Is it safe to come out? Is the Summer of Endless Mediocrity over?
Yes, and what that says about the prestige season to come, I won’t guess (and it wouldn’t be fair to do so, regardless). Still, this isn’t prestige season; it’s Dumping Month #2, and what THAT means after this summer, I am terrified to think…
Only one wide release, and boy, is it random: Riddick, the third film (fourth, counting a lengthy cartoon) in a franchise that has lied dormant for nine years, and went out on such a confounding, unliked note last time. The good news is that the horror/thriller-heavy trailer promises that this will be more of a Pitch Black than a Chronicles of Riddick, though seeing Vin Diesel in anything not involving car-based heists will certainly be a weird chance of pace, at this point.
Two wide releases that I’m looking forward to all month, and wouldn’t they just have to open on the same day: The Family is pretty straightforward, talented actors who don’t get too much to do having broad action-comic fun. I’m a little dubious about where Luc Besson enters the picture, but he’s not a talentless man.
The much bigger question mark is Insidious: Chapter 2. The ads are solid, for a haunted house picture, and after The Conjuring, I’m certainly good for whatever James Wan sends my way; but Insidious had such a terrible ending, after such a good first hour. So the question is: does the sequel pick up right where the last one ended, quality-wise, or will they be able to reboot a bit until the inevitable third-act implosion?
If there remains anybody who is the target for 3-D dance movies, I have an awful feeling that I’m it; and I am, in fact, not un-excited for Battle of the Year, which crossbreeds “3-D dance movie” with “inspirational sports drama”. And that is not a genre for which I am the target audience, but it does to keep an open mind.
The year’s first big awards season prestige picture! It’s called Prisoners, it’s about a kidnapping, and it has waaaaaaay too impressively pedigreed a cast for that to be all she wrote. Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Terence Howard, Melissa Leo, Maria Bello, Paul Dano – okay, I’m no Paul Dano fanboy, but that’s a lot of firepower for a thriller. The hope is that this means it’s brainy; the fear is that this means it’s leaden and po-faced
In limited release for its first week, Ron Howard has a Formula One racing biopic, which is just strange, right? I don’t even know if I’m looking forward to Rush, but it’s surely an unpredictable marriage of filmmaker and content, the kind that can’t help but pique your interest.
In addition to Rush widening, we have here a pair of very different niche market romantic comedies: for hipsters and dudes, Joseph Gorden Levitt’s directorial debut comes along, the porn addict comedy Don Jon, while for the vast sum of humanity collective lumped together as “not the white people”, there’s Baggage Claim, with Paula Patton. And Paula Patton is really all I needed to hear.
The biggest release of them all, and almost certainly of the month, shall be Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, the sequel to a film I was never remotely interested in seeing, and now kind of have to. Yay people crapping out animation because they know families will pay for it no matter what!