After reading up on the summer movies of May and June in yesterday’s preview, readers were left with the dramatic cliffhanger of wondering whether The A.V. Club would do the movies of July through August, or whether it might go back to Queens. But today, the only true crisis in life has briefly been quelled: Yes, The A.V. Club is doing the movies of the summer’s latter half, and Entourage survivor Sean O’Neal is still speaking for whether they’ll involve Vincent Chase. Clink your beer bottles in celebration and read on.
Terminator Genisys (July 1)
What’s the story, bro? Oh, just that old chestnut about a soldier sent back in time to protect the mother of humanity’s savior from futuristic robot assassins. On paper, Genisys sounds like a remake of James Cameron’s original Terminator, with Jai Courtney taking over as Kyle Reese, Emilia “Khaleesi” Clarke filling in for Linda Hamilton, and Arnold Schwarzenegger… well, he said he’d be back, didn’t he? But as the trailers have made clear (too clear, in the case of the spoiler-heavy second one), the timeline is not as Cameron left it.
Should you do the movie? The last two Terminator sequels were both weak, so it’s understandable that the gatekeepers (among them producer Megan Ellison) would want to hit the reset button on the whole franchise. But even if the movie somehow manages to coherently explain all its retcons and continuity wrinkles, we’ll still be left wondering why the T-1000 looked cooler in 1991 than he does in 2015. Did all this time travel somehow set CGI technology back a couple decades?
Is Vince doing the movie? No. Vince worked with Cameron on Aquaman, and while Vince was obviously responsible for its massive success, Cameron’s disappointment with his reluctance to do the sequel is certainly the only reason he’s not doing this.
Magic Mike XXL (July 1)
What’s the story, bro? Steven Soderbergh’s surprise hit male-stripper movie Magic Mike gets a sequel, with Soderbergh’s longtime assistant director Gregory Jacobs in the director’s chair. Perhaps to make up for a perceived dearth of strip-club scenes in the original among audiences who came to see a celebrity Chippendales act but got a character-driven dramedy instead, this installment promises a raucous road-trip movie as Mike and his pectorally blessed friends travel to Myrtle Beach to perform in an all-male revue.
Should you do the movie? Soderbergh may be “retired,” but star Channing Tatum, on whose life this unlikeliest of franchises is based, is still heavily involved—he co-wrote the script for Magic Mike XXL—and, from the initial trailer, still has a good sense of humor about himself. We already know that Tatum can bump ’n’ grind, but the rather odd lineup of new cast members, including Michael Strahan, Donald Glover, Elizabeth Banks, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Andie MacDowell, should be worth an ogle.
Is Vince doing the movie? No. However, he is expected to smile blankly at the approximately 1,000 hilarious Magic Mike references Ari will direct at his gay former assistant Lloyd, who is totally gay. For men.
Jimmy’s Hall (July 3)
What’s the story, bro? Here’s the pitch: It’s Footloose, but it’s Irish and it makes a bit more sense, being set in 1932. Jimmy is one Jimmy Gralton (a real person), who returns to his native country after 10 years spent in the U.S. to discover that young people aren’t having any fun. To solve this problem, he re-opens the titular hall, a place where folks can gather to dance or hold political meetings. Neither of those activities sits well with the Catholic church, however, and a culture war speedily breaks out in town.
Should you do the movie? Here’s the reality: Footloose is kinda dumb, and a deadly serious version of Footloose based on actual events doesn’t come across as significantly less dumb. Director Ken Loach, a committed leftist, isn’t exactly known for looking at both sides of every issue, but Jimmy’s Hall depicts the church as such a cartoonishly pleasure-hating institution that it might as well be twirling a mustache.
Is Vince doing the movie? Do 1932 dance halls even have bottle service? Then no.
Minions (July 10)
What’s the story, bro? The Twinkie-like, overall-clad hench-things from Despicable Me get their own spinoff movie—a prequel set in 1968, complete with hippies, kitschy fashions, and scenes set in Swingin’ London. Sandra Bullock voices the supervillain who becomes the Minions’ master decades before Despicable Me’s Gru, and Jon Hamm is her inventor husband. Pierre Coffin—who voices all of the Minions and directed the original Despicable Me and its sequel—co-directed with Kyle Balda from a script by Brian Lynch (Hop).
Should you do the movie? Though the idea of a spinoff focused on the merchandising-friendly Minions screams cash grab, the period setting seems like it could give studio Illumination Entertainment a chance to play around with visuals and references.
Is Vince doing the movie? A sequel about simple-minded toadies bumbling around a fantasy world? Like Vincent Chase would do that.
Self/Less (July 10)
What’s the story, bro? When Damian (Ben Kingsley), an absurdly wealthy businessman, is told he’s dying of cancer, he elects to have his mind transferred into the svelte bod of Ryan Reynolds, because who wouldn’t want to look like that? But it’s not all sunshine and abdominal muscles for Damian: This is a “psychological sci-fi thriller,” after all. Things take a turn from Freaky Friday to downright freaky when he begins to unravel the origin of his host body and learns that the company behind his high-tech procedure has some sinister methods of harvesting resources.
Should you do the movie? Though director Tarsem Singh has worked in similar, mind-traversing territory before (2000’s confounding The Cell), his latest effort seems to lack his typical flair for eye-popping visuals. There could be more here than the trailer lets on, but Self/Less has heretofore failed to prove its individuality.
Is Vince doing the movie? No. But Turtle used to be real fat and now he’s skinny, which is basically the same thing.
The Bronze (July 10)
What’s the story, bro? In the grand tradition of Bad Santa, Bad Teacher, and Bad Words, along comes another comedy about a foul-mouthed, irresponsible role model behaving, well, badly in front of impressionable minors. Here, the role model is a washed-up Olympic gymnast (Melissa Rauch from The Big Bang Theory) who agrees to train a wholesome teenager (Haley Lu Richardson) poised to replace her as hometown hero. Naturally, it’s money that convinces Bad Gymnast to help out. Just as naturally, she’s not as heartless as she initially seems.
Should you do the movie? The Bronze premiered on opening night of Sundance this year to scathing reviews, and it’s hard to argue with the assertion that it’s an often hackneyed, unfunny movie. But Rauch has good comic timing, Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) is a likable love interest, and there’s a sex scene here that’s almost hilarious enough to compensate for everything that doesn’t work. It’s a mediocre comedy, not a wretched one.
Is Vince doing the movie? No, but Vince did have sex with a gymnast once. Or, he probably did. Statistically speaking, he must have had sex with a gymnast.
The Gallows (July 10)
What’s the story, bro? This horror film presents a story-within-a-story, in this case a school play being put on by a group of teenagers. Their chosen work, also called The Gallows, was first performed in 1993, when a freak onstage accident led to the theater piece being shelved. It turns out the curtain should’ve stayed closed on this show, because soon the kids are trapped in their school.
Should you do the movie? Hope you like found footage, because here comes another one. While the genre can still surprise—see the recent and wonderfully entertaining Unfriended, for example—those surprises are getting harder to come by. Still, the backstory is intriguing: Directors Chris Lofing and Travis Cluff posted some early footage on YouTube, catching the eye of Blumhouse Productions head Jason Blum, who signed on as producer.
Is Vince doing the movie? Yes, for you see, we are all just background extras within the larger narrative of Vincent Chase’s fame, so The Gallows is but a play within a play within a play.
Tangerine (July 10)
What’s the story, bro? Shot entirely on an iPhone (though you wouldn’t necessarily guess that by looking at it, as director Sean Baker outfitted his phone with an anamorphic lens adapter), this gleefully hyperactive Sundance favorite observes the odyssey of two transgender sex workers—played by actual transgender actors, refreshingly—who are angrily looking for a cheating pimp. Their outlandish adventures are juxtaposed with those of an Armenian cab driver who turns out to be a regular client.
Should you do the movie? Some viewers will require an adjustment period, as Tangerine involves so much shouting, and moves at such a breakneck pace, that it can feel a little assaultive. Over time, however, its heroines, Sin-Dee and Alexandra, become intensely lovable.
Is Vince doing the movie? No, but Vince did have sex with a tangerine once. Statistically, he must have had sex with a tangerine.
Infinitely Polar Bear (July 10)
What’s the story, bro? First-time director Maya Forbes tells the story of her childhood with a manic-depressive father, casting her own daughter, Imogene Wolodarsky, as her on-screen proxy. The movie’s prospective charm factor gets a considerable boost from the casting of Mark Ruffalo as the erratic dad, forced to raise his two girls alone while their mother (Zoe Saldana) attends graduate school.
Should you do the movie? Despite the too-cute title and the kitschy 1970s style, this is a firsthand account of what it’s like to have a parent with a mental illness, so its bound to pluck at a few heartstrings here and there. And here, unlike in that other little summer movie opening this week, you probably will like Ruffalo when he’s angry.
Is Vince doing the movie? No, although Vince has also grappled with depression, once, for approximately 10 minutes. But then he went to Vegas, baby!
Ant-Man (July 17)
What’s the story, bro? The Marvel Cinematic Universe gets a little bigger (little being the operative word here) with its latest addition to the Avengers farm system. Under the mentorship of retired superhero Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), master thief Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) takes the mantle of Ant-Man—a job title that comes with a special super suit that allows him to shrink down to insect size. The heroically talented supporting cast includes Judy Greer, Bobby Cannavale, and Corey Stoll.
Should you do the movie? We’ll probably never stop daydreaming about what the Edgar Wright version of this film would have looked like. Peyton Reed, of Yes Man and Bring It On “fame,” isn’t exactly a fair trade. On the other hand, the trailers suggest that the replacement director has adapted fine to the MCU house style. And there’s probably some honest fun to be had from seeing Rudd play an incredible shrinking (and wise-cracking) man.
Is Vince doing the movie? Nope, but who cares? Aquaman can talk to fish, which are about 10 times more baller than insects.
Trainwreck (July 17)
What’s the story, bro? Comedian of the moment Amy Schumer gets her very own starring vehicle in Trainwreck, which she wrote and Judd Apatow—in his first instance of filming someone else’s script—directed. Schumer stars as Amy, an emotionally stunted writer whose lifelong resistance to monogamy is threatened by Aaron (Bill Hader), a sports doctor with whom she shares an undeniable connection. As is often the case with Apatow movies, Trainwreck is stacked with comedic backup, including Dave Attell, Randall Park, Vanessa Bayer, Nikki Glaser, and more.
Should you do the movie? Schumer’s career has been skyrocketing lately, as she’s hosted the MTV Movie Awards, made Time’s list of the 100 most influential people of the year, and won a Peabody Award for her Comedy Central sketch show Inside Amy Schumer. Her involvement alone makes this a must-see. But the trailer also presents the intriguing notion of LeBron James in a substantial supporting role, which could give a fascinating new meaning to the title.
Is Vince doing the movie? No, although he did listen to another fascinating discussion about monogamy between E and his girlfriend for six straight years.
Mr. Holmes (July 17)
What’s the story, bro? He’s played the world’s deadliest mutant and the world’s most famous wizard. Now Ian McKellen can add “world’s greatest detective” to the list of iconic characters that doubles as his resume. Mr. Holmes casts him as an elderly, retired Sherlock haunted by memories of an unsolved case. The source material is not Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but a novel by Mitch Cullin.
Should you do the movie? The last time McKellen and director Bill Condon worked together, the result was the Oscar-winning Gods And Monsters—another film about memory, legacy, and the august years of a famous man. Reviews from Berlin, where Mr. Holmes premiered in February, were positive. And isn’t it kind of irresistible to imagine this playful old pro joining the more than 75 actors who have portrayed the super sleuth on-screen?
Is Vince doing the movie? Here’s the real mystery to be solved: In what bizarre, alternate universe of show business do we live where Vincent Chase isn’t even considered for Sherlock Holmes, and how do we escape it?
The Look Of Silence (July 17)
What’s the story, bro? By the end of Joshua Oppenheimer’s disturbing documentary The Act Of Killing, it was tough to say if the film’s subjects—Indonesian gangsters reenacting their genocidal crimes—felt any remorse about the murders they committed in 1965. Did restaging these atrocities cause them to reexamine them? With his companion piece The Look Of Silence, Oppenheimer takes a much more direct approach to testing their moral fiber, here allowing the brother of one of the victims to confront the perpetrators in interviews. It gets ugly.
Should you do the movie? The A.V. Club recently called The Act Of Killing the best documentary of the decade so far. The Look Of Silence may be even better, if that can be believed. There’s great drama, catharsis, and discomfort in seeing these men ambushed on camera. And this time, no one could accuse Oppenheimer of providing the war criminals with a platform for self-aggrandizing.
Is Vince doing the movie? Look, Vincent Chase has been called a lot of things, but “a remorseless perpetrator of human atrocities” is definitely one of them. He didn’t do this particular one, though.
The Stanford Prison Experiment (July 17)
What’s the story, bro? In the summer of 1971, a psychology professor conducted an experiment in which college students were paid to run a prison simulation, with half the group pretending to be guards and the other half pretending to be prisoners. Things got out of hand quickly; six days later, the study was aborted. The Stanford Prison Experiment, a prizewinner at Sundance, dramatizes the events of that week, moment by harrowing moment.
Should you do the movie? Several films have been made about the bizarre incident, but few of them possess the queasy power of this one, which does a plausible job of depicting just how, exactly, things escalated as they did. Writer-director Kyle Patrick Alvarez (C.O.G.) assembles a stellar cast of young actors, all sliding into their roles as easily as the students they’re playing slid into theirs.
Is Vince doing the movie? A simulacrum of genuine human experience, in which a privileged few are arbitrarily elevated, and all others are condemned to watch as they play out their whims? Does that sound like something Vincent Chase would knowingly take part in?
Pixels (July 24)
What’s the story, bro? Video game creations attack Earth, just like in that Futurama episode! In this case, it’s because aliens have misread a video feed of classic arcade games as an act of aggression, and send their own versions of Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, and others to destroy the puny Earthlings. Arcade experts played by Adam Sandler, Peter Dinklage, and Josh Gad are called in to save the day, while Michelle Monaghan is called in to become Sandler’s latest decade-younger on-screen love interest.
Should you do the movie? The story was deemed too outlandish even for regular-continuity Futurama, which consigned its own (hilarious) video-games-attack story to a segment in the third-season episode “Anthology Of Interest II.” More importantly, there’s nothing nearly so mirthful about the trailer, or the general thought of director Chris Columbus teaming up with Sandler’s Happy Madison production company; unless the Columbus who wrote Gremlins shows up, this is likely to be another Sandler comedy where only the most wan jokes make the cut. But it may be required viewing for Happy Madison completists eager for a film where finally, finally, Kevin James can play the president.
Is Vince doing the movie? No, but he has gotten high while Turtle plays Xbox and cracks dick jokes, which is pretty much the same.
Irrational Man (July 24)
What’s the story, bro? Joaquin Phoenix continues his tour of America’s most celebrated writer-directors with a stop over at Woody Allen’s place. Phoenix plays a small-town Rhode Island philosophy professor who gets a new lease on life when he starts dating a student (Emma Stone). Not coincidentally, the movie shares is title with Irrational Man: A Study In Existential Philosophy, the late ’50s pop-philosophy text that introduced and defined existentialism for many Americans of Allen’s generation.
Should you do the movie? Allen is notorious for offering his actors little to no direction, which often produces films where every one in the cast seems to be acting in a different movie, but it could be liberating for an actor as organic and instinctual as Phoenix. That said, how discomfited are you by the idea of a Woody Allen movie about a man starting over by entering into a relationship with a much younger woman, specifically one who might view him as an authority figure?
Is Vince doing the movie? Alas, the great existential query of our age—“Is Vince doing the movie?”—will be pondered outside of this film, as Woody Allen continues to shy away from difficult questions.
The Vatican Tapes (July 24)
What’s the story, bro? Mark Neveldine—one half of Neveldine & Taylor, the duo behind the Crank movies—goes solo with an exorcism flick, the latest entry in a largely underwhelming revival of the genre, which is still trying to replicate the commercial success of Scott Derrickson’s The Exorcism Of Emily Rose. Here, a priest (Michael Peña) has to battle an ancient demon with the help of a couple of Vatican-backed experts. Olivia Dudley plays the possessed; Chris Morgan, who’s been the main screenwriter of the Fast & Furious series since Tokyo Drift, co-wrote the story.
Should you do the movie? The trailers don’t suggest much in the way of a fresh take on the genre, though Neveldine’s live-wire, kinetic camera style might just be the moving’s saving grace—at least when it comes time for the de rigueur freaky demonic possession scenes.
Is Vince doing the movie? Vince and his friends come from a deeply Catholic background, which precludes them from taking part in movies that make a mockery of religion without giving them an ass-load of money.
Southpaw (July 24)
What’s the story, bro? Last year, Jake Gyllenhaal went frighteningly gaunt to play the disturbed freelance videographer of Nightcrawler. This year, he goes the opposite route, packing on pounds and pounds of muscle to play a retiring palooka forced to crawl back into the ring after tragedy costs him his wife (Rachel McAdams) and young daughter. Forest Whitaker acts as Paulie to his Rocky. Fun fact: Eminem was originally slated to star; he now has to settle for a song in the (spoiler-heavy) trailer.
Should you do the movie? Gyllenhaal, who’s transformed into one hell of an actor, looks scary intense in the lead role. But this is still a boxing drama from the director of The Equalizer, and it appears to hit a lot of formulaic sports-movie beats on its way to the inevitable final fight.
Is Vince doing the movie? Another fun fact: Jake Gyllenhaal took over for Vince in Aquaman 2 and can blow him.
Paper Towns (July 24)
What’s the story, bro? After last year’s John Green adaptation The Fault In Our Stars drenched hundreds of theaters in the tears of teens and adults alike, the race was on to bring more of the author’s works to the big screen. The first out of the gate is Paper Towns, a similarly teen-centric story of love lost and found. Returning to the Green-iverse is Nat Wolff (Fault’s sweetly sardonic Isaac), here playing lovesick protagonist Quentin. The film also stars Cara Delevingne as the literal “one that got away,” sending Quentin and friends on a life-changing road trip to find her.
Should you do the movie? Green’s teens may speak with a wisdom beyond their years, but there’s an emotional honesty to them; the writer really nails that confusing stage between adolescence and adulthood. And without the tear-jerking time-bomb climax of The Fault In Our Stars, Paper Towns should at least be a breezier way to spend a few hours this summer.
Is Vince doing the movie? No, but his brother Johnny Drama starred as a grizzled warehouse worker in the TV series Five Towns, which this is clearly based on.
Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation (July 31)
What’s the story, bro? Many of the Mission: Impossible movies have the same basic story: Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team of varying size (though now regularly including Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, and Jeremy Renner) are cut off from the Impossible Missions Force and must sneak around even more stealthily than usual to save the world. In this case, they’re going after the Syndicate, some kind of evil shadow-agency twin of the IMF—which, naturally, gets disbanded at some point early on.
Should you do the movie? At this point, even a subpar Mission: Impossible movie is required viewing for anyone interested in how this series mutates with each new director. The previous sequel, Ghost Protocol, was as good an off-season summer movie as we’ve seen in recent years, and the Rogue Nation trailer ends with a big stunt shot a lot more impressive than another building tumbling over. And though new captain Christopher McQuarrie seems a little like the hire of a post-auteur Cruise (having worked on Edge Of Tomorrow, Valkyrie, and Jack Reacher), he’s had good results with the star so far.
Is Vince doing the movie? No. Maybe someone like Tom Cruise can skulk around without everyone immediately recognizing him, but not Vincent Chase.
Vacation (July 31)
What’s the story, bro? There’s something slightly less seedy about continuing a story versus re-booting it, so this Vacation deserves a modicum of credit for a new(ish) story in which Rusty Griswold takes his own family on a cross-country trip to Wally World. Also, this dad has two sons instead of one son and one daughter, so it’s, like, totally different.
Should you do the movie? The cast—including Ed Helms as Rusty—is pretty impressive, and the original Clark and Ellen Griswold (Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo) are along for the ride, so it’s got potential.
Is Vince doing the movie? No. Vince actually was offered Vacation, but he took this to mean that he and his friends should go fuck around Italy for three months.
The End Of The Tour (July 31)
What’s the story, bro? In a surprisingly successful case of casting against type, Jason Segel dons a tennis bandana to play the late novelist David Foster Wallace, who allowed Rolling Stone writer David Lipsky (played here by Jesse Eisenberg) to accompany him on the final leg of his Infinite Jest book tour. Director James Pondsoldt (The Spectacular Now) turns Lipsky’s memoir about the experience into a kind of Almost Famous for the literary world, exploring the sometimes friendly, sometimes contentious bond the two men formed over a few days. Reviews from Sundance were glowing.
Should you do the movie? Absolutely. Both the actors are terrific, and you don’t have to have read a word of DFW to appreciate the insights about professional envy, artistic insecurity, and the strange business of forging a friendship. It’s a witty and moving film.
Is Vince doing the movie? No, though it’s a little-known fact that Wallace wrote “Consider The Lobster” about Vincent Chase ordering lunch.
The Gift (July 31)
What’s the story, bro? Nothing you haven’t heard a hundred times before: Happy couple runs into creepy awkward person from the past; said creep befriends them, coming on a little too strong; when happy couple tries to end the friendship, things go south quickly. This time around, the couple are played by Jason Bateman (in a rare serious role) and Rebecca Hall, with the Single White Female position taken by Joel Edgerton.
Should you do the movie? Frankly, nothing about The Gift evinces much in the way of must-see cinema. It’s the directing debut of Edgerton, though, a smart and capable actor—not that the floor of movie history isn’t littered with the well-intentioned debuts of actors-turned-filmmakers. This might be a rental.
Is Vince doing the movie? No, but one time he reconnected with his friend Dom, from his old neighborhood back home in Queens, and it was a little tense for like three whole days.
Beyond The Brick: A Lego Brickumentary (July 31)
What’s the story, bro? The title pretty much says it all: This is the Lego documentary that Lego fans have been waiting for, mostly because it’s the only one. Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Daniel Junge explores the world of Lego, from its global appeal among children and adults to the ways it has been incorporated into high and low culture. Also, it’s narrated by Jason Bateman, who has two atypical projects (see above) opening on the last day of July.
Should you do the movie? It sounds like a 90-minute advertisement for Legos, but Beyond The Brick actually got some positive reviews coming out of the Tribeca Film Festival. Still, it seems like a long time to spend in the world of a toy, unless you’re already a fan. Maybe just watch The Lego Movie again instead.
Is Vince doing the movie? No. Vince is just going to smoke a J and wander around an FAO Schwarz.
Fantastic Four (August 7)
What’s the story, bro? Wait, so three Marvel movies are coming out this summer? Only sort of. Fox technically owns the movie rights to this particular superhero team, meaning the Fantastic Four—scientists who gain amazing powers after a freak accident—can cross paths with the X-Men on screen, but not with the Avengers. This is actually the third cinematic iteration of the group, after Roger Corman’s glorified copyright-extension from the ’90s and the aborted, two-and-done, generally disliked franchise from last decade. The new version looks darker and more expensive.
Should you do the movie? Dark actually may not be the best fit for the Fantastic Four, who were conceived as a light-hearted family unit, not the stars of an imitation Christopher Nolan movie. Even still, the cast—Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell—carries a lot of promise. Same goes for director Josh Trank, who proved with Chronicle that he could do superhero mayhem on a much smaller budget than the one he’s been granted here.
Is Vince doing the movie? Wait, so Aquaman isn’t in the Fantastic Four either? These studio rights squabbles are officially ridiculous.
Dark Places (August 7)
What’s the story, bro? Fans of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl didn’t have to wait long for the next film adaptation of one of her books. This one involves Libby Day (Charlize Theron), a woman who survived the brutal killing of her Kansas family as a teenager and who agrees to reexamine the event decades later. Naturally, she begins to suspect that perhaps not all is as it seems—especially when it comes to her brother Ben (Corey Stoll), whom she helped lock away for the killings long ago.
Should you do the movie? While David Fincher’s film underlined the sharp wit and moral ambiguity of Gone Girl, this latest Flynn adaptation starts off with the handicap of a less gripping yarn, combined with the uneven track record of director Gilles Paquet-Brenner (Sarah’s Key, Walled In). Still, a solid cast and clever hook could make it worth seeing.
Is Vince doing the movie? Giving away the big twist wouldn’t be fair—especially when you find out it doesn’t involve Vincent Chase and then don’t want to see it.
Masterminds (August 7)
What’s the story, bro? In 1997, an armored-car driver spearheaded one of the largest cash robberies in U.S. history, making off with over $17 million. The robbers turned out to be somewhat bumbling, which is how they came to be played by Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Wiig, and Owen Wilson in a studio comedy directed by Jared Hess—his first movie to be released in six years, time he presumably spent researching the most comically garish fashions and hairstyles for his hapless characters.
Should you do the movie? Ten years ago, definitely: Hess would have just been coming off Napoleon Dynamite. After Gentlemen Broncos, maybe not. But Hess may still have some heat, judging by the murderers row of comic talent he’s attracted: not just Galifianakis, Wiig, and Wilson, but also Jason Sudeikis, Kate McKinnon, and Ken Marino. It might have to do with the writing credits, which presently feature zero Hesses and several comedy-friendly names including Emily Spivey, Danny McBride, and Jody Hill.
Is Vince doing the movie? While he has starred in several crime films, Vincent Chase doesn’t find armed robbery to be appropriate for comedy, nor does he understand comedy.
Ricki And The Flash (August 7)
What’s the story, bro? After her daughter (Mamie Gummer) gets dumped by her fiancée, Ricki Randazzo (Meryl Streep, Gummer’s real-life mother), frontwoman of a touring cover band, returns home to try to patch things up with the family she abandoned years ago. Director Jonathan Demme has a gift for framing rock performance, having directed countless superb concert films, including Stop Making Sense, widely seen as the high-water mark of the genre. He’s no slouch when it comes to domestic drama, either. We’ll see how he combines the two in this pedigreed project, which co-stars Kevin Kline and was written by Diablo Cody—all Oscar winners, like Demme and Streep.
Should you do the movie? Once upon a time—in the days of Handle With Care and Melvin & Howard—Demme was one of the great big-screen chroniclers of American values and life. And though Cody’s writing is often reduced to arch, mock-slang dialogue (i.e., her script for Juno), Young Adult showcased a writer who was able to walk the fine line between caricature and character study. This film—which similarly centers on a woman returning to a small Midwestern town finding minor creative success—seems to be working the same vein.
Is Vince doing the movie? Call Vince when it’s Ricki And The Aquaman.
The Diary Of A Teenage Girl (August 7)
What’s the story, bro? Sexual awakening is the subject of this indie drama, in which the 15-year-old of the title (Bel Powley) loses her virginity to the much-older boyfriend (Alexander Skarsgård) of her mother (Kristen Wiig). The film was a hit at Sundance, where it sold to Sony Classics for $2 million.
Should you do the movie? Uncomfortable as the premise sounds, reliable reports have it that Diary is no miserablist slog, but rather a perceptive, even funny coming-of-age story. Those uncomfortable with teen sexuality, however, should be aware that the film is supposedly very frank in its treatment of the topic. Translation: There will be nudity. So, yeah, don’t take Mom and Dad.
Is Vince doing the movie? No way. Vince did have a hand in a teen girl’s sexual awakening when he attended Ari’s daughter’s bat mitzvah. But he just cut the challah; he didn’t have sex with her or anything.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (August 14)
What’s the story, bro? Guy Ritchie takes a break from the steampunk setting of his Sherlock Holmes adaptations to try on the bespoke suits and Cold War conflicts of American TV’s strongest answer to James Bond. (The answer that wasn’t Get Smart, at least.) Cinema’s most British Superman, Henry Cavill, stars as United Network Command For Law And Enforcement agent Napoleon Solo, with humbled Lone Ranger Armie Hammer serving as Solo’s Russian counterpart, Illya Kuryakin. Together, they’ll battle Nazi scientists and Ritchie’s signature kinetic direction to maintain peace in the age of Don Draper.
Should you do the movie? The idea of an U.N.C.L.E. adaptation now feels as old as the source material itself: A big-screen version has been in the works since the ’90s, attached at various times to Quentin Tarantino and Steven Soderbergh and reportedly starring every white guy to grace the pages of People in the past two decades (including Don Draper himself, Jon Hamm.) If all that time in development hell leads to a frantic dud, at least Ritchie got a crackerjack trailer out of the deal.
Is Vince doing the movie? Well, is it called The Man From Q.U.E.E.N.S.? Because that’s where Vince is from. Hey, he can go back there anytime!
Straight Outta Compton (August 14)
What’s the story, bro?: This origin tale about hip-hop’s most controversial super-group features some intriguingly all-in-the-family casting: To find a stand-in for the young Ice Cube, the filmmakers went with O’Shea Jackson, who happens to be a genetic descendant of the genuine article. Elsewhere, the actors chosen to play the other N.W.A.’-ers are straight-up dead ringers—including Iron Man 3’s Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre—and the advertising campaign stresses authenticity, including trailers with the real Dre and Cube tooling around their old stomping grounds and checking in with Kendrick Lamar, who testifies to their influence on his own music.
Should you do the movie? Depending on your taste, the aforementioned trailer either makes this thing look like the hip-hop Walk The Line or the hip-hop Walk Hard. “Do you have any idea how many records you’re selling?” shrieks Paul Giamatti’s squirrelly record executive, sounding very much like a character in a movie insisting on the historical importance of its subjects, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The list of great rap epics is short, so Straight Outta Compton doesn’t exactly have to vault over a high bar, and you know the soundtrack is going to be good.
Is Vince doing the movie? VINCE IS QUEENS BOULEVARD. SO, YOU KNOW, VINCE ALSO HAILS FROM A GEOGRAPHICAL REGION.
Underdogs (August 14)
What’s the story, bro? Combining the sentient playthings of the Toy Story movies with the laissez-faire attitude toward land ownership of an ’80s “we have to save the rec center” comedy, Underdogs tells the story of Jake, a shy beta-male type whose rivalry with the town bully Flash was supposedly settled in a foosball game when they were children. But bullies in movies never give up so easily, and years later, Flash, now a rich and famous soccer player, returns to the town threatening to bulldoze it to make way for a new soccer stadium. Desperate, Jake gets Flash to agree to a soccer game that will decide the fate of the town, and (here’s the whimsical part) soon thereafter, the figures from his foosball table come to life to aid him in his quest.
Should you do the movie? Originally released in Argentina in 2013, Underdogs was slated for release in April until The Weinstein Company pushed it back, supposedly to stir up interest among kids’ soccer teams. That’s definitely who this movie is aimed at, although the pedigree of director Juan José Campanella, who also did the Academy Award winner The Secret In Their Eyes, might draw in a few curious cinephiles as well.
Is Vince doing the movie? No, though he likes foosball. But Vince just likes to relax and play foosball with his friends. Not everything has to be a movie for Vincent Chase.
Sinister 2 (August 21)
What’s the story, bro? Mr. Boogie is back to stalk another family with poor house-buying judgment in a follow-up to the 2012 horror sleeper Sinister. This time, it’s Shannyn Sossamon, not Ethan Hawke, provoking the pagan evil, while Ciaran Foy (Citadel) replaces Scott Derrickson in the director’s chair. Expect lots of creepy home movies, pint-sized ghosts, and towering specters slinking through the shadows and popping suddenly into frame.
Should you do the movie? The first Sinister was genuinely scary and refreshingly downbeat. That’s no guarantee that a cash-grab sequel will follow suit, but Citadel proved that Foy has good instincts for horror. Also, fans of the original will be happy to hear that The Wire’s James Ransone is reprising his role as the plucky deputy—the real rooting interest of the Sinister franchise.
Is Vince doing the movie? Vince has already dealt with real-estate-related horrors, back when he bought his first lavish Hollywood villa in the few interim hours before signing his next movie contract. That was scary enough, thanks!
Criminal (August 21)
What’s the story, bro? Not the largely forgotten Steven Soderbergh-penned con artist movie, but a sci-fi thriller about a convict (Kevin Costner) who is implanted with the skills and memories of a deceased CIA agent. Ryan Reynolds co-stars; between this and his roles in The Change-Up and Tarsem Singh’s Self/Less (July 10), the actor is becoming something of a mindswap specialist. Ariel Vromen (The Iceman) directed.
Should you do the movie? Though details about the project are slim, it boasts an intriguingly eclectic cast, with Tommy Lee Jones, Gary Oldman, and Gal Gadot joined by the likes of Michael Pitt, Robert Davi, and cult direct-to-video action star Scott Adkins. Plus, the idea of a body-switching movie written by Douglas Cook and David Weisberg—the duo who co-wrote Michael Bay’s The Rock—has us intrigued.
Is Vince doing the movie? Nope. But secretly Vincent Chase was implanted with the skills and memories of the late Marlon Brando, which is why his acting is so highly regarded.
Grandma (August 21)
What’s the story, bro? Johnny Knoxville has already taken the idea of the Bad Grandpa to the raunchy extreme, but Lily Tomlin is out to prove that grandmas can be naughty as well in the newest film from American Pie director Paul Weitz. Tomlin’s character, Elle, finds herself compelled to do her grandmotherly duty by helping her wayward teen granddaughter (Julia Garner) raise money for an abortion. The two set off on a daylong adventure that has them crossing paths with the likes of Judy Greer, Sam Elliott, Laverne Cox, and more.
Should you do the movie? Tomlin has enjoyed a steady stream of quality television work in the past few decades, so she’s certainly deserving of another star turn on the big screen. If it can stray from becoming too saccharine in its inevitable familial bonding, then Grandma should be a great vehicle for Tomlin’s biting wit.
Is Vince doing the movie? No. However, Vince once had a fling with his agent Amanda, who was in her late 30s at the time, and therefore basically a grandma.
Learning To Drive (August 21)
What’s the story, bro? When her husband of 21 years leaves her, a middle-aged Manhattanite (Patricia Clarkson) is forced to re-order her life—which, among other things, means finally getting a driver’s license. To that end, she enlists the help of a Sikh cabbie (Ben Kingsley). The runner-up for the audience award at last year’s Toronto Film Festival, the movie represents a change of pace for director Isabel Coixet (My Life Without Me, Elegy), best known for clunky dramas on weighty themes.
Should you do the movie? Reviews from Toronto were barely lukewarm, with critics generally agreeing that this lightweight culture-clash drama represents a marked improvement over Coixet’s last two features—Map Of The Sounds Of Tokyo and Another Me, neither significantly distributed in the U.S.—while being otherwise unremarkable.
Is Vince doing the movie? Remember when Vince had to take driving lessons so he could play Enzo Ferrari, all because he was such a pampered man-child that he made his friends handle literally every aspect of his life? Well, there’s now a movie about that. (But not this one.)
Hitman: Agent 47 (August 28)
What’s the story, bro? IO Interactive’s long-running stealth-shooter series—previously adapted into a nonsensical 2007 movie beloved by Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek and almost no one else—gets another big-screen adaptation, this time with Rupert Friend in the role of bald-headed, genetically-engineered assassin Agent 47. This time out, he’s tasked with finding the daughter (Hannah Ware) of the scientist who helped create him, which will presumably unearth all kinds of twisty secrets while still leaving plenty of room for slow-motion gunfire and a possible sequel.
Should you do the movie? Considering the track record of video game adaptations not directed by Paul W.S. Anderson or Takashi Miike, the chances that Hitman: Agent 47 will be good are slim. However, first-time director Aleksander Bach is something of an unknown quantity, and the crashing, special-effects-heavy set pieces glimpsed in the trailer at least seem fun.
Is Vince doing the movie? Just give it time.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend (August 28)
What’s the story, bro? Not much is known about this sequel to Ang Lee’s 2000 wire-fu hit, beyond the fact that it’s based on a wuxia novel from the same series as Crouching Tiger’s source material. The story will reportedly take place 20 years after the action of the original, and will presumably involve a lot of high-flying stunt work. Legendary stunt coordinator Yuen Woo-ping, who choreographed the fights for the first Crouching Tiger movie, is directing, and Michelle Yeoh is set to reprise her role as Yu Shu Lien alongside new cast members Donnie Yen (Ip Man, Hero), Glee’s Harry Shum Jr., and newcomer Natasha Liu Bordizzo.
Should you do the movie? The real intrigue of The Green Legend lies in its background details: The film is a co-production of Netflix and The Weinstein Company, and will be released simultaneously in theaters and on the streaming service as part of Netflix’s ongoing experiment in “day-and-date” releases. Movie theater owners are completely freaking out about this, so go see Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend in IMAX to support your local theater chain—if it’s not already boycotting it, that is—or watch it at home to cast your vote for the streaming future. Either way, you’re taking a side.
Is Vince doing the movie? Sorry, but Vince only participates in projects that have no real bearing on anything.
Regression (August 28)
What’s the story, bro? The promos for Alejandro Amenábar’s first film since his costly Egyptian epic Agora are cryptic and withholding, which is just right for a story about a detective (Ethan Hawke) trying to solve a deeply buried crime. Emma Watson stars as a young woman who accuses her father (David Dencik) of sexual abuse, except that he has no memory of the events in question. Everything beyond that looks shady, but the trailer implies that somebody is going to get hypnotized to remember what really happened—and that it might just involve a cabal of Satanists.
Should you do the movie? Amenábar made a terrific horror movie with The Others, and he’s a fine visual stylist overall, so there’s a chance that Regression might separate itself from the psychological-thriller pack. Plus, it’ll be interesting to see Watson in a dramatic lead role, especially opposite Hawke, who seems cozy in his new niche as the anguished face of low-ish budget shockers (The Purge, Sinister).
Is Vince doing the movie? Like Vince—as it is for some of us—reliving memories that you fought hard to repress is what the Entourage movie is for.