NEXT ON THE BIG SCREEN: AUGUST 2015

By Mark Jackson, Epoch Times

The Epoch Times film critic picks five films, next on the big screen in August, that appear to have potential.

August 14

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Starring: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Hugh Grant, Elizabeth Debicki, Jared Harris

What:

The hit 1960s television show was about a Cold War-era criminal organization called T.H.R.U.S.H. that tried to stir up trouble between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Henry Cavill (F) as Solo and Armie Hammer as Illya in "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.." (Daniel Smith/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
Henry Cavill (front) as Napoleon Solo and Armie Hammer as Illya Kuryakin in “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” (Daniel Smith/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

The movie version’s new bad guys may be from Germany—that Germany—and up to no good. Which means CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill, “Man of Steel”) and KGB agent Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer, “The Lone Ranger”) still have to learn to play nice and cooperate to take down the bad guys.

Directed by “Sherlock Holmes” franchise director, former husband of Madonna, and premier director who understands how competitive, alpha guys act around each other. Which is why his name is Guy Ritchie.

The Man from Uncle
Henry Cavill as Solo in “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” (Daniel Smith/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

Straight Outta Compton

trailer:

Starring: Aldis Hodge, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Keith Stanfield, Neil Brown Jr., O’Shea Jackson Jr., Paul Giamatti

What:

In 1980s Compton, California, a group of musicians form the trailblazing hip-hop and gangsta-rap group N.W.A. This biopic tells the story of their formation and journey to becoming one of the founding groups of this genre.

L-R Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), Ice Cube (O'Shea Jackson, Jr.) and Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell) in "Straight Outta Compton". Taking us back to where it all began, the film tells the true story of how these cultural rebels—armed only with their lyrics, swagger, bravado and raw talent—stood up to the authorities that meant to keep them down and formed the world's most dangerous group, N.W.A. (Courtesy of Jaimie Trueblood/Universal Pictures)
(L-R) Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) and Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell) in “Straight Outta Compton.” Taking us back to where it all began, the film tells the true story of how these cultural rebels—armed only with their lyrics, swagger, and raw talent—stood up to the authorities who meant to keep them down and formed the ground-breaking rap group N.W.A. (Jaimie Trueblood/Universal Pictures)

O’Shea Jackson (aka Ice Cube) is portrayed by his real-life son, O’Shea Jackson Jr.; and the director is F. Gary Gray, who directed junior’s dad, Ice Cube himself, 20 years ago in “Friday.” Oscar-nominee Paul Giamatti, who played Howard Stern’s boss in “Private Parts,” plays N.W.A. manager.

They gave “an explosive voice to a silenced generation” says the official film synopsis, which refers, among other things, to N.W.A.’s stance on police brutality (Rodney King).

 Aldis Hodge as MC Ren in "Straight Outta Compton". Taking us back to where it all began, the film tells the true story of how these cultural rebels—armed only with their lyrics, swagger, bravado and raw talent—stood up to the authorities that meant to keep them down and formed the ground-breaking rap group, N.W.A. (Courtesty of Jaimie Trueblood/Universal Pictures)

Aldis Hodge as MC Ren in “Straight Outta Compton.” Taking us back to where it all began, the film tells the true story of how these cultural rebels—armed only with their lyrics, swagger, and raw talent—stood up to the authorities who meant to keep them down and formed the ground-breaking rap group N.W.A. (Jaimie Trueblood/Universal Pictures)

August 21

American Ultra

trailer:

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Topher Grace, Connie Britton, John Leguizamo, Bill Pullman

What:

So there’s this stoner dude, see, except he’s really a government operative—he’s a “sleeper.” His mind’s been messed with. But he’s got secret agent skills. So then the government decides that, oops, they don’t want him around anymore—he’s gotta be terminated! But whoa, hold on there government black-ops dudes, who are coming after him like it’s a walk in the park; you may find stoner boy’s a little too well-trained, for you to think you can just take him out, and then go for coffee. He’s also too stoned, into the bargain, to be predictable. This sounds like a very fun concept.

Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg) and Phoebe Larson (Kristen Stewart) in "American Ultra." (Courtesy of Alan Markfield/Lionsgate)
Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg) and Phoebe Larson (Kristen Stewart) in “American Ultra.” (Alan Markfield/Lionsgate)

August 28

We Are Your Friends

trailer:

Starring: Zac Efron, Emily Ratajkowski, Jonny Weston, Jon Bernthal, Vanessa Lengies, Wes Bentley

L-R: Alex Shaffer as Squirrel, Zac Efron as Cole, Jonny Weston as Mason and Shiloh Fernandez as Ollie in Warner Bros. Pictures' and Studiocanal's romantic drama "We Are Your Friends," a Warner Bros. Pictures release (Tony Rivetti Jr./© 2015 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
(L-R) Alex Shaffer as Squirrel, Zac Efron as Cole, Jonny Weston as Mason, and Shiloh Fernandez as Ollie in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Studiocanal’s romantic drama “We Are Your Friends.” (Tony Rivetti Jr./Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

What:

Cole (Zac Efon) is a 23-year-old DJ, trying to make his mark in the electronic dance music scene. He’s got dreams, wants to become a big-time record producer. An older, more experienced DJ, James (Wes Bentley) starts mentoring Cole. However, Cole finds he’s got a thing for James’s woman, Sophie (former model Emily Ratajkowski). That all naturally gets out of control, with James naturally being very unhappy with this development. Therefore, Cole’s got to rethink his game plan. Maybe his whole life plan.

WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS

Z for Zachariah

trailer:

Starring: Chris Pine, Margot Robbie, Chiwetel Ejiofor

L-R: Chris Pine, Margot Robbie and Chiwetel Ejiofor in "Z For Zachariah" (Z4Z Film Production UK Ltd/Roadside Attractions)
(L-R) Chris Pine, Margot Robbie, and Chiwetel Ejiofor in “Z For Zachariah.” (Z4Z Film Production UK Ltd/Roadside Attractions)

What:

A woman lives alone on a farm in a post-nuclear apocalyptic valley, which has somehow managed to avoid radiation poisoning. A year after the war, a stranger shows up (Chiwetel Ejiofor). He moves in; but it turns out—he’s got radiation sickness. They connect, they make plans, but then he starts to get weird and controlling. A third, (very handsome) survivor shows up. What could possibly go wrong? 

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