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New in Theaters August 22: Sin City - A Dame to Kill For, If I Stay, When the Game Stands Tall

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By Chris Kavan - 08/21/14 at 06:45 AM CT

Last weekend may have delivered for flops than wins - but overall the weekend, buoyed by The Turtles and Guardians, was still enough to give it an edge over the same weekend in 2013. Now that August is winding down, we'll see if the box office can sustain its winning streak. It's going to come down to a long-in-the-making sequel, an inspirational sports film and an emotional drama to keep things going. If the holdovers can keep up their end, I don't see any reason why August won't continue to over-perform.

SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR Back in 2005 Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez to give us the over-the-top violent and quite stylistic Sin City. The cast was also a nice mix: Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Clive Owen, Brittany Murphy, Jaime King, Josh Hartnett, Benicio Del Toro, Nick Stahl and Elijah Wood - created some of the most memorable (and at times, terrifying) characters. Now we're in 2014 - nine years is a long time between sequels and the rule of thumb is the longer you wait, the more diminishing the returns. But considering the original Sin City made a modest $74 million - there is a good chance this sequel can top it. Some of the cast is returning: Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Jaime King, Rosario Dawson, Powers Boothe and Bruce Willis all reprise their respective roles. Newcomers include Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green, Dennis Haysbert, Christopher Meloni, Jeremy Piven and Christopher Lloyd are just some of the new faces. While some of the movie will be based on Miller's existing work, the story featuring Gordon-Levitt is an original tale written for the movie. While the slick visuals may not be as new or exciting as they were in '05, I'm still going to give Miller and Rodriguez the benefit of the doubt because Sin City was so much fun. From the trailers, it looks like that feeling is still alive and well: gritty, bloody and stylish - we'll see if the film was worth waiting nine years for.

WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL We all need a little inspiration in our lives. Even though the film is light on big-name stars (Jim Caviezel, Michael Chiklis, Laura Dern and Clancy Brown are the most recognizable) - When the Game Stands Tall is certainly big on heart. It is based on the true story of Coach Bob Ladouceur who took the De La Salle High School Spartans from being unknowns to going on a 151-game winning streak - the longest such streak for any American sport. This is the kind of film that is going to live or die based on word-of-mouth, as there hasn't been a huge marketing push for this one. But this is also the kind of film that draws a lot of praise - as long as it doesn't stray too far into sentimental territory. Given its rather modest $15 million budget - as long as it can find a voice, it should have not trouble turning a profit.

IF I STAY Sin City is going after the boys, If I Stay is going after the girls. ChloŽ Grace Moretz leads the cast in the story of a young woman who is involved in an accident and while her body is in a coma, her spirt roams free - ultimately she must decide whether life is worth living or if she is better off movie on. Co-starring Mireille Enos, Jamie Blackley, Joshua Leonard and Stacey Keach (who also happens to Sin City - a win for him this weekend) - this is clearly going after the same audience who made The Fault in Our Stars such a hit. I don't think this is going to have nearly the same impact, but given there isn't exactly another movie out there targeting that audience, If I Stay could easily top Sin City and rise to top for the weekend. Personally, I think it looks way too emotionally sappy myself but this is exactly the kind of weepy tearjerker that draws in a predominantly female audience - just because Nicholas Sparks isn't involved doesn't mean it won't be a decent-sized hit. Moretz needs something good, as she's been on a rocky streak of late - this may be the picture to do it.

Whether your taste runs from bloody violence to emotional baggage to uplifting inspiration - the box office looks like it's still on the right track. Come Sunday we'll see if the August good times continue to roll.


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