“Detroit” and “Wind River”: Films to look forward to in August

Believe it or not folks, the summer is almost over! Well, not the season itself, as that will stretch on a bit longer, but the summer movie season, which is now in its final month. After that, we’ll obviously be moving towards the fall, which begins the awards season, which is very exciting. Traditionally, August has been a sort of no man’s land, though in recent years there have been a handful of pleasant surprises. That was the case last year, for sure. There certainly appears to be a few choice picks this time around too, though overall it’s definitely a thinner month than others in the year. Still, it’s not an overt dumping ground, and there’s more than enough to sort through, so that’s just what I’ve done here today! Take a look and decide which are worthy of your hard earned time and money…

Here now are what I feel are the ten very best bets for the month of August:

10. Death Note – One of the biggest Netflix original films to date is this adaptation of the classic Japanese manga. Adam Wingard is a top tier genre filmmaker, give or take Blair Witch, so he was a solid choice to direct. Working without his regular screenwriter Simon Barrett, this could go either way, but it’s a definite curiosity. The streaming service might have a good one on its hands.

9. The Hitman’s Bodyguard – The pairing of Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds is a juicy one indeed. A hybrid action/comedy flick, both actors should definitely be within their comfort zones. It won’t be high art, that’s for sure, but it could be a real good time at the movies.

8. Marjorie Prime – Back at the Sundance Film Festival, this little drama had some solid buzz building. Lois Smith especially has been said to be quite good. Maybe the flick is too small to build Oscar buzz, but art house fans might have something here a little different from the pack. Keep it in the back of your mind…

7. The Only Living Boy in New York – Unfortunately, I missed seeing this one earlier on in the week due to my grandfather’s passing. From what I’ve heard though, it’s a nice little surprise here in August. Kate Beckinsale especially deserves a nice showcase, and she’s said to be very good in her supporting role.

6. Ingrid Goes West – I’ve seen this dramedy that showcases Aubrey Plaza. It’s really quite uncomfortable but also quite good. Elizabeth Olsen is strong in one of two films she shows up in on this list. Plaza gives one of the year’s best actress turns here, even if you might squirm from awkwardness while watching it. Stay tuned for more on this one soon…

5. Good Time – Another one that I’ve seen, this crime drama showcases Robert Pattinson’s acting and the filmmaking of the Safdie Brothers. They blew me away a few years ago with Heaven Knows What and continue to impress here with this one. The directors are headed towards great things. Pattinson fans will be surprised and probably very impressed bye what he does here. It’s unlike anything he’s attempted before.

4. The Glass Castle – The follow up to Short Term 12 from filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton again stars Brie Larson. Here, she’s the grown daughter of Woody Harrelson, who some speculate could be a thing in Best Supporting Actor. Buzz has been quiet, so I have my doubts, but it appears like a very solid dysfunctional family drama/coming of age tale.

3. Logan Lucky – I wrote about this one last week, but even just knowing that it’s the return to filmmaking for Steven Soderbergh, that should be enough. The fun ensemble cast is just a bonus. Best in show is Daniel Craig, who appears to be having the time of his life. If you dig heist flicks, there’s a really good chance that this one is going to delight you.

2. Wind River – Taylor Sheridan got his due a few days ago from me, but here’s further proof that it’s among the month’s best bets. The aforementioned Olsen is very good here, but Jeremy Renner is tremendous. Sheridan is as good a writer as there is right now, so showcasing that he’s a hell of a director too is simply icing on the cake. It’s a must see movie. Need I say more?

1. Detroit – Though it technically had a limited release at the end of July, it’s opening wide now, so I’m cheating and counting it. Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal have another triumph on their hands. It’s the best film of the year so far and deserving of your attention. Fair warning, their depiction of the Algiers Motel incident will not easily be shaken. It’s a masterclass in filmmaking however, so it demands to be seen ASAP.

Honorable Mentions: Beach Rats, Bushwick, Columbus, Crown Heights, The Dark Tower, Gook, Icarus, Lemon, Patti Cake$, and The Trip to Spain

Be sure to check out these various films all throughout the month of August!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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