This week marks the first week of August, which means the summer movie season is headed into the home stretch.  That usually means that awards season is not far behind, so seeing as how this is a quiet week, in terms of new releases, I figured it would be a good opportunity to highlight the movies I’m most looking forward to in the last half of the year.

5. Oldboy

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Director: Spike Lee

Starring: Josh Brolin, Samuel L. Jackson, Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley

PLOT: A man tries to solve the mystery behind his 20 year-long imprisonment.  Based on the 2003 Korean film by Chan-Woo Park.

The original Oldboy is bat-shit crazy.  I don’t want to spoil it because you definitely should see it, but it’s a jaw-dropping film of violence and altogether craziness.

To be honest, I was skeptical about this project until I saw the trailer.  I’m not the biggest Spike Lee fan, but I do appreciate some of his work (Summer of Sam, however, was the biggest piece of trash I’ve ever seen).  Based on the trailer, it looks as if Lee was able to stay as close to the original as possible for an American release.  We all know that America likes to be coddled, so I’m anticipating some of the more crazy aspects of the film will get lost in translation, but it does appear that a lot of it has made it to the States.

4. Anchorman: The Legend Continues

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Director: Adam McKay

Starring: Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Christina Applegate

PLOT: The continuing adventures of San Diego’s Number 1 ranked news team.

I think I’ve gone on record as saying that Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is the best comedy of the 21st Century.  It’s supremely silly but it still holds up to this very day.  Every time I watch it, I just cannot stop laughing at everything that I laughed at the first time I saw it.  That’s the test of a great comedy and it is still Will Ferrell’s best.

3. The Wolf of Wall Street

Leonardo Dicaprio in The Wolf Of Wall Street

Director: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill, Jon Bernthal

PLOT: The true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to wealth and power on Wall Street to his downfall due to crime and corruption.

If you told me that Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio were teaming up to do an adaptation of the novelization of an episode of Mama’s Family, I’d probably still be there opening weekend.  The duo has yet to do any wrong; I may not be the biggest fan of The Aviator, but it’s still a pretty damn good movie.

This movie looks surprisingly fun, based on the trailer, though the characters are obviously in for ups-and-downs similar to what we saw in Goodfellas and Casino.  With Jonah Hill, Jon Bernthal (in his biggest role since departing from The Walking Dead), and plenty of others, the cast looks pretty solid and DiCaprio looks primed to get snubbed once again.

2. Inside Llewyn Davis

Inside-Llewyn-Davis

Director: Joel and Ethan Coen

Starring: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund

PLOT: An aspiring singer/songwriter tries to make it in the folk music scene in 1960’s New York City.

I love when the Coen Brothers take on a period film, especially when it involves music.  O Brother Where Art Thou is one of my favorite films of the ‘00s and I’m not even that big of a fan of the music genre.  But the Village in the 1960’s?  As a Bob Dylan fan, you officially have got my attention.

The movie looks like a love letter to that special time and place in New York where some of the most brilliant musical minds honed their craft.  It looks like the Coens’ sense of humor will come in to play, as it always does, and you can’t ever ask for a better director-actor combo than when John Goodman takes on a Coen Brothers project.

1. The World’s End

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Director: Edgar Wright

Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Rosamund Pike

PLOT: Friends reunite in their hometown twenty years after a fateful pub-crawl, looking to finish the entire journey.  Something is amiss in the town and they may have walked into more than they bargained for.

The final installment of the Cornetto Trilogy looks about as good as its predecessors, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, and even though apocalypse movies are all the rage this year, I have a sneaking suspicion that this might be the very best of the like-minded movies.  I love Edgar Wright’s attention to detail in his films and finding every homage and reference he puts into his movies just adds to the rewatchability factor.

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