Monthly Movie Preview: August 2014

July has come and gone in the blink of an eye. August promises to close out the summer in style, with a few notable blockbusters and some good independent films sprinkled in. Check out what we have to say about August’s films:

August 1 – Guardians of the Galaxy

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro

I’m hooked on a feeling… that this might be the greatest Marvel movie ever made. Although the Guardians have been around in comic books for decades, and the team being used for the film having existed since 2008, the number of people who can name any of the individual team members is far surpassed by the volume of fans who have no idea what is going on – and that will work to the film’s benefit. Nobody has any expectations of this rag-tag group, whose diversity is its strongest card. A talented set of actors, endless humor and explosive action will round out the intergalactic adventure that, at worst is a thrilling movie to see with the family, and at best could be this generation’s Star Wars. One thing is certain – we will be at the theaters on Friday to find out. – Sherif

August 1 – Get on Up

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Nelsan Ellis (True Blood), Dan Aykroyd, Viola Davis, Craig Robinson, Jill Scott, Octavia Spencer

HEEEYYY!!! Now one more time, say that with your best James Brown impression. Couldn’t do it? That’s okay, because Chadwick Boseman sure can when he plays James Brown in the upcoming biopic titled Get on Up. If you are a fan of James Brown, soul, funk, music, and history, this movie is for you. Be prepared to get on up and enjoy this movie directed by Tate Taylor (The Help). However, get on up silently because, well, you are still in a movie theater. I honestly believe this movie is going to be great and it’ll make you feel so many emotions including excitement, happiness, sadness, and sorrow. Despite this movie being about the music of the godfather of soul, it is also about his family and his life, which has not been struggle-free. Basically, I think this movie is going to be fantastic; however, if James Brown and his music is not your thing, it is possibly the drama and the history will be enough to hold your interest. So one more time, get on up, and give it your best HEEEYYY!!! – Evan

 

August 5 – Dragonball Z: Battle of the Gods

Starring: Original voice cast

I’ve been trying to get into DBZ since I recently signed up for Crunchyroll, but there are just so many other great animes out that I haven’t gotten a chance to get to really dive into the series. What really has me interested is the fact that a year after its release, Funimation has taken it upon themselves to get the American theatrical release rights and is showing this in select theaters for a few nights. Something happened with a Tekken animated movie a few years back and it was definitely worth the trip. I don’t personally care about this movie and I figure that any major fan would have already seen the dubbed version, and while I don’t really care for some of the business practices of Funimation, this gives me hope for the future. Anything that gets a big enough following could be a potential candidate for the big screen. There are plenty of animes I would pay to see so if this is your type of thing, make sure to get out there and support it as it will give companies a reason to continue doing this in the future. – Robert

 

August 8 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Starring: Johnny Knoxville (voice only), Tony Shalhoub (voice only), Megan Fox, William Fichtner, Will Arnett, Whoopi Goldberg

August is here, and whether or not fans burn down the House that Bay built depends on this film. Long-time fans are either reserved or outraged, whether it be the way the Turtles look, the fact that Megan Fox is playing April O’Neil, or if it’s just based off the fact that Michael Bay is the director. All of these points are quite valid, but I can’t help but want to take a chance on this new take on the Heroes in a Half-Shell. We all have our own impression on what we consider the Turtles to be, and I think that any major motion picture attention to the franchise is a win in my books. There’s simply no way this TMNT incarnation will be as amazing as the originals, or even the new Nickelodeon television series, but as long as Bay can capture the magic of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that made it such an instant classic 30 years ago, it may continue to be at the forefront of pop culture for all ages. – Sherif

August 8 – What If

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Adam Driver

Originally titled The F Word for its initial 2013 debut, What If is the tale of Harry Potter trying to avoid being put in the friend-zone with a decidedly hot blonde. It sounds like a cliché concept, but What If has already garnered a lot of critical acclaim, earning Best Adapted Screenplay at the Canadian Screen Awards. Daniel Radcliffe is finally believable as an adult actor, and his best friend in the movie is played by Adam Driver – who is the one sole reason that HBO’s Girls is a watchable show for me. This movie won’t break any new ground, but for any guys looking to get over the Friend Zone hump, this would be the movie to take her to (unless she likes TMNT, in which case you should just marry her). – Sherif

August 8 – Step Up: All In

Starring: Ryan Guzman, Briana Evigan, Adam Sevani, Stephen Boss, and Cyrus Spencer

Confession time:  I have seen every single episode of So You Think You Can Dance.  Every. Single. One.  I haven’t seen any of the Step Up movies, but I am always happy for the contestants of SYTYCD when they make it to gigs beyond the show.  For Stephen Boss aka tWitch and Cyrus Spencer aka Glitch, this is exactly the case.  And really, is anyone going to see these movies for the plot?  No, its a dance movie.  But the dancing should be worth seeing this film, even if it is just for the SYTYCD alum.  – Adrian

August 15 – Frank

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Domhnall Gleeson (AKA Bill Weasley), Scoot McNairy

I have absolutely no idea what to make of this movie. It looks like Deadmau5 has a crack-head brother or something and we are getting to watch the story of his tomfoolery. The story of a guy who wears a fake head and never ever takes it off seems like it could be humorous but I don’t know if this is my kind of comedy. After watching the trailer my interest is definitely piqued but there are too many other things I would rather see so I would say that I will wait to rent this at Redbox or something, but truth be told I will probably forget about this movie once I’m done writing this. – Robert

 

August 15 – Life After Beth

Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, Anna Kendrick, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon

As much as I love these actors and zombies, I am rather sick of people being in love with monsters. Although the idea may be over done in this we see upcoming actor Dane DeHaan (Amazing Spider-Man 2) as Zach, a young man who we see struggling emotionally due to the loss of his girlfriend. This quickly changes as Zach sees Beth (Aubrey Plaza), his lost girlfriend and finds she has been resurrected somehow, and although she initially shows no signs they start to figure out she is a zombie and needs to eat human flesh. This will almost guaranteed bring laughs if for nothing else due to the cast, but ultimately it will be lost among the other blockbusters this month. It is definitely not a family film and is marketed towards the teen and young adult community. Although the film itself may be easily forgotten due to other massive films this month don’t forget it as it will likely be a well liked film among certain groups. – Jacob

August 15 – The Expendables 3

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Antonio Banderas, Jet Li, Wesley Snipes, Kelsey Grammer(?), Terry Crews, Victor Ortiz, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Arnold Schwarzenegger

Initially sold as a man-gasm inducing thrill-fest, this franchise is two strokes away from permanently shooting blanks. I love action flicks as much as the next guy, and I genuinely thought the franchise was a good idea, but is there something really so wrong with just letting the legends ride off into the sunset without having to sit through multiple hours of screaming, slow-motion firefights and catchphrases that barely worked twenty years ago? Let’s be honest; nobody is watching this film for the acting, or the storyline. Twenty & thirty-something men get to see some of their action star idols duke it out as one last hurrah. The third installment gives us Antonio Banderas, Mel Gibson (the new bad guy), Harrison Ford, a post-prison Wesley Snipes and Kelsey Grammer. If the fate of the world is in Frasier Crane’s hands, we’re all screwed. There’s no way I’m influencing you’re decision to see The Expendables 3, as you’ve likely already made your decision before reading this. – Sherif

August 15 – The Giver

Starring: Brenton Thwaites, Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Odeya Rush, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift

I won’t lie.  When I see the trailer for The Giver, I get chills.  Based off the book The Giver by Lois Lowry, the movie will be a look into one boy’s world… a utopia that isn’t actually that perfect.  It feels odd to be writing a preview on this for two reasons.  One being that practically every millennial and younger have read the book in school.  The other being that if I say much more for those who don’t know the plot, there is a lot to give a way.  In short, go see this movie.  You will not be disappointed.  -Adrian

August 22 – Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Starring: Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Rosario Dawson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green, Bruce Willis

Is it 2005 again, or did Robert Rodriguez just find a way to make Jessica Alba hot again?? It’s been nearly a decade, but Frank Miller’s Sin City is coming back to the silver screen in its second installment, A Dame to Kill For. Just like last time, the star-studded cast will take turns adding their pieces to the puzzle. Sin City vets like Alba, Bruce Willis and Josh Brolin are back, but several big name newcomers will also be sharing the spotlight, including Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Viewers should expect multiple plot twists, both in a sequel and prequel aspect to the original. Miller and Rodriguez’s visual style also looks to be prevalent throughout the film. This is going to be a fun movie any way you look at it. If you can’t wait for the movie to come out, you can also read the graphic novel of the same name, as it was released over 20 years ago. – Sherif

August 22 – To Be Takei

Starring: George Takei

Oh my! To Be Takei is a documentary depicting the life of brilliant and ever-exuberant George Takei. It tells his story from his childhood in a Japanese internment camp to his ground breaking role on Star Trek to his coming out story and marriage. This promises to be an incredibly inspiring film, especially for anyone who has felt trapped by society just for being who they are. George cleverly reminds us in the tagline that “It’s Okay to Be Takei!” As a Trekkie and proud member of the LGBT community, I’m extremely excited to see this movie hit the big screen, On Demand, and iTunes on August 22nd.  – Charlotte

 

August 22 – Are You Here

Starring: Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Poehler

This movie looks like it could be a more light-hearted sequel to Due Date. The movie stars Zach Galifinakis as yet another crazy person with a myriad of issues, only this time he inherits a small fortune and everybody seems to be out to get it from him. It actually looks pretty funny but looks like it might have more of those light-hearted friendship moments than I would prefer from a movie with him in it. His usual style of comedy hasn’t yet grown old to me so this definitely looks like something worth checking out. – Robert

August 22 – If I Stay

Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Jaimie Blackley, Liana Liberato, Mireille Enos, and Joshua Leonard

Honestly, I have never read If I Stay.  However, it doesn’t look half bad.  The story follows a teenage celloist named Mia who has a pretty good life going on until her family gets in a fatal car wreck.  Mia experiences an out of body experience while in a coma and must decide whether to go back to living or go… elsewhere.  I don’t know whether this will appeal to the masses, but anything that gets teenagers to read seems pretty decent to me. – Adrian

August 29 – Life of Crime

Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Tim Robbins, Isla Fisher, Yasiin Bey

Life of Crime reminds me of the type of comedy that my parents would have watched when I was a kid, and one that I wouldn’t have understood for the life of me. I have a feeling this could be the same way. Tim Robbins plays a rich man whose beautiful wife (Aniston) is kidnapped. When the kidnappers attempt to collect the ransom, Robbins refuses to pay. If it sounds like an idea that’s been done before, that’s because it has. The 1986 movie Ruthless People had pretty much the same premise, and Life of Crime is credited as being based off the book The Switch. I’d be lying if I said that Jennifer Aniston, Mos Def and Tim Robbins didn’t sell me on seeing the movie, but otherwise, Life of Crime doesn’t bring nearly enough to the table to make me want to sit through it. – Sherif

Denver Comic-Con 2013

After going to San Diego Comic Con last summer and not being able to get tickets for this year, going to the 2013 Denver Comic Con seemed like the second best choice.  Albeit, we were disappointed with my choice at first, well because, it’s San Diego.  But after attending Denver’s 2nd con, our first time going, we were pleasantly entertained the whole weekend.  Friday night was good for 2 things: seeing the line and getting an idea of the layout of the exhibition hall.  The line was ridiculous, a gripe to be heard around Denver for days to come. By the time we arrived at about 5 p.m. people were told that if they did not pre-pay for a ticket, they would need to leave the line because tickets had sold out.  But as we found out later, this was not the case.  Several people in the Hush family were still able to get tickets for the weekend.  That night we checked out the main hall.  The goodies were pretty good.  The Artist Alley had some pretty good pickings.  Our friend Zak Kinsella was in attendance with his comic series MidspaceJenny Parks  was there with her illustrations of cats as superheroes.  We picked up these four:

catman and mewane
Batman and Bane by Jenny Parks
Katniss and Black Widow by Jenny Parks

Blake Henriksen had a booth, too.  We had picked up some of his art at Denver’s Starfest.  His Ninja Turtles were such good art, we couldn’t pass them up.  There was also a booth for Sparkle Jewelry designs where we bought this awesome Breaking Bad necklace charm.

Breaking Bad Charm
Breaking Bad Charm

Spending all your money on the first day can be a curse or a blessing, but for us, it worked out well, because we weren’t tempted to blow money we didn’t have the rest of the weekend.  The highlight of the evening for Adrian was meeting J. August Richards, notably from Angel and soon to be notably in Joss Whedon’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Obviously, I’m a huge Whedon fan.  Growing up watching Buffy and then Angel, I (Adrian) looked up to Charles Gunn a lot.  He was the best character on Angel consistently.  Meeting him was a real pleasure.  He is very down to earth and really cares about his fans and their reaction to him.  It was really refreshing.  A lot of people in the entertainment industry can be nice and laid back, but with J., it really felt as though he could be your best buddy.  We like best buddies.

J. August Richards, Adrian and Sherif
J. August Richards, Adrian and Sherif

Saturday was really the day to be there.  Yes, the line to get in even if you had a badge was ridiculous.  I hope that with all the backlash, next year will be a smoother process.  However, being that it is only the second year of its existence, and that it is now half the size of the international con, I imagine that there weren’t enough volunteers to keep up with the masses.  Our day started off great.  Sherif, Taylor, Evan, and Adrian all dressed as meth cooks from Breaking Bad.  Sherif, Taylor and Evan were Walt White and Adrian was Jesse Pinkman.  We all dressed in yellow chemical suits.  The guys had different aspects of Walt, but all wore his glasses and facial hair.  Adrian wore yellow shoes and a yellow striped beanie to match the suit.  It was a lot of fun getting stopped all the time to take pictures.  We even gave out samples of our “blue stuff” (which was really just rock candy) to people who wanted our picture.  But there is a down side to this costume.  Have you ever worn a chemical suit?  It’s hot.  Have you ever worn a chemical suit in a room with 40,000 other people?  Oh dear God.  Never been so sweaty and stinky.  But when you dress up as meth cooks, bad hygiene seems to be part of the costume.

Sherif and Adrian aka Walt and Jesse
Sherif and Adrian aka Walt and Jesse
Taylor and Evan aka Walt and Walt
Taylor and Evan aka Walt and Walt

Sherif and Adrian went to J. August Richards’ panel on his new project called The Hypnotist.  It was a short featuring Lisa Gay Hamilton and Sharif Atkins.  The story is simple: a man goes to a hypnotist to cure his smoking addiction.  But the ideas behind the story are brilliantly complex.  The cast is black, and of course J. is black.  What is great about this all-black cast is that it doesn’t matter the race of the characters, the story is relatable to everyone, which is exactly what J. wanted.  Of course because Richards is brilliant, the writing is impeccable.  The characters are both easy to relate to.  The theme of African-American history is apparent in the story, but more importantly, it is direct symbolism.  I love when little details mean so much to a story.  It shows a high intelligence of literary tools.  There should be more coming soon with different characters being hypnotized.  J. did say that he doesn’t want to put it online.  In today’s society, it really does need to be online for people to want to watch it.  He said he doesn’t want people to be flipping between tabs while his story is on in the background.  I, for one, would not do that because the story is really compelling.  I think it would be great if he could sell it to Netflix to avoid that, but with each story being so short, I don’t know if that is a possibility.  Congratulations to J. and his new project.  I hope the public gets to see the rest of his brilliance.

Evan and Taylor also got to experience the Star Wars trivia event, hosted by Geeks who Drink.  This event was the most exciting and disheartening experience Taylor had all weekend long – allow me to explain.  I’ve only ever participated in one other general public Star Wars trivia event in my life.  During that faithful day I choked on a relatively easy question and knocked myself out of the running for first place (I had to settle for third… shameful, I know).  This day at DCC would serve as redemption and was guaranteed to put me in a room with dozens of other fanatics just like me.  While the competition was indeed exciting and my brain-farts were gratifyingly limited I was overall disappointed in my fellow enthusiasts.  Plain and simple – they were jerks.  Now, I’m not speaking for everyone – my experience is limited to the extents of my sight and hearing of my immediate surroundings – but since when did SW fanboys become the elite of the nerd world?  Before the competition I enjoyed the prospect of happy and accepting fans congregating and sharing a common passion.  By the time we left I was practically holding my brother back from “unleashing The Force” all over an exceptionally snobby guy that had been sitting next to us the whole time.  Overall the experience was enjoyable, but I hate that it was cheapened by those who weren’t there just to have fun.  That being said – one of our Hush goals is to foster a nerd-universe where all are welcomed, accepted and wanted regardless of depth of knowledge or interest.  If you’re a fan/enthusiast – don’t disservice the passion you have by putting down others who aren’t at your level.  Share the love and knowledge and I guarantee everybody wins.

During the day, Sherif and Adrian met with J. August Richards again, Clare Kramer from Buffy, and the awesome, “it’s ok” to be George Takei.  All are wonderful people.  And all were willing to sign our official Hush Comics poster.  It was lovely!  George is a fun guy who loves to talk.  He also has really good penmanship.

It's definitely ok to be George Takei!
It’s definitely ok to be George Takei!

To spare you reading a novel of my (Taylor’s) adventures over the day and a half of my time spent at the convention, I’ll share just a few highlights.  First being the time my little bro and I spent just walking around.  This was neat for the obvious reasons (people watching, ogling artwork and crafts, stalking famous people), but was enhanced by what my brother and I were wearing.  What I mean to say is that we were in costume as well.  Anybody watch Breaking Bad?  If you do then picture Walter White in his yellow haz-mat suit (respirator and all) carrying around little sample baggies of that crystal blue meth.  Got the image?  That was me and Evan at DCC (our meth was actually candy though – just for the record).  What made this uncomfortable experience so worth it (hazardous material suits don’t breathe people… not one bit) was really feeling like you were a part of it all.  I mean really, really feeling a part.  I know I would have loved it had I gone in normal people clothes, but there’s something extra special about a Storm Trooper coming up and asking to get a picture with you.

Taylor and said Storm Trooper
Taylor and said Storm Trooper

Saturday was a good day for all of us.  Being in a land of nerdom was like being at home.  There were so many people who shared our interests.  It was really inspiring.  We plan on holding a booth there next year!

On Sunday, Sherif and Adrian went to the Whedon panel, which featured J. August Richards and Clare Kramer.  J. of course played Charles Gunn on Angel and Clare Kramer played Glory on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  It was a little like a town hall meeting.  They talked about their time working with Joss and their stories of being hired.  It was very informative to listen how the business works for actors.  Clare had an easier time than J. did with being hired.  Both actors recalled big learning experiences with Joss and the other actors on both series.  J. told the audience that his favorite actor to work with was Andy Hallett, who played Lorne on Angel and has since passed away.  Clare talked about being given the “reward” of being able to do her own stunt in her last scene in season 5 where she is thrown through the brick wall.  She also talked about doing fight scenes with Sarah Michelle Gellar and their stunt doubles.  It was interesting to hear how those scenes are filmed, because as Clare said, one time, she hit Sarah’s stunt so hard that she got a black eye and a huge bump on her head for 3 weeks.  They also talked briefly about their new endeavors.  Clare works on her website geeknation.com while J. is working on The Hypnotist and the upcoming Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  J. was mum about what his role would be in the series, but from previews it looks like he will be a mutant.  Overall, it was a great panel.  There were many tid-bits fans wouldn’t get from any other source.

The rest of our day was just walking around and observing the costumes.  Our costumes were ditched the day before.  We couldn’t handle two days of being Walt and Jesse.  Their life is beyond our realm…  The weekend was a success.  We had fun, saw some things we hadn’t seen before, met new people and enjoyed being ourselves.  We can’t wait until next year!

written by Adrian Puryear, Sherif Elkhatib and Taylor Lowe