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Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to August

“THE GIVER”

Who: Brenton Thwaites, Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep and Katie Holmes
What: In a seemingly perfect community without differences or choice, a young boy is chosen to learn from an elderly man about the pain and pleasure of the real world.
When: August 15th
Why: It’s been a while since I read the Lois Lowry novel on which the film is based, but from what little I do remember, it’s understandable why some fans have voiced their outrage about this big screen adaptation. Though the more futuristic stuff isn’t too distracting considering Hollywood’s current obsession with dystopian sci-fi films like “The Hunger Games,” the decision to cast a 24-year-old actor in the lead role (playing a 16-year-old instead of the 12-year-old that appears in the book) feels wrong for a number of reasons. With that said, it has a great supporting cast that includes Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep and Alexander Skarsgard, so surely it can’t be as bad as people fear. And if it is, well, you can always read the book.

“SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR”

Who: Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin and Eva Green
What: The town’s most hard-boiled citizens cross paths with some of its more reviled inhabitants.
When: August 22nd
Why: It’s been nine years since the first “Sin City” captured audiences with its innovative storytelling, but this long-awaited sequel is at least five years too late, with many fans giving up hope of another installment when Robert Rodriguez decided his time was better spent directing garbage like “Shorts,” “Spy Kids 4” and the “Machete” films. My excitement for the project has decreased over the years, and even more so after seeing the first few trailers, which feel stagnant and stale compared to how far cinema has come in the time since the original. The cast is pretty great, especially with newcomers like Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Josh Brolin added to the mix, but it’s going to take more than that for Rodriguez to win me over again.

“IF I STAY”

Who: Chloe Grace Moretz, Mireille Enos, Jamie Blackley and Stacey Keach
What: After a car accident puts her in a coma, Mia Hall has an out-of-body experience where she must decide whether to wake up and live a different life than she imagined.
When: August 22nd
Why: It seems like there’s an adaption of some young adult novel being released every month, and August’s entry comes courtesy of author Gayle Forman. But while her novel may follow many of the typical conventions of the teenage romance genre, “If I Stay” at least wins some points for originality with the whole paranormal angle. It’s not the first time that gimmick has been employed, of course, but it’s a cool twist that should work in its favor as long as it doesn’t delve too deep into melodrama. Chloe Grace Moretz has proven time and again that she’s one of the best young talents in Hollywood, and it’s nice to see her branching out in something a little different than usual, even if the movie isn’t exactly my cup of tea.

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