Top 10 – Films not to miss in August 2014

Eva Green is the titular seductress in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

August traditionally marks the final dribs and drabs of the summer blockbuster season as the studios look to exploit the school holidays and get children into cinemas. There’s an unusual mixture of kid-friendly fare, bombastic action movies and some stranger, more low-key releases.

This year, the beginning of August will be dominated by the late-July release of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. But soon after, the arrival of a UK comedy juggernaut and a band of 1980s action men will allow the month to make its mark.

Here are the ten films you should go and see before the summer comes to an end.


10. The Nut Job (Aug 1)

Will Arnett returns to animation for The Nut Job

Fresh from the success of The Lego Movie, outstanding voice talent Will Arnett lends his voice to a squirrel for animated comedy The Nut Job.

After he destroys his pack’s food that they had been saving for the winter, he must take drastic heist movie action to get back in their good books.

If Arnett can manage even half the laughs he got out of his brickified Batman earlier in the year, The Nut Job should be a success. With plenty of opportunities for horribly brilliant puns, this could be a surprise hit.



9. Deliver Us From Evil (Aug 22)

Eric Bana stars in exorcism horror Deliver Us From Evil

With the exception of the excellent Oculus, 2014 has been a somewhat difficult year for horror movies. Sporting the usual babble about being based on true events, Scott Derrickson’s follow-up to effective chiller Sinister is the tale of a skeptic cop thrust into a case that has a whiff of the demonic.

Eric Bana leads the cast that also features Community’s Joel McHale as a veteran policeman. Trailers show a series of hokey horror movie clichés, mixed in with some solid chills.

Reviews have been lukewarm, but Derrickson has proven himself to be a very accomplished maker of scary movies. It could be a shock.



8. If I Stay (Aug 29)

Chloe Grace Moretz takes the lead in high-concept romance If I Stay

Chloe Grace Moretz is on a seemingly unstoppable rise in cinema since breaking out as the acid-tongued Hit Girl in Kick-Ass. Her latest lead role is in If I Stay – a romance with a twist.

Moretz plays Mia, who is at a crossroads in her life. On one side is her promising career as a classical musician and on the other is the rebellious boyfriend who has changed her life. Her priorities change in an instant, however, when a car accident kills her family and leaves her experiencing an out-of-body experience.

The concept is intriguing enough and Moretz is not a performer who plays to the conventional. Expect tears.



7. Let’s Be Cops (Aug 27)

Jake Johnson leads the cast of Let's Be Cops

Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr are best known as Nick and Coach in the hit US sitcom New Girl. Now, the pair are set to team up on the big screen for this delightfully silly-looking comedy.

After an exciting fancy dress night, two friends decide to continue to dress as police officers, which leads to them being placed in the midst of a very real case of crime and corruption.

Johnson, especially, is an excellent comedy performer and the premise sounds spot on. American comedy could well have its best effort of the year here.



6. The Expendables 3 (Aug 14)

Sylvester Stallone and friends return for actioner The Expendables 3

They’re back! Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Statham and co are set to give their trigger fingers a workout once again in The Expendables 3.

This time, the cast is even bigger with Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas and Harrison Ford making a big splash as part of the gun-toting ensemble.

As usual, the plot is an irrelevance as a plethora of action giants fire enormous weapons at each other and quip like their lives depend on it. It might be great and it might be awful, but it’s certainly going to be a lot of fun.



5. Hector and the Search for Happiness (Aug 16)

Simon Pegg stars in Hector and the Search for Happiness

Simon Pegg’s film career has been a bit of a mixed bag. For every Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, there’s a Run Fatboy Run or How to Lose Friends and Alienate People.

Now a bona fide movie star off the back of the Star Trek and Mission Impossible franchises, Pegg has returned to low-key comedy with the uplifting tale Hector and the Search for Happiness.

Pegg plays a psychiatrist who travels the world in an attempt to find the secret of what makes people truly happy. And it’s nothing like The Secret of Walter Mitty. They promise.



4. What If (Aug 20)

Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan star in oddball comedy What If

Of all of the Harry Potter stars, Daniel Radcliffe has perhaps had the most varied career in the aftermath of the franchise. He has played a terrified lawyer, a freewheeling beat poet and now he stars as a romantic lead in kooky romcom What If.

Radcliffe plays a man who falls in love with a girl (Zoe Kazan), only to be frustratingly placed in the “friend zone”.

Reviews from across the pond have praised the film’s charm and wit, but it remains to be seen if this is the next (500) Days of Summer or something as depressing as That Awkward Moment.



3. Lucy (Aug 22)

Scarlett Johansson headlines Luc Besson actioner Lucy

The myth that human beings only use 10% of their brain function is one that cinema has visited over and over again. With more than a bit of Neil Burger’s Limitless about it, Luc Besson’s Lucy is about to fly into cinemas as it rides the momentum of arguably the most bankable female star in Hollywood.

Scarlett Johansson is having a hell of a year and Lucy gives her a huge central action role. She plays a drug mule carrying an experimental substance concealed in her body that can unlock a human’s brain potential. When the substance leaks into her bloodstream, insanity ensues.

Johansson is a great screen presence and Luc Besson is one of the world’s foremost practitioners of stupid, but entertaining, action cinema. Lucy could be a summer movie that really turns heads.



2. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (Aug 29)

Josh Brolin and Eva Green star in comic book sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller made something truly unique in 2005 when they released the stylised, dark neo-noir Sin City, based on Miller’s comic book series. The pair have come back together for the equally innovative sequel A Dame to Kill For.

With A-list stars like Eva Green, Josh Brolin and Joseph Gordon-Levitt joining the cast, there is some serious punch behind this sequel as it adapts another set of interweaving tales.

It’s difficult to say whether Miller and Rodriguez can match their previous work, but Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is certainly going to be a wild ride of a movie.



1. The Inbetweeners 2 (Aug 6)

Simon Bird and friends return for UK comedy sequel The Inbetweeners 2

The boys are back in town, bus wankers!

After three hilarious series on E4, the lads from The Inbetweeners made the successful leap to the big screen in 2011. It seemed like the very neat ending of that movie would be the last we saw of Simon Bird and the guys, but a gap year and the Australian outback are set to provide an interesting backdrop for some more foul-mouthed fun.

If The Inbetweeners 2 is good enough, it stands a great chance of being the funniest comedy of the year. However, there is always a chance that it could end up in the dungeon with the likes of Keith Lemon: The Film and Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie. Let’s hope not.



Do you agree with my film choices? Which movies will you be trying to see in August, and which ones will you be avoiding like the plague?

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