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Published July 29th 2016
Meryl Singing Badly to a Dragon,Cat,Dogs and Superheroes?
Florence Foster Jenkins (image by Paramount Pictures)
While we dodge disgruntled Bernie and Ted fans, the chaotic presidential race continues to pluck outlandish scenes from our favourite comedy flicks. Sometimes, reality is just too real, even for a Kardashian. Escape into the cinema with new worlds opening in cinemas across the US. Enjoy the previews as the lights dim, but keep one eye on the Pok้mon -addicted gamers until they finally switch their phones off. Take the classic cinema challenge - finishing a giant tub of salty, buttery popcorn while sipping a seemingly endless bucket of soda to keep your energy high until the credits roll. In August, comedies offer relief from the horror headlines but childhood adventures, tense dramas and all-conquering superheroes also star. Read on to discover the best movies premiering in the United States in August 2016.
In 1967, Britain was invaded by The Dirty Dozen, 12 of America's worst criminals. During the chaos of WW2, these bad eggs were offered freedom if victorious in a daring mission against the Nazis. Their exploits, based on the real-life 'Flithy Thirteen', led to a slew of remakes and sequels exploiting the challenges of the anti-hero. In 2016, a new band of American-inspired criminals invading the world as the Suicide Squad. This gang of comic-book characters include The Joker, the giggling nemesis of Batman, played by Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club, Fight Club, Panic Room, Requiem for a Dream) after Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger excelled as the evil clown and Harley Quinn, a dysfunctional psychiatrist, played by Aussie star Margot Robbie (Neighbours, The Legend of Tarzan, The Wolf of Wall Street, Z for Zachariah). Will Smith (Ali, The Pursuit of Happyness, Bad Boys, Fresh Prince of Bel Air) joins the crew as Deadshot, a mercenary assassin. The fictional world is in the DC Comics universe so Batman (Ben Affleck Argo, Gone Baby Gone, The Town, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) makes an imposing cameo.
Pete's Dragon August 12 Disney, the giant creator of childhood fantasies, redefines the range of domestic pets to include fire-breathers. If you're planning to live in the forest, it's useful to have a protective companion. Pete has lived in the woods of our Pacific Northwest for 6 years. Finally discovered by an inquistive park ranger, the locals join the search to uncover the truth about his identity and the mystery of the dragon. While they intentions are pure, a cruel hunter has evil intent as he tries to claim the ultimate catch a dragon. The tale returns to the big screen after a musical edition in 1977. The latest version stars Oscar winner Robert Redford (The Sting, All the President's Men, Out of Africa), Bryce Dallas Howard (Parenthood, Jurassic World), Oakes Fegley (Boardwalk Empire), Wes Bentley (American Beauty, Interstellar) and Karl Urban (Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings).
Florence Foster Jenkins August 12 In the 1940s, World War 2 ravaged America's resolve, but the true test began when Florence invaded concert halls, singing with a delusional confidence to match the cringe-worthy American Idol auditions. This true story, based on an eccentric heiress, continues as her husband and manager, an aristocratic English actor, masks the harsh truth from his love, encouraging her to step on the stage of the historic Carnegie Hall for a thrilling public concert. To entice the cinema-goer to love this determined singer, the truly legendary Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady, Out of Africa, Doubt, The Bridges of Madison County) takes the title role, joined by Hugh Grant (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones' Diary, About a Boy) and Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory).
War Dogs (image by Warner Bros. Pictures)
War Dogs August 19 The Chilcot Report, published in July, highlighted some of the issues of the 2003 Iraq War. As Tony Blair's ears bleed and eyes water from the written and spoken vitriol in response, our Middle Eastern adventures also invite deeper scrutiny. In their khaki command post, the Pentagon, slick civvies grabbed a handful of blank cheques to arm Afghani locals and sway political momentum. Rather than endure thousands of pages of an official report, War Dogs captures the inane antics as a situation becomes more and more outlandish and an exit strategy becomes too embarrassing to contemplate. Jonah Hill (21 Jump Street, Moneyball, Knocked Up, The Wolf of Wall Street), often skipping between comedic and dramatic roles, joins Miles Teller, still sore from his drum solo in Whiplash, in this dramatic comedy with a few thrills, directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover, Due Date, Old School).
Nine Lives August 5 Groundhog Day featured Bill Murray in a time-bending test until he found his conscience after years of witty barbs (funny but cruel) and surly stares. Golden Globe and Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey (House of Cards, American Beauty, The Usual Suspects, Seven, Pay It Forward, K-PAX) receives his own fairytale fix-up as a pet cat, discovering whether furry felines really do have 9 lives as he searches for his new purpose (beyond sleeping, purring and eating). Christopher Walken (Annie Hall, Deer Hunter, Pulp Fiction, SNL), adds his unique insanity to the film, Jennifer Garner (Pearl Harbour, Alias, Daredevil, Juno) and Malina Weissman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Supergirl).