Summer is slowly winding down, giving Hollywood just a few more weeks to unload the last of its annual sequels, prequels and remakes before Oscar season begins in earnest. The bad news, for some: School will be back in session soon. The good news: August packs a promising lineup of big-screen spectacles, including:
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Aug. 5)
The primates: James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Andy Serkis
What has Jason Bateman done to deserve this? So often cast as the lone voice of reason in a world of hysterical nitwits, the Arrested Development star is rarely given roles that take advantage of his exceptional comic timing and his uncommon ability to engage audiences even when trapped in movies as brainless as last year’s Couples Retreat.
Imagine E.T. recast as a low-rent comedy, conceived by the cheerfully profane Shaun of the Dead co-stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and you should have some idea what to expect from Paul, their first big-screen collaboration as screenwriters.
Absent the subversive touch of Edgar Wright, who directed and co-wrote Shaun (2004) and the pair’s buddy-cop parody Hot Fuzz (2007), Paul is a slighter diversion, as much a loving homage to geek culture as a gentle send-up of the genre’s lesser entries, including 1988’s Mac and Me.
It’s been a decade since Mike Judge, the soft-spoken creator of animated TV hits including Beavis and Butt-Head and King of the Hill, took his first foray into live-action with the subversive workplace comedy Office Space.