

Guardians of the Galaxy -- 5/5 (declining from 4088 to 3697 locations) -- currently 92% fresh (199 to 18) -- I'm not big on comparing movies...and I'm certainly not about Hollywood blockbusters as an indie film journalist...but I do see my share of big studio films. Just a few days ago I saw Hercules and wrote favorably about it, and I defended Godzilla even as colleagues were tearing it down. So I'm certainly not averse to enjoying megabudget special effects orgies. That said, I'm one of these guys for whom Star Wars will always be a benchmark against which all other humans-as-superheroes-in-space movies will be measured. What I loved about that film is it created an entire universe, literally, with state-of-the-art special effects, where good fights evil, there's a clearly defined narrative, and, most of all, characters we can laugh at and relate to. It's the latter that is sadly lacking in most of the films which have tried to duplicate Lucas' efforts over the years. They get the others right but lack the humanity (or animality). Guardians has all that. It brought back some of the feelings I had way back when...and, perhaps not ironically, the music, as well. It's no accident that this film's soundtrack is packed with mid-70s pop classics. Marvel gets it right on this one...aurally, visually, and emotionally. Best Hollywood blockbuster I've seen this year.

Earth to Echo -- 5/5 (declining from 217 to 154 locations)

Hercules -- 4/5 (declining from 2896 to 1475 locations) -- currently 62% fresh (61 to 38) -- See my review

A Most Wanted Man -- 4/5 (declining from 806 to 650 locations) -- currently 90% fresh (104 to 11) -- See my review + official trailer and stills

Godzilla -- 4/5 (declining from 178 to 118 locations) -- currently 73% fresh (187 to 70)

The Purge: Anarchy -- 3/5 (declining from 1596 to 575 locations) -- currently 58% fresh (65 to 48)

And So It Goes -- 3/5 (declining from 1111 to 362 locations) -- currently 16% rotten

Wish I Was Here -- 2/5 (declining from 202 to 54 locations) -- currently 41% rotten

Get On Up -- 1/5 (declining from 2469 to 1101 locations) -- See my review

 

Films coming soon, which I've seen and recommend, many of which are reviewed on this site:

The Notebook, Starred Up (August 29)

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (September 12)

One Chance (October 10)

Why Don't You Play in Hell (October 31)

The Overnighters (November 7)

R100 (December 12)

The Green Inferno (was September 5, now TBD)


The Giver - Official Trailer - The Weinstein Company

Now Playing! http://bit.ly/TheGiverTickets The haunting story of THE GIVER centers on Jonas, who lives in a seemingly…
  • Video Release: March 19, 2014
  • Length: 1.45 min
  • Views: 2915320

The Expendables 3 (2014) - Final Trailer – “Explosive”

This Summer... Get ready for one last ride! THE EXPENDABLES 3 - Now…
  • Video Release: August 01, 2014
  • Length: 1.63 min
  • Views: 129817

Let's Be Cops | Official Red Band Trailer | 20th Century FOX

The Official Red Band Trailer for Lets Be Cops, in Theaters August 2014. It's the ultimate buddy cop movie except for…
  • Video Release: March 26, 2014
  • Length: 3.13 min
  • Views: 937134

Boyhood - Official US Trailer | HD | IFC Films

www.boyhoodmovie.com Filmed over 12 years with the same cast, Richard Linklater's BOYHOOD is a groundbreaking story of…
  • Video Release: April 25, 2014
  • Length: 1.77 min
  • Views: 918054

TMNT Movie Trailer

The official TMNT movie trailer starring Megan Fox. In theaters August. LIKE: http://Facebook.com/TMNT | Follow:…
  • Video Release: March 27, 2014
  • Length: 1.52 min
  • Views: 3897217

The HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY | T R A I L E R

Movie : The HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY Synopsis : A story centered on an Indian family who moves to France and opens an eatery…
  • Video Release: July 08, 2014
  • Length: 2.68 min
  • Views: 104337

Land Ho! 2014 Official Movie Trailer HD

Released on: 11 July 2014 (USA) ➨ SUBSCRIBE to EGITSmovieclips:…
  • Video Release: July 07, 2014
  • Length: 2.57 min
  • Views: 20

What If Official Trailer #1 (2014) - Daniel Radcliffe Romantic Comedy HD

Subscribe to TRAILERS: http://bit.ly/sxaw6h Subscribe to COMING SOON: http://bit.ly/H2vZUn Like us on FACEBOOK:…
  • Video Release: May 29, 2014
  • Length: 3.25 min
  • Views: 2255663

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy - Trailer 1 (OFFICIAL)

Get your first look at the spacefaring adventure in Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy," coming to theaters August…
  • Video Release: February 20, 2014
  • Length: 2.52 min
  • Views: 1001485

Earth To Echo Official Trailer #1 (2014) - Alien Movie HD

Subscribe to TRAILERS: http://bit.ly/sxaw6h Subscribe to COMING SOON: http://bit.ly/H2vZUn Like us on…
  • Video Release: December 12, 2013
  • Length: 1.33 min
  • Views: 847311

Hercules Starring The Rock -- Exclusive Trailer

Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures' film HERCULES, starring Dwayne Johnson, bows on July 25th. Based on…
  • Video Release: March 25, 2014
  • Length: 1.55 min
  • Views: 12821237

A MOST WANTED MAN - Official Trailer (HD)

Releases July 25, 2014 http://amostwantedmanmovie.com
  • Video Release: April 12, 2014
  • Length: 2.42 min
  • Views: 521196


Author

Larry Richman

Larry Richman

For 20 years I was a professional in the entertainment industry, from commercial broadcast radio in America's fourth largest market to band management to record production. But my passion is independent film, and I spend much of the year traveling to film festivals to see indies and meet the actors, directors, and others responsible for creating them. I'm a writer, photographer, and videographer, currently serving as Senior Vice President for Media & Technology and Public Relations at PROnetworks as well as Editor at Larry411.com

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  • Author: Larry Richman
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