August was once a virtual graveyard for major releases. That’s not the case for this 2019 end-of-summer month, people. Nope. No sirree. This August is packed to bursting with noteworthy selections. Indie bloodbaths? Horror-anthology scarefests? Several character pieces bedecked with festival plaudits? Yes, yes, and yes. Also: we’re getting new movies from Richard Linklater or The Babadook‘s Jennifer Kent. And for those in need of a laugh, a few tweens have some very, very bad words they’d like to share with you. Here’s what’s coming to a theater near you.
After the Wedding (Aug. 9th)
Isabel (Michelle Williams), the cofounder of an Indian orphanage, travels back to the states to win the favor of potential benefactor (Julianne Moore). She invites the visitor to attend her daughter’s wedding the next day. Over the course of the weekend, layers upon layers of false pretenses get peeled back to reveal a shocking connection, a mistake two decades old, and a life hanging in the balance. Adapted from a Danish-language Academy Award nominee by Bird Box‘s Susanne Bier, this gender-flipped take on the material strikes the same balance of high chamber drama and page-turning paperback intrigue.
Blinded by the Light (Aug. 14th)
Bruce Springsteen gave a voice to post-industrial smalltown America — but that doesn’t mean a British-Pakistani teenager named Javed (Viveik Kalra) who’s suffering through Thatcher-era malaise can’t also love the music of our nation’s blue-collar troubadour! Sure, the young man’s friends and family balk at the cross-cultural interchange. But they just don’t understand how Springsteen’s rebel-poet attitude and singular rock & roll style speaks to him and his fellow Born-to-Run–ners. The man himself has said that this musical from Bend It Like Beckham‘s Gurinder Chadha captures the spirit of his songs beautifully. Praise doesn’t come any higher than that.
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (Aug. 2nd)
Get two, two, two USDA-certified beefsteaks for the price of one! This Fast & Furious spin-off pits Dwayne Johnson’s special agent and Jason Statham’s villain-turned-ally against a former MI6 operative (Idris Elba) who’s gained your run-of-the-mill cybernetically enhanced superpowers. Mission: Impossible — Fallout‘s Vanessa Kirby is also along for the ride. People get punched. Macho one-liners get uttered. Things get blown up — a lot. Each new F&F installment pushes the boundaries of physics and plausibility just a bit further. This entry may be the one where they simply chuck anything resembling reality right off the cliff.
Good Boys (Aug. 16th)
Office alumni Gene Stupnitsky and producer/cowriter Lee Eisenberg bring the world a bawdy R-rated comedy featuring kids not yet old enough to buy a ticket for it. Tween besties Max (Jacob Tremblay), Thor (Brady Noon), and Lucas (Keith L. Williams) get in big trouble when they lose a camera drone — it’s a long story. To get it back, they’ll have to survive a paintball onslaught, a perilous visit to a frat house, and their first traumatizing glimpses of porn. It’s all the hilarity and humiliation of pre-pubescence, coming from fouler mouths.
The Kitchen (Aug. 9th)
Hell’s Kitchen, circa the late ’70s. A trio of mob wives (Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish and Elisabeth Moss) watch as their husbands get carted off to the Big House. So while the men are stuck doing time behind bars, they decide to form a criminal empire of their own to put food in their kids’ mouths. Turns out they’re pretty good at this whole racketeering thing. If the cast makes it sound like a comedy and the premise makes it sound like a Widows clone, rest assured that neither charge sticks. Hell hath no fury, et cetera.
Luce (Aug. 2nd)
It sounds like a ethics class thought experiment come to life: A suspicious teacher (Octavia Spencer) finds a bag of illegal fireworks in a school locker. She points the finger at a star student named Luce (Kevin Harrison Jr.). Is she singling him out because of the essay he wrote, in which he appears to advocate the use of violence to spur social change? Or has she mentally put him in a box because he’s a former African child soldier who was adopted by two well-meaning white liberals (Tim Roth and Naomi Watts)? Like it or loathe it, Julius Onah’s controversial adaptation of an Off-Broadway play is guaranteed to start a conversation.
The Nightingale (Aug. 2nd)
Director Jennifer Kent (The Babadook) weaves another story about a woman under extraordinary duress … but the similarities stop there. Her latest takes the form of a 19th-century “brush Western,” as an Irish prisoner (Aisling Franciosi) in an Australian penal colony tracks down the monstrous man (Sam Claflin) that raped her and murdered her husband days earlier. As for her aboriginal guide (Baykali Ganambarr), he has his own reasons for wanting payback. Kent’s film shares both of their pain and rage, not once shying away from the brutality or ugliness of her situation. Brace yourself.
Ready or Not (Aug. 21st)
The indie horror stalwarts known as Radio Silence — Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett — bring us the story of a blushing bride (Samara Weaving) can’t wait to start her new life with the perfect groom (Mark O’Brien). First, however, she’s got to win over his family. All she has to do is survive a night from hell as the clan of ultra-wealthy eccentrics (including Andie MacDowell and Adam Brody) hunt her for sport. Who likes their scares spiced up with class tensions, relationship squabbles, and pitch-black physical humor involving hair-trigger crossbows?
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (Aug. 9th)
From Alvin Schwartz’s millennial-beloved series of books comes this adaptation binding multiple tales of the macabre in one waking nightmare. Suburban teens rouse the malevolent spirits hiding in a cursed diary and let loose a menagerie of terrors: Harold the homicidal scarecrow, a ghoul dubbed the Jangly Man, a bulbous red facial blemish containing a chilling surprise that can never be unseen, etc. Our Spielbergian heroes have to get to the bottom of a legend regarding a family and a cursed young woman — or die trying! [Cue black cat screech, chains rattling, wind howling through dead branches]
Where’d You Go, Bernadette (Aug. 16th)
To the outside observer, it would appear that Bernadette Fox (Cate Blanchett) has it all: a loving husband (Billy Crudup), a MacArthur Genius grant, a gorgeous Seattle home. But communication has grown strained, she hasn’t done any architecture work in years, and her agoraphobia has turned the house into an exceptionally lovely prison. It’s enough to make a woman want to vanish into thin air … which she does without warning. It’s up to baffled spouse (Billy Crudup) and daughter (Emma Nelson) to track her down. Welcome to Richard Linklater’s A Woman on the Verge of a Breakdown.