Both critically and commercially, July was another win for the big screen. Hotly-anticipated franchise releases like Spider-Man: Homecoming and War for the Planet of the Apes delivered an exciting fresh start and a satisfying conclusion, respectively. However, comedies like The Big Sick and Girls Trip also exceeded expectations, winning over critics and audiences alike. Then, of course, there was writer/director Christopher Nolan’s World War II epic Dunkirk, which may prove to be one of the year’s strongest awards contenders to date. As the summer winds down, we may not have very many films of the same scope, but that doesn’t mean the month ahead doesn’t have any surprises in store for audiences.
As always, here are 10 films to check out in August 2017:
1. THE DARK TOWER (RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 4)
The Dark Tower has faced a long, long road to make it to the big screen. For a while, it was unclear whether Stephen King’s best-selling series would be adapted for television, film or both, and when all was said and done, director Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair) wound up being the one to direct the big-screen adaptation, despite J.J. Abrams and Ron Howard being attached at various points.
Idris Elba stars as Roland Deschain, a gunslinger whose duty it is to defend the Dark Tower from the machinations of the nefarious Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey). Arcel’s film takes place after the events in King’s novels and is intended to kick off an interconnected film and television storyline. Whether that comes to pass will likely depend on how well the film performs at the box office this month.
Check out the latest trailer for The Dark Tower.
2. KIDNAP (RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 4)
Nearly a decade ago, Liam Neeson declared his “particular set of skills” in his quest to rescue his missing daughter from kidnappers. Now, Halle Berry aims to go the Taken route with Kidnap, a new film in which the Oscar-winner goes to great lengths to bring back her son. However, this film — from director Luis Prieto (Pusher) — doesn’t center on a gifted combatant lured back into the underworld.
Instead, Berry stars as an ordinary mother who finds herself in an unimaginable situation. By all accounts, Kidnap looks to be more suspenseful than an action thrill ride, but it could turn out to be a worthy little thriller for moviegoers looking to see Berry return to the big screen. After all, Kidnap marks her first time headlining a film since 2013’s The Call.
Check out the latest trailer for Kidnap.
3. WIND RIVER (RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 4)
Actor and screenwriter Taylor Sheridan wowed audiences with his performance on the FX series Sons of Anarchy and his scripts for films like Sicario and Hell or High Water. Now Wind River – hitting limited release this month – marks his directorial debut and has already emerged as another thrilling, complex crime drama in the vein of Sheridan’s previous Oscar-nominated screenplays.
The film stars Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen (no, it’s not connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe) as two government agents sent into the Wyoming wilderness to solve the murder of a body that has washed up on the Wind River Indian Reservation. Following its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, Sheridan’s film has been heavily lauded and appears destined to attract awards attention.
Check out the latest trailer for Wind River.
4. DETROIT (RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 4)
When you’re a filmmaker of the caliber of Kathryn Bigelow, the world tends to take notice whenever you take on a new project. Case in point, Detroit is already a top awards contender even before its wide release this month. The film tells the harrowing real-life tale of the Algiers Motel incident during the 1967 12th Street riot in the titular city, released in time to mark the 50th anniversary of the event itself.
Featuring performances by John Boyega, Will Poulter, Algee Smith, Jason Mitchell, John Krasinski and Anthony Mackie, Detroit promises to be an intense experience for moviegoers, but that shouldn’t be a surprise considering Bigelow’s propensity for complex material. Reuniting with her The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty screenwriter Mark Boals, Detroit is certainly one to watch going into the fall.
Check out the latest trailer for Detroit.
5. ANNABELLE: CREATION (RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 11)
The Conjuring is one of the few wholly successful attempts at creating a shared universe on the big screen, and yet, despite its box office performance, 2014’s Annabelle was derided by critics who unfavorably compared the film to its predecessor. However, Annabelle: Creation appears to be the rare instance of a sequel that improves upon the original, an especially extraordinary accomplishment for a horror film.
Directed by Lights Out director David F. Sandberg — who was recently confirmed to direct Shazam for the DC Extended Universe — this installment serves as a prequel to the first film, telling the origin story behind the titular possessed doll. Already Annabelle: Creation has followed in the footsteps of films like Ouija: Origin of Evil in delivering a sophomore effort that vastly improves a recent horror franchise.
Check out the latest trailer for Annabelle: Creation.
6. THE GLASS CASTLE (RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 11)
Based on the 2005 memoir by Jeanette Walls, The Glass Castle – the latest film from Destin Daniel Cretton tells the story of an unconventional family and how this upbringing informed the adult life of Walls herself (played in the film by Oscar-winner Brie Larson). Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts play Larson’s parents, whose eccentric approach to parenting is at the center of the film.
The last time Cretton teamed up with Larson, the result was Short Term 12, an underrated but critically beloved film in which Larson gives one of her best performances. It’s unclear at this stage if we can expect something equally strong from The Glass Castle, but the material certainly lends itself to an emotional rollercoaster that could emerge as a sleeper hit.
Check out the latest trailer for The Glass Castle.
7. GOOD TIME (RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 11)
We’re certainly a long way from Twilight in Good Time. Robert Pattinson – who shot to stardom as glittery vampire Edward Cullen – has been delivering a series of strong performances in recent years. This A24 release directed by Ben and Josh Safdie has been generating similar buzz for the actor, who plays a bank robber looking to free his brother from jail.
Following its screening at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Good Time has received rapturous reviews, many of which centered on Pattinson’s turn. The crime drama is one of the smaller films to hit theaters in August – in fact, it is only playing in select theaters – but moviegoers looking for a thrill might want to seek it out in their city as soon as possible.
Check out the latest trailer for Good Time.
8. THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK (RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 11)
Before he helmed the two divisive The Amazing Spider-Man films for Sony, Marc Webb made an impressive directorial debut with (500) Days of Summer. This year, between the Chris Evans drama Gifted and The Only Living Boy in New York (arriving in limited release this month), he seems determined to return to the smaller, more character-focused stories that kicked his career off in the first place.
In Webb’s latest, Callum Turner (Green Room) stars as a recent college graduate who is shocked to find out that his father (Pierce Brosnan) is having an affair with a mysterious stranger (Kate Beckinsale). With an ensemble cast that also includes Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Nixon and Kiersey Clemons, The Only Living Boy in New York is poised to be one of this year’s most provocative coming-of-age stories.
Check out the latest trailer for The Only Living Boy in New York.
9. THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD (RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 18)
Both Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson are known for their razor-sharp tongues. So seeing the two share the screen already makes a certain kind of sense. In The Hitman’s Bodyguard, from director Patrick Hughes (The Expendables 3), Reynolds is the renowned bodyguard and Jackson his infamous client, as the pair evade danger to make it to an important court date.
That action-comedy premise – and the fact that Gary Oldman is on hand as an Eastern European dictator – make The Hitman’s Bodyguard seem like just the right kind of throwback to over-the-top 1990s action. Thus far, the film’s marketing campaign (and its poster parody of 1992’s The Bodyguard) lend further credence to the fact that the Reynolds-Jackson might be as much fun as it sounds.
Check out the latest trailer for The Hitman’s Bodyguard.
10. LOGAN LUCKY (RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 18)
He may not have the most consistent box office track record – films like the Ocean’s trilogy and Magic Mike notwithstanding – but few filmmakers immediately arouse as much curiosity as Steven Soderbergh. The director has established such a mastery of genres and propensity to shift between films with broad appeal and more idiosyncratic projects. Logan Lucky appears to be no different.
The film follows three siblings (Channing Tatum, Adam Driver and Riley Keough) as they attempt to launch a heist during a high-profile NASCAR race. Along the way, the trio encounters an assortment of supporting players in the likes of Daniel Craig, Katie Holmes, Seth MacFarlane, Hilary Swank and many more. With proven experience in heist films, we imagine Soderbergh will deliver the goods here.
Check out the latest trailer for Logan Lucky.
August is an interesting time at the theater, seeing as it represents the awkward bridge from crowd-pleasing blockbusters to prestige films gunning for Oscar gold. That being said, the weeks ahead have much to offer, especially for those moviegoers looking to expand their cinematic horizons. Light on franchise fare and heavy on buzz-worthy smaller releases, this month is a real chance to get an early glimpse at some films that are likely to only grow in popularity as awards season rolls around. Of the films we’ve discussed, it’s difficult to say which will triumph at the box office, but with so much discussion surrounding films like Detroit, Wind River and Logan Lucky – not to mention the long-awaited film adaptation of The Dark Tower – we’re anxious to see them for ourselves.