IMDb Picks: August 2014

by IMDb-Editors | created - 11 Jun 2014 | updated - 05 Aug 2014 | Public

IMDb's editors share the movies and TV shows they recommend for August 2014.

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1. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

PG-13 | 121 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

76 Metascore

A group of intergalactic criminals must pull together to stop a fanatical warrior with plans to purge the universe.

Director: James Gunn | Stars: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana

Votes: 941,023 | Gross: $333.18M

When it was first announced, it was easy to be cynical about Guardians of the Galaxy. After running through their A-list talent (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk), was Marvel Studios stretching their brand too much by putting this eclectic, little-known superhero group up on the big screen?

Once Disney’s marketing kicked in to gear, it seemed like that skepticism was unfounded. An angry gun-toting raccoon sounds absurd, but on the big-screen Rocket Raccoon looks like a brilliant addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The same goes for Star Lord, Gamora, Drax and Groot (a talking tree).

Of course, the characters may look like fun, but is the movie any good? Early reactions suggest that, yes, Guardians of the Galaxy does deliver the kind of action, adventure and humor that moviegoers have come to expect from Marvel. Based on all of this, August 1st can’t get here soon enough. --Ray Subers

Guardians of the Galaxy opens in theaters August 1.

2. The Killing (2011–2014)

TV-14 | 45 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A police investigation, the saga of a grieving family, and a Seattle mayoral campaign all interlock after the body of 17-year-old Rosie Larsen is found in the trunk of a submerged car.

Stars: Mireille Enos, Joel Kinnaman, Billy Campbell, Liam James

Votes: 89,151

IMDbTV Editor Melanie and I agree on many things, but "The Killing" is not one of them. I loved the first season's ending. She did not. I kept watching Season 2 and became a huge fan of the show. She did not. She laughed at me when the show was canceled. I laughed harder when it was renewed. That happened twice. Now that the show is finally coming to an end, I'm just excited that the show will get a proper ending, especially after the powerful last season. And maybe, just maybe, Linden, Holder, Melanie and I can all find some peace. --Michelle Nelson

I'm just happy it's ending so I never have to hear about it again. Love, @IMDbMelanie

Season Premiere: Midnight Friday, August 1 on Netflix.

3. Get on Up (2014)

PG-13 | 139 min | Biography, Drama, Music

71 Metascore

A chronicle of James Brown's rise from extreme poverty to become one of the most influential musicians in history.

Director: Tate Taylor | Stars: Chadwick Boseman, Nelsan Ellis, Dan Aykroyd, Viola Davis

Votes: 18,968 | Gross: $30.51M

The appeal of seeing James Brown's complicated, amazing life story on the big screen is undeniable, but what really piques my interest in this film is the combined power of thoughtful casting (Chadwick Bozeman, Viola Davis, Nelsan Ellis, Octavia Spencer, for a start) and a general lack of preciousness in the trailer and clips that have been released so far. There's no hint of the ultra-serious approach that has overwhelmed the entirety of many biopics in the past, but instead a balanced approach of sober storytelling when needed and the ability to the laugh at the antics of this passionate, beloved, and less than saintly performer. --Heather Campbell

Get On Up opens in wide release in theaters August 1.

4. The Knick (2014–2015)

TV-MA | 58 min | Drama

A look at the professional and personal lives of the staff at New York's Knickerbocker Hospital during the early part of the twentieth century.

Stars: Clive Owen, André Holland, Jeremy Bobb, Juliet Rylance

Votes: 39,032

Remember when Steven Soderbergh announced he was retiring from making movies? Thank goodness he decided to redirect his talents to the small screen instead. Following the staff of New York's Knickerbocker Hospital circa 1900, "The Knick" is a fascinating, brutal look at the strides taken to innovate medicine and surgical procedures, spearheaded by Dr. John Thackery (Clive Owen). But Thackery is a drug addict with a large ego, not to mention a bigot who chafes at the hospital's hiring of the gifted, Harvard-educated Dr. Algernon Edwards (Andre Holland), an African American man who struggles to win the respect of white peers.

"The Knick" can be tough to watch; and Soderbergh's tight shots of the butchery that passes for pioneering surgical procedures means that this show is not for the faint of heart or queasy stomachs. But Owen and Holland play off of one another brilliantly, and the rest of the cast is simply wonderful. If you can handle the gore, you're sure to appreciate how gutsy this new drama can be. --Melanie McFarland

Series Premiere: 10pm Friday, August 8 on Cinemax.

5. Outlander (2014– )

TV-MA | 64 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

An English combat nurse from 1945 is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743.

Stars: Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Duncan Lacroix, Tobias Menzies

Votes: 91,526

In February I shared my excitement at the possibility of this series joining Starz, the premium cable channel that features such testosterone-driven fare as "Black Sails" and "DaVinci's Demons." I knew nothing about "Outlander," only that its central heroine, Claire Randall, was a woman who fell out of her own time -- 1945 -- and somehow lands in the Scottish Highlands of 1743, where she comes under the protection of the chivalrous Jamie Fraser. Having seen the satisfying first two episodes of the series, which blends historical fiction with elements of romance and a wee bit of time travel, I can confirm that the excitement around this story's television debut is absolutely warranted.

But if there's one thing that fans could be distressed about, it's Starz's decision to split the 16-episode first season into two parts, with the back eight airing in early 2015. Then again, absence will probably make many hearts grow that much more fond of Claire and Jamie. --Melanie McFarland

Series premiere: 9pm Saturday, August 9, on Starz. Free sampling will be made available starting August 2 online and via multiple television platforms.

6. The Giver (2014)

PG-13 | 97 min | Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi

47 Metascore

In a seemingly perfect community, without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice, a young boy is chosen to learn from an elderly man about the true pain and pleasure of the "real" world.

Director: Phillip Noyce | Stars: Brenton Thwaites, Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Taylor Swift

Votes: 104,762 | Gross: $45.09M

Lois Lowry’s novel The Giver was a young-adult sensation long before Twilight and The Hunger Games were topping the best-seller lists. Now that young-adult books have become one of Hollywood’s favorite resources, Lowry’s novel is finally getting the big-screen treatment.

The movie deserves credit for casting Jeff Bridges as The Giver and Meryl Streep as the antagonistic leader of the village, and it appears like a large section of it will be in black-and-white (which is in line with the book). Fans aren’t pleased with some of the changes, though: most notably, lead actor Brenton Thwaites is over twice as old as the Jonas character is supposed to be.

If you can get past some of the tweaks, though – and I think I can – it’s easy to get excited about what’s sure to be one of the most unique young-adult adaptations yet. --Ray Subers

The Giver opens in theaters August 15.

7. The One I Love (2014)

R | 91 min | Drama, Fantasy, Mystery

66 Metascore

A troubled couple vacate to a beautiful getaway, but bizarre circumstances further complicate their situation.

Director: Charlie McDowell | Stars: Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss, Ted Danson, Kiana Cason

Votes: 30,910 | Gross: $0.51M

This was one of my favorite movies at Sundance 2014. It's a fun storyline that takes a unique approach to relationships, and has excellent performances from Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss. As you might have heard, it's hard to talk about this movie without spoiling it, so I'm excited to finally be able to have a proper discussion with friends once they see it. --Michelle Nelson

The One I Love opens in limited release in theaters August 15.

8. Frank (II) (2014)

R | 95 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

75 Metascore

Jon, a young wanna-be musician, discovers he's bitten off more than he can chew when he joins an eccentric pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank.

Director: Lenny Abrahamson | Stars: Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Moira Brooker

Votes: 69,927 | Gross: $0.64M

Every August, once most of the blockbusters of summer are well into their cinematic releases, a group of unusual, hard-to-define titles creeps quietly into theaters, and Frank is a perfect example of this late-summer phenomenon. Featuring Michael Fassbender as an enigmatic and bewildering musician whose persona depends upon wearing a papier-mâché head at all times, Frank appears to be a darkly comedic look at the creation of art, and the difficulty in doing so when working with others...and dealing with your own issues - basically, things that every band faces. I'm especially intrigued to see how Maggie Gyllenhaal tackles her prickly role in the band, and how top rock drummer Carla Azar is integrated into the story. -- Heather Campbell

Frank opens in limited release in theaters August 22.

9. Doctor Who (2005– )

TV-PG | 45 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

The further adventures in time and space of the alien adventurer known as the Doctor and their companions from planet Earth.

Stars: Jodie Whittaker, Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie, Matt Smith

Votes: 183,286

It's always exciting to experience a changing of the guard in the "Doctor Who" universe, and the much beloved Peter Capaldi is an excellent choice to take control of the TARDIS.

Plus, what's not to like about that dapper three-piece suit with no tie business the new Doctor is rocking? Without a doubt, we're excited to strap in for a glorious set of new adventures. --Melanie McFarland

Season Premiere: 8pm Saturday, August 23 on BBC America.

10. Intruders (2014)

45 min | Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller

A secret society is devoted to chasing immortality by seeking refuge in the bodies of others.

Stars: James Frain, Millie Bobby Brown, Tory Kittles, Mira Sorvino

Votes: 3,201

Executive producer Glen Morgan has made a lot of television shows, but when he decides to get weird, he doesn't hold back. Here, we have a show about a secret society bent on chasing immortality by taking over the bodies of other people. Beyond that, it's hard to say what's going on here. Confusing as it may be, the performances by James Frain, John Simm and Mira Sorvino are compelling enough to merit a buy-in for a few more episodes. But if nothing else, it's worth watching to experience the creepy, sinister portrayal by child actress Millie Brown. --Melanie McFarland

Series Premiere: 10pm Saturday, August 23 on BBC America.

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