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Your guide to the most popcorn-worthy August flicks. Get set for sharks, Dracula and De Niro

‘New Meg. Old chum’ is the catch phrase for Jason Statham as he battles three prehistoric underwater beasts of the deep.

‘New Meg. Old chum’ is the catch phrase for Jason Statham as he battles three prehistoric underwater beasts of the deep. Photo: Warner Bros.

Feast or famine?

The euphoria – and global box office resurgence – surrounding the release of Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1, Barbie and Oppenheimer might have some movie fans wondering what’s left on the shelf this month for our viewing pleasure after these intense beauties.

Never fear.

Hollywood has delivered … with sharks, Dracula, another Robert de Niro quirky fun family flick, a film based on a true story and the highly anticipated documentary about the late Mushroom Records founder Michael Gudinski.

Bollywood is also front and centre, as the International Indian Film Festival gets underway, offering a wide selection of films on the big screen, including a feature-length documentary giving us “a rare insider’s view of the brass, arse, and farce of Bollywood’s inner workings on a global scale”, including its rise as a subculture in Australia.

But off the top, it’s welcome back to everyone’s favourite shark killer … Jason Statham … who returns to fight another day as more pre-historic beasts (three megaladons) find their way to our favourite beaches in Meg 2: The Trench.

In The Meg, which grossed $US530 million after its release in 2018, Statham played Jonas Taylor, a rescue diver who saved the crew of a damaged nuclear submarine that was being attacked by an unidentified creature.

They head down deep into the Marianas Trench where the megalodon reared its head, and it was up to Jonas to save them (and a whole lot of other people).

Now he’s back with his fast-talking, shark-chasing magic, going deeper to stop not one, but three prehistoric predators in the sequel which hits cinemas on August 3.

Definitely not a famine! So much to look forward to in the smorgasbord of film choices this month.

Reinventing Elvis: The ’68 Comeback – July 30

It might be too soon for some Elvis fans after the enormous success and hype of Baz Luhrmann’s stunning – and award-winning – Elvis biopic which dominated our screens last year.

But interestingly, this two-hour documentary by TV director Steve Binder captures one chapter in Elvis’ life where Binder teamed with Elvis Presley to defy Elvis’ notorious manager, Colonel Tom Parker.

The official log line reads it is “one of the most memorable moments in TV and pop-culture history” known as the 1968 Comeback Special, which tracks Elvis as a fading star who returns to the stage.

And the rest is history.

The Miracle Club – August 3

Starring award-winning actors Maggie Smith, Kathy Bates, Laura Linney and Agnes O’Casey, The Miracle Club is a heart-warming tear-jerker about three generations of close friends in 1967 who win a pilgrimage to the sacred site of Lourdes in France.

Each of the women, Lily, Eileen, Dolly and Sheila all have one thing in common – a determination to escape the drudgery of everyday domestic life in their Irish town of Ballyfermot.

About My Father – August 3

We’ve still got another two months before we see legendary Hollywood actor and two-time Oscar winner Robert de Niro in Martin Scorsese’s highly anticipated Killers of the Flower Moon.

For de Niro, at 79, these are the films he was born to play (Goodfellas, The Irishman, Taxi Driver).

In the meantime, his next release is back in the comedy genre of his Meet the Parents/The intern type roles, this time playing an old-school Italian immigrant dad, Salvo, whose son is about to propose to a very American girl.

Needless to say, there’s the inevitable weekend away with both families and it doesn’t go well, especially when he decides to cook a classic dish of spaghetti.

Sebastian Maniscalco, who worked with de Niro on The Irishman, stars as the son, with the film is loosely based on his personal story.

Rachel’s Farm – August 3

Actress and filmmaker Rachel Ward’s feature documentary takes us on her journey into revolutionary farming after the family farm, which she owns with husband and fellow actor Bryan Brown, sustained years of drought, bushfires and floods.

A country girl from an early age, Ward felt a deep desire to try other, sustainable methods of farming, and together she teams up with her neighbour and goes on that brave journey of finding better ways to farm.

This included how to better manage soils, pastures, cattle and their grazing rotations. How to eliminate pesticides, fertilisers and, as she says, try to listen to Mother Nature.

Dracula: Voyage of the Demeter – August 10

Who doesn’t love a good Dracula movie?

Based on a single chilling chapter from Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula, Dracula: Voyage of the Demeter tells the terrifying story of the merchant ship Demeter, which was chartered to carry private cargo – 50 unmarked wooden crates – from Carpathia to London.

Strange events befall the doomed crew as they attempt to survive the ocean voyage, stalked each night by a merciless presence onboard the ship.

When the Demeter finally arrives off the shores of England, it is a charred, derelict wreck.

There is no trace of the crew. Very scary.

Not to be confused with the 2008 Clint Eastwood masterpiece Gran Torino, Gran Turismo is based on the true story of a team of unlikely underdogs – a struggling working-class gamer (Archie Madekwe), a failed former race-car driver (David Harbour) and an idealistic motorsport executive (Orlando Bloom).

Together, they risk it all to take on the most elite sport in the world.

The sports biopic, directed by District 9’s Neill Blomkamp, stars Archie Madekwe as lead character Jann Mardenborough.

Also cast also includes Geri Halliwell Horner (the former Spice Girl now married to Red Bull Racing Formula One team principal Christian Horner).

“Once it finds its feet, GranTurismo is brilliant fun!” writes GamesRadar+ entertainment editor Emily Murray.

“The thrilling racing sequences had my heart beating so fast, whilst David Harbour brings plenty of charisma having a witty dynamic with Archie Madekwe.”

BlackBerry – August 17

In the decade before the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy, the BlackBerry was the smartphone.

Loosely based on the 2016 book, Losing the Signal, BlackBerry reviewers say the film is more than a Social Network-style drama of a company’s explosive rise.

It’s also about the catastrophic demise of the world’s first smartphone.

“It was dubbed the “CrackBerry,” because of the seemingly addictive hold the sleek gizmo, with its satisfyingly clicky keyboard buttons, had on the market,” wrote Wired.

“Kim Kardashian was glued to hers … Barack Obama ran the Free World from his … and its famously secure messaging client helped international drug rings conduct businesses across the globe.”

Now, the status symbol is a relic, says Wired, adding that this “fresh, thoughtful comedy” points out, “BlackBerry is more than just a bleak cautionary tale.”

Brand Bollywood Down Under – August 18

This is the story of Bollywood and the arrival of its actors and crews in Australia in the late 1990s and its impact on culture, education, the economy, employment and tourism.

“More than just novel new entertainment, Bollywood brought serious money to Australian shores,” reads the official synopsis.

“Beneath the glitz and glamour is a roller coaster tale of normally dry politicians bending over backwards to try and lure the industry to Australia – from announcing considerable film subsidies to premiers performing cameos in dance sequences.”

The film explores the successes and failures of Bollywood’s rise as a serious subculture in Australia, and around the world.

There are interviews with icons of cinema along with rare behind the scenes footage of Bollywood stars filming at picturesque locations across the country.

Michael Gudinski

Michael Gudinski (left) with the legendary Paul Kelly. Photo: AAP

Ego: The Michael Gudinski Story – August 31

The long-awaited feature documentary about Michael Gudinski is making it to the big screen this month.

Gudinski, “a music man, impresario, and natural born hustler” launched Mushroom Records at age 19 and went on to sign and nurture iconic artists including Skyhooks, Split Enz, Jimmy Barnes, Paul Kelly, Hunters and Collectors, Kylie Minogue, Archie Roach and Yothu Yindi.

He eventually brought the biggest acts in the business to our shores including the Foo Fighters, Ed Sheeran, Bruce Springsteen and Sting.

Famed for his eccentricities and boldness, “the film dives into the psyche and unorthodox tactics of Gudinski as he became the frontman of a cultural movement and built a music empire whose artists helped create the soundtrack of a nation”, according to the official release.

Topics: Movies
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