Oh, you thought summer movie season was over? Not by a long shot, my friend. There’s something for everyone in theaters this August: a major fantasy novel adaptation, the Will Arnett-led sequel to an animated squirrel movie, an unlikely heist comedy trio, and of course, a shoot-em-up action flick with hints of The Bodyguard. Pick the one (or two…or three) that suits your fancy, gather your friends, hook them up with some savory snacks to smuggle in and head to the temperature-controlled oasis of your local theater. Give the popcorn butter dispenser an extra pump while you’re at it, beach season is winding down anyway.
THE DARK TOWER
Premieres: August 4
Rated: Not Yet Rated
STARRING: Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Taylor, Katheryn Winnick, Claudia Kim, Fran Kranz, Abbey Lee Kershaw, Jackie Earle Haley, Dennis Haysbert
DIRECTED BY: Nikolaj Arcel
Magic deities, ominous towers, traveling between universes, nightmares becoming reality—it all seems like a lot. But at the core of this slightly confusing trailer is a classic “good guy must lay waste to a bad guy to save the world” scenario. Expectations are justifiably high with A-list stars Elba and McConaughey carrying the story.
OUR EXCITEMENT LEVEL: We can’t wait, but if you’ve read all eight books in Stephen King’s series, it’s probably best to set realistic expectations before heading to the theater. There are more than 1.3 million words in those novels; the movie is probably going to run about two hours. Safe to say some key moments from the books may not be in the film.
Premieres: August 4
STARRING: Halle Berry, Lew Temple, Chris McGinn, Sage Correa
DIRECTED BY: Luis Prieto
The concept of Kidnap is simple: A child is kidnapped and a mother hunts down the captors. Basically Taken, but with a sensible shoes and a minivan.
OUR EXCITEMENT LEVEL: Honestly, the first two minutes of the trailer didn’t give us much to get excited about. But then Halle Berry drops that one-liner: “You took the wrong kid!” And now we’re pre-ordering tickets.
THE GLASS CASTLE
Premieres: August 11
STARRING: Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, Max Greenfield, Sarah Snook, Naomi Watts
DIRECTED BY: Destin Daniel Cretton
After what can only be described as a non-traditional upbringing, Jeannette Walls abandons the adventurous and chaotic ways of her family for rigid, predictable city life with Schmidt from New Girl. Jeannette’s parents, played by Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts, hope she’ll remember her roots and make peace with her father in his later years.
The movie is based on Walls’ memoir of the same name, so we can be reasonably certain she lives until the end.
OUR EXCITEMENT LEVEL: Sign us up for any movie in which Woody Harrelson reprises his southern drawl from the first season of True Detective.
NUT JOB 2: NUTTY BY NATURE
Premieres: August 11
STARRING: Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl, Maya Rudolph, Bobby Moynihan, Gabriel Iglesias, Jackie Chan, Bobby Cannavale, Isabela Moner, Sebastian Maniscalco, Peter Stormare
DIRECTED BY: Cal Brunker
All too often, the forgotten victims of restaurant and food shop catastrophes are small to medium-sized rodents, who must scavenge elsewhere for sustenance. Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature tells this important story of survival and ingenuity with a star-studded cast of voices, including one of the guys from Rush Hour.
On a related note, congratulations to the members of legendary hip-hop group Naughty By Nature for indirectly contributing to the sequel to an animated children’s movie about talking squirrels via a pun in the title. I’m sure it’s right up there with their Grammy win as an important career milestone.
OUR EXCITEMENT LEVEL: Moderate. We haven’t seen the original Nut Job, and that nuanced backstory likely provides vital context for this animated tale created for children.
THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD
Premieres: August 18
STARRING: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Salma Hayek, Joaquim de Almeida, Richard E. Grant
DIRECTED BY: Patrick Hughes
Pretty boy Ryan Reynolds must protect bad-ass internationally known hitman Samuel L. Jackson. Plot twist: They don’t get along very well!
If you’re looking for a fun action flick filled with daring escapes on nearly every type of vehicle, this might be the one to see with your friends next month. It’s a buddy cop movie on steroids.
Also: Based on this promo poster and the Whitney Houston song in the trailer, we expect plenty of references to 1992’s The Bodyguard…for better or worse.
OUR EXCITEMENT LEVEL: The Red Band trailer presents the movie in a slightly different (some might say funnier) light. The boys have chemistry, there’s no denying it.
Premieres: August 18 (Limited release)
STARRING: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Seth MacFarlane, Riley Keough, Katie Holmes, Hillary Swank, Daniel Craig
DIRECTED BY: Steven Soderbergh
If you’ve ever lost your job, orchestrating an intricate, high-stakes cash heist at a NASCAR race with your brother probably crossed your mind at some point. These boys had the gumption to actually go through with it! Though it’s difficult to envision this story ends anywhere but a jail cell.
OUR EXCITEMENT LEVEL: Perhaps we put too much weight on actors selling unnatural accents (see The Glass Castle preview above). but Daniel Craig (James Bond…ever heard of him?) is out here with a saucy Carolina twang to his voice, and that’s all we’ve ever really wanted in a moviegoing experience.