Wind up Geek’s Five Must See Movies – August, 2014

Written by James Robert Shaw (The Wind up Geek)

Guardians_of_the_GalaxyWe’ve had not too bad of a summer as far as movies are concerned but to be quite frank, I expected more of a shake up at the box office rather than the stillness of low ticket sales. While I have enjoyed Tom Cruise’s Oblivion immensely, and have yet to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Transformers: Age of Extinction was a bit of a letdown. Although not as bad as Transformers: Dark of the Moon, it still couldn’t eclipse movies one or two. It is safe for me to say that the franchise has dried up here on Earth and if Michael Bay wants to save his next sequel, he should start thinking of setting the tale on the planet Cybertron, or at least deep space.

August will be the last hurrah before September quietly creeps in with nary a potential blockbuster. At this rate the Christmas film rush can’t come fast enough.

This month, we have four green amphibians ready to quick some shell, a group of experienced action heroes ready to blow things up just for old time’s sake, and a spaceship of losers who at first glance you’ll mistake for the Farscape crew (and goodness knows we are all waiting for a movie).

Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1st/USA)

Director: James Gunn / Writer(s): James Gunn and Nicole Perlman.

Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel (voice), Bradley Cooper (voice), Lee Pace, and Michael Rooker.

Marvel’s movie adapted from their comic book series of the same name was given a high budget. It was a gamble from the get go that could’ve ended in a flop but with the experience Marvel gained from The Avengers, and with better marketing strategy than Disney used for John Carter, Guardians is set to claim the crown not only as the summer blockbuster but perhaps as the box office hit of the year.

Human Peter Quill was abducted from his home planet of Earth. Now making his name across the galaxy as a petty thief, he gets his hands on a mysterious orb that the galactic warmonger, Ronan the Accuser, wants possession of. In over his head, Quill falls in with a bunch of criminals who may be the galaxy’s last line of defense.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (August 8th/USA)

Director: Jonathan Liebesman/Writer(s): Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec, and Evan Daugherty.

Cast: Alan Ritchson (voice), Noel Fisher (voice), Johnny Knoxville (voice), Jeremy Howard (voice), Tony Shalhoub (voice), Megan Fox, and Will Arnett.

Your favourite green mutants are back on the big screen with Donatello, Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Raphael in their latest battle to stop Shredder and his Foot Clan.

Expectations are low for the new film with some hard-core TMNT fans crying foul over Michael Bay as producer. And they may be justified after the whole turtles as aliens fiasco Paramount Studios quickly put a stop to. We like our turtles just fine in the sewers thanks. But is that going to stop me from seeing this movie, no way. As bad as critics might say it is, I’m just too much of a Turtles fan to avoid this one.

My only beef is, why couldn’t they use the original voice cast from the old 90’s film. What about Josh Pais (Raphael), Robbie Rist (Michelangelo), Corey Feldman (Donatello), Brian Tochi (Leonardo), and Kevin Clash (Splinter)? As long as Clash doesn’t give Splinter Elmo’s voice, the movie would’ve been fine.

The Expendables 3 (August 15th/USA)

Director: Patrick Hughes/Writer(s): Sylvester Stallone, Creighton Rothenberger, and Katrin Benedikt.

Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Randy Couture, Wesley Snipes, Mel Gibson, Terry Crews, and Antonio Banderas.

If anything, The Expendables film franchise has proven that old action heroes never die. They just team-up with Sylvester Stallone and make more movies. The Expendables 3 prequel showed what I’ve always thought, that Dolph Lundgren makes the better hero then he does a villain, and that Jean-Claude Van Damme was more than a faded action hero with his surprise performance as the EX2 nasty, Vilain.

Sylvester Stallone has made sure to round-up more big names from the past and the present for his newest film. Expect Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, and Harrison Ford to appear on the big screen near you.

In this latest outing Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his team of the Expendables trade bullet for bullet with ‘The Expendables’ co-founder, ruthless arms dealer Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson).

The Rover (August 15th/UK)

Director: David Michôd/Writer(s): Joel Edgerton and David Michôd.

Cast: Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson.

Although many of these films on this list are Hollywood mainstream, I suggest you get off the trail and walk the unbeaten path. What will be waiting there may be one of the best movies of the year.

Taking place 10 years after a global economic collapse, hardened loner (Guy Pearce) loses his only possession, his car, to a group of thieves. During the initial scuffle, he captures one of the thieves’ brother (Robert Pattison). The two form an uneasy bond on the road to recovering the vehicle.

The Rover looks to be an intense emotional drama with some deep soul-searching for the two main characters. Pearce as an actor, never fails to disappoint. Pattinson may reinvent his career and finally shake off the Twilight stigma

Dead Snow 2: Red Vs. Dead (August 24th/UK)

Director: Tommy Wirkola/Writer(s): Stig Frode Henriksen, Vegar Hoel, and Tommy Wirkola.

Cast: Vegar Hoel, Ørjan Gamst, Martin Starr, Jocelyn DeBoer, Ingrid Haas, and Stig Frode Henriksen.

I am a huge fan of the first Dead Snow which saw its premiere in 2009. Now five years later Dead Snow 2 takes place after the sorry events from the first film.

Commander Herzog and his soldiers are back to reclaim their stolen Nazi gold and to kill a few people along the way. But the living have had enough and fight back by creating their own undead army to face Herzog. The two armies are in a head to head (or head for head) as the Nazi fascists face off against the undead communists.

For the films that didn’t make the cut this month, I believe the following should still receive honourable mentions: Soldiers of the Damned (August 27th/UK) was filmed in the woods of Cumbria, England and for a low-budget film, it looks very good. I couldn’t find a trailer but I did find a behind-the-scenes vid.

And let’s not forget Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. I’ve been waiting a long time for this movie, so long in fact that I believe much of the enthusiasm to see this film has left me. But there is still hope that the excitement will be rekindled in the theatre once the lights go out.

The movie’s trailer looks good and has much of what I loved about the original, a strong cast, interesting characters, and style.

And that is it from me for the month of August. You can look for my five films of September to look out for at the end of this month.

Author: James Robert Shaw

Making a comeback.

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