Best New Movie Bets: August 15 | 'The Giver', 'The Trip to Italy' & more!

Best New Bet: "The Giver"

Lois Lowry’s 1993 children novel gets the film treatment in this adaptation directed by Philip Noyce (who helmed the exceptional 1989 thriller “Dead Calm” among others). “The Giver” centers on a radical society in which there are no emotional variances (peaks and valleys), in an attempt to quell human tensions for a manufactured utopia. When young Jonas (newcomer Brenton Thwaites) becomes the “receiver of knowledge” he is mentored by The Giver (Jeff Bridges) which leads to a possible societal shake up.

There have been a few changes made to the original novel, such as the lead character Jonas being aged from 11 to the more cinematically opportune 16. “The Giver” is anchored by veteran talents, the stupendous Jeff Bridges and Oscar titan Meryl Streep, who takes on a sinister role as the film’s villain.

“True Blood” star Alexander Skarsgard is also in the mix along with music superstar Taylor Swift, in a hopefully more fleshed out role than her part in “Valentine’s Day”. For readers who’ve longed to see the book come to life, it’s been a considerable waiting period and meeting loyal fans’ expectations could prove challenging. For non-readers it’s a chance to take in yet another movie revolving around teenagers battling a dystopian (or in this case “utopian”) society.

Also Opening:

“The Expendables 3” Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham are back with the latest installment in the “Expendables” franchise and they’ve brought another bevy of 80’s and 90’s action stars with them; including Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas and Harrison Ford. While some viewers might be worn out by the premise, it has yet to get boring, personally. A chance to see a multitude of these nostalgic stars in one movie and in some cases, squaring off for the first time, still elicits excitement. 

"Let's Be Cops" stars FOX's "New Girl" co-stars Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. as a pair of buddies who decide to fake being cops after being in costume for a sorority party gets them mistaken for the real thing. Buddy movies can often give way to some hilarious hi-jinks and it's directed by Luke Greenfield who brought audiences the raunchy 2004 comedy "The Girl Next Door" so it sounds promising.

Opening in Limited Release:

Only playing in New York is the sequel to the outstanding comedy “The Trip” with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. This time the reluctant pals are headed on a scenic trip to Italy where an impression showdown is bound to take place. What makes “The Trip” series so interesting is that Coogan and Brydon are both playing semi-fictionalized versions of themselves as their dueling whit takes center stage. The original film was one of the funniest improv comedies ever and with the entire team back together (Director Michael Winterbottom included), it should be a trip.

Also opening in limited release is “Frank” starring Domhnall Gleeson as an aspiring musician who joins up with an out-there band whose leader (played by Michael Fassbender) wears a giant papier-mache head the entire time. Gleeson was incredible in last year’s “About Time” and it’ll be interesting to see what he does in this bizarre comedy.

Aubrey Plaza stars in yet another limited release following last week’s “About Alex”. This time starring in the zany dramedy, “Life After Beth”, a clever play off “life after death”. The main character Beth (Plaza) comes back to life as a zombie and her boyfriend (Dane DeHaan) tries to reconnect with her. Anna Kendrick also stars.

Are you looking forward to any of these titles? Eclectic Pop wants to hear from you! You can share your thoughts by tweeting @EclecticPop or leaving a comment below.