6 Movies to See in Theaters This August

By  · Published on August 1st, 2016

Summer 2016 comes to a close with big films, small films, and hopefully more than a few great films.

Can you believe summer 2016 is already winding down? Feels like we only just ran our summer preview of films to look forward to, but now it’s almost time to close up shop on the year’s biggest movie season. It’s been a rough one both at the box office for studios and in the audience as too many films failed to deliver the goods, but we’re staying positive and looking forward.

August is traditionally summer’s dumping ground, hence the paucity of blockbuster-wannabes, but there are more than a few films opening this month that have our interest.

Keep reading to see which new releases we think are most worth your time this month at your local movie house.

Suicide Squad

Release Date: August 5th

Director/writer: David Ayer

Cast: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Jared Leto, Common, Jai Courtney, Joel Kinnaman

Why is it a must-see? It’s The Dirty Dozen in DayGlo colors as a gaggle of super-villains come together to fight crime, and if that’s not enough to get you to watch then I’ll add that it looks to be the least dour comic book movie since Guardians of the Galaxy. Ayer can be hit or miss as a filmmaker, but this one promises to be either a fun, eclectically-cast romp *or* an utter and absolute disaster. Either way it’ll also be the month’s biggest release, so let’s find out together shall we?

Hell or High Water

Release Date: August 12th

Director: David Mackenzie

Writers: Taylor Sheridan

Cast: Ben Foster, Chris Pine, Jeff Bridges

Why is it a must-see? This is the kind of movie you can walk into blind based solely on the talent sitting both behind and in front of the camera. Two of leads are strong, interesting actors, and Pine is heading in that direction. This is Sheridan’s second produced script, but his first was for one of last year’s best films, Sicario. Mackenzie meanwhile has flown under the radar, but he’s already delivered two utterly fantastic films in Starred Up and Perfect Sense. Seriously, both are worth seeking out and watching immediately.

Pete’s Dragon

Release Date: August 12th

Director: David Lowery

Writers: David Lowery, Tony Halbrooks

Cast: Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Karl Urban

Why is it a must-see? Disney’s late-’70s release of Pete’s Dragon is memorable as one of the studio’s live action/animation hybrids of the period, but it’s not what you would call a good movie exactly. The lovely Helen Reddy aside, it’s a bit bombastic at times. Lowery’s reboot is by all accounts a great film, one being compared favorably to the likes of Where the Wild Things Are for its mix of childhood yearnings and observations, and special effects.

Kubo and the Two Strings

Release Date: August 19th

Director: Travis Knight

Writers: Marc Haimes, Chris Butler

Voice Cast: Charlize Theron, Ralph Fiennes, George Takei, Rooney Mara, Matthew McConaughey,

Why is it a must-see? Laika is only four feature films deep as a stop-motion animation studio, but across the likes of The Boxtrolls, ParaNorman, and Coraline they’ve proven themselves as talented stewards for childhood tales of whimsy and dark wonder. Their latest looks to take that mentality and move it into a more epic tale befitting of legend and magic, and in addition to some spectacular-looking images they’ve added their most impressive voice cast to date. Knight is Laika’s CEO too, and while he’s worked as an animator on their films this is his debut as a feature director.

Don’t Breathe

Release Date: August 26th

Director: Fede Alvarez

Writers: Fede Alvarez, Rodo Sayagues

Cast: Jan Levy, Stephen Lang

Why is it a must-see? Audiences were divided on Alvarez’s Evil Dead reboot, but minor script issues aside I remain firmly in the “hell yes” camp. The epic and deliriously fantastic gore was a part of its appeal, but he also gave a stylish reality that added to the terror. His follow-up is more of a suspense tale involving a game of cat and mouse inside a blind man’s house, but the atmosphere looks to be on point. And honestly, you can’t go wrong with Levy and Lang either.

In Order of Disappearance

Release Date: August 26th

Director: Hans Petter Moland

Writers: Kim Fupz Aakeson

Cast: Stellan Skarsgård

Why is it a must-see? We first saw this Norwegian gem nearly two years ago at Fantastic Fest 2014, and our love for it remains. A dryly comic crime caper set against a wintry landscape, the film sees a reunion between the director, writer, and star of 2010’s A Somewhat Gentle Man, and they once again deliver a sharp comedy with pathos and quick bursts of violence. Think Coen Brothers with a Nordic sensibility, and you’ll be right on target.

Also out this August: Spa Night, Florence Foster Jenkins, Ben-Hur, War Dogs, Mechanic: Resurrection.

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.