With all of August’s major releases pretty much out of the way, we have a mixed bunch this week, ranging from a horror film from Taiwan to yet another trip down racist-America lane. In between, Zac Efron tries to sell house music, Hollywood shafts the gaming industry, and Samuel L. Jackson does… something.
First this week (and by first, I mean on Thursday, because Hollywood gives precisely zero fucks about the first half of the week) is Hitman: Agent 47, the next in a proud tradition of films that take an incredible video game, give it to a director who thinks an Xbox is, like, a box full of porn or something, and proceeds to ruin said game. So brace for mediocre acting, stroke-inducing dialogue, a plot you just can’t care about, and obnoxious action sequences/explosions.
“What do young people like? Well, clearly it’s Zac Efron, clubbing, and the idea that fame, fortune and success are things that just happen overnight so long as you want it enough.” That is how I imagine the pitch for We Are Your Friends went, because that is what the film appears to be, just so much superficiality blended together, plastered with pretty people (and Jon Bernthal), and marketed like it’s some kind of spiritual successor to The Social Network (which it probably isn’t, by the way). The film tells the story of a college student/aspiring music producer who goes to college parties, DJs, and produces music. Riveting stuff. It might well prove to actually be quite a fun film, but likely not nearly as important as it thinks it is. It is released on Thursday.
On to Friday, and we kick off with 45 Years (because in the alphabet, 4 comes before A). Based on In Another Country, a short story by David Constantine, the film tells the story of a couple a few days before their forty-fifth anniversary, when the husband’s former lover is found dead in the Swiss Alps. The film showed at the Berlin Film Festival 2015 where the two leads both picked up respective Best Actor awards, and is scheduled to show at Toronto later in the year as well. Currently holding a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s safe to say that this one is probably well worth your time.
The next Friday film is Barely Lethal, a teen action-comedy which follows a teenage special ops agent (I know) who fakes her own death and enrols in an exchange program so that she can experience normal life (I know, I know). Starring Hailee Steinfeld (Pitch Perfect 2), Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones), Jessica Alba (the early 2000s), and Samuel L. Jackson (bad motherfucker), the film has received less-than-positive reviews, but it’s not like it was ever likely aiming for 5-star brilliance. It’ll likely not be offensive or horrendous, and besides, not all chick-flicks can be Mean Girls.
If harrowing portrayals of marriage and the human condition or glossy teen films aren’t quite your thing, we might juts have something for you. Straight Outta Compton is a biopic about the immeasurably influential hip-hop group NWA, which features, among other things: a look at racism in America in the 1980s and Ice Cube’s son playing Ice Cube (which is just fantastic), not to mention that it’s a film produced by Dr. Dre that fails to include any mention of his notorious tendency to throw women into and through doors (a truly shocking turn of events). On the upside, the film won’t feature any characters listening to their Beats headphones when it’s released on Friday.
The final film of the week is Zombie Fight Club, a title that makes you reconsider everything you ever wanted from cinema. A Taiwanese film, which despite its title probably doesn’t draw too much by way of influence from David Fincher’s 1999 film, Zombie Fight Club tells the story of a group attempting to survive during a zombie outbreak. Expect low-rent CGI, a lot of fighting, running, struggling, eating, bleeding and someone called ‘MC Hotdog’ when the film is released on Friday.