August 2011

The Smurfs

August 3rd

Synopsis: When the evil wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria) chases the tiny blue Smurfs out of their village, they tumble from their magical world and into ours — in fact, smack dab in the middle of Central Park. Just three apples high and stuck in the Big Apple, the Smurfs must find a way to get back to their village before Gargamel tracks them down. Neil Patrick Harris, Sofía Vergara and Jayma Mays star; Katy Perry, Anton Yelchin, Paul Reubens, Alan Cumming, B.J. Novak, Fred Armisen, George Lopez, Kenan Thompson and Jonathan Winters voice The Smurfs.

Our Take: Another CGI/Live-action hybrid trying to cash in on cartoon nostalgia. If The Chipmunks and Yogi Bear are any indication, the kids will flock to see the smurfs, inevitably spawning some worse squeakquels.

The Change-Up

August 5th

Synopsis: A comedy in which a married guy (Jason Bateman) switches bodies with his best friend (Ryan Reynolds) in order to woo his co-worker. Olivia Wilde and Leslie Mann co-star.

Our Take: Sure, by now we’ve seen so many variations of the Freaky Friday premise, but at worst, the Change-Up looks like a harmless cliche – at best, it will offer some good laughs.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

August 5th

Synopsis: In this Planet of the Apes origin story, set in present day San Francisco, a scientist’s (James Franco) experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of a fiercely intelligent ape named Caesar (Andy Serkis) and the onset of a war for supremacy.

Our Take: Rise of the Planet of the Apes is worth seeing solely based on the impressive motion-capture ape effects created by Peter Jackson’s WETA Workshop (the effects house behind the King Kong remake). A Shakespeare-meets-sci-fi story should be a fitting anchor for the F/X extravaganza, and who knows, overall this film may turn out to be excellent.

30 Minutes or Less

August 12th

Synopsis: Two fledgling criminals kidnap a pizza delivery driver and force him to rob a bank within 30 minutes. Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson, Aziz Ansari, Fred Ward, Bianca Kajlich and Micahel Peña star.

Our Take: Another comedy that hasn’t exactly earned too much of an early buzz, but the cast is impressive and the premise leaves room for a LOT of great laughs. Whether or not the filmmakers capitalize on that potential remains to be seen.

Final Destination 5

August 12th

Synopsis: Survivors of a suspension-bridge collapse learn there’s no way you can cheat Death. Emma Bell, Nicholas D’Agosto, Courtney B. Vance and Tony Todd star.

Our Take: This franchise burned itself out about 3 movies ago. Unless this new installment does something truly revolutionary, we’re already set to rent this on DVD.

The Help

August 12th

Synopsis: A look at what happens when a southern town’s unspoken code of rules and behavior is shattered by three courageous women who strike up an unlikely friendship. Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Viola Davis, and Sissy Spacek star. Based on the Kathryn Stockett novel.

Our Take: This looks to be a feel-good (if not slightly cliched) summer movie about tolerance and friendship. Nothing wrong with that in a season otherwise filled with slugfests and explosions.

Conan the Barbarian

August 19th

Synopsis: A quest that begins as a personal vendetta for the fierce Cimmerian warrior soon turns into an epic battle against hulking rivals, horrific monsters, and impossible odds, as Conan realizes he is the only hope of saving the great nations of Hyboria from an encroaching reign of supernatural evil.

Our Take: Momoa is a quickly-rising star thanks to roles in Stargate: Atlantis and Game of Thrones. It’s become clear at this point that the actor will make for a good Conan, and his supporting cast (Pearlman and Lang in particular) seem just as well-suited to this material. If the director is on his game, Conan could close out the summer in spectacular fashion. At the very least, the trailer makes it look like good B-movie fun.

Fright Night

August 19th

Synopsis: A remake of the comedy-horror picture about a Vegas teenager (Anton Yelchin) who discovers his new next-door neighbor (Colin Farrell) is a vampire. David Tennant, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Imogen Poots and Toni Collette co-star.

Our Take: Fright Night was a cult hit amongst horror movie fans of the ’80s era, so it’s been hard to muster much enthusiasm for this remake. It’s one of those cases where we’ll have to see it before we can believe that it is worthy.

Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World

August 19th

Synopsis: A mother (Jessica Alba) returns to her old profession — she’s a retired spy — in order to prevent a villain bent on stopping time. Danny Trejo, Alexa Vega, Antonio Banderas, Jeremy Piven, and Daryl Sabara star.

Our Take: This franchise has a loyal following, and with Robert Rodriguez still running the show – plus the added draw of Alba headlining – Spy Kids 4 should be just as successful as its predecessors… if not more.

Apollo 18

August 26th

Synopsis: NASA’s canceled trip to the moon in the 1970s is the basis for this found-footage-style picture exploring the urban legend surrounding that mission — what if Apollo 18 actually did occur and the proof of extraterrestrial life exists on film? Wanted’s Timur Bekmambetov produces the film, with Spanish filmmaker Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego directing.

Our Take: This film has had its released date changed again and again, and word is the film is being re-cut in order to salvage it. We initially included it on our list of 20 Most Anticipated Films for 2011, but at this point, we’re not holding out much hope. Plus: opening against another horror film with the tagline “Guillermo del Toro presents”? Yeah, not the best idea.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

August 26th

Synopsis: Guillermo Del Toro presents DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK, a horror film starring Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce and Bailee Madison, directed by Troy Nixey.  Based on the 1973 telefilm that Del Toro believes is the scariest TV production ever made, the story follows Sally (Madison), a young girl who moves to Rhode Island to live with her father (Pearce) and his new girlfriend (Holmes) in the 19th-century mansion they are restoring. While exploring the house, Sally starts to hear voices coming from creatures in the basement whose hidden agenda is to claim her as one of their own.

Our Take: “Guillermo del Toro presents” has become a strong endorsement for just about any film that’s released. The trailer for the film was effectively creepy, so if we have a choice between this film and Apollo 18 as our end of summer horror movie outing…just guess which one we’re going to pick.

That’s it for Screen Rant‘s Summer Movie Preview. What has you watching movie trailers in excitement this summer? Known franchise films like Transformer 3 or Harry Potter, first time superhero movies like Captain America, Green Lantern and Thor, or maybe some of the lesser known and possibly “smaller” films like Super 8 and Tree of Life? Let us know!

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