August looks set to be a slightly strange month at the cinema. The last few months have been packed with massive tentpole movies, leaving August subject to blockbuster fatigue.
As a result, the selection of films on offer this month is a really mixed bag in terms of budget. Josh Trank’s long-gestating superhero remake finally appears, alongside a buzzy Apatow comedy and a handful of intriguing horror movies. It also looks set to be a big month for British cinema, with several very interesting homegrown flicks showing up in August.
Here are ten films you should head out and see this month in UK cinemas.
10. The Bad Education Movie (Aug 21)
The big screen bow for Jack Whitehall’s BBC3 sitcom Bad Education flew under the radar for months before the appearance of its first trailer last month. After three successful series on the small screen, Whitehall and his young cast will bring the show to a close with a movie outing.
After the class go through their GCSE exams, Mr Wickers (Whitehall) organises a school trip to Cornwall. Many of the parents object given Wickers’ dubious status as a role model, so he vows to make the holiday something really special.
Bad Education was never the best comedy show, but it was consistently enjoyable and hopefully the movie version will continue to mine the easy charisma of its leading man.
9. Sinister 2 (Aug 21)
This sequel, co-written by Derrickson, follows the first film’s Deputy So and So as he investigates the Bughuul-related murders. Meanwhile, another family finds themselves in the grip of the demon’s manipulative tactics.
The first film was a really pleasant surprise and hopefully Sinister 2 will continue to deliver the scares without Derrickson behind the camera. In a world in which the Insidious franchise consistently makes money without much in the way of quality, I don’t see why Sinister 2 won’t work.
8. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (Aug 14)
In the 1960s, whilst James Bond was cavorting at the movies, the spy world also made its way to the small screen with The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Bond creator Ian Fleming had a hand in shaping the show’s concept, which is now echoed in a franchise-starting film from Guy Ritchie.
There’s a strong cast assembled for this reboot, which has been in development since the 90s. At one point, Steven Soderbergh had signed up to direct. Ritchie, though, makes sense as the right filmmaker for the job and should produce a vibrant, bright film with plenty of silliness and humour at its heart.
7. Vacation (Aug 21)
The Griswolds were, at one time, one of the most renowned comedy families in America. During the 1980s, the National Lampoon’s Vacation series was a major success, aided by the comic prowess of star Chevy Chase.
Now, the family are back, with Chase cameoing as the father of new Griswold patriarch Rusty (Ed Helms). With his family, Rusty attempts to recreate the trip to Walley World organised by his father in the first Vacation movie. As with the rest of the Vacation franchise, just about everything goes wrong.
Trailers for Vacation suggest a film that balances broad comedy with just the right degree of filth. With the reliable comic presence of Hangover MVP Ed Helms at the centre and Chris Hemsworth appearing with a comically huge penis, this could be an essential comedy.
6. Fantastic Four (Aug 6)
In the noughties, director Tim Story brought Marvel’s Fantastic Four to the big screen. His first outing with the super-powered foursome earned over $600m at the box office. Unfortunately, the sequel – Rise of the Silver Surfer – only just made it past $300m, nixing the trilogy potential. A reboot was first announced in 2009 and has had a turbulent journey to the big screen.
The film follows Reed Richards (Miles Teller) and a group of friends as they travel to a distant planet. When they return, they find that they have been afflicted with strange powers, which they decide to use for good. Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell), however, turns to the dark side.
Critical response to the reboot has been mixed, but Chronicle director Josh Trank should bring something slightly different and interesting to the crowded superhero genre.
5. The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Aug 7)
Arriving in a hail of controversy, The Diary of a Teenage Girl is one of the more intriguing indie releases of August. The film, which depicts sexual awakening in a young woman, has been slapped with an 18 certificate by the BBFC, which disappointed the producers and director Marielle Heller.
The Diary of a Teenage Girl has been met with acclaim from critics, with Leslie Felperin of The Guardian calling it “exceptional” in a five-star rave. Female sexuality is seldom positioned so centrally in modern cinema, so this could be a really special film.
4. The Gift (Aug 7)
It’s rare that actors of the calibre of Jason Bateman and Joel Edgerton take on the world of horror. The Gift, however, stars these two performers, alongside Rebecca Hall, in a tale of psychological torture.
Bateman and Hall play a young married couple who happen upon one of his old classmates, Gordo (Edgerton). In the coming weeks, Gordo repeatedly visits the couple and ingratiates themselves into their lives with gifts. Eventually, it all becomes too much and the friendship ends, but Gordo isn’t willing to go quietly.
The horror/thriller hybrid is not always a genre that guarantees results, but The Gift has an impressively eerie vibe in its trailer and a truly A-list cast capable of great things.
3. Absolutely Anything (Aug 14)
When reading about Absolutely Anything, the real surprise is that the film collaboration between Simon Pegg and the Monty Python team hasn’t already happened. It seems like a match made in comedy heaven.
Pegg plays a disillusioned schoolteacher who suddenly finds himself bestowed with the power to make anything happen by a group of aliens, played by the surviving Pythons. As his powers cause problems, he turns to his dog (Robin Williams in his final role) for support.
Absolutely Anything has a pleasant, offbeat feel to it that could make it one of the surprise packages of the summer. Between this, Man Up and Mission: Impossible, the versatility of Simon Pegg is one of 2015’s biggest stories.
2. Paper Towns (Aug 17)
Adapted from John Green’s best-selling teen weepie novel, The Fault In Our Stars was the best YA film of last year. Green’s beautifully cutesy world returns to cinemas this month with Paper Towns.
Nat Wolff, who played a supporting role in Fault, is promoted to lead duties, alongside woman of the moment Cara Delevingne. Wolff plays nerdy Quentin, who one night is whisked away by his crush Margo (Delevingne). When she disappears, Quentin decides to get to the bottom of it.
If Paper Towns has half of the wit and potency of The Fault In Our Stars, it could be the perfect counter to the blockbuster noise of this summer.
1. Trainwreck (Aug 14)
When Trainwreck was released in America earlier this year, it came with a flurry of good reviews, especially for writer and star Amy Schumer. The film may be a comedy from the Judd Apatow production line, but it resembles nothing that has been seen before.
Schumer plays Amy, who is a monogamy-averse woman prone to hooking up with men for one night stands. When she is assigned to write an article about sports doctor Aaron (Bill Hader), she finds herself experiencing feelings she has never been familiar with before.
Given its female-centric, sex-positive premise, Trainwreck is something very different for the multiplex. Hopefully its string of good reviews in America will lead it to a solid return at the box office.
Which films are you planning to see in August 2015? Are there any I missed or any you will definitely be avoiding? Let me know in the comments section.