Buy, Rent, or Wait: August 2021

Theatrical releases are still a bit of a rarity due to the impact of the pandemic, which means that it can be difficult to learn which films are coming out soon as they’re now delivered through various different platforms. So we’re casting our eyes further afield than just your traditional cinema to find five upcoming new releases for the month. Some will still find their way to the silver screen, but others will be available from the comfort of your home. Our job will be to make wild guesses based on their synopsis and trailer as to whether they’ll worth your time, separating them into one of three categories:

Buy: This film is worth multiple viewings and maybe even a purchase of a hardcopy!

Rent: A movie in this category will be worth the cost of admission, whether that’s an actual ticket or a few dollars as a video on demand.

Wait: This means the film isn’t really worth any additional effort on your part. If you happen to catch it on broadcast television or on a streaming service you’re already paying, then maybe it’ll be worth your time. Or maybe not even that!

Last Month’s Results

Before we get to our film predictions, let us take a look at the outcome of our July predictions!

1. Black Widow

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 81%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 92%

IMDB Score: 6.9

Box Office

Budget: $200 million.

Worldwide: $343 million

Black Widow was a serviceable action movie with a twist of espionage. Most agree it was fun for what it was given it didn’t have the scale of other MCU films. Although, like most of Disney’s recent projects, Black Widow will most likely be remembered for the legal drama that occurred outside of the cinema.

Our review!

2. Space Jam: A New Legacy

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 27%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 80%

IMDB Score: 4.4

Box Office

Budget: $150 million.

Worldwide: $120 million

Critics hated the amount of merchandising that was present in the film, while others cited that LeBron James was no Michael Jordan. Yet for the general audiences who weren’t upset at a CGI rabbit’s redesign, many were satisfied with this basketball story for a new generation.

3. Old

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 49%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 52%

IMDB Score: 6.0

Box Office

Budget: $18 million.

Worldwide: $49 million

It seems Shyamalan is back to his old tricks of creating intriguing premises wrapped in a sloppy screenplay.

4. Jungle Cruise

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 63%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 93%

IMDB Score: 6.7

Box Office

Budget: $200 million.

Worldwide: $63 million

Critics weren’t impressed by this film inspired by a theme park ride, but others loved every minute of its B-grade fun.

5. The Green Knight

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 90%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 52%

IMDB Score: 7.6

Box Office 

Budget: $15 million. 

Worldwide: $7 million 

Critics appreciated the freshness of director Lowery’s approach, though general audiences were left cold by the loose adaptation.

Our review! 

And now for the films releasing this month!

The Suicide Squad

Rating: R

Release Date: August 6, 2021

Distribution: HBO Max and simultaneous theatrical release.

Synopsis: Supervillains Harley Quinn, Bloodsport, Peacemaker and a collection of nutty cons at Belle Reve prison join the super-secret, super-shady Task Force X as they are dropped off at the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese (IMDB).

Director: James Gunn

Starring: Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Idris Elba, John Cena

Juliana Purnell: 2016’s Suicide Squad was a box office success but a critical flop. While there was always interest in producing a second film, the project didn’t really find its feet until James Gunn was famously fired by Disney over some old tweets, meaning the Guardians of the Galaxy director was ripe for the picking by Warner Bros. Basically the studio wanted Gunn to direct something in the DCEU for them, and here we are with a loose but standalone sequel, jokingly titled The Suicide Squad. Thanks to his reputation, it sounds like Gunn not only managed to work on something he was truly inspired and passionate about, but also had as much free reign as is possible on a big budget Hollywood film. Released already in the UK, the reviews are extremely positive so far, with many citing the tone is just right, making it a fun watch. Even though it’s an oversaturated genre at this point, The Suicide Squad might still offer something new, making it a must-see for superhero (or supervillain) fans.

Juliana’s Prediction: Buy

Tyler Hummel: I am all over this film! I love James Gunn as a filmmaker. I appreciate the weird, dark and sad stories he’s able to draw out of his eclectic genre films going back to Super, Slither, and Tromeo and Juliet! Naturally, everything I’ve heard about The Suicide Squad confirms what I would imagine it to be: a loving soft reboot of the failed 2016 film with more heart, humor and a stronger story!

Tyler’s Prediction: Buy

Free Guy

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: August 13, 2021

Distribution: Theatrical release.

Synopsis: A bank teller discovers that he’s actually an NPC inside a brutal, open world video game. (IMDB).

Director: Shawn Levy

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Taika Waititi

Juliana Purnell: Free Guy has a story concept that I think will appeal to a lot of geeks and gamers. The film offers a weird blend of elements from The Truman Show, Wreck it Ralph, Ready Player One and The LEGO Movie and seems to play into the humor that is the life of an NPC. Except this isn’t a short skit, rather it’s a feature length movie (and one almost reaching a two-hour runtime at that). Does the plot have the substance to last the distance? The latest trailer demonstrates the narrative does try to explore some depth, though whether this will feel like already well-trodden ground is yet to be seen. With a stacked cast, it’ll be an amusing watch nonetheless, though I’m not expecting it to maintain its energy throughout the entire runtime.

Juliana’s Prediction: Rent

Tyler Hummel: I’ve been seeing trailers for this movie for two years now and frankly I don’t know what to make of it. I love Ryan Reynold’s Deadpool as much as the next guy and I’m always happy to see Hollywood try and dip its toes back into making straight comedies (a genre that’s mostly been subsumed into blockbuster mania and all but dead). That said, this looks very derivative. If it’s funny then maybe it’ll be worth it but that remains to be seen.

Tyler’s Prediction: Rent

Don’t Breathe 2

Rating: R

Release Date: August 13, 2021

Distribution: Theatrical release.

Synopsis: The sequel is set in the years following the initial deadly home invasion, where Norman Nordstrom (Stephen Lang) lives in quiet solace until his past sins catch up to him. (IMDB).

Director: Rodo Sayagues

Starring: Stephen Lang, Brendan Sexton III, Madelyn Grace

Juliana Purnell: Don’t Breathe was a tightly woven horror film that, similar to A Quiet Place, successfully managed to use its gimmick of silence and sound design to produce a tense narrative. The first film was the proverbial lightning in a bottle—part of its appeal was because the story was unique—so it’s questionable on what the sequel plans on exploring. What defines Don’t Breathe isn’t necessarily something that can be repeated (or at least it can’t be expected to achieve the same result). The sequel is also coming under blast for choosing to explore the Blind Man’s character, with many fearing the film will create sympathy for an evil person. Those closest to the production have raved about how this movie will be unique and how it’s otherwise going to be a strong sequel that travels in an interesting direction, but they always say that. No doubt it’ll be great to watch in a cinema setting, but personally I’d wait to see if early reviews confirm whether it is problematic in glamorizing violent behavior.

Juliana’s Prediction: Wait

Tyler Hummel: I’m pretty surprised the first movie got a sequel. Don’t Breathe was a particularly gruesome little grind house horror premise that was mostly held together by solid performances and dark story ideas. The idea of a direct sequel seems a bit far fetched but maybe I’ll give it a shot when I don’t have to pay for a ticket.

Tyler’s Prediction: Wait

CODA

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: August 13, 2021

Distribution: Apple TV+.

Synopsis: As a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) Ruby is the only hearing person in her deaf family. When the family’s fishing business is threatened, Ruby finds herself torn between pursuing her love of music and her fear of abandoning her parents. (IMDB).

Director: Sian Heder

Starring: Emilia Jones, Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur

Juliana Purnell: It’s really exciting to see more films willing to explore narratives that involve the deaf community. CODA premiered at Sundance and won several awards to critical acclaim, including the U.S. Grand Jury Prize. It was picked up shortly afterwards for distribution by Apple TV. It may tell a familiar coming of age tale, but sometimes these classic stories are done well, hence why these narratives are repeated so often in the first place. If you’re looking for a strong, wholesome drama this month, or just like to support independent cinema, then CODA is a good pick. Yet this film will be more influential to only a certain demographic; for general audiences, it’s probably not going to be special enough to warrant subscribing to Apple TV+ if you haven’t already. Given its Sundance pedigree, CODA has certainly proven it’s worth a look at some point, although some might be better off waiting until it’s more widely distributed and easier to rent.

Juliana’s Prediction: Rent

Tyler Hummel: I’m glad this one is coming to Apple TV+ because this film looks cheeky in a way that’s been done a thousand times but feels a bit fresh here. I like the premise: the rebellious teenager girl wants to go out on her own and pursue her dreams but her deaf family literally can’t understand her singing aspirations. It’s a dramedy premise that feels familiar, if only because the metaphor is obvious, but the trailer looks cute. I wouldn’t drive into the city for a film this small but I’d definitely stream it!

Tyler’s Prediction: Rent

Candyman

Rating: R

Release Date: August 27, 2021

Distribution: Theatrical release.

Synopsis: A “spiritual sequel” to the horror film Candyman (1992) that returns to the now-gentrified Chicago neighborhood where the legend began. (IMDB).

Director: Nia DaCosta

Starring: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett

Juliana Purnell: The hype has been strong for quite a while for this horror film remake, and it’s all because of one name: Jordan Peele. It’s not hard to see why—the man managed to raise the bar for the entire genre with his intriguing yet horrifying social critiques, Get Out and Us. This time he’s attached as a producer (one of many) and screenwriter (also one of many), so it’s questionable as to how involved he actually is with the project. Sometimes producers are distant and screenplays can be rewritten and drafted beyond recognition. Besides, poor direction can slaughter the most competent script, and director Nia DaCosta is a relative newcomer. Personally, I’m predicting it’ll go the same way as Mama; it was supported by a famous name (Guillermo del Toro) but it was still a fine film behind all of that hype. Still, Candyman is one of the bigger mainstream horror releases scheduled for this year and by that virtue alone it’s a must-see for fans of the genre.

Juliana’s Prediction: Buy

Tyler Hummel: Okay controversial opinion incoming: I totally understand why people I know and respect are DYING to see Jordan Peele’s remake of the classic horror film Candyman. That said, the trailer looks gruesome and exploitative (in terms of gore and jump scares) in a way I wouldn’t enjoy regardless of its status as a culturally important horror film. I’m not rushing out to see this one but I would definitely go out and check out the original since I tend to like classic horror more than modern horror.

Tyler’s Prediction: Wait

Thanks for joining us for Buy, Rent, or Wait! Let us know your predictions in the comment section. Join us in September for our next edition!

Are you looking forward to any of these films? What are your predictions? What film are you looking forward to most in August?

Juliana Purnell

After obtaining a Bachelor of Dramatic Arts, Juliana Purnell has enjoyed a successful acting career, working within theme parks, businesses, and on film sets. She has also taken on crew roles, both in film and theatrical productions. When Juliana isn't working, she enjoys watching movies of all genres at the cinema, writing, and playing with Samson, her pomeranian.

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