Hitting Screens, Week of August 8

In spite of some pretty damning reviews. the comics-based movie, Suicide Squad had what Deadline characterizes as a “huge” opening this weekend. They credit that success in part to the diverse cast of Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto and Viola Davis.

Opening this week is MV5BMjE5MjIwNTMxMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTA1MDcxOTE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_ Pete’s Dragon, the next in the Disney run of remakes of their earlier successes (Jungle Book, Cinderella), creating a new story from the 1977 original. Debuting Aug. 12, it stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Oona Laurence, and Robert Redford.

IndieWire calls it “a warm, wistful, and wholly wonderful remake.” Variety says it is one “of the year’s most delightful moviegoing surprises, a quality family film that rewards young people’s imaginations and reminds us of a time when the term ‘Disney movie; meant something: namely, wholesome entertainment that inspired confidence in parents and reinforced solid American values.”

The Hollywood Reporter disagrees, calling it “dismayingly dull,” while The Guardian says it “is part ET, part Jungle Book, part Peanuts. It’s sweet and soulful and Spielberg-ish, but with a bitter streak.”

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As we wrote earlier there are tie-ins, including a novelization, Pete’s Dragon Junior Novel: With 8 Pages of Photos From The Movie!, Disney Book Group (Hachette/Disney Press). Also available is another middle-grade novel,  Pete’s Dragon: The Lost Years, Elizabeth Rudnick with illustrations by Nicholas Kole (Hachette/Disney Press) and a picture book featured in the film  Pete’s Dragon: Elliot Gets Lost by David Lowery and Toby Halbrooks, illustrated by Benjamin Lowery (Hachette/Disney Press),

MV5BMTk3MzU4ODk1Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzc5MzE2OTE@._V1_SY1000_SX675_AL_A very different film premieres as well, the Mel Gibson vehicle Blood Father, a “rescue-and-revenge thriller,” as Variety calls it, featuring Gibson as a very, very down-on-his-luck father who takes on all comers to save his daughter. It is based on the 2005 book of the same name by Peter Craig (no tie-in has been released).

The Guardian, calls the film “a muscular and deliriously entertaining B-movie that is sure to play like gangbusters with genre aficionados,” continuing “As comeback projects go, Blood Father is stellar. It’s a wonder Quentin Tarantino, the king of career resurrection, didn’t get to Gibson first.”

Variety agrees, saying it is a “a perfect platform to launch the comeback of Mel Gibson … a way to remind people that Gibson, if given the chance, could juice up a serious movie.” About the film itself, they call it “a grimy little pulp action thriller … a scuzzy-bloody B-movie … way down on the totem pole of respectability.”

Indiewire was less impressed saying “Gibson now solidifies his new stature as a B-movie star, fated to anchor discardable material readymade for the bottom-of-the-barrel VOD treatment.”

9780778330042_b885dOn the small screen comes Chesapeake Shores, the Hallmark Channel adaptation of Sherryl Woods’s ten-book series of the same name. The first episodes follow events from The Inn at Eagle Point, Sherryl Woods (HC/MIRA; OverDrive Sample).

As Deadline describes the story, “It centers on the O’Brien clan—a large Irish-American family living on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in a town designed and founded by three O’Brien brothers. The television series focuses on the drama that ensues when the O’Brien family reunites after years apart to face the memories from their past and learn the importance of reconciliation.” It debuts on August 14 and stars Meghan Ory, Jesse Metcalfe, and Diane Ladd.

Several sneak peeks are available on Hallmark’s show site.

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