Well, that time to look at the next month’s offering from HBO is upon us already. I haven’t even had a chance to go on vacation yet! I will soon, but first a look at a BIG month of programming. I think, no matter your tastes, everyone can find something to watch through the ‘dog days of summer’ so let’s explore what is ahead on HBO.
Theatrical Movies: I’m actually surprised about the big name movies on the schedule for August. I would figure some of these would have waited a month or two to compete with TV’s Fall Season. You’ll see what I mean as you read the following titles. RISE OF THE GUARDIANS, ANNA KARENINA, LIFE OF PI and LES MISERABLES debut on four of the five Saturdays in August. A few of those are Oscar Award winners. The other Saturday is reserved for Larry David.
The month starts off on 08.03 with the network debut of RISE OF THE GUARDIANS an animated action flick. It seems there is villainy running amuck and a band of superheroes must assemble to rout them out. However, we are not talking Marvel heroes here but Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy and the Sandman joined by Jack Frost. But these characters are not like the traditional imagery we remember from our youth putting an interesting spin on these legendary icons. Helping to do that for Dreamworks Animation as voice talents are Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher, (Sandman is a silent character) and Chris Pine, respectively. Jude Law voices the villain Pitch. Though it received a number of Best Animated Feature awards it did not win an Oscar. But, it is a good family-fun film after some summertime fun. The next theatrical is ANNA KARENINA on 08.17. It was an Oscar contender in a number of categories and received the award for Best Costume Design. The clothes horses featured include Keira Knightly as the title character, Jude Law and Matthew Mcfadyen. Directed by Joe Wright it is based on Leo Tolstoy’s novel of the same name. Those not familiar with the classic will find themselves in Imperial Russia and in a very stylized movie about the life and loves of the title character.
As the month goes on we really have some Academy Award powerhouses on tap. On 08.24 LIFE Of PI premieres. It is based on a book that seemed very hard to conceptualize on screen until director Ang Lee took the challenge. For his efforts he was awarded the Best Director Oscar. It also won for Original Score, Cinematography and Visual Effects so this movie sounds and looks awesome as well as tells a powerful story as Pi shares how he survived a shipwreck along some unlikely survivors. Another powerful movie and award winner ends the month. LES MISERABLES debuts on 08.31. Based on the Broadway smash you witness in words and song lives as they intersect at the dawn of the French Revolution. Oscar nominee Hugh Jackman stars along with Russell Crowe, Oscar winner Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne, Helena Bonham Carter and Sasha Baron Cohen. It is a stirring end to the month.
So, how about those big August movie choices? Even if you ran to the cinema to see any one of these each one is worth seeing again in the comfort of your own home. It makes you wonder what they have waiting in the line-up for fall. Though I didn’t see a Saturday movie in July I’m out to see all three of the movies premiering in August. So, that leaves us room for a trailer. Do you fancy the animated romp or one of the critically acclaimed flicks instead? How about a glimpse of the stylized beauty of ANNA KARENINA?
Originals: We are in the midst of two new seasons of original dramas on HBO in August. Hopefully, if you got the time and interest you are engrossed by both TRUE BLOOD Season Six and THE NEWSROOM Season Two. First up is a look at what is happening to our favorite fae and the vamps and shifters in her life. TRUE BLOOD offers three more episodes in this shortened 10-episode season. Episode #68 on 08.04 is called “Dead Meat.” In this episode Sookie (Anna Paquin) faces a major dilemma in deciding whether to broker a deal between Warlow (Rob Kazinsky) and Bill (Stephen Moyer). In vamp camp, Jason (Ryan Kwanten) gets to know Violet (Karolina Wydra), while Sarah (Anna Camp) goes to extremes to keep Tru Blood flowing. Alcide (Joe Manganiello) makes a decision that will impact the futures of Nicole (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and Sam (Sam Trammell). That is followed by Episode #69 on 08.11 which is called “Life Matters” and Episode #70 called “Save the Population” ends the season on 08.18. Don’t miss the concluding hours Sunday nights at 9:00pm ET.
At 10:00pm ET step into the fast-paced world of cable news and the myriad hotbed topics that arise through the words of Aaron Sorkin in THE NEWSROOM. I can offer, from HBO itself, some episode specifics for this show. I find it interesting that they are scant with details on one show yet give you details on the other. Oh, well in the new season for Jeff Daniels and company the staff of “News Night” chases a mysterious tip, which leads to a story that ultimately spins out of control. In Episode #14: “Unintended Consequences”: Maggie tries to convince Rebecca she’s fine following her shattering trip to Africa with Gary. An Occupy Wall Street protester with a Black Op lead refuses to cooperate with Neal and Jerry after an on-air interview with Will goes poorly. Jim lands Hallie a one-on-one but gets heat from Mac as a result. Airdates are the 4th, 6th, 7th,8 th 9th and 10th.
Further episodes in August include Episode #15: “News Night with Will McAvoy”: Will is distracted during his telecast by a phone call and an unflattering twitter post. Charlie gets a visit from a longtime friend at the Office of Naval Intelligence, who has knowledge of Operation Genoa. Sloan phases from humiliation to rage following a revenge posting. The newsroom traverses the slippery slope separating fact from fiction. Airdates are the 11th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th. Episode #16: “One Step Too Many”: Mac and Charlie score a key witness, a retired Marine general, in their attempt to corroborate Dantana’s Operation Genoa story. Will follows Nina’s lead to soften his image by making an impromptu appearance on a morning talk show. Jim gets unexpected company during his reunion with Hallie, who’s in town to cover a Romney rally. Airdates are the 18th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24th. Episode #17: “Red Team III”: Through depositions with the newsroom staff, Rebecca pieces together the events that led to ACN’s fateful decision to go forward with Dantana’s special report on Operation Genoa – as well as the post-air revelations that undermined its credibility. The repercussions threaten to ruin “News Night” while eclipsing breaking news during another 9/11 anniversary. Airdates: 25th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th and 31st.
The only show on the comedic front right now is a big one since it offers us some needed Larry David. It is HBO Films: CLEAR HISTORY. This HBO Films comedy stars Larry David as a marketing executive at a start-up electric car company who gives up his ten percent of the business after a petty argument with his boss. The company subsequently makes billions of dollars, destroying his life and leaving him publicly humiliated. Ten years later, after changing his name and moving to a small island off the Massachusetts coast, all is well – until something from the past threatens his new life. It debuts on 08.10 and also airs the 13th, 18th, 22nd, 24th, 27th, 28th and 31st and stars a regular cavalcade of stars as they say. If you are looking for your Friday night fix of comedy and New Rules than you only have 08.02 to catch REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER before it goes on a brief hiatus.
Documentary: Two final documentaries to air in the Summer Series are presented on 08.05 and 08.12 respectively. They are CASTING BY and AMERICANS IN BED. The first looks at the crucial role the casting director has in the filmmaking process and the latter looks at the intimate feelings that make Americans tick. On 08.26 another documentary film debuts. It is called GLICKMAN. This film chronicles the life and career of Marty Glickman, a Jewish-American athlete-turned broadcaster who pioneered many of the techniques, phrases and programming innovations that are commonplace in sports reporting today. A good sports documentary is not always about the athletes; though Glickman was one he made his mark in the booth and this work will showcase that history.
Sports: HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE CINCINNATI BENGALS arrives in August. HBO Sports, NFL Films and the Cincinnati Bengals team up for an all-access look at what it takes to make it in the National Football League. The cinema verité series focuses on the daily lives and routines of players and coaches as the Cincinnati Bengals, who play in the ultra-competitive AFC North, prepare for the 2013 NFL season. The five-episode eighth season chronicles 11th-year head coach Marvin Lewis and an intriguing mix of high profile veterans, emerging stars, free agents and rookie hopefuls throughout training camp and the four-game preseason schedule. Each week, players experience drills, instruction, meetings and fun, while striving to prove they have what it takes to make the team and leave their mark on the NFL. It premieres on 08.06 at 10:00pm ET.
HBO Boxing has been going through a sparse spell as of late but now seems to be coming back. All the details of a triple-header event are not finalized but boxing fan need to check HBO 08.17 for a big night of boxing. It is BOXING AFTER DARK: DANIEL GEALE VS. DARREN BARKER & NATHAN CLEVERLY VS. SERGEY KOVALEV from Revel Casino in Atlantic City. In the scheduled 12-round main event, middleweight titlist Daniel Geale (29-1, 15 KOs) of Australia takes on Darren Barker (25-1, 16 KOs) of the U.K. In the co-main event, two undefeated light heavyweights square off as Nathan Cleverly (26-0, 12 KOs) of the U.K. defends his title against knockout artist Sergey Kovalev (21-0, 19 KOs) of Russia in a scheduled 12-round title fight. The third bout of the evening will be announced at a later date. Also announced at a later date will be the stories covered on the month’s installment of REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL. We do know, however that it premieres on 08.20 and the newly signed Soledad O’Brien appears.
Other Movies & Shows: Just some quick snooping around to see what other delights might tickle your fancy in August. How about ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY? They’re making a sequel you know. Fall in love with Quvenzhane Wallis in BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILDS plus, HBO Films: PHIL SPECTOR resurfaces. There is also the undersea animation of SHARK TALE and an opportunity to watch again BOARDWALK EMIPRE Season Three. There are plenty other movies appearing, some of them only airing once but, you get the idea. Explore the channel and you might find a surprise.
HBO’s Other Platforms: Of course, there is more than just HBO itself. Here is a quick look at what the other platforms are promoting for the dog days of summer. HBO Latino is strong throughout the month with series repeats of it prison series CAPADOCIA It also features the documentary 3:34 EARTHQUAKE IN CHILE. The film shows the devastation of the horrific earthquake and tsunami that hit Chile in 2010 and is seen from the perspective of survivors as they try piece together their lives and uncover the fates of their loved ones. HBO Family runs a gamut of family movies from Garfield to The Rocketeer to Cowboys and Aliens to Forrest Gump. Take time out on a summer evening to watch a movie with the kids, it won’t hurt. HBO Signature airs the cream of the crop but, sadly, does not have a go-to site of its own. There is What’s Love Got to Do With It starring Angela Bassett as Tina Turner, Martin Scorsese’s Casino, and the Deadly Sins of Seven. I’ll leave it at that because I don’t know what you like. HBO Comedy: Heck, almost every stand-up comedian you can think of appears on this channel. There are classic YOUNG COMEDIAN SPECIALS and ONE NIGHT STANDS and more recent yuksters here plus, Harry and the Hendersons. HBOGO: I know, you are getting tired of me throwing out movies to watch; I’m almost done You care to see Annie Hall, Blue Velvet, The French Lieutenant’s Woman or Ruby Sparks? They have all been added to the site through August. Cinemax: If you also subscribe to HBO’s sister channel then you can catch the following. Season Three of STRIKE BACK is underway 08.09 and the movies CHASING MAVERICKS, TAKEN 2, ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER and MAGIC MIKE are touted as the big picks of the month.
There is plenty to take in August. It all depends in what you are in the mood to watch. So I hope you do just that and that you appropriately laugh with, cry about, and ponder over all that you discover on HBO. Enjoy. I leave you with a tease and a clip.
Next Month’s Tease: We are traveling EASTBOUND to the BOARDWALK!
Final Clip: Here is the trailer to HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE CINCINNATI BENGALS