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Comedy Calendar: Your August Movie Options

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Welcome to “Comedy Calendar,” a regular column that tracks the month’s most intriguing film comedies that will be coming to a theater near you.

Though it’s technically part of summer movie season, August doesn’t have nearly as many high-octane releases as the previous months do. Things start to slow down in preparation for the fall and the award-hungry prestige films that will be coming soon. But in the meantime, you can choose from several Sundance offerings — not to mention new films from the directors of Dodgeball and Hot Fuzz. Here’s a rundown of this month’s comedy options…

2 Guns (August 2)

What’s It About: A DEA agent and a Naval Intelligence officer who don’t know each other separately go undercover to infiltrate a Mexican drug cartel, neither realizing that their partner is a law enforcement officer as well.

Who’s In It: Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Paula Patton, Bill Paxton and Edward James Olmos.

Why You Should Care: 2 Guns was directed by Baltasar Kormakur, who previously made another Wahlberg starring vehicle, Contraband. This action-comedy is rated R, offering a sexy, nasty alternative to a summer of superheroes and kids’ movies.

The Spectacular Now (August 2)

What’s It About: An alcoholic, party-hearty teen comes across a pretty, shy local girl, an unlikely friendship forming in the process.

Who’s In It: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Kyle Chandler.

Why You Should Care: This comedy-drama earned enthusiastic buzz after its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won a special jury prize for its acting ensemble. Based on Tim Tharp’s novel, The Spectacular Now was adapted by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, the screenwriters behind (500) Days of Summer. And the trailers are definitely positioning the film to be this season’s smart, sensitive, John Hughes-esque coming-of-age tale.

We’re the Millers (August 7)

What’s It About: A drug dealer needing to smuggle a large marijuana shipment from Mexico assembles a fake family that will avert suspicion, including a local stripper.

Who’s In It: Reuniting after costarring in Horrible Bosses, Jason Sudeikis plays the drug dealer and Jennifer Aniston is the stripper. Also, you’ve got Emma Roberts, Will Poulter, Ed Helms and Nick Offerman.

Why You Should Care: Director Rawson Marshall Thurber previously made Dodgeball, and Sudeikis is no doubt hoping that We’re the Millers will further his bid to transition from television — he recently confirmed he’s leaving Saturday Night Live — to leading-man status on the big screen.

Planes (August 9)

What’s It About: A sweet crop-dusting plane wants to compete in an air race. But there’s a catch: He’s afraid of heights.

Who’s In It: This animated film features voice work from Dane Cook, Stacy Keach, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher, Cedric the Entertainer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and John Cleese.

Why You Should Care: Advertised as “From Above the World of Cars,” this Disney animated movie wasn’t made by Pixar, but its talking vehicles have been fashioned to remind you of Lightning McQueen and his buddies. Disney had initially planned to put Planes only out on DVD, but instead it’s going to get a theatrical release first. If your kids dug Cars, they’re probably beyond excited for this, although we’ve already had one animated movie this summer about an underdog who competes in the big race: the under-performing Turbo.

In a World… (August 9)

What’s It About: Set in the world of voiceover performers, In a World… examines the romantic and career foibles of a Los Angeles actress.

Who’s In It: Lake Bell, who also wrote and directed the film. Plus, Fred Melamed, Demetri Martin, Michaela Watkins, Ken Marino, Rob Corddry, Nick Offerman and Tig Notaro.

Why You Should Care: Another crowd-pleaser from Sundance, In a World… is a very likeable romantic comedy, and it’s got a great cast. Plus, seeing the inner workings of the voiceover industry — i.e. the people who narrate movie trailers with pumped-up pomposity — is quite fun.

Prince Avalanche (August 9)

What’s It About: In 1988, two Texas guys get to know each other while painting traffic lines on an empty stretch of highway.

Who’s In It: Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch.

Why You Should Care: This quiet comedy-drama represents a return to director David Gordon Green’s indie roots: When he started out, he made movies like George Washington before switching to broad comedies such as The Sitter and Your Highness. And both leads are charming in an understated way.

I Give It a Year (August 9)

What’s It About: A recently married couple begin to wonder if they’re built to last — an opinion secretly shared by their friends.

Who’s In It: Rose Byrne and Rafe Spall play the lovebirds. Anna Faris, Simon Baker and Stephen Merchant lead the supporting cast.

Why You Should Care: Already available on-demand and through iTunes, I Give It a Year is the brainchild of writer-director Dan Mazar, who co-wrote Borat and Bruno. And in a summer that hasn’t offered a lot of romantic comedies, this one might fit the bill.

Kick-Ass 2 (August 16)

What’s It About: Kick-Ass and Hit Girl return, this time joined by an older vigilante named Colonel Stars and Stripes.

Who’s In It: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Jim Carrey and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.

Why You Should Care: The first Kick-Ass was a cult favorite, so there’s an audience for a sequel. But the new film received a real high-profile boost by the fact that Carrey, who plays Colonel Stars and Stripes, announced that he wasn’t going to do publicity for the film after experiencing “a change in my heart” about the film’s amount of bloodshed. So expect the old “Do violent movies influence society?” debate to return to the forefront around Kick-Ass 2’s release.

Austenland (August 16)

What’s It About: A Jane Austen super-fan visits Austenland, a British resort that’s like Disneyworld for all things Austen.

Who’s In It: Keri Russell, JJ Feild, Bret McKenzie, Jennifer Coolidge, James Callis and Jane Seymour.

Why You Should Care: Debuting at Sundance, Austenland will cater to Austen worshipers. There hasn’t been an indie chick-flick smash this summer: This could very well be it.

The World’s End (August 23)

What’s It About: In the midst of a pub crawl, a group of friends unexpectedly do battle with alien invaders.

Who’s In It: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan and Rosamund Pike.

Why You Should Care: Director Edgar Wright teams up again with star and co-writer Pegg to complete their loose trilogy of films that included Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. The reviews out of the U.K., where The World’s End has already open, were pretty positive, which will hardly matter to these guys’ rabid fan base.

Drinking Buddies (August 23)

What’s It About: Romantic complications ensue for two employees of a craft brewery who have feelings for each other — despite being in relationships with other people.

Who’s In It: Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson are the employees. Ron Livingston and Anna Kendrick are their significant others.

Why You Should Care: Drinking Buddies was written and directed by Joe Swanberg, who previously made tiny mumblecore films like Hannah Takes the Stairs and LOL. (He also directed a segment in the V/H/S horror anthology.) This new comedy-drama is his step into slightly bigger-budget terrain, and it features his most high-profile cast to date.

You can follow film critic Tim Grierson on Twitter.

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar

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IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

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IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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