With so much grabbing for your attention and dollars these days, it’s easy to miss when the latest releases are heading to a cinema near you. So come back every week as we here at So, Is It Any Good? preview the new movies hitting screens.

This weekend sees us in the dog days of August, with no big new releases hitting screens, we have a foursome of smaller movies that are hoping to grab your attention.

The Gift

gift_xlgRating: M

Starring: Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton

Synopsis: A young married couple’s lives are thrown into a harrowing tailspin when an acquaintance from the husband’s past brings mysterious gifts and a horrifying secret to light after more than 20 years.

Our Verdict


Why you should be interested: Joel Edgerton has been a household name in Australia for some time now, but after a string of high profile support roles in the likes of Zero Dark Thirty, The Great Gatsby, and Exodus: Gods And Kings, his star in the US is on the rise and was given the chance to direct his first feature. A film from the Blumhouse stable (Paranormal Activity, Insidious) might seem like a weird fit for the actor/director, but by the looks of the trailer he’s gone down the psychological thriller route, rather than ghost/demon story. He’s got a decent cast for this too, with Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall always doing solid work. My colleague Luke had his reservations about it (see review link above), but if you’re in the mood for a creepy adult thriller, throw your support behind our homegrown talent.

Who should see it: Thriller fiends, Edgerton enthusiasts, Bateman believers

Ricki And The Flash

ricki_and_the_flash_xlgRating: PG

Starring: Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, & Rick Springfield

Synopsis: It’s been a roller-coaster ride for Ricki Rendazzo (Meryl Streep), a one-time wife and mother of three who left her family behind to follow her dreams of rock ‘n’ roll stardom in California. Now, the singer and guitarist must face the music when she returns home to Indiana to reconnect with ex-husband Pete (Kevin Kline), troubled daughter Julie, engaged son Josh and younger son Adam. Filled with regret, Ricki hopes to find redemption for all of the bad choices that she made in the past.


Why you should be interested: Meryl sings! If this phrase gives you night terrors, run for the hills. Meryl can walk onto screen at this point and get an award nod, so rest assured we’ll be seeing her at least at the Golden Globes next year. Reviews have been mixed, but with the one-two punch of Jonathan Demme and Diablo Cody, this could be one to watch. Add in a bit of Rick Springfield (no, you’re not being Rick-rolled), and this could be an interesting musical drama.

Who should see it: Streep super-fans, Demme diehards, Cody completists, the sole Mamma Mia fan

She’s Funny That Way

shes_funny_that_way_ver7_xlgRating: M

Starring: Owen Wilson, Imogen Poots, Kathryn Hahn, Will Forte, Rhys Ifans, Jennifer Aniston

Synopsis: A married Broadway director falls for a prostitute-turned-actress and works to help her advance her career.

Our Verdict


Why you should be interested: A starry cast in a screw-ball comedy of errors by a well-regarded older filmmaker. Sound like a Woody Allen pic, right? Well no, that was last weekend. Peter Bogdanovich, of Paper Moon and What’s Up Doc? fame, directs this Allen-esque tale of a Broadway director caught between many, many women. Hilarity ensues presumably. Fans of the Woodster are the obvious target here, but don’t expect this to be a massive breakout, strictly limited appeal I’d say.

Who should see it: Bogdanovich buffs, indie cinema disciples, those who wanted more after Irrational Man

We Are Your Friends

we_are_your_friends_ver9Rating: M

Starring: Zac Efron, Emily Ratajkowski & Wes Bentley

Synopsis: An aspiring 23-year-old DJ named Cole (Efron) spends his days working on the one track that will set the world on fire. All of this changes when he meets an older DJ named James (Bentley), who takes him under his wing. Things get complicated, however, when Cole starts falling for James’ much younger girlfriend, Sophie (Ratajkowski). With Cole’s forbidden relationship intensifying and his friendships unravelling, he must choose between love, loyalty, and the future he is destined for.


Why you should be interested: At first glance, this kind of looks like the movie-within-a-movie from Entourage, just without the supernatural powers. Zac Efron, taking a break from raunchy comedies, is trying the earnest coming of age tale on for size, and while he has the charisma to make most things watchable, I’m not sold on this. The trailer pegs it somewhere between party movie, “musician with a dream” drama, with weird flashes of what might be a crime or mob sideplot (?!?), so I think it’s going to be a bit all over the place.

Who should see it:  Efron junkies, suckers for road-to-stardom tale

So, what are you going to see this weekend? Hit us up in the comments and let us know what you’ve watched, and if it’s any good!