August usually marks the beginning of a flood of not-so-hotly-anticipated summer movies, but, so far, 2013 is flipping that idea on its head.
With a sci-fi action epic starring Matt Damon, a raunchy comedy, an effects-laden fantasy sequel, and Disney-fueled family flick all hitting theaters, there's plenty to be excited about this week.
Let's start with "Elysium." In Neill Blomkamp's follow-up to the critically lauded "District 9," Damon plays Max DeCosta, a man stuck on an overpopulated, burnt-out Earth with the rest of 2154's second-class citizens. Where are all the wealthy folks, you ask? They're on a protected space station called Elysium, tucked far away from the pollution that plagues the planet below. When Max is given a five-days-to-live prognosis, he has no choice but to battle his way into Elysium to access the station's life-saving technology.
"We're the Millers," starring Aniston and Jason Sudeikis, also hits theaters this week. Aniston plays a stripper, and Sudeikis plays the pot dealer who recruits her as part of his fake "we couldn't possibly be smuggling drugs" family to ensure that he can get an RV-full of weed across the Mexican border. If you've seen the movie's red-band trailer, you already know that there are plenty of gross-out moments to go along with Aniston's highly publicized stripping scenes. Emma Roberts and Will Poulter play Sudeikis and Aniston's pretend kids, and the scene-stealing Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn make appearances as a "normal" couple they meet on the road.
If you're looking for something more family-friendly this weekend, Hollywood is serving up two options.
Disney's "Planes" lands in theaters this Friday, hoping to land the same success that "Cars" found in 2006. The animated comedy tells the story of Dusty (Dane Cook), a crop-duster with dreams of air racing. The only problem is he's afraid of heights. Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards (a "Top Gun" reunion!), Teri Hatcher, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus all take on voice-over roles in the animated feature.
For slightly older kids, there's "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters." In the second installment of the book series-turned-movie franchise, we catch back up with the son of Poseidon (Logan Lerman) and his fellow demigods at their hallowed Camp Half-Blood. This time around, Percy is struggling with his destiny and feels pretty un-godlike when another camper, Clarisse, the daughter of the god of war, steals his thunder (tidal wave?). But Percy has to put his self-esteem issues on the back burner and set off with his friends, Annabeth and Grover, and his new-found half-brother Tyson, on a quest to the Sea of Monsters in order to find the magical Golden Fleece, the only thing that can save their beloved Camp Half-Blood.
"Lovelace," starring Amanda Seyfried, and "In a World," starring Lake Bell, also hit theaters in limited release this Friday.
Which movie are you most excited to see?