Coming Soon Trailers: Birth of the Dragon, Leap!
August makes one last push with three new films and five VOD before the deadline.
If you were waiting on a blockbuster to cap off the summer, you’re going to be disappointed. While we do have three new releases this week, none of them are debuting in more than 2000 theaters. I’d hazard the guess that if ANY of the previous summer releases were still going strong, most of these movies would be showing in even less venues. That’s not to say they won’t entertain, but they’re certainly not knock-outs.
On the home market we’ve got a tidy quintet of video on demand releases. Our selections run the gamut from psychological thrillers, to horror, to science fiction, and finally to a pair of action thrillers. It’s a showcase of fine talent as well, with Peter Dinklage, Julia Ormond, Angela Dixon, and Dave Bautista featuring in our small screen offerings.
Birth of the Dragon.
Blowing up the historical show-down between Bruce Lee and Wong Jack Man into a kung fu action bonanza in the style of Lee’s legendary chop socky flicks, this film dramatizes aspects of Lee’s early life in America as he seeks to expand his fame and prestige in the world of martial arts.
See It?: Rent it.
I love martial arts flicks, especially throw-backs to classic B movie kung fu, and I know I should be on board with this film…but I’m just not a Bruce Lee fan. None of his movies every really did anything for me. I can appreciate his immense talent and physicality, but he was never likable or exciting to me. I might hit this one up on a matinee, but I don’t see enough in the trailer to make me want to rush out to the theater.
Set in a steam-punk inspired take on late 1800’s Europe, a young orphan who wants to be a ballerina steals the identity of another girl in order to study ballet in Paris. Along with her on the journey is a young inventor who becomes the protege of Gustave Eiffel. They both try to pursue their dreams in a world were industry and society are on the verge of massive upheavals.
See It?: Kids only.
This is a pretty standard “follow your dreams” fantasy for pre-teens. There does not seem to be too much heavy lifting in the ideas department, but the pretty visuals and intricate setting should help keep the kids happy. They may also be the only audience that won’t mind the horrible voice dubbing, which sounds like it was recorded in a shed and features voice talent that is way too old for the 11 year old characters.
A former salesman turned church pastor is assigned a failing church. His mission is to wind the place down and facilitate a sale of the prime real estate before moving on to a more prestigious post. When the church becomes the community hub for refugees from Burma, the new pastor decides to keep it open by developing the farm land with his flock.
See It?: Sure, if you like faith-based movies.
I’ve rarely seen a faith-based movie that would stand on its own as a decent movie. This one look alright. There’s enough characterization where the main characters don’t feel like smarmy cliches, the dialogue doesn’t feel ripped from a hallmark card, and the cinematography looks solid. If these movies are your cup of tea, this is probably one of the better ones to get a theatrical release. Plus no Sean Astin! Hooray!
A solitary game warden is called to the Wind River reservation to follow odd tracks. When he discovers the frozen body of a young woman, the FBI becomes involved. As the warden and a young agent try to put together the pieces of the puzzle, they’re given a first-hand look at the harsh living conditions endured by the reservation community. These conditions often lead to violence, and the FBI agent begins to suspect that this was not an isolated homicide.
See It?: Wait for reviews.
I’m on the fence about this film. I like frontier murder mysteries. I’m interested in seeing how Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen handle a serious drama, especially one penned by Taylor Sheridan (Sicario, Hell or High Water). I’m just leery for several reasons: while Sheridan handles poverty and rural settings deftly, an outsider looking in on reservation life is fraught with cultural issues. Having two white leads is also a bit upsetting. There are some secondary roles that are filled with actors of Native American ancestry, but if you’re going to talk about how little opportunity there is for First Peoples, why not give them a bigger role? This could go either way.
Video on Demand.
A struggling playwright has his personal life destroyed by the accidental death of his wife. Seeking solace, he takes up with a woman who he had an affair with, upsetting the spirit of his deceased wife. On the edge because of work stress and personal loss, he is pushed towards madness by the otherworldly phenomena that begins to plague him.
See It?: Skip it.
This looks bog-standard. What could have been a neat little psychological horror is instead a run of the mill spooky haunting story. Pass.
Never Let Go.
A single mother (Angela Dixon) searches for her child in a foreign country. As she follows the trail of those who abducted her child, she becomes the suspect in a local homicide, pushing her farther into the margins of a strange city.
See It?: Maybe.
I have to say that I hope the plot spends infinitely more time on why this woman is a one-person army who is pulling off admittedly amazing action sequences, instead of just showing us the story of a badass lady looking for her baby. The mix of action and drama is so oil-and-water, I’m interested in this just to see how, or if, they can pull it off.
A scientist dies shortly after unveiling his latest creation: a machine that record and play back memories. His widow (Julia Ormond) is visited by a mysterious man (Peter Dinklage) who wants to use the machine to discover what happened to her husband.
See It?: Hell yes.
This looks like a great murder mystery that uses a science fiction premise to give added heft and moral ambiguity to the CSI-like reconstruction of a crime scene. Peter Dinklage looks fantastic here as well. It’s well cut, has a crisp visual style, and doesn’t seem to step on any hand-wavy sci-fi landmines. This looks solid.
An awkward young tech prodigy moves out to San Fransisco with her pet cat and dog. One night during the supermoon, the two animals escape, only to be changed into handsome young men. Now the young woman who can’t seem to socialize with real people is getting some training from her former pets.
See It?: Um, Okay?
I just don’t know. This looked like an easy pan, what with Sean Astin being in this and all… but the performances of the two guys playing the cat and dog in human form end up being mostly charming. It’s not 100%, as several of the jokes about what a human cat or dog would do are telegraphed and cheesy, but enough of them are cute or funny that I’m not put off by the silly premise or standard rom-com elements. If you like the genre, this looks like it could have its moments. My biggest gripe is that the trailer practically gives you the whole movie in a two minute summary.
Lucy (Brittany Snow) and Stupe (Dave Bautista) are thrown together when havoc descends upon their upscale NYC neighborhood. A second American civil war is erupting and martial law has been imposed. Unaware of the wider conflict, they just know that NY has become a war zone and they must rely on each other to survive.
See It?: This movie + a six pack = fun (probably.)
This is another hard read. It has some serious elements, but seems to be trying for a breezy lunacy that could be hilarious. I hope that’s not just the trailer realizing that people love over-the-top Dave Bautista from Guardians of the Galaxy (but an earlier version of this trailer sure had less loony music and sight gags.) Either way, the action seems to be fast and constant, so at worst you get a dumb action flick where stuff goes boom. Could be worse.