Well, we’ve somehow already made it to August, the “Sunday of summer” as I call it. The obnoxiously large presence of mosquitoes means that the solstice is not over yet…and the entertaining movies on the horizon only add to that theory.
Last month’s film releases ranked particularly high on the Buzz-meter with the combined strength of Tom Cruise’s return in the seventh Mission: Impossible installment and the highly-anticipated arrival of summer’s biggest event, Barbenheimer, which was birthed when polar opposite films Barbie and Oppenheimer premiered in theaters simultaneously. What started as Internet meme lore turned into a money-making double feature at the cinema and brought diverse audiences together, ultimately boosting the popularity of movie theaters and priming upcoming August releases.
Leading off this month is the animated adventure Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, which sees the beloved team of green back on the big screen. (Ooh, poetry.) Young yet goodhearted vigilantes Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo return in animated form under the watchful eye of…Seth Rogen?! Yes, parents, that’s right: the Superbad writer is producing an animated kids’ movie. Are you intrigued yet? Rogen’s film sees the turtles emerge from their shelter in an attempt to earn New York’s respect…but things may go south when a horde of evil mutants is unleashed upon the metropolis. While I’m not really a big TMNT fan, I am glad that the franchise has returned to its animated roots – those live-action 1990’s movies with the creepy puppets gave me nightmares as a child! Featuring a stellar voice cast and eye-popping animation, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (or, by virtue of synonym magic, Adolescent Variant Fighter Reptiles) emerges from a manhole on Aug. 2.
Right off TMNT’s tracks is another movie about abnormal animals. Coming five years after its 2018 predecessor, Meg 2: The Trench is looking to eat up its chance at a big screen splash. Just to be clear, this is not a movie about somebody named Meg who lives in a trench (I might watch that) – instead, the film sees Jason Statham fighting massive extinct ocean predators. Lots more fun! In the film, after a rather stupid research team discovers several megalodons (megalodons = big sharks), vacationers must do the impossible: make good choices and flee the beach before it’s lunchtime for Meg. I’ll just come out and say this: for those whom I affectionately dub “pretentious viewers,” this is not the sophisticated picture you enjoy. But, if a big ol’ dose of mindlessly amusing viewing is to your taste, see Jaws 6… I mean, Meg 2: The Trench… when it takes a bite out of your local theater on Aug. 4.
The late summer moviegoing options include Gran Turismo, a racing drama inspired by the PlayStation game series of the same name and based on a remarkable true story. “But, wait,” you think. “How can the film be reality-based? Gran Turismo is a fictional racing game! The Super Mario Bros. Movie wasn’t biographical!” Well, your cerebrum makes a good point. Sony’s film actually centers around the gripping true underdog tale of Jann Mardenborough, a 19-year-old who was selected to play in the GT Academy competition, a contest which provided Gran Turismo video game players a chance to become real professional racecar drivers. Did Mardenborough win? You’ll have to watch the movie to find out! . . . but yes, he did win. Wikipedia would’ve told you anyway. David Harbour, Orlando Bloom and Archie Madekwe star along with immersive racing scenes. Gran Turismo is my Must-See Movie of the Month. Check it out when it speeds into theaters on Aug. 11.
Rounding out the Korner’s catalogue this month is the film debut of Blue Beetle. From DC Studios comes the origin story of Jaime Reyes, an average college graduate who gains extraordinary abilities when chosen by a mysterious alien scarab to be its avatar. There’s just one problem: he doesn’t want to be a superhero! (Seems fair. Not everyone’s a regular Clark Kent.) But Jaime must use his newfound powers whether he likes it or not when others desire to use the scarab for their own devious reasons. Hopefully, Jaime will realize that “With great power comes great responsibility.” Wow. I just came up with that quote. Shockingly genius adage aside, this superhero blockbuster is largely set apart from previous DC adventures, focused on introducing a new part of the expanding universe as executives Peter Safran and James Gunn plan to reset DC imminently. Let’s just hope that a character called the Green Grasshopper will make it into the sequel. Blue Beetle (which is NOT about Paul McCartney) spreads its wings on Aug. 18.
This will conclude the big summer movie season. Soon it will be back to school and watching movies and shows on streaming…maybe…if any new ones get made in the near future. Let’s hope the Screen Writers Guild and Screen Actors Guild can get a fair deal and that the strike ends soon.