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New in Theaters August 8: Ninja Turtles, Into the Storm, Step Up: All In, Hundred-Foot Journey

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By Chris Kavan - 08/07/14 at 06:40 AM CT

August got off to a rip-roaring great start thanks to Guardian's of the Galaxy - who easily brought in a new August record with a hefty $94.3 million monster opening. Now the question remains if the rest of August is going to be able to keep up the pace - and if Hollywood can finally turn around the steady decline it has seen all summer long. Guardians should have a great hold this weekend - but it's going to have a lot of company - four turtles, some tornadoes, a street dancing mega crew and a mature romantic, culinary treat - will all fight for the box office crown. And, sadly, if past trends are any indication, the turtles will win.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES I have no problem admitting that in my youth, I was a huge fan of the Ninja Turtles. I still have tons of the toys - characters, vehicles, playsets - you name it, I probably have it. But I have moved on - none of the rehashed Turtles have interested me. Now we have Jonathan Liebesman (with producer Michael Bay - who else?) giving us a new live-action Ninja Turtles movie. While the fans have been cautiously optimistic about the results, I, for one, am not swayed. It doesn't help that Megan Fox is our April O'Neill (though I'm quite happy that Will Arnett is playing harried assistant Vernon Fenwick). The vocal talent is provided by Johnny Knoxville (Leonardo), Noel Fisher (Michelangelo), Jeremy Howard (Donatello) and Alan Ritchson (Raphael). Tony Shalhoub voices Master Splinter, while supporting cast also includes Whoopi Goldberg, Williams Fichtner and Tohoru Masamune (as the go-to villain Shredder). Essentially the story posits that New York City has become a police state run by Shredder and the Foot Clan who control all aspects of the city - from politics to police - and do so with ruthless abandon. That is until our intrepid Turtles make themselves known and set about righting the wrongs. Eh - everything I have thus far seen has left me underwhelmed and not that excited. The look is definitely an improvement over the other live-action Turtle films - and the story looks to be much darker as well - but I'm still not convinced this is going to be anything better than the Transformers movies - all flash, no show. However, it does have the best chance to unseat the current champions at the box office - even if I think Guardians by and far deserves another win.

INTO THE STORM Weather-related movies are pretty few and far between. The only tornado movie of note has been Twister - all the way back in 1996. That being said, it's about time for an update (what with technology and all), so this weekend we have Into the Storm - which brings a "found footage" aspect to a tornado outbreak. Storm chasers, thrill-seekers and normal people just trying to survive - all document a monster storm hitting the town of Silverton. Along for this ride are Richard Armitage (sadly, without a dwarf retinue), Sarah Wayne Callies (sadly, without a zombie retinue) and Matt Walsh. Much of the rest of the cast is made up of younger, fresh-faced cast: Max Deacon, Nathan Kress, Alycia Debnam Carey, Arlen Escarpeta and Jeremy Sumpter. Now it's time to place bets on who is going to die horrifically before the movie is over. Coming from tornado country myself, something like this might hit too close to home for people who have actually lived through such a disaster (I myself haven't been hit by a tornado, but the devastation is close enough I know what Mother Nature can do when she's angry). We'll see if Into the Storm just plays this up for a CGI extravaganza of tornadic destruction, or actually gives some story behind the people and city that have to live through it.

STEP UP: ALL IN I would have thought the dance movie fad would be long gone by this point and time. But, kudos to the people behind Step Up - they're not about to let this dead horse go without a few more beatings. As a noted fact, each Step Up film has earned less than its predecessor in theaters - so, if Step Up: All In continues the trend, it should earn less than $35 million that Step Up: Revolution did in 2012. Why they just don't bite the bullet and start going straight to video (or streaming) is beyond me. The gimmick this time is that All In features an "all-star" cast made up of the best dancers from the previous films- or at least some of them. Given that I don't know who I should be looking for I'm guessing the people headlining this movie: Ryan Guzman, Briana Evigan, Adam G. Sevani, Misha Gabriel Hamilton, Stephen Boss and Stephen Stevo Jones have been involved in the previous movies at some point in time. This type of movie had a built-in audience who will see it opening weekend and from there it will likely fade fast.

THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY Finally, for those who want something a bit more intellectual this summer, Helen Mirren stars in the romantic drama The Hundred-Foot Journey. MIrren plays Madame Mallory, the owner of a high-quality French restaurant, and she clashes immediately with the Kadam family after they open a nearby restaurant. Indian legend Om Puri plays the head of the family with Manish Dayal playing his son, a talented chef who catches the eye of Madame Mallory - in more ways than one. This is going to play well with the older crowd - those not interested in turtles or tornadoes or street dancing - and it is good counter-programming. Even if the movie plays things safe, it is also safe to say the budget is going to be a fraction of the monster films and it should find a good enough audience to give it a profitable margin.

With Guardians of the Galaxy already getting August off on the right foot, we'll have to see if any of the four new films can match its might. I have a feeling none are going to be able to measure up, but put them all together and it should still make for a great weekend - one that is sure to keep August on the right track - ahead of 2013.


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Wrote on 08/08/14 at 07:16 PM CT

Rental at best - I would watch Into the Storm over the Turtles personally.

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Wrote on 08/08/14 at 10:07 AM CT

I did not know that was the plot of the turtles movie. I wasn't planning on going to see ti in the theaters and the plot made me want to see it in theaters even a little less. Sounds like a renter to me.

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