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Cooter's Watch List: Surfers and zombies and bears, oh my!

Posted Tuesday, August 4, 2015 at 4:46 PM Central

by John Couture

August is going to be the slowest month of the year in terms of home entertainment - at least according to box office hits. The total box office amount of all films being released this month is just over $256 million.

Heck, Furious 7 made $350 million all by itself, but you'll have to wait until September to see that film. Why the big void top films in August? You'll have to ask the studios. Traditionally, August has always been a slow month for home entertainment box office films because it's too soon to get all of the summer blockbusters and the ones that pop early ala Furious 7 opt to wait as long as possible to get as close to the lucrative holiday shopping season as possible.

I guess people are too busy in August trying to squeeze one last summer weekend into the year before school starts up again to buy/watch films. What that does open up though is an opportunity for smaller films to catch the attention of the savvy home entertainment watcher.

And that's where I come in. I have to prepare you, this week's Cooter Watch List is huge. It's super-sized because I just couldn't cut any more films out of the CWL. I tried, I really did and films that would normally make the list fell just short this week. That's how impressive this week's releases are. So, if you like to watch films a little off the beaten path, then you're in luck this week.

  • Ride

    Written, directed and starring Helen Hunt, Ride is the sort of film that you know what you're going to get just by looking at it. But that's not always a bad thing. Personally, I like the ideo of a convenient romance with no strings attached between Hunt and Luke Wilson. It's a return to the smaller films that they both cut their teeth on and I think there will be plenty to like about this one.

    Ride Trailer from Screen Media Films on Vimeo.

  • A Little Chaos

    When you watch a Kate Winslet film, there are certain things that you are guaranteed to get, great acting and her body without clothes at some point. Alan Rickman returns to the directing chair for the second time for this period piece of romance and intrigue in King Louis XIV's court during the construction of Versailles. While countless films have been set during this time period, I do believe that this is the first to tackle the construction of the renowned palace and it's famous gardens. If you like seeing a bunch of Brits playing French aristocrats, then you won't want to miss this one.

  • Adult Beginners

    Mumblecore at its finest, the Duplass brothers produced this film about life getting a reboot after financial ruin. It seems to be topical as the idea of siblings moving in with their brother or sister has been popping up a bunch lately in films. The big sell here is Nick Kroll and Rose Byrne who look to be at their best. If you like quirky indie comedies ala Juno, then this one is right up your alley.

  • Into the Grizzly Maze

    Kevin Smith has a film coming down the pipe in a few years called Moose Jaws. It's basically Jaws with a moose. Into the Grizzly Maze is basically Jaws with a grizzly bear. Take a bunch of former A-list actors such as Billy Bob Thornton, James Marsden, Thomas Jane and Piper Perabo and turn them into bear food and you basically have Into the Grizzly Maze. It looks a lot better than it sounds and I'm sure that it's worth a watch. It has to be better than Sharknado 3, right?

  • The Salvation

    Now that they've canceled Hannibal, Mads Mikkelsen has plenty of free time on his hands. This is good because he's a pretty great actor with a nasty streak that should really translate well in The Salvation. Westerns are great films when done right and this one looks like it's one of the good ones. I'm not so sure about the whole Danish fighting the Germans and then heading west into America, but hey they claim it's based on a true story. And heck, if it's on the Internet, it has to be true. Eva Green is amazing in everything that's she in and this looks no different.

  • Faults

    This looks to be one of the more messed up films that I've seen in a while. On the one hand, it really has a frenetic early Coen brothers vibe to it, but on the other hand it almost looks like a satire on deprogramming experts. Either way, it looks like it would be a fun ride. I've liked Mary Elizabeth Winstead for awhile now and this just looks like another in a long list of great films.

  • Jackie & Ryan

    I couldn't deprive all of you romance lovers out there forever. While it's true that I ten to shy away from the heavy romantic tear jerkers, I can see a gem of film with cross-over potential a mile away. Jackie & Ryan is that sort of film. While I'm not a fan of them giving away the entire film in the trailer, for those that will enjoy this movie, it's the journey and not the destination that counts and, as it turns out, I'm pretty sure that's one of the themes of the film as well. Oh and it looks like Katherine Heigl isn't completely horrible in it, so there's that too.

  • Every Secret Thing

    Two words: Elizabeth Banks. Ok, I'll write a few more, but at the end of the day, she's all I need to sell me on a movie. Heck, I even sat through Walk of Shame and didn't ask for my money back. I have issues. This looks like a stylish version of Gone Baby Gone, or perhaps grittier. The cast is beyond top notch and it's pretty clear that the mystery will be a nice slow-burning one that we will enjoy from beginning to end.

  • Teacher of the Year

    Look, I don't get the whole Key & Peele thing and that's OK. I know that when someone's really popular, you just have to sit back and let it run its course. For Keegan-Michael Key, his 15 minutes of fame are far from over and he's at his best (?) here in a funny faux documentary look at a teacher of the year contest. I'm a sucker for faux documentaries and I know I'm not the only one. If you were a fan of Drop Dead Gorgeous, then this movie might just tickle that same funny bone.

  • Burying the Ex

    Why do I keep saving the best for last? Maybe there's some sort of deep psychological reason there, or maybe I'm just a sucker for making people read to the end of the story to get the stuff. I love this film and I've never seen it. The cast is great and Joe Dante directed it. Yes, that Joe Dante, the guy who directed Gremlins and The 'Burbs. Did I mention that I have a slight crush on Alexandra Daddario? Anyone who's seen the first season of True Detective knows what I mean. Seriously though, this looks like the sort of brainless comedy (no pun intended) that will deliver just enough laughs to make it until next week.