This year, August is no longer the usual dumping ground for Hollywood’s low-wattage summer fare. The month is one of the most crowded — and promising — slates ever in the history of summer movies.
The Rock kicks off the end of summer with his Fast & Furious spinoff, Hobbs & Shaw, and a couple of foul-mouthed pre-teens wrap it up with their hilarious R-rated comedy, Good Boys. Here’s your handy guide to all the movies you need to see before fall starts.
‘Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw’ (August 2)
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, and Vanessa Kirby
Director: David Leitch
If there’s anything better than a summer movie starring The Rock, we don’t wanna know about it.
Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs character from The Fast & Furious movies gets his own spinoff, along with Jason Statham’s Shaw, as the two get into “how-the-hell-did-they-do-that?!” fisticuffs with Idris Elba’s “enhanced” villain. The “top that!” set pieces teased in the trailers all but guarantee that Hobbs & Shaw is a worthy side mission for the mothership franchise and we are here for it.
See It With: Action movie junkies and fans of The Rock, so pretty much everybody
Madness In The Method (August 2)
Cast: Jason Mewes, Gina Carano, Kevin Smith, Vinnie Jones, Danny Trejo, Stan Lee
Director: Jason Mewes
You have to love Jason Mewes and his self-referential willingness to not take himself seriously even as he takes himself seriously. In the meta Madness in the Method, Mewes, with the help of his buddy Kevin Smith, decides to change Hollywood’s perception of him by going full method. But as he embraces method acting, he slowly descends into madness.
Mewes has been Smith’s long-time collaborator and co-star, but this is his feature directorial debut. Count us intrigued to see what the always-candid Mewes brings to the table as director because it’s bound to be interesting.
See It With: Fans of Jay & Silent Bob/Smith and Mewes’ previous work, or anyone who enjoys parody and meta-commentary.
‘The Art of Racing In the Rain’ (August 9)
Cast: Milo Ventimiglia, Amanda Seyfried, and Kevin Costner.
Director: Simon Curtis
This comedy-drama aims to bring on the laughs and the tears. Based on the popular 2008 novel of the same name by author Garth Stein, Art of Racing In the Rain centers on a family dog named Enzo who — now this we have to see — re-evaluates his life spent as the best friend to his human owner, a race car driver named Denny (This Is Us‘ Milo Ventimiglia).
With a script by the co-writer of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, we are very interested to see how this PG movie about an introspective dog turns out.
See It With: Those who love movies like Marley & Me and A Dog’s Purpose
‘Brian Banks’ (August 9)
Cast: Aldis Hodge, Morgan Freeman, Greg Kinnear, and Melanie Liburd
Director: Tom Shadyac
Having played Voodoo on NBC’s Friday Night Lights, actor Aldis Hodge is no stranger to football drama and this inspirational true story seems like one that would get Coach Taylor’s seal of “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts” approval.
Based on a true story, Hodge plays Brian Banks, an all-American high school football star gearing up for his bright future when he is wrongly convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. Thanks to a broken system of justice, Banks is forced to serve years in prison. Once out of jail, with the help of Justin Brooks (Greg Kinnear) and the real-life California Innocence Project, Banks fights to get his stolen future back and chase his dream to play for the NFL. Judging by that trailer, Brian Banks looks to tug on several heartstrings.
See It With: Dads and brothers who love a good football movie and cry
‘Dora and the Lost City of Gold’ (August 9)
Cast: Isabela Moner and Michael Pena
Director: James Bobin
Dora the Explorer fans are finally getting the long-awaited movie adaptation of the popular Nickelodeon cartoon series. Isabela Moner (Sicario: Day of the Soldado) plays Dora, who soon finds herself on one of Dora’s signature adventures in Dora and the Lost City of Gold. This time, Dora is looking to save her parents and solve an ancient Incan mystery in a movie that promises to be a mix of Tomb Raider and Spy Kids.
See It With: Fans of the Nickelodeon series and kids of all ages
‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’ (August 9)
Cast: Zoe Colletti, Michael Garza, Austin Abrams, Natalie Ganzhorn, and Dean Norris.
Director: André Øvredal
After years in development, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is finally happening. Producer Guillermo del Toro is helping to bring the popular book series to life with a seemingly very faithful adaptation that promises to send a new legion of fans cowering under their beds — especially when they see The Pale Lady in action.
See It With: Fans of the books (obvi) and those not faint of heart
The Kitchen (August 9)
Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, Domnhall Gleeson
Director: Andrea Berloff
Vertigo’s gritty crime comic The Kitchen gets a live-action adaptation with director Andrea Berloff at the helm. Set in the 1970s, the story follows three wives of Hell’s Kitchen gangsters and crime kingpins who decide to keep running the family rackets after their husbands get locked up in prison. No one takes them seriously, least of all other mob bosses honing in on their husbands’ territory. But their determination to succeed turns them into some of the most feared gangsters in New York City.
See It With: Anyone who liked Widows, fans of crime or mob movies, anyone who wants to see a female-led drama
‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’ (August 9)
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Kristen Wiig, and Lawrence Fishburne
Director: Richard Linklater
Director Richard Linklater (Boyhood) is back with Where’d You Go, Bernadette, another potential awards contender, along with Best Actress winner Cate Blanchett.
Based on the novel of the same, the movie – co-written by 500 Days of Summer scribes Michael H. Weber and Scott Neustadter – centers on Bernadette Fox (Blanchett), a woman who is very anti-people. When she goes missing, it is up to Bernadette’s daughter to find her. This late summer entry from Annapurna hopes to have more luck come awards time than the last movie the company released around this time: Detroit.
See It With: Those looking for their awards contender fix and a break from traditional summer fare
‘Blinded By the Light’ (August 14)
Cast: Viveik Kalra, Hayley Atwell, and Rob Brydon
Director: Gurinder Chadha
Gurinder Chadha wrote and directed this charming British crowd-pleaser, which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Inspired by the life of journalist Sarfraz Manzoor and his obsession with the songs of Bruce Springsteen, Blinded by the Light takes place in 1987 and tells the story of Javed (Viveik Kalra) a British teen of Pakistani descent who is struggling with the racial and economic turbulence that plagued the ’80s and the UK.
The Boss’ lyrics prove especially inspiring to Javed during this difficult time in his life, and Blinded By the Light draws a parallel between his middle-class struggles with those Springsteen chronicled with his songs and stadium anthems.
See It With: Every Springsteen fan you know and any family looking for a good laugh or three at the movies
‘Good Boys’ (August 16)
Cast: Jacob Tremblay, Molly Gordon, and Brady Noon
Director: Gene Stupnitsky
From producer Seth Rogen comes Good Boys, a foul-mouthed, hilarious companion piece to Rogen’s previous hit, Superbad. Cute kid Jacob Tremblay leads the pint-size cast of R-rated 12-year-olds navigating pre-teen life when he is invited to his first kissing party.
Tremblay and his friends steal their dad’s drone to help them spy on a couple making out and, naturally, quickly lose the drone. The three boys skip school to search for it and soon find themselves going down a road of increasingly bad (and funny) choices. SXSW audiences laughed themselves raw at the film’s festival screening earlier this year, and summer crowds are primed to do the same when the movie hits theaters mid-August.
See It With: Anyone who wants a nostalgia bomb full of laughter
‘The Angry Birds Movie 2’ (August 16)
Featuring the voices of: Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Bill Hader, and Peter Dinklage
Director: Thurop Van Orman and John Rice
Yup, this sequel is happening. Red, Chuck, Bomb and the rest of the Angry Birds crew are back to deliver more kid-friendly laughs in this sequel to the 2016 hit. In Angry Birds 2, the Birds’ world is figuratively thrown upside down a green pig shows up and offers a temporary truce so they can join forces to combat a common threat.
See It With: Young kids and obsessive fans of the mobile game
’47 Meters Down: Uncaged’ (August 16)
Cast: John Corbett, Nia Long, and Sophie Nélisse
Director: Johannes Roberts
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into shark-infested waters… 47 Meters Down was a surprise hit on a very low budget, hence this rushed sequel aiming to capitalize on the schlocky success of the 2017 original.
This time, four teenage girls find themselves starring down fish who have knives for teeth when they go diving in the ruins of an underwater city full of submerged caves. Expects 47 Meters Down: Uncaged to bring lots of screaming and blood and jump scares.
See It With: Fans of the original movie, Jaws, and any sea-based horror flicks
Ready Or Not (August 21)
Cast: Samara Weaving, Andie MacDowell, Melanie Scrofano, Adam Brody, Mark O’Brien
Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Rising star and already horror darling Samara Weaving marries into the family from hell in Ready or Not, the hugely anticipated horror-comedy that recently made waves at Fantasia Fest. When Grace marries Alex, she becomes part of the filthy rich, eccentric Le Domas family and their empire. On her wedding night, she’s forced to take part in a traditional game and by “game,” I mean being hunted and killed by the rest of the family because they believe her sacrifice is the key to their luck and longevity. The horror community has been buzzing about this one for ages, but it has the potential to be a breakout sleeper hit with general audiences, too.
See It With: Horror fans, anyone who loves a dark comedy
‘Angel Has Fallen’ (August 23)
Cast: Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, and Piper Perabo
Director: Ric Roman Waugh
Gerard Butler is back with another gun-toting adventure in the third film in this trilogy which started with Olympus Has Fallen. This time, Butler’s Secret Service Agent Mike Banning is framed for the attempted assassination of the President — even though he saved the President from an assassination in the first movie but nevermind. Mike soon goes on the run from his own people and the FBI as he tries to uncover who is really behind this plot and why.
See It With: Those with crushes on Butler and action movie junkies