August 2021 Movie Calendar

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August 6

Ema

Cast: Mariana Di Girolamo, Gael Garcia Bernal, Paola Giannini, Santiago Cabrera, Cristian Suarez
Director: Pablo Larraín
Points of Interest: IMDb, Official Site, Facebook, Instagram, Rotten Tomatoes, trailer
The Lowdown: A dance film unlike any other, the latest collaboration between “Neruda” and “No” star Gael Garcia Bernal and director Pablo Larrain deals with the fallout of a couple’s intent to adopt a child that goes awry while continuing on in the dance company they’re both a part of. (How to Watch: In Theaters)

Annette

Cast: Marion Cotillard, Adam Driver, Simon Helberg
Director: Leos Carax
Points of Interest: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, trailer
The Lowdown: It will be up to audiences whether they want to catch Edgar Wright’s “The Sparks Brothers” before Leos Carax’s first film since 2012’s triumphant “Holy Motors” or after, but either way it can be expected you’ll be totally obsessed with the music of Ron and Russell Mael, who have been working towards this musical about a comedian (Adam Driver), an opera singer (Marion Cotillard) and their prodigious two-year-old for the better part of a decade, after Carax upended the siblings’ original plans for an album when he told them he wanted to make it his next film. (How to Watch: In Theaters August 6th, on Amazon Prime August 20th)

Days

Cast: Lee Kang-sheng, Anong Houngheuangsy
Director: Tsai Ming-Liang
Points of Interest: IMDb, Official Site, Rotten Tomatoes, trailer
The Lowdown: A chance encounter between two men in Bangkok has the potential to change both their lives in this Teddy Award winning drama from Berlinale that invites an intense focus on the actors’ expression when “Flowers of Shanghai” director Tsai Ming-Liang has chosen to forgo English subtitles for the film’s limited dialogue. (How to Watch: In Theaters)

John and the Hole

Cast: Charlie Shotwell, Taissa Farmiga, Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Ehle
Director: Pascual Sisto
Points of Interest: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
The Lowdown: Turning heads as a rare American horror film to be selected for Cannes last summer, this unnerving feature debut from Pascual Sisto sends off strong Yorgos Lanthimos vibes in letting the audience figure out why a young boy gives himself a vacation from his family by luring them down to an unfinished underground bunker he learns of in the nearby forest. (How to Watch: In Theaters and on demand)

The Macaluso Sisters

Cast: Alissa Maria Orlando, Susanna Piraino, Anita Pomario, Eleonora De Luca, Viola Pusateri, Donatella Finocchiaro, Serena Barone, Simona Malato, Laura Giordani
Director: Emma Dante
Points of Interest: IMDbRotten Tomatoes
The Lowdown: Beloved Italian playwright Emma Dante adapts one of her previous works from the stage for her second feature about five sisters in Palermo who all deal with an unexpected death in the family in different ways. (How to Watch: Opening at Film Forum in New York before expanding to select cinemas)

The Suicide Squad

Cast: Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Jai Courtney, Peter Capaldi, David Dastmalchian, Daniela Melchior, Michael Rooker, Alice Braga, Pete Davidson, Joaquín Cosio, Juan Diego Botto, Storm Reid, Nathan Fillion, Steve Agee, Sean Gunn, Mayling Ng, Flula Borg, Jennifer Holland, Tinashe Kajese, Sylvester Stallone, Viola Davis
Director: James Gunn
Points of Interest: IMDb, Official Site, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Rotten Tomatoes, trailer
The Lowdown: Already resembling “The Dirty Dozen,” James Gunn was inspired to take things back to the late 1980s John Ostrander run of the misfit army’s comic book adventures by sending super villains Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Bloodshot (Idris Elba), Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) and Peacemaker (John Cena) to war in the jungle, dispatched to an island filled with a true rogue’s gallery that needs to be knocked off. (How to Watch: In Theaters and HBO Max)

Swan Song

Cast: Udo Kier, Jennifer Coolidge, Linda Evans, Michael Urie
Director: Todd Stephens
Points of Interest: IMDb, Official Site, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Rotten Tomatoes
The Lowdown: For his first feature in over a decade, “Gypsy 83” director Todd Stephens was moved by his own experience meeting with a retired hairdresser in Sandusky, Ohio at a gay bar to give Udo Kier the role of a lifetime in this touching comedy about a man lured across the country to give a dying woman her wish of receiving her last haircut from him. (How to Watch: In Theaters August 6th and on demand August 13th)

Tailgate

Cast: Jeroen Spitzenberger, Anniek Pheifer, Willem de Wolf
Director: Lodewijk Crijns
Points of Interest: IMDb, Official Site, Rotten Tomatoes
The Lowdown: A father picks on the wrong driver to play around with on the road during a traffic stop in this horror film from the Netherlands. (How to Watch: In Virtual Cinemas)

Teddy

Cast: Anthony Bajon, Ludovic Torrent, Christine Gautier, Noémie Lvovsky, Guillaume Mattera, Jean-Paul Fabre, Alexis Orlandini, Gérard Pau and Jean-Michel Ricart
Director: Ludovic and Zoran Boukherma
Points of Interest: IMDb, Official Site, Rotten Tomatoes
The Lowdown: It turns out not to be just a scratch for a young man who works as a massage parlor temp, showing animal tendencies after an encounter with a wolf in this 2020 Cannes selection from France. (How to Watch: Shudder)

What We Left Unfinished

Cast: Latif Ahmadi, Jawanshir Haidari, Asadollah Aram
Director: Mariam Ghani
Points of Interest: IMDb, Official Site, Rotten Tomatoes, trailer
The Lowdown: Director Mariam Ghani attempts to piece together five Afghan films from filmmakers who bravely captured footage in the crumbling nation between 1978 to 1992, but never saw them through, giving a glimpse into what might’ve been had plans for the People’s Democratic Republic been successful. (How to Watch: In theaters and on digital, a full list is here)

Whirlybird

Director: Matt Yoka
Points of Interest: IMDb, Official Site, Facebook, Twitter, Rotten Tomatoes
The Lowdown: Curiously under-the-radar after debuting at Sundance, one of the most compelling documentaries in recent memory finally finds a launch date with Zoey Tur reflecting back on a decades long career flying above Los Angeles as a pioneering eye-in-the-sky reporter, changing the direction of network news coverage with coverage of car chases and fires as well as herself, born as man and considering how she fought against her masculinity in becoming skeptical about the aggression it often took to get a scoop. (How to Watch: In Theaters and on VOD)

August 13

CODA

Cast: Emilia Jones, Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur, Daniel Durant, Eugenio Derbez, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo
Director: Sian Heder
Points of Interest: IMDb, Instagram, Rotten Tomatoes
The Lowdown: Deserving of every penny it received as the richest deal ever struck at Sundance, Sian Heder’s heartrending and often hilarious adaptation of the 2014 French drama “La Famille Bélier” features a star-making turn from Emilia Jones as a teenager with the ability to hear in a family that is otherwise deaf, making her decision to pursue a dream of singing when it threatens the role she’s long had as the family interpreter a difficult one. (How to Watch: In Theaters and on Apple+)

Bleed With Me

Cast: Lee Marshall, Lauren Beatty, Aris Tyros
Director: Amelia Moses
Points of Interest: IMDb, Official Site, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Rotten Tomatoes, trailer
The Lowdown: The Canadian director Amelia Moses made quite the impression last year at genre tests even after they had to go virtual with the one-two punch of “Bloodthirsty” at Fantastic Fest and this reworking of a cabin-in-the-woods thriller, starring Lee Marshall as a woman who starts to worry she’s being gaslit by her co-worker (Lauren Beatty) who invites her for a weekend retreat with her boyfriend and mysteriously grows sicker by the hour. (How to Watch: Shudder)

Don’t Breathe 2

Cast: Stephen Lang, Rocci Williams, Stephanie Arcila, Bobby Schofield
Director: Rodo Sayagues
Points of Interest: IMDb
The Lowdown: After somehow surviving the events of Fede Alvarez’s 2016 horror hit, the Blind Man (Stephen Lang) returns as an anti-hero in this follow-up where some dumb criminals are back to bother him about a young girl he’s raised since a house fire left her without a family. (How to Watch: In Theaters)

The East

Cast: Marwan Kenzari, Martjin Lakemeier, Jonas Smulders
Director: Jim Taihuttu
Points of Interest: IMDb
The Lowdown: Working on his music more in recent years with his partner Nils Rondhuis under the name Yellow Claw than his movies, Jim Taihuttu finally follows up his ferocious kick boxer tale “Wolf” with a slice of history he has a connection with, as the great-grandson of a Moluccan KNIL-soldier who fought during the Indonesian War of Independence, revisiting that period in the aftermath of World War II for an old fashioned war drama about a Dutch soldier (Martijn Lakemeier) who reconsiders his loyalty when placed under the command of an elite squad leader (Marwan Kenzari) whose motives and methodology is questionable. (How to Watch: Amazon Prime)

Free Guy

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Taika Waititi, Joe Keery
Director: Shawn Levy
Points of Interest: IMDb, Official Site, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Rotten Tomatoes, trailer
The Lowdown: Ryan Reynolds plays a side character in a MMORPG who takes center stage and attempts to exert his own free will after coming to realize his world is coming to an end when a game developer plans to pull the plug in this action comedy. (How to Watch: In Theaters)

The Kissing Booth 3

Cast: Joey King, Joel Courtney, Jacob Elordi, Taylor Zakhar Perez
Director: Vince Marcello
Points of Interest: IMDb, Official Site
The Lowdown: The romantic saga of Elle Evans comes to an end with the surprise announcement that Joey King and company shot this romantic comedy back-to-back with “The Kissing Booth 2,” following the high school senior Elle Evans as she has other things to deal with besides her love life with college on the horizon, though where boyfriend Noah (Jacob Elordi) will go enters her consideration. (How to Watch: Netflix)

Not Going Quietly

Director: Nicholas Bruckman
Points of Interest: IMDb, Official Site, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Rotten Tomatoes
The Lowdown: A recent favorite at SXSW where it took home both the Audience Award and Special Jury Prize for documentary, this inspiring profile of activist Ady Barkan follows him from being unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight after a confrontation with then-Senator Jeff Flake, who was about to take a vote on health care coverage, to using his subsequent social media celebrity to galvanize a movement across the U.S. before the 2018 midterms, all while his own health deteriorates as someone suffering from ALS. (How to Watch: In Theaters)

Respect

Cast: Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Marc Maron, Tituss Burgess, Saycon Sengbloh, Hailey Kilgore, Heather Headley, Skye Dakota Turner, Tate Donovan and Mary J. Blige
Director: Liesl Tommy
Points of Interest: IMDb, Official Site, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Rotten Tomatoes, trailer
The Lowdown: With Cynthia Erivo’s take on the soul singer in “Genius: Aretha Franklin” in the rearview, this second career-spanning biography with Jennifer Hudson seizing the spotlight marks the feature directing debut of acclaimed stage director Liesl Tommy. (How to Watch: In Theaters)

The Lost Leonardo

Director: Andreas Koefoed
Points of Interest: IMDb, Official Site
The Lowdown: The most expensive painting ever sold at auction gets further inspection in this investigation into the Salvator Mundi, a work that spurs great interest when thought to be a work of Leonardo DaVinci, though its asking price of $450 million brings scrutiny to its origins and those keeping the bidding so high. (How to Watch: In Theaters)

The Meaning of Hitler

Director: Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker
Points of Interest: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
The Lowdown: Guided by Sebastian Haffner’s 1978 tome of the same name, “Karl Marx City” co-directors Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker travel to nine countries to look at the ongoing influence of Adolf Hitler as a rise in white nationalism and antisemitism makes it look as if history is repeating itself. (How to Watch: In Theaters and on VOD)

The Whaler Boy

Cast: Vladimir Onokhov, Kristina Asmus, Arieh Worthalter
Director: Philipp Yuryev
Points of Interest: IMDb, Official Site, Rotten Tomatoes, trailer
The Lowdown: Winner of the GdA Director’s Award at last year’s Venice Film Festival, an Inuit teen raised in a community that hunts whales on the Bering Strait sets off on a different kind of search after spotting an American girl on webcam who could potentially lead him out of his deep sense of isolation on the other end of the world. (How to Watch: In Theaters)

White as Snow

Cast: Lou de Laâge, Isabelle Huppert , Charles Berling, Damien Bonnard, Jonathan Cohen, Richard Fréchette
Director: Anne Fontaine
Points of Interest: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
The Lowdown: The chameleonic Anne Fontaine (“The Innocents,” “Adore”) reimagines “Snow White” in a modern context, placing “Breathe” star Lou de Laâge at hotel left to her by her father, but run by her evil stepmother (Isabelle Huppert in scenery-chewing mode), a situation that grows more contentious when the stepmother’s new boyfriend takes an interest in her stepdaughter. (How to Watch: In Theaters)

August 20

Cryptozoo

Cast: Lake Bell, Michael Cera, Emily Davis, Alex Karpovsky
Director: Dash Shaw
Points of Interest: IMDb, Official Site, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Rotten Tomatoes
The Lowdown: Words can’t do justice to the wildly inventive work of Dash Shaw, who last imagined “My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea” and with partner Jane Samborski, now takes audiences to a refuge for cryptids, mythical creatures that are kept away from the rest of a society that might not understand them or want to do them harm as their protector (Lake Bell) goes on the search for a rare baku. (How to Watch: In Theaters, on VOD and on Digital)

Demonic

Cast: Carly Pope, Chris William Martin, Nathalie Boltt, Michael J Rogers
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Points of Interest: IMDb, Official Site, Rotten Tomatoes
The Lowdown: After making a series of shorts in the wake of the roundly dismissed “Chappie,” “District 9” director Neill Blomkamp has been figuring out how to implement some high-tech equipment in this back-to-basics horror film about a fraught relationship between a mother and daughter that lets loose demons both personal and otherwise. (How to Watch: In Theaters and on VOD)

The Evening Hour

Cast: Kerry Bishé, Stacy Martin, Lili Taylor, Marc Menchaca
Director: Braden King
Points of Interest: IMDb, Official Site, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Rotten Tomatoes
The Lowdown: In an adaptation of Carter Sickels’ 2012 novel of the same name, writer/director Braden King who last headed to Armenia for the Ben Foster/Lubna Azabal romance “Here” settles down in West Virginia for the story of a nursing home aide (Philip Ettinger) who makes a little scratch on the side making available prescription painkillers at what he thinks is a responsible level when others in town prey on addiction, but sees his operation take a turn when an old friend (Cosmo Jarvis) wants to take advantage. (How to Watch: In Theaters)

Ma Belle Ma Beauty

Cast: Idella Johnson, Hannah Pepper, Lucien Guignard, Sivan Noam Shimon
Director: Marion Hill
Points of Interest: IMDb, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Rotten Tomatoes
The Lowdown: Winner of the Audience Award in the NEXT section of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, this picturesque excursion to the French countryside becomes not so idyllic for a singer from New Orleans (Idella Johnson) whose new husband (Lucien Guignard) hopes inviting her former lover and friend (Hannah Pepper) will make things more comfortable in her new surroundings, though it’s a plan that’s bound to backfire. (How to Watch: In Theaters)

The Night House

Cast: Rebecca Hall, Sarah Goldberg, Vondie Curtis Hall, Evan Jonigkeit, Stacy Martin
Director: David Bruckner
Points of Interest: IMDb, Official Site, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Rotten Tomatoes, trailer
The Lowdown: After eluding the spotlight for some time with skillful scares in anthologies and the Netflix film “The Ritual,” David Bruckner, one of the genre’s best kept secrets is about to finally break out with this Sundance 2020 hit that Searchlight saved for the big screen, centered on a widow (Rebecca Hall) who starts to learn about her husband’s secret life only after his death. (How to Watch: In Theaters)

Paw Patrol

Cast: Tyler Perry, Dax Shepard, Iain Armitage, Randall Park
Director: Cal Brunker
Points of Interest: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
The Lowdown: Quite possibly a prescient political allegory when the process to animate this feature-length adventure for the Nickelodeon show spanned the Trump Administration, Ryder and his gang of pups rise up against the mayor of Adventure City when he uses his governmental powers for ill. (How to Watch: In Theaters)

The Protege

Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Maggie Q
Director: Martin Campbell
Points of Interest: IMDb, Official Site, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Rotten Tomatoes
The Lowdown: Never underestimate “Goldeneye” and “Legend of Zorro” director Martin Campbell with an unassuming late summer action flick, joining two assassins (Maggie Q and Michael Keaton) who team up to head to Vietnam to avenge the death of a colleague in the field (Samuel L. Jackson). (How to Watch: In Theaters)

Reminiscence

Cast: Rebecca Ferguson, Thandiwe Newton, Hugh Jackman, Natalie Martinez
Director: Lisa Joy
Points of Interest: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
The Lowdown: The feature debut of “Westworld” co-creator Lisa Joy tells of an entrepreneur (Hugh Jackman) with a unique proposition for customers, enabling the opportunity to relive a memory, but things get complicated when his work with a client suggests a woman (Rebecca Ferguson) he becomes involved with has things in her past that no one wants to know. (How to Watch: In Theaters and on HBO Max)

The Smartest Kids in the World

Director: Tracy Droz Tragos
Points of Interest: IMDb, Official Site, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
The Lowdown: Inspired by the book by Amanda Ripley, the director of “Rich Hill” tracks four American teens with bright futures ahead but struggle with finding the right way forward for their education in a system still predicated on a one-size-fits-all model, with Tragos telling us on the occasion of the film’s premiere at DOC NYC, “I was so excited to make a film inspired by what other countries are doing and hear from students when so many education films focus on administrators and what’s broken in the U.S. system.”  (How to Watch: Discovery+ on August 16th)

Sweet Girl

Cast: Jason Momoa, Isabela Merced
Director: Brian Andrew Mendoza
Points of Interest: IMDb, Official Site, Rotten Tomatoes
The Lowdown: The fourth collaboration between the “Aquaman” star Jason Momoa and director Brian Andrew Mendoza follows a father hellbent on revenge after a potential cure for his dying wife is yanked from the market by a pharmaceutical company and he and his daughter seek out who’s responsible. (How to Watch: Netflix)

Wildland

Cast: Sidse Babett Knudsen, Sandra Guldberg Kampp, Joachim Fjelstrup, Elliott Crosset Hove, Besir Zeciri
Director: Jeanette Nordahl
Points of Interest: IMDb, Official Site, Rotten Tomatoes, trailer
The Lowdown: “Borgen” and “Duke of Burgundy” star Sidse Babett Knudsen gets a truly delicious role to sink her teeth into as the head of a crime family in Denmark, which has a skeptical new member in her niece (Sandra Guldberg Kampp) who she takes in after her sister dies in a car accident. (How to Watch: In Theaters, opening at Film Forum in New York)

August 27

Candyman

Cast: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Coleman Domingo
Director: Nia DaCosta
Points of Interest: IMDb, Official Site, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Rotten Tomatoes
The Lowdown: Chances are after Nia DaCosta nabbed the “Captain Marvel 2” gig and producer Jordan Peele insisted on moving back this redo of the 1992 Bernard Rose horror film until after it was safe to come back to theaters and the studio agreed that they pretty much crushed it in this return to the Cabrini-Green Projects in Chicago where the legend grows around a serial killer with a hook for a hand. (How to Watch: In Theaters)

The Beatles: Get Back

Director: Peter Jackson
Points of Interest: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, trailer
The Lowdown: With over 55 hours of footage that’s been locked away since Michael Lindsay-Hogg completed filming on “Let It Be,” the Beatles documentary made around the time of their breakup which the band has long kept out of the public eye, Peter Jackson promises something fresh with this new doc that has the participation of surviving members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr as well as the widows of John Lennon and George Harrison and is said to culminate with the full 42-minute rooftop concert that turned out to be the band’s swan song. (How to Watch: In Theaters)

Beckett

Cast: John David Washington, Alicia Vikander, Boyd Holbrook, Vicky Krieps
Director: Ferdinando Cito Filomarino
Points of Interest: IMDb, Official Site, Rotten Tomatoes
The Lowdown: An action film by way of producer Luca Guadagnino – no less than Ryuichi Nakamoto and “Call Me By Your Name” cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom are handling the score and camerawork, respectively – this Greece-set thriller stars John David Washington as an American tourist on the run after a car accident makes him a prime suspect in a criminal conspiracy. (How to Watch: Netflix)

Final Set

Cast: Alex Lutz, Ana Girardot, Kristin Scott Thomas
Director: Quentin Reynaud
Points of Interest: IMDb, Official Site
The Lowdown: A tennis wunderkind (Alex Lutz) now in his thirties, looking back at a career that didn’t go the way he’d hoped, claws his way back into the French Open against the wishes of his wife and mother, though he is troubled to see younger competition making the same mistakes that he once did in this drama. (How to Watch: In Theaters)

He’s All That

Cast: Addison Rae, Tanner Buchanan, Rachael Leigh Cook, Madison Pettis, Peyton Meyer, Isabella Crovetti, Annie Jacob, Myra Molloy, Matthew Lillard
Director: Mark Waters
Points of Interest: IMDb, Official Site, Rotten Tomatoes
The Lowdown: In a nice bit of synchronicity, it was Mark Waters who introduced Freddie Prinze Jr. to Miramax with his feature debut “The House of Yes,” making his turn in the director’s seat for this gender-reversed remake of the film that kickstarted the teen heartthrob’s string of late ‘90s/early 2000s romcoms a nice payback. Updated for the present with a social media influencer (Addison Rae) at the center, needing to spruce up a social misfit in time for prom, the comedy brings back most of the original cast to fill out the PTA. (How to Watch: Netflix)

 

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