At the moment many of us are impatiently waiting for the DC extended universe to pick up steam. Next year we’ll get to see what a film comprised solely of super-villains looks like, without any good guy in a cape around to balance out the bad; it looks like Ben Affleck’s Batman is too preoccupied to care about Jared Leto’s hugely anticipated Joker, as he somehow tries to draw up a plan to destroy Clark Kent’s indestructible alter-ego. However, while this has all been put on the back burner until 2016, three years after Man of Steel (yes, three!), Marvel isn’t messing around with its own line-up, delivering their third superhero installment of the year, and one of the must-see films for August.
Less than a month after the release of MCU’s impressive Ant-Man, a reboot of 2007’s mediocre Fantastic Four comes to screens on August 7. After our troupe of four heroes come into contact with an unexplainable power from outer space, they’re transformed into Earth’s saviours as they fend of mysterious and powerful foes with their newly acquired skills. You’ve seen plenty of superhero films so I’m sure you know the drill by now.
Unfortunately for Marvel, this particular franchise installment hasn’t been treated kindly since production began on the project. Trouble on and off set was reported with regard to its director Josh Tank, and even after apparent extensive reshoots and re-edits, Fox disallowed reviews until close to the release date, which wasn’t a promising sign. However, to look at the bigger picture, the trailers are appealing, the cast young and charismatic, and each and every Marvel film since 2008’s Iron Man has been deservedly well received. Even if Fantastic Four proves to be a dud, at least it still has big budget effects to gawp at, and since it’s not an official part of the MCU, Marvel don’t have to claim responsibility for it.
The Seven Five
On the surface, August’s next top pick is a more grounded portrayal of public services, yet not quite in the same heroic form as our superhuman rogues in spandex. The Seven Five is a documentary about the New York Police Department. While this doesn’t particularly shine a light on the good of public service, and the many heroes within it, The Seven Five is a fascinating feature that instead focuses on police corruption in one of the most notorious and dangerous precincts in the world. Looking specifically at the life of Michael Dowd, a cop who realised his power and turned dirty to manipulate the criminal underworld of drugs and money from the inside, director Tiller Russell takes an unflinching approach to the subject that reveals a lot about corruption in the legal system. Early reviews are indicating that The Seven Five is one not to miss, and you’ll be able to see it when it’s released on August 14.
Straight Outta Compton
Another film that says a big f you to the police is biopic drama Straight Outta Compton, a film about the legendary rap group N.W.A, who had a hit with their protest song that was literally entitled ‘F*ck tha Police’. Their political, upsetting, forthright lyrics had such a controversial impact on society that the FBI got involved with their record label, and nearly every mainstream radio station in the world banned the broadcasting of their records. With all of this controversy and curiosity surrounding the group, as well as the fact that music critics went crazy for their disdain and rebelliousness, it’s no wonder that N.W.A are still relevant and influential to many hip-hop artists and rappers in the industry today. Even two of the group’s most successful members, Dr Dre and Ice Cube, are still recognised as a couple of the biggest names in urban music.
Similarly to Eminem’s 8 Mile, Straight Outta Compton will chronicle the lives of these rappers and how they became massive stars in the industry, as well as all of these controversies they stirred up back in the day. The film is directed by F. Gary Gray, who helmed Law Abiding Citizen and The Negotiator, and the critics have been enthusiastic about it, which bodes well for the film’s success. Straight Outta Compton will be released on August 28.
The Confessions Of Thomas Quick
It seems like documentary dramas are taking the spotlight this month as Film4 production The Confessions of Thomas Quick makes it onto our must-see movies list. We all know how good the Swedes are at producing chilling dramas – just look at The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or TV show The Bridge. But what makes this film a special case is that it’s a very real account of Sweden’s most mysterious serial killer. 65-year-old Sture Bergwall, who was more commonly known as Thomas Quick, confessed to 39 murders during the 90’s, yet strangely there was no forensic evidence linking him to any of his crimes. He later withdrew his confessions and is now acquitted of all convictions, which consequently released him from care in an institution for the criminally insane. This unsettling story is directed by documentary filmmaker Brian Hill and will also be released on August 14.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
The last few picks aren’t exactly the sort of films that get you jumping off your couch and running to the local cineplex. But this month does deliver a number of upbeat picks, beginning with The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Imagine a James Bond parody penned by Scott Pilgrim writer Edgar Wright, and with none other than Superman, Henry Cavill, starring as the suave lead, and you’re on the right track with this exhilarating movie based on the 60s TV series of the same name. As tension is at its peak between the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, a criminal organisation plans to poke both countries into an all out nuke-fest, which forces an unlikely alliance between a CIA agent and a KBG operative, who must work together to bring down this criminal network. Of course, director Guy Ritchie knows a thing or two about blood pumping thrills and chills, so expect this to give Fantastic Four a run for its money at the box office this month. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. will hit theatres on August 14.
Lastly, if you want to abandon the action genre altogether in favour of something less demanding on your pulse, look no further than Judd Apatow’s new comedy, Trainwreck. Written by Amy Schumer, who also plays the lead, the film centres on a promiscuous woman scared of serious commitment, who, you got it, falls in love. Apatow and Schumer are no strangers to hilarity and wit, so this is likely to be a lot more than a stereotypical rom-com. With America’s rising comedic star, one of the genre’s most prolific directors, and the producers of the fantastic Bridesmaids, Trainwreck looks like your safest bet this summer if you’re looking for belly laughs. It’s also released on August 14, so you wont have to wait very long to get your Schumer fill.
So there you have it. From a Guy Ritchie beat-em-up, to a gritty biopic about America’s most infamous rap group, to light entertainment about true love, August has done more than enough to convince you to stay in a dark confined room rather than celebrating summer outside in the sun.