Movies Not to Miss: August 2015

Movies Not to Miss: August 2015

Which of these are you going to watch?

So we have reached the end of the summer months of 2015 and had our fill of blockbusters for the year. This last month of summer may seem like a winding down (just a bit) when compared to the months that had come before, but we think it is a good change of pace to get us ready for the upcoming Fall and award-contenders coming up in a few months.

For August, we noticed a good selection of sports-related dramas to serve as motivation for you fitness buffs, especially if you are into cycling, boxing or just supporter of local football clubs. That's not to say that August doesn't have anything for anyone who is looking for a good time, without straining nerves and muscles in the cinema, with a good blend of must-sees of superheroes to animation.

So to send off another great summer this year, here is our recommended movies that you must see this August!

After taking his "Unbeatable" champion Nick Chung with a follow-up as a maniac cop in "The Demon Within", director Dante Lam is back to his star-making sports genre, but this time now taking Chung's co-star Eddie Peng for a ride with "To the Fore". We have been anticipating this cycling drama that lets Lam put the spotlight on the Taiwanese star, who has put in a great deal of sweat and effort on and off-screen, to make this competitive story of friendship and (b)romance between four cyclists as they join a major cycling tournament. Other than giving an inside look to the current state of the international cycling scene, "To the Fore" will also showcase many locales that were shot from the Alps of Italy to the Tengger Desert in China.

General Release Date: 6 August

City-wide destruction and chases are starting to become a new staple from Hong Kong lately, and we are certainly seeing many directors there putting their take on this molding genre. We were delightfully surprised when we first saw the trailer of "Wild City" and found out that it was the directorial return of Ringo Lam, who was a formative influence on the city-centered thriller, after a 12-year absence since his last feature-length.

"Wild City" takes places in Hong Kong when a cop and his crooked brother decide to protect an unsuspecting woman from the Mainland with a stash of cash. After learning that that gangsters are after her, and the authorities that have reasons of their own to take them into custody, the three of them are set on the run and confront the situation once and for all, if they can trust each other. With action star like Shawn Yue, a dashing lead in Louis Khoo and China's Tong Liya as the three main leads, we think that director Rango Lam couldn't ask for a better cast (also watch out for the many cameos) to be in his returning vehicle, and we certainly hope that "Wild City" would be as explosive Lam's own 1987 "City on Fire".

General Release Date: 6 August

You know that the summer months are ending when it is the last time you will be seeing a superhero movie for the year. While most of the current superhero franchises have already entered into multiple sequels, there are still new properties waiting to be launched...or in this case rebooted. While Fox has been riding a new high with its X-Men franchise, it has always put the Fantastic Four franchise in the back pocket. If looking at the popularity of superheroes today, now is a good time as any to draw out that card and put a new spin on it since "The Rise of the Silver Surfer".

We see good signs to come since we first saw the credentials on paper, from director Josh Trank making his major studio feature (after his impressive debut with "Chronicles"), to the new faces playing as the new Fantastic Four that could make stars out of its young and fresh leads that has Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kata Mara and Jamie Bell. But we became even more cautious when promotion for the movie was not forthcoming and of the many troubles we heard about the production that surfaced much later. It would be a real shame if Fox had hit another brick wall, considering the talents behind it, for this red-haired Marvel stepchild, but we would want to see it for ourselves before saying anything further (fingers crossed).

General Release Date: 6 August

If Jake Gyllenhaal's replacement of Eminem for the lead is not the best reason we've heard, then we don't know if we would be anticipating to see "Southpaw" as much as we are now. Especially considering the transformation that Gyllenhaal had gone through from his shriveled creep in "Nightcrawler" to his world-champion physique. Supported with a strong cast of Rachel McAdams and Forest Whitaker (50-Cent also makes an appearance somewhere), we expect the cast to have absolutely no problem in turning up the intensity for this story of a fallen from grace boxer, who is on the road of getting his life back in shape after an accidental murdering of his wife and the lost custody of his child. We have also heard many good things about child actor Oona Laurence's performance here, and we can only hope that director Antoine Fuqua could finish it with a knockout punch to make "Southpaw" another winner in ring of boxing dramas.

General Release Date: 6 August

When an old billionaire is dying of a terminal illness, he is offered a once-in-a-lifetime procedure called 'shedding' to have his consciousness transferred into a younger body, allowing him to extend his lifespan. However, after living in his new body, he begins experiencing flashbacks of the body's old memories that reveals all is not well in his new shell. The only real sci-fi for this month surprised us with an interesting premise. Rather than focusing on the action as in "Surrogate", "Selfless" from screenwriters David and Alex Pastor is focused more on the conscience and our sense of identity. While there probably isn't much to it as some reviews of it have suggested, but we are interested in seeing how visionary director Tarsem Singh put his artistic bend into a sci-fi world, after only meeting with few successes in the mythology and fantasy.

General Release Date: 6 August

After spending an entirety of its first half for a setup, the ship is finally set to sail for its fateful voyage that will see all of its threads weaved together. This will be the moment of truth for John Woo's epic love tragedy as we look forward to seeing what technical grounds he will break, compared with the sinking of James Cameron's Titanic. In the meantime, Zhang Ziyi, Song Hye-kyo and Takeshi Kaneshiro would be carrying on with their respective roles for the finale to stir our emotions as we share the lost of lives on that fateful 27 January in 1949.

General Release Date: 13 August

When Earth is invaded by aliens that have taken the shape of video-game characters stored on the space probe and have taken the footage as an act of war, the President is forced to enlist the help of a group of old-school arcaders who knows how to defeat them.

Despite the terrible reviews it has been receiving, it's still hard to hate a movie that takes our combined childhood memories and love for video games onto the big screen. Unlike "Wreck-It Ralph" which had to make many subtle references to our favourite video games (except for Zangief), we would be seeing a full-on invasion of the best known video game characters come to life from Pac-Man to Donkey Kong. Besides, if this was meant to be as silly as it sounds, we know we would be having a quarter-load of fun with the funny cast of Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Josh Gad, along with the recognised faces of Peter Dinklage, Sean Bean and Michelle Monaghan. If Chris Columbus has made bad geek culture, it is geek culture nonetheless and we have no qualms if this is the lowest benchmark for future geek movies to easily trump over.

General Release Date: 13 August

We have seen a good share of spy movies this year and after the high-tech mission of "Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation", we may find ourselves a little wanting for some good old-fashioned espionage (something like in "Kingsman" except with projectile umbrellas). While "The Man from U.N.C.L.E" may be the newest player in the game of cinematic espionage, but it's style and suave is certainly the most classical of them all (even when compared with the upcoming "Bond").

Henry Cavil and Armie Hammer play as spies from opposing sides of the Iron Curtain, but are forced to work together to locate a mysterious organisation set to turn the Cold War into a real one. Their only lead is the daughter of a German scientist, and while both men are distrustful of each other, they have to learn more about each other in order to make a mission success.

We have little doubt that much like Michael Vaughn did for "Kingsman", director Guy Ritchie would be able to ratchet up the action, while still having the suave that both gentlemen would be able to command on screen.

General Release Date: 13 August

When Kamal and Erin's marriage have hit the rocks after being unable to conceive a child for 10 years, they decide to see if they can rekindle their love by visiting the place where their love had first sparked. While things don't go well as planned, Erin discovers a note written by Kamal which suggested that he might be taking this opportunity to end it once and for all for various reasons. Heartbroken and feeling betrayed, Erin hatches a last plan to save her marriage or not at all.

After being active in the industry for so many years, it is quite surprising to see that it has taken this long for actress Maya Karin and actor Hans Issac to share the same screen for the first time in "Nota". What was even more surprising was to learn that this is being directed by a Japanese director, Yasu Tanaka, who decided to shot this psycho-romance thriller at the Bako National Park in Sarawak. We wouldn't go out on a limb to call this Malaysia's "Gone Girl" just yet, but if the quality of the writing is as good as the visuals we have seen so far in the trailer, we may be looking at the answer to saving the storytelling aspect of Malaysian filmmaking. There must be a certain level of confidence to sell this at the Cannes' Marché du Film.

This would also be the last known performance of the late Ramli Hassan, who passed away this year.

General Release Date: 13 August

Speaking of video games, if your childhood days were not spent in the arcade looking at blocky pixels, then this next video game adaptation may belong to your generation. After failing to gain traction in his first cinematic iteration, the folks behind the Hitman video game franchise are at it again to try making bald assassins cool again. "Hitman: Agent 47" is a reboot from the 2005 movie with a bald Rupert Friend putting on the suit and tie as the silent assassin. While they have hired director Aleksander Bach, who will be making his directorial debut, to replace Xavier Gen, the story will have the same genetics as the original with screenwriter Skip Woods providing the story as he did previously.

Most purists of the video game would probably find the movie too loud with the amount of gunfire we've seen in the trailer, but we have to say that this is one step closer to the ideal vision of how we would like to see the genetically modified assassin take out his targets, and there actually having a story of the assassin worth telling. Or maybe we just really want to see Angelababy's cameo here.

General Release Date: 20 August

While we've seen plenty of movies about your average dude gifted with absolute powers (see "Bruce Almighty" or "Click"), we haven't really seen how such powers would be used by your average bloke from Britain. Simon Pegg is the chosen one in this British comedy from director Terry Jones, who is granted with powers that lets him do absolutely anything as a test if he would use his powers for good, otherwise Earth would be deemed unworthy and put on the extermination list by a group of orbiting aliens.

We already know we are in for a good laugh with Simon Pegg in the lead and seeing Kate Beckinsale in a rare comedy role, but we absolutely expect this to be a hilarious trip with comedian Eddie Izzard in the live supporting cast and the surviving members of Monty Python gathered for the first time since "The Life of Brian" to judge Earth's worthiness. The late Robin Williams also has a significant role to play here, in what would be considered his last voice-acting role.

General Release Date: 20 August

No name makes us giddier to see in the world of animation than Pixar, and we are glad that they are back with a new original animation that is not a sequel. "Inside Out" may takes us to the deepest place that Pixar has ever been but it is the playground that Pixar has been all too familiar in playing with; our emotions.

"Inside Out" takes us into the mind of 11-year old Riley where she is controlled by her five emotions; Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust. When Joy and Sadness are accidentally thrown into the recess of Riley's memories, they have to sort through them in as she tries to make sense of her past traumas and experiences.

Already receiving rave reviews all around since its release in the U.S. a couple months ago, we can't wait to see this return to form for Pixar since "Monster University" and "Brave". Also this won't be the last we will see of Pixar this year, so it would be the first time we would get to compare two Pixar movies released in the same year.

General Release Date: 20 August

As mankind is trapped behind their own walls to protect them from man-eating giants, three survivors of their latest attack, Eren, Mikasa, and Armin, decide to join the Survey Corp in order to carve a new way of freedom from the giants, as well as taking their revenge on the giants that devoured their families.

The next most anticipated live-action adaptation from Japan since "Rurouni Kenshin" is making landfall in Malaysian cinemas this August with "Attack on Titan - Part 1". Based on the ever popular manga and anime series by Hajime Isayama, while the story and characters may have undergone a few drastic changes, but the sensibility of terrifying fear against epic odds is fully captured through the impressive special effects work by director Higuchi Shinji. Nothing would make us happier if they could replicate the dimensional maneuver gear, as we get to see the brave men and women swinging themselves towards the giants for real.

General Release Date: 27 August

We've talked a couple of times how much we were anticipating to see "Rembat" that we had completely overlooked another movie about Malaysian football that didn't deserve being under the radar.

After Wan Raja's father dies from a sudden accident, he discovers that his father's unfulfilled wish to have the autographs of all the players from the Kelantan Red Warriors. Setting out on a road trip from Johor Bahru to Kota Bahru, Wan is met with friends, fans and security guards who will help and stop him along the way to secure the signatures, while learning a thing or two about family, love and dreams.

On the surface "Jejak Warriors" may seem like a strong marketing push to promote the Red Warriors football club that will just be a showcase of the real players on screen to appease and please fans, but when this project was handed to director Saw Teong Hin to direct, even he himself admitted that he was surprised. So there is obviously more depth to it than just a football movie and it is always good to see the helmer of "Puteri Gunung Ledang", "Apa Kata Hati" and "Hore! Hore!" at work again. In fact, the performance entailed for "Jejak Warriors" was seen to be so important that the football players had to take acting lessons to get into character. What the end result would be, we can only answer that after we have seen it ourselves when the whistle blows for kickoff in cinemas.

General Release Date: 27 August

August has an unusual entry of non-Chinese speaking Singaporean movies into Malaysia. While we are still holding our breath to see if Randy Ang's celebratory movie "1965" would be allowed to be shown in Malaysian screens, it is the other celebratory movie from Singapore that we are quite sure it wouldn't have any trouble being seen here.

Based on 1957's "Our Sister Hedy" and 1961's "The Greatest Civil War on Earth" made by Cathay studios, "Our Sister Mambo" can be seen as the spiritual successor to both that revolves around the Wong family which has four unmarried daughters. While the father holds the family together as the glue between his wife and his daughters, Mambo, the third sibling, is trying to get her sisters hitched to get her mother off their backs, so she can chase her dreams of becoming a chef someday.

"Our Sister Mambo" is made to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Cathay, where we would also see the return of Singaporean funny man Moses Lim who we haven't seen in a Singaporean feature since 2007's "Just Follow Law". Other than well-known Singaporean TV actresses Michelle Chong and Shu Ah Oon taking the lead as the daughters, Malaysian actress Joey Leong will be playing her first English-speaking role here. There will also be an appearance by famous Singaporean blogger Xiaxue.

General Release Date: 27 August

Related Movies:
Pixels (13 Aug 2015)
Inside Out (20 Aug 2015)
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (13 Aug 2015)
Fantastic Four (06 Aug 2015)
Nota (Malay) (13 Aug 2015)
Selfless (Not Showing)
Hitman: Agent 47 (20 Aug 2015)
To The Fore (Mandarin) (06 Aug 2015)
The Crossing 2 (Mandarin) (13 Aug 2015)
Our Sister Mambo (27 Aug 2015)
Southpaw (06 Aug 2015)
Absolutely Anything (20 Aug 2015)
Jejak Warriors (Malay) (27 Aug 2015)
Wild City (Cantonese) (06 Aug 2015)
Attack On Titan - Part 1 (Japanese) (27 Aug 2015)

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