August is here, and so is the real summer heat. As we all deal with the dog days of summer there’s one guaranteed way to beat the heat: go to the movies! Fortunately, the August release calendar has a whole set of great films, including no less than three dog movies; Disney’s latest live-action revival of a classic property; and the return of master director Spike Lee.
Here’s our full slate of films arriving in August 2018.
The Darkest Minds
Fox’s latest YA adaptation tracks the few kids who have survived an apocalyptic viral outbreak. The downside to survival is that they’re locked in government camps. The upside is they’ve got powers (hence the government suspicion). Amandla Stenberg, who appeared as Rue in the Hunger Games films and will also star later this year in The Hate U Give, takes the lead as Ruby, who escapes the camp and joins up with a resistance force.
Death of a Nation
Dinesh D’Souza’s latest documentary looks at parallels between the presidencies of Donald Trump and Abraham Lincoln.
Disney’s Christopher Robin
Disney brings Winnie the Pooh into live-action with a star-studded cast of voice actors and Ewan McGregor as Christopher Robin. In his youth, McGregor’s character was Pooh’s human best friend, but he’s grown up into a man without imagination, much to the consternation of his wife, played by Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter). Fortunately Pooh and the rest of the animals in the Hundred-Acre Wood aren’t willing to let Christopher live a dull life, and they set out to brighten his world.
Bo Burnham makes the transition from YouTuber, stand-up comic, and musician to feature writer/director with this incredibly sensitive drama about Kayla, played by Elsie Fisher, as she struggles to finish her last week of middle school classes. The film looks at adolescent angst through the lens of a modern experience, portraying Kayla’s life in a tender and understanding manner.
The Spy Who Dumped Me
Mila Kunis plays Audrey, whose ex-boyfriend turns out to be a CIA agent involved in a dangerous situation with international criminals. Audrey and her best friend Morgan (Kate McKinnon) are pulled into the spy game, and end up on the run through Europe with assassins on their trail. The fact that they have no idea what they’re doing shouldn’t affect their chances of survival at all.
Writer/director Spike Lee returns with his most acclaimed film in years. John David Washington (Denzel Washington’s son) stars in the ’70s-set film as Ron Stallworth, the first black man in the Colorado Springs Police Department. The new detective sets out to make his name, but he doesn’t have an easy task ahead. His mission: infiltrate the KKK. He’s got help in the form of Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), a more experienced cop. Based on Stallworth’s autobiography.
Comedian Ken Marino (Wet Hot American Summer, We’re the Millers) directs this ensemble comedy that follows a set of dog owners – and their dogs, of course – through their lives. Naturally, the lives of all involved intertwine. While the obvious attraction here is the dogs, Marino has also called in a notable cast, featuring many comedians from prior ensemble projects, to play the human roles. Eva Longoria, Nina Dobrev, Vanessa Hudgens, Lauren Lapkus, Thomas Lennon, Adam Pally, Finn Wolfhard, David Wain, Rob Corddry, and Tig Notaro are just part of the cast.
This film, set in 1948, explores the Olympic victory by India’s field hockey team, which earned the country its first Olympic gold as a newly independent nation. The victory was hard-won against the British team, which represented the foreign control that India had so recently shrugged off.
Jason Statham fights a giant shark. What more do you need to know? Based on Steve Alten’s best-selling novel, The Meg casts Statham as a diver called in to help the crew of a submersible which has been attacked by a 75-foot long prehistoric shark known as a Megalodon. (For reference, the shark in Jaws was about 25 feet long.) It’s pure action movie bliss from there.
This character study follows Kelly Macdonald (Trainspotting, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2) as Agnes, who, since childhood, has remained physically and emotionally within her family’s small community. But a jigsaw puzzle, given to Agnes as a birthday present, gives the woman an unexpected new passion, which opens her life in ways she could not have expected. This film is a real showcase for Macdonald’s exceptional skills as an actor.
The internet phenomenon becomes a movie. Three young women (Joey King, Julia Goldani Telles, and Jaz Sinclair) search for a missing fourth friend, and begin to suspect that she has fallen victim to the mysterious and terrifying Slender Man, whose supernatural nature induces madness and often leads to the death or disappearance of his victims.
It’s the only origin story that matters – an account of the first stages of friendship between man and dog. In this case, actually, the animal in question is the dog’s ancestor from 20,000 years ago. When a young hunter is separated from his people during a bison-hunting expedition, he’s forced to survive on his own. Braving the elements and other dangers while trying to return home, he forges an unlikely alliance with a wolf.
Crazy Rich Asians
Kevin Kwan’s novel of the same name is adapted to film by director Jon M. Chu. New Yorker Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) joins her boyfriend Nick (Henry Golding) on a trip to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. It’s Rachel’s first trip to Asia, and her first time meeting Nick’s demanding family.Rachel realizes she’s got a lot to learn about the man she loves, starting with the fact that his family is crazy rich, and he’s considered the most eligible bachelor around.
Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg (Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon) reunite to tell the story of James Silva, a CIA agent investigating the murders of three fellow agents in Indonesia. When a local cop goes on the run after accidentally crossing a powerful crime boss, Silva and his partner Sam Snow (Ronda Rousey) agree to get the cop away from danger in exchange for info about the CIA murders. They only have to travel 22 miles, but with seemingly every armed person in the city trying to stop them, that stretch might be more than they can manage.
August is the dog movie month. We’ve got the origin story (Alpha), the tale of modern-day friendship (Dog Days) and now a sci-fi adventure featuring a high-tech robotic canine. A.X.L. (it stands for Attack, Exploration, Logistics) is military tech designed to protect soldiers, and operates with next-gen artificial intelligence. But when an operation goes wrong A.X.L. ends up alone in the desert, where he’s found by a young loner (Alex Neustaedter), who bonds with the mechanical animal.
Three stories converge in this drama: a refugee’s escape, a prisoner’s promise, and a daughter’s painful secret. As the lives of the characters become increasingly entangled, three men launch a global journey that will change their lives for the better.
The Happytime Murders
In this bizarre detective story with a comic twist, puppets aren’t just real; they’re thinking, feeling entities treated as a lower class. A serial killer is after the puppet cast members of an ’80s TV show, The Happytime Gang. Phil, a puppet P.I., teams up with his former human partner, detective Connie Edwards (Melissa McCarthy), to track down the killer. Trouble is, it’s starting to look like the killer is Phil himself.
Charlie Hunnam plays Henri “Papillon” Charrière, a Parisian safecracker who is serving a life sentence on the infamous Devil’s Island prison colony after being framed for murder. Desperate to escape the island, Papillon works with another convict, Louis Dega (Rami Malek), with the pair combining their criminal skills to make what seems like an impossible escape. Based on the books ‘Papillon’ and ‘Banco.’
David Kim (John Cho) searches for his missing daughter using her devices and web history. We see the search only through the phones and computers he uses to scour the internet and real world, and the interactions he uncovers reveal far more about his daughter and her life than David might be ready to accept.
Eli, an adopted boy played by Myles Truitt, makes a starting discovery while scavenging for scrap metal to sell. He finds a chamber filled with what appear to be armored forms – and when one of them starts moving he panics, grabbing an object on his way out. That object turns out to be a wildly powerful weapon. When Eli’s brother Jimmy (Jack Reynor) returns home from prison, that weapon is part of a deadly encounter between Jimmy, his family, and a criminal gang. Soon Eli and Jimmy are on the run, with criminals, the FBI, and the weapon’s true owners all ready to grab them. Zoë Kravitz, Carrie Coon, Dennis Quaid, and James Franco all appear.
The Little Stranger
In this Gothic horror story, Domhnall Gleeson plays Dr. Faraday, housemaid’s son, who is called to attend a patient at Hundreds Hall, where his mother worked years ago. Arriving at the Hall in the summer of 1948, Faraday finds it in decline. He soon learns the mother, son and daughter in residence may be haunted by something that will connect to Farady’s own life in disturbing ways. Based on the novel by Sarah Waters, with Ruth Wilson, Will Poulter, Charlotte Rampling, Josh Dylan, and Liv Hill.