Just as things were seemingly returning to normal – albeit slowly for some – it would seem that we may be going back to studios possibly shifting release dates for their more prominent properties. Or maybe “Clifford the Big Red Dog” is simply an outlier. That said, for the time being, there’s plenty of films on the docket worth keeping an eye out for in a month full of original content and few titles (such as the well-regarded “The Suicide Squad“) based on existing properties. It’s an element that is incredibly refreshing as we go into the next several months, where we’ll have not just one but three more Marvel films on the release radar.
With COVID cases once again climbing, it’s good to note that many of the films listed below will be available on streaming services, either through streaming releases such as Netflix and Apple TV+ or through HBO Max’s year plan to simultaneously release their films in theaters and on their platform for a month. From festival favorites to horror adaptations and thrilling movies that we’ve been raving about for two years now (“Ema“), at the very least, we can rest assured that the quality of films will stay high throughout the next month.
“The Suicide Squad”
Marking the second (and, if reviews are to believed, considerably stronger) attempt at adapting this DC property, the James Gunn (“Guardians of the Galaxy“) helmed film revitalizes “The Suicide Squad” characters who were wasted in the drab 2016 adaptation from David Ayer. Familiar faces return such as Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, along with new faces that make up the current group of villains who are sent on a deadly search and destroy mission where, if they step out of line, will result in their death by government hands. The film also stars Idris Elba, John Cena, and Daniela Melchior.
Release Date: August 6 in theaters and HBO Max via Warner Bros.
An early favorite of ours since first seeing it at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, “Ema,” the latest from director Pablo Larraín (“Jackie,” “Neruda“) has spent a long time waiting for a proper theatrical release in the U.S. (it was streaming on MUBI for a while last year, but no longer). The intensely electric and confounding character study, which follows two parents who were unable to raise their adopted son and chose to return him, finally arrives this month and is an under-the-radar gem that allows stars Mariana di Girolamo and Gael García Bernal ample opportunity to shine. Our critic who saw it at TIFF wrote of them, saying, “The two combined together are like double figure-skaters acrobatically pushing the other away, knowing they’ll slide toward each other again.”
Release Date: August 13 via Music Box Films.
As one of the biggest highlights of this year’s past Sundance Film Festival, the family drama/coming-of-age story “CODA” was destined to be a crowd-pleaser due to its inspiring central tale. The film follows Ruby (Emilia Jones), the only hearing member in her deaf family. She is tested when the family’s fishing business is threatened, and she’s torn between pursuing her love of music and her obligations to her family. Directed by Sian Heder and adapted from the 2014 film “La Famille Bélier,” our critic wrote, “It becomes pretty obvious early on that “CODA” is one of those movies where you know where the story is going pretty much the entire time, but the elements harmonize so beautifully it still sucks you in.”
Release Date: August 13 on Apple TV+.
Consistently pushed back in 2020 due to COVID, it’s unclear yet how Shawn Levy’s “Free Guy” will play after a year of delay. However, it’s undeniably refreshing to see a big summer blockbuster not based on existing content and the group of supporting actors from Taika Waititi to “Killing Eve” breakout, Jodie Comer. Still, it’s worrisome that it seems Ryan Reynolds is playing it safe with a character neatly packaged to fit his charms. It’s a fun premise, though, as Reynold’s bank teller is rudely awakened to the fact that he is a background character in a video game and must then transform into a hero in an attempt to save the game before it’s shut down. The film also stars Lil Rel Howery and Joe Keery.
Release Date: August 13 in theaters via 20th Century Studios.