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State of the Blog – August 2016

I got a little off the rails during the month of July.  The big tentpoles that were released last month just didn’t float any boats in my mind, so I ended up skipping a lot of them.  In fact, the only one out there that I still want to see before it leaves theaters is the new Star Trek sequel, which has gotten reasonable reviews.  Everything else, from Ghostbusters to Lights Out I can comfortably play the waiting game and see later in the comfort of my own home.  August, which is usually the second dumping ground of the year (after January), is doing an interesting about-face this year and actually has some amazingly exciting releases scheduled (far better than September and October, imo).  So, I’ll preview some of those, talk about other pieces I am writing, and then carry on with the rest of my life.

Obviously, the first big movie of August is Suicide Squad, both because it releases in the first weekend and has been drooled over pretty much since the first trailer (guilty as charged).  Unfortunately, initial reviews have been quite lackluster, so the DCCU may be falling way behind in the count with a pair of strikes this year.  (I’ve found that speaking in sports metaphors helps keep the Fanboys from fully understanding how much you’re panning their garbage movies).  It still looks like a pretty, colorful movie, but if it the criticisms of the film prove true (mostly a useless plot), then I am pretty sure I will hate it.

The week after, another highly-anticipated film is released, which probably couldn’t be more different:  Sausage Party.  This film has rocketed to the very top of my list based on a thunderous word-of-mouth that originated way back at the South-by-Southwest film festival.    Now, the uproar has gotten to the point that some critics are even penciling in an Oscar nomination in the “Best Animated Feature” category for this cartoon which leans heavily on sexual imagery.  I’ve managed to enjoy even the weirdest of the Seth Rogan / Jame Franco yukfests at least partially, so I am sure I will find something to like about this one, too.

But, wait – there’s more outstanding animation on the horizon!    Kubo and the Two Strings releases the week after, alongside the Ben Hur remake and War Dogs.  I mention these other films only to note that excepting the remake of Pete’s Dragon, which released the previous week, there really isn’t going to be another family-friendly kind of film in the theaters this week, unless you count the tail ends of things like The Secret Life of Pets and Ice Age: Something.  This stop-motion style of animation always interests me, and this is the same studio responsible for cool things like Coraline, so I am looking forward to Kubo for sure.  Also of note in stop-motion land, The Little Prince is finally getting a release on Netflix!  This blend of stop-motion and computer animation based on the children’s book has already won “Best Animated Feature Film” at the César Awards, and has a stunning collection of voice talent to go with its fantastic reviews.

As for additional posts to look for here at Plot and Theme, I’m on the Elle Fanning hype train and  I’ll try to get you aboard also with a look at a few of the things she has done and a preview of the eight (8!) movies she will be in over the next 18 months.  My United 93 post will finally actually happen, and hopefully I can put together at least one more long-form essay as well, though I am not dead-set on what that one will focus on.  You can also look for classic-type reviews of The Silence of the Lambs and Training Day, and newer reviews of The Fundamentals of Caring and Jason Bourne should be up in the next few days.  Finally, there’s always the chance that something weird and cool comes my way and surprises me.  Isn’t that the most fun thing about watching movies, anyway?


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Derek Jacobs

Chicago,IL 60606

A website

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