New movies this month include the animated family film “Underdogs,” a Khalil Gibran book adaptation, and a couple of remakes — “Fantastic Four” and “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” Here’s a sneak peek at what’s new in theaters and on DVD and Blu-ray this month. Note that release dates are subject to change.
Directed by Josh Trank (“Chronicle”) and inspired by the “Ultimate Fantastic Four” comics (the first arc of which was written by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Millar, with Joe Kubert illustrating), this movie offers a modern take on Marvel’s original and longest-running superhero team.
The story centers on four young outsiders who teleport to an alternate universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways. The team must learn to harness their new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.
The cast includes “Whiplash’s” Miles Teller as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, “House of Cards” star Kate Mara as Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman, “Fruitvale Station’s” Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch, and “Snowpiercer’s” Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm/The Thing. Stars also include Toby Kebbell as Doctor Doom, Reg E. Cathey as Dr. Franklin Storm, and Tim Blake Nelson as Harvey Elder/TheMole Man.
Based on Khalil Gibran’s best known fictional work, this animated production involves collaborations across many borders. Each of the 89-year-old classic’s chapters is directed by a different award-winning filmmaker, including Tomm Moore, Nina Paley, Michal Socha and others, with Roger Allers (“The Lion King”) connecting the narratives together.
Liam Neeson, Salma Hayek, Quvenzhane Wallis, John Krasinski, Alfred Molina and Frank Langella are a few of the actors voicing characters in the film.
One of the best-selling books of all time, “The Prophet” has sold more than 100 million copies since its original publication in 1923. The Lebanese-born Gibran is the third most-read poet in history, after Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu, and has been translated into more than 40 languages.
THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.
Oh boy! I loved this TV show when I was a kid, and the big screen version directed by Guy Ritchie doesn’t disappoint. Set against the backdrop of the early 1960s at the height of the Cold War, this spy thriller centers on CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and KGB agent Ilya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer), who are forced to put aside longstanding hostilities and team up on a joint mission to stop a mysterious international criminal organization that’s bent on causing chaos via nuclear weapons and technology.
The duo’s only lead is the daughter of a vanished German scientist, who is the key to infiltrating the criminal organization. It’s a race against time to find him and prevent a worldwide catastrophe. Also stars Alicia Vikander, Jared Harris, Elizabeth Debicki, Luca Calvani and Hugh Grant.
Not yet rated; likely PG | In Theaters 8/14 (2D/3D) | Ok for Kids 7+ | Weinstein | Reel Preview: 4.5 of 5 Reels | Facebook
From The Weinstein Company and director Juan Jose Campanella comes this animated adventures featuring the voices of Matthew Morrison, Ariana Grande, Nicolas Hoult, Bella Thorne, Katie Holmes, and John Leguizamo. The story follows Jake (Morrison), a shy but talented foosball player whose passion for the game is rivaled only by his love for free-spirited Laura (Grande).
With her encouragement, he beats the town bully, Ace (Hoult), in a foosball game, but everything changes when Ace becomes the world’s best soccer player and returns years later to turn their village into a new sports stadium. He starts to destroy everything, kidnaps Laura in the process, and just when all hope seems lost, the toy figures from Jake’s foosball table come to life. He and the players embark on a wild adventure to save Laura, reclaim their village and save the day with the help of his team, his town, and a little magic.
CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON II: THE GREEN LEGEND
Not yet rated; likely PG-13 | In Theaters 8/28 (IMAX/Netflix) | Ok for Kids 15+ | Weinstein | Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels | Facebook
Woo-Ping Yuen directs this sequel to the hit 2000 film that centers on a story of lost love, young love, a legendary sword, and one last opportunity at redemption. Michelle Yeoh reprises her role as Yu Shu Lien, and the film also stars Eugenia Yuan, Jason Scott Lee, Roger Yuan, Harry Shum Jr, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, and Donnie Yen as Silent Wolf.
Trailer not available at press time.
NEW ON DVD/BLU-RAY:
Not Rated | On Blu-ray 8/4 | Ok for Kids 6+ | Reel Review: 3.5 of 5 Reels | Buy on Amazon
Captured at sea and confined in a small tank at an aquatic park, Willy (Keiko the orca whale) is an unhappy and unpredictable attraction. No one understands Willy – except a scruffy street kid named Jesse (Jason James Richter) – who knows what it’s like to be without a family. Together these two form a special bond…one so strong that they’re willing to risk it all to find a way home! Lovely to see this 1993 classic family film on blu-ray.
DISNEYNATURE’S MONKEY KINGDOM
Rated G | Release Date TBA | Ok for Kids 5+ | Reel Review: 3.5 of 5 Reels
This sweet film from Disneynature throws a spotlight on a newborn monkey and its mother. Struggling to survive within the competitive social hierarchy of the Temple Troop, a dynamic group of monkeys who live in ancient ruins in the jungles of South Asia, they’re joined by a rich cast of forest characters. Life is grand, food is plentiful, and safety is assured — but only if you’re lucky enough to be born on the higher rungs of the Troop’s social ladder. But this young mother and her infant find themselves in a constant state of hunger and peril from higher-ranking monkeys. It’ll take a lot of ingenuity, hard work, and a little luck to change their place in the world.
THE LONGEST RIDE
Rated PG-13 for some sexuality, partial nudity, and some war and sports action | Release Date TBA | Ok for Kids 13+ | Reel Review: 3.5 of 5 Reels | Full Review
Horses, romance and Nicholas Sparks. What could be better? Based on the bestselling novel by Sparks, this romantic drama centers on star-crossed lovers Luke (Scott Eastwood), a former champion bull rider looking to make a comeback, and Sophia (Britt Robertson), a college student embarking on her dream job in New York City’s art world. As conflicting paths and ideals test their relationship, Sophia and Luke make an unexpected and fateful connection with Ira (Alan Alda), whose memories of his own decades-long romance with his beloved wife deeply inspire the young couple. Spanning generations and two intertwining love stories, “The Longest Ride” explores the challenges and infinite rewards of enduring love. Sigh … dreamy…
PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2
Rated PG for some violence | Release Date TBA | Ok for Kids 7+ | Reel Review: 2.5 of 5 Reels
The first “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” movie was fun and silly (because we need that sometimes, right?), and this sequel is more of the same, though perhaps not quite as good as the first movie. After six years of keeping our malls safe, Paul Blart has earned a well-deserved vacation. So he heads to Vegas with his teenage daughter Maya (super cute Raini Rodriguez) before she heads off to college. But safety never takes a holiday and when duty calls, Blart answers. Neal McDonough, D.B. Woodside and Nicholas Turturro also star in this movie directed by Andy Fickman (“The Game Plan”).
JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM
One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.
Images used with permission of the studios and distributors.