Big name releases like James Gunn’s supervillain adventure The Suicide Squad, Nia DaCosta’s freshly terrifying take on Candyman, and Neill Blomkamp’s new sci-fi horror Demonic all hit theaters this month along with plenty of other picks
‘The Suicide Squad’ August 6th (Theaters and HBO Max)
2016’s Suicide Squad introduced audiences to several memorable characters from the DC roster and was a considerable box office success, but that didn’t stop a severe backlash from critics and fans alike towards the film’s quality. This new iteration will be a standalone sequel, and replacing original director David Ayer is none other than James Gunn, the man behind Guardians of the Galaxy. Several characters from the first film return but the cast is largely new blood, including John Cena as Peacemaker, Idris Elba as Bloodsport, and Sylvester Stallone as a literal anthropomorphic shark named King Shark. Just like the first film, the plot features a team of imprisoned supervillains who are sent by the government on covert missions that will likely end in their deaths. Gunn’s style of humor, action, and heart just may shine its brightest here.
‘John and the Hole’ August 6th (Theaters)
Directed by Spanish filmmaker Pascual Sisto with a screenplay by Argentine writer Nicolás Giacobone (who won an Academy Award for 2014’s Birdman), this strange and unnerving film first debuted at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. John and the Hole has a simple premise: a young boy named John (Charlie Shotwell) discovers a sizeable hole in his mundane middle class family’s backyard, and decides to toss his parents (Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Ehle) and older sister (Taissa Farmiga) into it. With no real indication when or if he’ll let them out, the film plays partly like a psychological thriller, but it’s far slower and creepier than most. It’s the quiet contemplations and everything that’s left unsaid or unexplained that makes John and the Hole especially chilling.
‘Free Guy’ August 13th (Theaters)
Filmmaker Shawn Levy has a special sort of grip on audiences, having directed all three Night at the Museum films and several other beloved comedies as well as multiple episodes of Netflix’s Stranger Things. His latest movie, Free Guy, has been repeatedly pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic but is finally heading to theaters this month. It stars Ryan Reynolds as Guy, a regular dude who works as a bank teller when he makes the realization that he’s actually living inside a video game. Guy is just an NPC in an open world game called Free City, which is about to be shut down by its developers. Check out the neat crossover trailer below.
‘Don’t Breathe 2’ August 13th (Theaters)
Fede Álvarez struck gold with his 2016 hit Don’t Breathe, a tense and dynamic horror thriller about a group of friends who become trapped in the home of a dangerous blind man (played by Stephen Lang). Lang reprises the role for the sequel, where he must once again deal with intruders using his monstrous skills. Álvarez wrote the screenplay again but frequent collaborator Rodo Sayagues takes over directing duties this time around. The film promises to further expand on Lang’s character while delivering similar thrills to the original.
‘Respect’ August 13th (Theaters)
A biopic about music legend Aretha Franklin has long been in development, with Franklin herself having been involved with the project up until her death in 2018. The film finally began to get going a year later, with Jennifer Hudson set to star and renowned stage director Liesl Tommy set to direct (she makes her feature film debut here). Respect will detail the life and titanic rise of Franklin, starting all the way from her singing in her father’s church choir to becoming the one and only Queen of Soul. Besides her music career, the film will also show her personal life as she battled agaisnt an abusive marriage, racism and sexism throughout her life. Hudson will likely deliver one of her greatest performances to date.
‘Reminiscence’ August 20th (Theaters)
Lisa Joy, co-creator, writer, director and executive producer of the acclaimed HBO series Westworld, makes her feature debut with another mind-bending sci-fi concept. Reminiscence follows a man named Nick (Hugh Jackman) who gives people a way to relive their pasts via their memories. He meets a mysterious young woman named Mae (Rebecca Ferguson) and falls deeply in love, but when a client’s memories appear to convict Mae in a serious crime, Nick is sent on a dark and dangerous path to uncover the truth.
‘Sweet Girl’ August 20th (Netflix)
Straightforward and to the point, Sweet Girl stars Jason Momoa as a devastated husband who vows to bring justice to the people responsible for his wife’s death while protecting the only family he has left, his daughter (Isabela Merced). Directed by Brian Andrew Mendoza, this revenge thriller is sure to pack plenty of punches and hardcore action to keep audiences entertained throughout.
‘Demonic’ August 20th (Theaters) August 27th (VOD)
Filmed in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, Demonic follows a young woman who unleashes terrifying demons when supernatural forces at the root of a decades-old rift between mother and daughter are ruthlessly revealed. Starring Carly Pope, Chris William Martin, and Nathalie Boltt, this sci-fi horror comes from the mind of Neill Blomkamp, who previously wrote and directed District 9, Elysium, and Chappie. The film will be available on demand online after playing exclusively in theaters for its first week.
‘The Protégé’ August 20th (Theaters)
Rescued as a child by the legendary assassin Moody (Samuel L. Jackson) and trained in the family business, Anna (Maggie Q) is the world’s most skilled contract killer. But when Moody – the man who was like a father to her and taught her everything she needs to know about trust and survival – is brutally killed, Anna vows revenge and heads to Vietnam to find the person responsible. As she becomes entangled with an enigmatic killer (Michael Keaton) whose attraction to her goes way beyond cat and mouse, their confrontation turns deadly and the loose ends of a life spent killing will weave themselves ever tighter. Filmmaker Martin Campbell (GoldenEye, Casino Royale, The Mask of Zorro) returns for his first film in four years with this action thriller with sharp direction and an exceptional cast.
‘Candyman’ August 27th (Theaters)
1992’s Candyman became a landmark of the horror genre, spawning a pair of sequels and a legacy that has managed to last throughout the years. Nia DaCosta is set to direct the first new entry for the franchise in over two decades, which will be a direct sequel to the original film (literally copying its exact title) and bring in longtime fans as well as new ones. Written by DaCosta alongside Jordan Peele (who also produces the film) and Win Rosenfeld, the movie takes place back in the housing projects of Chicago’s Cabrini Green neighborhood, which have since been gentrified almost beyond recognition, and its terrifying legend of the Candyman nearly forgotten. But legends prove to die hard.