The Hot List: 10 Movies to See in August

The Hurt LockerIt’s August. If you’re probably like me, you’re sweaty, hot and in desperate need of some time out of the sun. What’s better (other than going to the beach) than to sit back in an air-conditioned room and watch not one but ten good-to-great movies? Sure, most of the big blockbusters have already been released for the summer, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t stuff to see. 

Whether they’re in theaters or on DVD/Blu-Ray, here are ten movies you need to see in August. Watch these movies soon, or else you’ll have put off a good thing:

  • (500) Days of Summer (now in theaters)
    This romantic comedy is not a romantic comedy at all, but a story about a relationship. This edgy, well-written, well-acted drama-comedy is about the 500 days one young man spends thinking about, dating, sleeping with, fighting with, breaking up with, getting back together with and… with a beautiful young woman named Summer. Though it doesn’t need to be a date movie, this is one of the best date movies of the century. Yes, you heard me.
  • Two Lovers (now on DVD)
    Odds are that you haven’t seen this Joaquin Phoenix/Gwenyth Paltrow romantic drama. Even though it arrived on DVD a couple months ago, this film made few waves, resulting in very little awareness. Two Lovers is superbly acted and presents a very simple and yet equally complex story about a bipolar man torn between a sweet, loving woman and a wild party girl.
  • The Hurt Locker (now in theaters)
    Do you like war films? Do you like good war films? Then watch The Hurt Locker, a visually and emotionally intense Iraq war film about a group of guys who defuse roadside bombs while facing the threat of snipers and other wartime obstacles at every turn. This is the best movie of the year so far, and should not be passed up.
  • District 9 (coming to theaters on August 14)
    Despite (or because of) some very weird trailers, District 9 looks like this year’s Cloverfield. Set in South Africa, this movie about racism and homophobia (maybe) is in fact a unique-looking action-thriller about a group of aliens who “crash landed” on Earth and have been quarantined in a small part of the country. When the government goes in to relocate this allegedly peaceful species, they are surprised when the creatures fight back. The couple reviews that I’ve read have been glowing, and this looks like one last hoorah before the summer ends.
  • Inglorious Basterds (coming to theaters August 21)
    Well, except for this last hoorah. Quentin Tarantino’s long-awaited war flick about a group of mercenaries who sneak around WWII Germany to torture and murder Nazis arrives in theaters soon. Brad Pitt and a ridiculous amount of other actors have parts in this movie, which looks like no other war movie ever seen. That being said, I’ve heard some mixed reviews – but it’s Tarantino!
  • Sunshine Cleaning (coming to DVD August 29)
    This dramedy received strong reviews when it came to theaters in the spring, and is now hitting DVD. About two women ( Amy Adams and Emily Blunt) who decide to start their own crime scene-cleaning business, the movie looks to offer a fair amount of laughs and indie entertainment.
  • The Baader Meinhof Complex (coming to theaters August 21)
    This drama about a group of young people who set out to stop what they perceive as a new wave of fascism in 1970’s Germany by becoming terrorists looks pretty cool and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Picture at this year’s Awards. I just received a screener in the mail so expect my review in the next week or two.
  • I Love You, Man (coming to DVD on August 11)
    This funny bro-mance starring Paul Rudd and Jason Segel arrives on DVD soon. The movie isn’t quite as good as such films as Role Models (which starred Rudd) and Forgetting Sarah Marshall (which starred Segel), but it’s still pretty damn close. Get a big group of friends together and laugh your assess off at this crude but heartwarming tale of heterosexual man love.
  • Adventureland (coming to DVD on August 25)
    Don’t expect to be laughing out loud, but this coming-of-age story set amidst a bunch of young carnies during one summer is surprisingly touching and entertaining. Starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart, with Ryan Reynolds in tow, the movie is a great blend of comedy, drama, romance and teenage life, not unlike…
  • A John Hughes Film
    In memory of the late director, go and watch one of his timeless classics. Despite his best movies coming twenty years ago or more, they stand up surprisingly well. Though Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off are well worth it, I think I’ll do something different and watch Planes, Trains and Automobiles, one of my all-time favorite comedies.

Other potential winners are Halloween II, The Goods: Live Hard. Sell Hard.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Top 10 Movie Lists