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Here Are All the Movies Opening Today, August 21; What Will You See?

Here Are All the Movies Opening Today, August 21; What Will You See?

Here are the films opening theatrically in the U.S. the week of Friday, August 21. All synopses provided by distributor unless listed otherwise.

Wide

American Ultra
Director: Nima Nourizadeh
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg, Bill Pullman, Topher Grace, Tony Hale, John Leguizamo, Walton Goggins, Teri Wyble, Connie Britton, Michael Papajohn, Monique Ganderton, Lavell Crawford, Nash Edgerton
Synopsis: “A stoner and his girlfriend’s sleepy, small-town existence is disrupted when his past comes back to haunt him in the form of a government operation set to wipe him out.”
Criticwire Grade Average: C (4 reviews)


Hitman: Agent 47
Director: Aleksander Bach
Cast: Rupert Friend, Zachary Quinto, Hannah Ware, Emilio Rivera, Rolf Kanies, Thomas Kretschmann, Dan Bakkedahl, Ciarán Hinds, Mona Pirzad, Prince William E. Morris, Michaela Caspar, Jerry Hoffmann
Synopsis: “An assassin teams up with a woman to help her find her father and uncover the mysteries of her ancestry.”


Sinister 2
Director: Ciarán Foy
Cast: Shannyn Sossamon, James Ransone, Tate Ellington, Nicholas King, Lucas Jade Zumann, Caden M. Fritz, Jaden Klein, Delphine Pontvieux, Olivia Rainey, Laila Haley, Dartanian Sloan
Synopsis: “A mother & her twin sons find themselves in a house marked for death as the evil spirit of Bughuul continues to spread with frightening intensity.”
Criticwire Grade Average: C- (4 reviews)

Limited

After Words
Director: Juan Feldman
Cast: Marcia Gay Harden, Óscar Jaenada, Jenna Ortega
Synopsis: “A romantic adventure focusing on Jane, a librarian who attempts to escape her mid-life crisis by traveling to Costa Rica. There she meets a younger man named Juan who takes her on an unexpected journey filled with adventure and romance.”
Theatrical Release: New York and Los Angeles, Atlanta, Austin, Cleveland, Dallas, Houston, Miami and Phoenix


Being Evel
Director: Daniel Junge
Synopsis: “In the history of sports, few names are more recognizable than that of Evel Knievel. Long after the man hung up his famous white leather jumpsuit and rode his Harley into the sunset, his name is still synonymous with the death-defying lifestyle he led. Notoriously brash, bold, and daring, Knievel stared death in the face from the seat of his motorcycle, but few know the larger-than-life story of the boy from Butte, Montana. After an adolescence riddled with petty thievery and general rabble-rousing, Knievel set his sights on superstardom, a feat he achieved when televisions around the world aired the startling crash footage of his 1967 attempt to jump the fountains at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The jump was spectacular, but the failed landing that sent him skidding like a ragdoll across the asphalt was the main attraction. Throughout the 1970s, his legacy as King of the Daredevils spawned action figures, movies, and a generation of kids who wanted to be just like Evel.” [Sundance Film Festival]
Theatrical Release: Various (including New York, Los Angeles, Denver and San Diego)


Beltracchi: The Art of the Forgery
Director: Arne Birkenstock
Synopsis: “A mesmerizing, thought-provoking yet surprisingly amusing documentary on the life and times of Wolfgang Beltracchi, who tricked the art world for nearly 40 years by forging and selling paintings of 20th-century masters. A larger-than-life personality who was responsible for the biggest art forgery scandal of the post-war era. An expert in art history and painting techniques, he tracked down the gaps in the oeuvres of great artists and filled them with his own works. He and his wife Helene fooled renowned experts, curators and art dealers. In Beltracchi – The Art of Forgery, Wolfgang and Helene Beltracchi chat openly – and with great wit and charm – about their quixotic adventures in an overheated art world ruled by blind greed, and in which apparently no one has an answer to the question as to what is an original, and what is a forgery.” [Berlin International Film Festival] 
Theatrical Release: New York


The Curse of Downers Grove
Director: Derick Martini
Cast: Bella Heathcote, Lucas Till, Penelope Mitchell, Tom Arnold, Kevin Zegers
Synopsis: “The town of Downers Grove looks like your average suburban neighborhood — but Downers Grove has a disturbing secret…. For the past eight years, one senior from every high school graduating class has met a bizarre death right before graduation day. And this year, Chrissie Swanson has a terrible feeling that she is going to be the one to die. Can Chrissie survive the curse of Downers Grove or will she, like those seniors before her, fall prey to the town’s deadly secret?”
Theatrical Release: Los Angeles


Digging for Fire
Director: Joe Swanberg
Cast: Jake Johnson, Rosemarie DeWitt, Anna Kendrick, Orlando Bloom, Sam Rockwell, Brie Larson, Chris Messina, Melanie Lynskey, Jenny Slate, Ron Livingston, Mike Birbiglia, Jane Adams, Tom Bower
Synopsis: “Young married couple Tim and Lee have planted the seeds of a family in their East LA duplex. Three years after the birth of their son, they’re still adjusting to the joy and pain of life with kid, navigating potty talk at the dinner table, disagreeing over preschools, and putting off doing their taxes. For a change of pace, they decide to housesit for one of Lee’s Westside yoga clients. Once there, Tim discovers something suspicious in the yard that gets the wheels in his head turning, and Lee, worried that he will become obsessed with digging deeper, decides to drop their toddler off with her mother for a much-needed night out on the town. Sans-wife, Tim invites his buddies over, and a ‘boys-will-be-boys’ scenario ensues, full of drinking, awkward joint-passing, and perhaps getting a bit too close to a girl who isn’t the mother of his child.” [Synopsis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival]
Criticwire Grade Average: B- (14 reviews)
Theatrical Release: New York, Los Angeles and Chicago (expands to twenty additional markets on August 28th)


Grandma
Director: Paul Weitz
Cast: Lily Tomlin, Julia Garner, Marcia Gay Harden, Judy Greer, Laverne Cox, Sam Elliott
Synopsis: “Elle, a onetime successful poet, abruptly breaks up with Olive, her girlfriend of four months. But before she gets a chance to get overly sentimental, her granddaughter, Sage, unexpectedly shows up with an emergency that requires money. With the clock ticking, the two set out in a vintage Dodge and drop in on Elle’s old friends and flames, asking for help but instead ending up rattling skeletons and digging up secrets. As they kick up a storm all over town, Elle’s tough front reveals she is still reeling over the loss of her longtime partner, Vi, who recently passed away.” [Sundance Film Festival]
Criticwire Grade Average: B+ (20 reviews)
Theatrical Release: New York and Los Angeles (expands nationwide throughout the end of October)


Guidance
Director: Pat Mills
Cast: Pat Mills, Zahra Bentham, Laytrel McMullen, Alex Ozerov, Kevin Hanchard, Tracey Hoyt
Synopsis: “David Gold, 36, a pathologically immature former child actor, has never been able to get over high school. Recently diagnosed with skin cancer, unemployed and with nothing left to lose, he fakes his resume and gets a job as a high school guidance counselor. Quickly winning over the students at Grusin High with his laidback attitude and similar interests, he befriends Jabrielle, a teenaged outcast and soon learns that sometimes you can go too far, especially when it comes to committing a ridiculous crime.”
Theatrical Release: New York and Seattle (expands to five additional markets through the end of September)


Gurukulam
Director: Neil Dalal & Jillian Elizabeth
Synopsis: “Every individual confronts fundamental questions about the nature of reality, self-identity, and elusive happiness, yet few make these their life goal. An international group of students have traveled to a monastery in a remote area of southern India with the single purpose of discovering these answers. ‘Gurukulam’ is a journey into their lives, a wisdom tradition, and the contemplative space in which it is carried.”
Theatrical Release: New York


The Iron Ministry
Director: J.P. Sniadecki
Synopsis: “Filmed over three years on China’s railways, The Iron Ministry traces the vast interiors of a country on the move: flesh and metal, clangs and squeals, light and dark, and language and gesture. Scores of rail journeys come together into one, capturing the thrills and anxieties of social and technological transformation. The Iron Ministry immerses audiences in fleeting relationships and uneasy encounters between humans and machines on what will soon be the world’s largest railway network.”
Criticwire Grade Average: A- (9 reviews)
Theatrical Release: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Diego (opens in Seattle on August 28th)


Learning to Drive
Director: Isabel Coixet
Cast: Ben Kingsley, Patricia Clarkson, Grace Gummer, Jake Weber, Sarita Choudhury, Avi Nash, Daniela Lavender, Harpreet Singh Toor, Samantha Bee and John Hodgman
Synopsis: “Wendy is a fiery Manhattan author whose husband has just left her for another woman; Darwan is a soft-spoken taxi driver from India on the verge of an arranged marriage. As Wendy sets out to reclaim her independence, she runs into a barrier common to many lifelong New Yorkers: she’s never learned to drive. When Wendy hires Darwan to teach her, her unraveling life and his calm restraint seem like an awkward fit. But as he shows her how to take control of the wheel, and she coaches him on how to impress a woman, their unlikely friendship awakens them to the joy, humor, and love in starting life anew.”
Criticwire Grade Average: B+ (9 reviews)
Theatrical Release: New York and Los Angeles


Mateo
Director: Aaron I. Naar
Synopsis: “Matthew Stoneman dreamed of pop stardom. Instead, he went to jail, learned Spanish, and emerged as ‘Mateo,’ America’s first white mariachi singer. Mateo is on the brink of completing an album of original songs in Havana. But his estrangement from friends and family, his criminal past, and his love for Cuban women could derail him on his quest for fame.” [SXSW Film Festival] 
Theatrical Release: Los Angeles


The Mend
Director: John Magary
Cast: Josh Lucas, Stephen Plunkett, Lucy Owen, Mickey Sumner, Austin Pendleton, Cory Nichols, Sekou Laidlow, Louisa Krause, Leo Fitzpatrick, Sarah Steele
Synopsis: “One night in Harlem, sour, aging Mat reunites with his younger brother Alan, just before Alan heads out for a long-planned vacation with his live-in girlfriend Farrah. Only days later, much sooner than expected, Alan returns home from his vacation to find his apartment commandeered by Mat, Mat’s girlfriend, and Mat’s girlfriend’s son. As doors slam and the power gives out and the threads of family fray, a mystery lingers: why has Alan returned home without Farrah?” [SXSW Film Festival]
Theatrical Release: New York (opens in Los Angeles on August 28th)


The Park Bench
Director: Ann LeSchander
Cast: Walter Perez, Nicole Hayden, Stella Maeve, John Prosky, Brian Mulligan, Dustin Fitzsimons
Synopsis: “When Emily, a librarian-to-be, is assigned to tutor Mateo, a struggling undergrad, in American Lit, they do not get along; but when the discussion turns from classics to confessions, they learn something that could change their lives forever.”
Theatrical Release: Los Angeles


Searching for Home: Coming Back for War
Director: Eric Christiansen
Synopsis: “An unflinching, emotionally involving, extremely personal look at veterans returning from war and their search for the “home” they left behind, physically, mentally and spiritually. From World War II, Korea and Vietnam to the modern day conflicts Searching for Home chronicles the trials of assimilating back into civilian life. A multi-generational tribute, Searching for Home honors all the men and women who have left home only to return to the same place but as a changed person.”
Theatrical Release: New York and Los Angeles


She’s Funny That Way
Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Imogen Poots, Lucy Punch, Owen Wilson, Kathryn Hahn, Will Forte, Rhys Ifans, Joanna Lumley, Cybill Shepherd
Synopsis: “When established director Arnold Albertson casts his call girl-turned-actress Isabella “Izzy” Patterson in a new play to star alongside his wife Delta and her ex-lover Seth Gilbert, a zany love tangle forms with hilarious twists. Jennifer Aniston plays Izzy’s therapist Jane, who is consumed with her own failing relationship with Arnold’s playwright Joshua Fleet, who is also developing a crush on Izzy.”
Criticwire Grade Average: C (5 reviews)
Theatrical Release: Various (including New York and Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Kansas City, Louisville, Miami, Minneapolis, Philadelphia Phoenix, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle)


Slow Learners
Director: Don Argott & Sheena M. Joyce
Cast: Adam Pally, Sarah Burns, Reid Scott, Catherine Reitman, Mary Grill, Kevin Dunn
Synopsis: “High school guidance counselor Jeff, and his platonic friend and co-worker Anne are responsible, well intentioned, kind… and boring. They frustratingly watch on as their peers find love and companionship, while they continue to fail in spectacular fashion when it comes to romance. As they reach their loneliness breaking point they make a pact to forgo their familiar, vanilla personas in exchange for their unexplored, confident alter egos. They wave goodbye to Jeff’s awkward all-male book club and Anne’s flailing attempts to catch the eye of Jeff’s sexy neighbor Max, and say hello to raucous summer nights filled with booze, dancing, and sex. Naturally things don’t exactly go according to plan.” [Tribeca Film Festival]
Theatrical Release: New York (opens in Philadelphia on August 28th)


Station to Station
Director: Doug Aitken
Synopsis: “Sending a burning arrow into the stunting effects that the compartmentalization of culture has on how creativity manifests, visual artist Doug Aitken embarked on an experiment exploring a less materialistic and more nomadic direction of art creation, exhibition, and participation. Station to Station involved a train that crossed North America housing a constantly changing creative community including artists, musicians, and curators, who collaborated in the creation of recordings, artworks, films, and 10 unique happenings, across the country.” [Sundance Film Festival]
Theatrical Release: Los Angeles


Top Spin
Director: Sara Newens & Mina T. Son
Synopsis: “Set against the backdrop of one of the most under-appreciated sports in America, three teenagers battle their way through the world of competitive ping pong. While facing the unusual challenges coming of age in a niche sport, their journey reveals the passion it takes to pursue their Olympic-sized dreams.”
Theatrical Release: Los Angeles


Youth
Director: Tom Shoval
Cast: Eitan Cunio, David Cunio, Moshe Ivgy, Gita Amely, Shirili Deshe
Synopsis: “Brothers Yaki and Shaul live with their parents in Petah Tikva, a satellite town of Tel Aviv. Yaki is doing military service. As for all other 18-year-old Israelis, this means he is allowed to carry a gun. This weapon gives the brothers the power to change their lives and that of their family – or so they believe. This unusual coming-of-age story marks director and film critic Tom Shoval’s feature-length debut. His film is a meticulous delineation of the close bond existing between the brothers and the unchanging aspects of their young lives: their daily routine, their family, their neighbourhood, and their country. Their now unemployed father descends into depression and the family is on the brink of losing their apartment. While Yaki is on a tour of duty, Shaul pursues a pretty young girl, filming her every move on his mobile phone and sending his brother the clips. They kidnap the girl, hide her in a cellar and then place a call demanding a huge ransom for her release. But they’ve forgotten that today is Shabbat and their victim’s orthodox family will not answer the phone. Time starts to run out …” [Berlin International Film Festival]
Theatrical Release: New York


Missed last week? Here are all the releases from the weekend of August 14th.

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