2011 Summer Movie Preview: August
The Change-Up (August 5)
Yes, it's yet another goddamn body-switching comedy, but this one comes with a couple of twists: One, it stars Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds, two of the more effortlessly likable young actors in the business; two, it's aiming for an R rating. "The Change-Up's" license to be raunchy should help it take advantage of its story about a straight-laced family man (Bateman) and his skirt-chasing pal (Reynolds) whose shared envy for each other's lives produces magically unintentional consequences.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (August 5)
People weren't exactly knocking down doors to see a new "Planet of the Apes" movie when Tim Burton resuscitated the franchise ten years ago, but Fox isn't taking no for an answer -- and this time, they've decided to take "Apes" all the way back to the beginning, tracing the story of the scientist (played by James Franco) whose experiments with primate intelligence trigger a simian uprising.
30 Minutes or Less (August 12)
Wired subscribers know the story "30 Minutes or Less" is loosely inspired by -- about a pizza delivery guy duped into wearing a live bomb as part of a heist that ended in his death -- isn't very funny. Leave it to Danny McBride to wring comedy out of a highly unusual tragedy, with a little help from Aziz Ansari, Nick Swardson, and Jesse Eisenberg. (Spoiler alert: We're guessing Eisenberg doesn't kick the bucket at the end.)
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (August 12)
Nine times out of ten, if a movie's been shoved around a studio's release schedule for a year or so, it probably sucks pretty bad -- but when the words "produced by Guillermo del Toro" are involved, you can probably blame the delay on studio incompetence. Here, Del Toro produces (and co-writes) a remake of the 1973 TV movie about a girl whose father's new home comes with an army of nasty supernatural guests. We're guessing it would be a bad idea to follow the title's advice.
Final Destination 5 (August 12)
The studio hasn't released a trailer for the latest "Final Destination" sequel yet, but we're going to go out on a limb and say that the plot has something to do with a group of young people who cheat certain death, only to discover that death really, really doesn't like being cheated.
Conan (August 19)
Jason Momoa's name doesn't have quite the same mighty Teutonic ring to it as Arnold Schwarzenegger's, but that isn't stopping Lionsgate from trying to bring Conan the Barbarian back to the big screen. If a lower Arnold quotient is the bad news, the good news is that it's a lot easier to put together a movie with the epic badass feel that "Conan" deserves. The trailer doesn't offer much in the way of proof that director Marcus Nispel has improved on the original, but hey -- it isn't like he was remaking "Gone with the Wind," right?
Fright Night (August 19)
The '80s cult classic gets remade here, with Anton Yelchin taking over for the central role as a suburban teen whose suspicions that his neighbor (Colin Farrell) is a vampire are ignored by his mother (Toni Collette) -- and wild jealousy by his best friend (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). While not a huge hit, the original was one of the best-reviewed horror films of the '80s; director Craig Gillespie has some mighty big fangs to fill.
Apollo 18 (August 26)
We're crossing our fingers that "Apollo 18" will actually land in theaters on August 26, because it was originally supposed to come out in April, then got bumped to 2012 -- and then, just before press time, was yanked back to August. This doesn't speak highly of the studio's faith in "Apollo," which uses "found footage" tricks to imagine that the cancelled titular moon mission actually took place -- and turned up alien nasties -- but then again, this is Miramax we're talking about, and they move stuff around all the time. At the very least, this is a cool idea, and a potentially very nifty way of ending the summer season.