August is both the best and the worst of the months to go to the movies. Usually, at this point of the year all that has to come from Hollywood has come: studios are unlikely to release their major titles at a time when the collective attention threshold is so low. Unless it’s titles like Fast & Furious, for example: too big, too noisy, too important to worry about the heat and the holidays, they could go out in August as at Christmas and it would make no difference in terms of promotion, relevance, collections. But for all the other movies that Fast & Furious they are not, the old Hollywood adage according to which August is the “dumping ground” of cinema applies. August is the graveyard where missed franchises go to die: The black tower, perhaps the biggest cinematic embarrassment of recent years, was released on August 10th. August is the month in which you go to the cinema when all the other floors are blown: there is air conditioning and a “light” film in programming is always available, one that does not require cerebral effort with consequent sweating. August, however, is also the month in which studios – American and non-American – distribute the titles they don’t know what to do with. Those too strange or too risky or too embarrassing to be sent to the room at another time of the year. It seems to be the case of this August 2022: there are no “big” titles in programming, but there are many “small” and interesting ones. We have chosen five.
Nope by Jordan Peele (August 11)
After Get Out And UsJordan Peele has become perhaps the best known and most appreciated exponent of the new generation of horror directors who are restoring the genre to a relevance it seemed to have lost in the 1910s. Nope is his third film, in America it was released on July 22nd and the critics spoke very well about it. Absolutely nothing was known about the plot until its release in American theaters: for months, the only clues in this sense were generic references to science fiction and aliens, and the film was described in the official synopsis as a “pop nightmare” , an expansion of Peele’s “horror epic”. The American public seems to have appreciated it very much, so much so that in recent days Peele is due to intervene on Twitter to scold a fan who had awarded him the title of best horror director of all time. Peele admitted that compliments make him happy, sure, but he also warned that from now on he will no longer tolerate “disrespect towards John Carpenter.”
Crimes Of The Future by David Cronenberg (August 24)
It was one of the most anticipated and commented films of the last edition of the Cannes Film Festival, the return to body horror of the director who institutionalized this film genre, the end of the sabbatical for one of the fundamental authors of the Seventh Art. David Cronenberg he made this film out of stubbornness: he personally made the phone calls to the producers to raise funds, it was he who decided that it would be better to shoot in Greece – in its first draft, Crimes Of The Future it was set in Toronto – because tax breaks make life easier. His goal is always the same: to move a little further the limit of the tolerable in the cinema, the limit of the possible on the screen. It seems that during the premiere in Cannes, several people in the audience have abandoned the room for “disgust”: certain scenes were impossible to watch, the story of this future in which humanity treats surgery like sex and tumors as “inner beauty” difficult to bear. Cronenberg’s reaction says it all about him and the film: “It was exactly what I wanted.”
Men by Alex Garland (August 25)
Until now, Alex Garland had devoted himself to science fiction. Ex machina And Annihilation were two of the most successful and discussed sci-fi films of recent years (especially Ex machina, thanks also to the interpretations of Domnhall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander and Oscar Isaac). Now Garland has decided to try horror: Men is his first film in four years and is one of the most radical horror flicks of recent times. The film is constructed as a duet / duel between Harper Marlowe (played by Jesse Buckley) and Geoffrey (Rory Kinnear) and was described by Mark Kermode of Guardian like “Alex Garland’s journey into toxic masculinity”, a symbolic tale in which men, however, are literally all equal.
Bullet Train by David Leitch (August 25)
Compared to the previous three, Bullet Train seems to be the “classic” Hollywood film of August: an action comedy of a couple of hours that many (relatively many) will go to see only out of curiosity to understand how Brad Pitt fares in a role so different from those who has played in recent years. The plot seems to put together a little bit of John Wick and a little bit of Snowpiercer: A retired killer (Ladybug, played by Pitt) is forced to return to work to retrieve a mysterious briefcase hidden on the train from Tokyo to Kyoto. Obviously, the competition is not lacking, all the characters chasing the briefcase are connected to each other, there are the blows, the mysteries and the surprises. A light film, of course, but it can be an opportunity to meet Kotaro Isaka, one of the most popular crime and thriller authors in Japan and author of the novel from which Bullet Train is drawn. For starters, there’s this beautiful profile of the New York Times.
Fire Of Love by Sara Dosa (August 25)
Finally, a documentary. Though Fire Of Love it’s not exactly a documentary. The director is Sara Dosa but, as AO Scott rightly wrote on the New York Timesthe protagonists Maurice and Katia Krafft deserve to be considered the other two directors of this film, since most of the incredible images that you see there were taken by them. Fire of Love tells the life of these two French volcanologists, husband and wife, who died in a volcanic eruption in 1991. He tells it as “a love story overshadowed by tragedy,” writes Scott. According to him, the most fascinating thing about Fire of Love it is the ability to bring the viewer to assume the point of view of two people that is easy to reduce to two imprudent. Their death is a fact that is explained and clarified in the first part of the film, which from that moment on becomes instead a tale of devotion, morality and spirituality.