As Rise of the Planet of the Apes and The Help do torrid business, the dog days of August are now upon us. This is the traditional dumping ground for movies that Hollywood deems neither robust enough to compete in the summer fray nor able to earn quality reviews during the more demanding adult fall season.
Which means that remakes of Fright Night, starring vampire Colin Farrell, and Conan the Barbarian, starring Game of Thrones he-man Jason Momoa, might actually do some business against the likes of Brit Lit romance One Day, starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess, which has earned bad advance buzz, and low-budget entries from indie veteran John Sayles (who shot period war film Amigo in The Philippines) and Finnish action helmer Renny Harlin, who shot his hand-held war movie 5 Days of War on location in Tbilisi, Georgia, and improbably cast Andy Garcia as the Georgian president and Entourage's Emanuelle Chriqui as a woman on the run from Russian soldiers. Yet another sequel, Robert Rodriguez's recast Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D, ominously did not screen for critics in advance of its wide opening in Aroma-scope. We'll update critic rankings (with trailers below) when they post.
Conan the Barbarian, Lionsgate, US | Director: Marcus Nispel; Cast: Jason Momoa, Ron Perlman, Stephen Lang, Rose McGowan, Rachel Nichols | "you will be treated to a non-stop barrage of brutal, ferocious battle scenes." | Comic-Con: "Drogo would kick Conan’s ass.” | 47% Tomatometer, 38% Metacritic.
One Day, Focus Features, US | Director: Lone Scherfig; Cast: Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess, Patricia Clarkson, Ken Stott, Romola Garai | "One Day's sense of humor is sorely lacking. Hathaway and Sturgess oversell the script's wan attempts at wisecracks, which are already broad enough." | 28% Tomatometer, 47% Metacritic.
Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D, The Weinstein Company, US | Director: Robert Rodriguez; Cast: Jessica Alba, Jeremy Piven and Joel McHale | "A passable shake-up, even if its 'Aroma-scope' experiment stinks. Like Ricky Gervais, the Spy Kids franchise could drone on - sorry, go on - forever." --James Mottram, Total Film | Tomatometer, Metacritic.
5 Days of War, Anchor Bay, US | Director: Renny Harlin; Cast: Rupert Friend, Val Kilmer, Andy Garcia, Dean Cain, Emmanuelle Chriqui | @akstanwyck tweeted: "Renny Harlin's 5 Days of War will not mark a comeback for director of Cliffhanger, who's been toiling in B-movie obscurity for a while now." | 60% Tomatometer.
Mozart's Sister, Music Box Films, FR | Director: René Féret; Cast: Marie Féret, Marce Barbé, Delphine Chuillot, David Moreau, Clovis Fouin | "A treat for classical music lovers and cinephiles alike." | 76% Tomatometer, 73% Metacritic.
Amigo, Variance Films, US | Director: John Sayles; Cast: Garret Dillahunt, Chris Cooper, Lucas Neff, DJ Qualls, Yul Vazquez | "It's a familiar tale, but the setting is different, and Sayles tells it with his usual cinematic vigor and attention to small detail." | 62% Tomatometer, 62% Metacritic.
Programming the Nation?, IFC, DOC - US | Director: Jeff Warrick; Cast: John B. Alexander, Richard Beggs, Nick Begich, August Bullock, Noam Chomsky | "A conspiracy theorist's dream." | 20% Tomatometer.