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Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to August

“KICK-ASS 2″

Who: Aaron-Taylor Johnson, Chloe Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Jim Carrey
What: Kick-Ass joins a group of citizens who fight crime in costume, while the Red Mist plots an act of revenge that will affect everyone Kick-Ass knows.
When: August 16th
Why: The first “Kick-Ass” was one of my favorite films of 2010, but I’m not entirely sure a sequel is such a good idea, and I’m clearly not alone, because original distributor Lionsgate felt the same way, opening the doors for Universal to take over the franchise. Although there’s plenty of source material to be mined for another movie, creator Mark Millar’s second volume of the comic book series just isn’t as good. If writer/director Jeff Wadlow can tone down some of the over the top carnage (the violence in Part Two makes the original look like child’s play) and spend more time developing the characters, then he might be able to recapture the success of the first movie. But even with the returning cast and the addition of Jim Carrey as a costumed superhero, that’s much easier said than done.

“PARANOIA”

Who: Liam Hemsworth, Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman and Amber Heard
What: An entry-level employee at a powerful corporation finds himself quickly rising up the ranks, but at a dangerous price: he must spy on his boss’s old mentor.
When: August 16th
Why: Liam Hemsworth doesn’t quite have the movie star presence of older brother Chris, but that hasn’t stopped him from landing roles alongside Hollywood royalty. In the past few years, he’s helped launch a global franchise (“The Hunger Games”), shared the screen with Sylvester Stallone (“The Expendables 2”), and now, worked with Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman… in the same movie! And let’s be honest: though “Paranoia” looks like a pretty generic corporate thriller, the idea of seeing Ford and Oldman face off against one another as vicious rivals is enough to make the film mildly intriguing. The former has been choosing some great roles lately (“42, “Ender’s Game”), and Oldman has rarely put a wrong foot forward, so while it will probably fly under most people’s radar, seeing the two veterans duke it out should be worth the price of admission alone.

“THE BUTLER”

Who: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, John Cusack and Robin Williams
What: A look at the life of Cecil Gaines, who served eight presidents as the White House’s head butler from 1952 to 1986.
When: August 16th
Why: I wasn’t crazy about Lee Daniels’ “Precious,” and I absolutely hated “The Paperboy,” so it’s highly unlikely that “The Butler” (assuming The Weinstein Co. wins their legal battle against Warner Bros. and can actually call it that) will change my mind about the director. With that said, it’s certainly an interesting concept – one that provided Daniels the ability to assemble such an impressive ensemble cast, which includes John Cusack, Robin Williams, Liev Schreiber, James Marsden and Alan Rickman all playing U.S. Presidents from throughout the years. It’s hard not to imagine at least one of them earning an Oscar nomination for their work in the movie (probably Academy favorite Williams), and the same goes for Forest Whitaker in the lead role. But if “The Butler” sounds like classic Oscar bait, it’s likely because it is, and that usually doesn’t bode well for the film itself.

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