The summer is coming so thoughts turn of course to … popcorn, hotdogs and the delights of the summer blockbuster. Here is our selection of the best movies to catch over the coming months
Delia Owens’s blockbuster coming-of-age tale set in the 1960s in the North Carolina wetlands is given the big screen treatment here, with Normal People’s Daisy Edgar-Jones bagging the lead role of Kya alongside Taylor John Smith as Tate, the boy she falls for. Another British actor, Harris Dickinson, plays Chase, whose death will embroil Kya in a potentially life-changing murder case. Taylor Swift has contributed an original song, the director is Olivia Newman, British cinematographer Polly Morgan, fresh from A Quiet Place Part II, is behind the camera and the film is produced by Hollywood A-lister Reese Witherspoon. If you loved the book, the chances are you’ll love the film too.
A scene from North Carolina-set Where The Crawdads Sing
All My Friends Hate Me
Tom Stourton, Old Etonian son of broadcaster Edward Stourton, takes the lead role of Pete in this comedy-horror from director Andrew Gaynord, a hit at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York. The plot: Pete and a bunch of his posh friends spend the weekend at the country estate of one of their number (George, played by Joshua McGuire). But as the hours wear on, Pete starts to think the others may have something on their mind beyond banter, joshing and public school-style hi-jinks. Georgina Campbell, Antonia Clarke, Kieren Hodgson and Dustin Demri-Burns also star. Ken Loach it ain’t, but industry bible Variety likes it, calling it a “ferociously witty, deeply British evisceration of upper-class Millennial anxiety.”
Tom Stourton as Pete in All My Friends Hate Me
Making a film in the style of Swedish maestro Ingmar Bergman, setting it on Fårö, the island he lived on, using Bergman’s work as a backdrop and centring the story on a married couple who are both film-makers is a bold move – but then French director Mia Hansen-Løve is no stranger to those. Tim Roth and Phantom Thread star Vicky Krieps play Tony and Chris, who are on the island for a residency as they work on their respective projects. Tony is inspired by Fårö and by Bergman, Chris less so. She has issues with the whole Alpha Male Director notion and is no fan of the way Bergman treated the women in his life. Is Tony any different? Mia Wasikowska also features, playing herself and a character in Chris’s film.
Minions: The Rise Of Gru
A sequel to 2015’s Minions, itself a spin-off from the ongoing (and rather wonderful) Despicable Me franchise, this picks up just after the events of Minions and finds a 12-year-old Gru navigating the early 1970s and trying to inveigle his way into a crime gang called The Vicious 6 because there’s, like, six of them. And they’re vicious. So vicious they boast the vocal talents of Alan Arkin, Dolph Lundgren, Lucy Lawless, Taraji P Henson, the great Danny Trejo and, last but not least, Jean-Claude Van Damme as Jean Clawed, a giant lobster. Ears cocked too for the voices of Julie Andrews, Michelle Yeoh and Russell Brand. Can’t wait.
Thor: Love And Thunder
Oscar-winning Jojo Rabbit director Taika Waititi returns to the Marvel Cinematic Universe for another superhero epic featuring everyone’s favourite hammer thrower, Thor. A direct sequel to Thor: Ragnarok, also directed by Waititi, it finds our hero (played by Chris Hemsworth) thrown into battle against Gorr The God Butcher (Christian Bale) who wants to wreak havoc, take over the universe etc. Helping Thor are his old comrade-in-arms Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), and also joining the fray are Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and Korg, a Kronan gladiator (played by Waititi himself). Vin Diesel, Jeff Goldblum, Bradley Cooper and our very own Karen Gillan also feature.
Veteran British auteur Terence Davies returns to the big screen with this biopic of First World War poet Siegfried Sassoon, bringing together two top Scottish actors of different generations – Peter Capaldi and Jack Lowden – to play his subject at different points in his life. The film follows Sassoon from the horrors of the trenches and his decoration for bravery, then moves through his life in post-war London society as he wrestles with his sexuality while embarking on a series of love affairs with men. Kate Phillips, Jeremy Irvine and Simon Russell Beale also star.
Jeremy Irvine (left) as Ivor Novello and Jack Lowden as Siegfried Sassoon in Benediction
Due to premiere at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival later month before going on general release, this psychological thriller is the latest from Alex Garland, author of The Beach, director of trippy sci-fi hit Ex Machina and creator of TV series Devs. Wild Rose star Jessie Buckley plays Harper Marlowe, whose husband dies in a tragic accident and who takes herself off to the English countryside to gather herself and to grieve. Bad move. Rory Kinnear is Geoffrey, the man she rents her holiday cottage from, while Paapa Essiedu, who won an Emmy for his role in BBC One smash I May Destroy You, plays her dead husband. Keep an eye out too for Glasgow actress Gayle Rankin, better known as Sheila the She-Wolf in GLOW. Oh, and the music is by Portishead founder Geoff Barrow.
DC League Of Super-Pets
Lego Batman Movie writer Jared Stern turns director to helm this animated super-hero comedy featuring the voices of (among others) Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Diego Luna, Natasha Lyonne, John Krasinski and (as Bruce Wayne) Keanu Reeves. The plot: Lex Luther has captured the Justice League, so Superman’s super-dog Krypto (Johnson) teams up with Batman’s pooch Ace (Hart) to sort things out for their super-human masters and mistresses. Think Wes Anderson’s Isle Of Dogs crossed with, well, The Lego Batman Movie.
From left, Ace (voiced by Kevin Hart) and Krypto (voiced by Dwayne Johnson) in DC League Of Super-Pets
Taking his plot from Kōtarō Isaka’s 2010 novel Maria Beetle and his title from a 1975 Junya Satō action thriller (remade by Hollywood in 1994 as Speed), John Wick director David Leitch has turned out an enticing-looking, Japanese-set action-comedy. Brad Pitt stars as Ladybug, a killer for hire whose assignment is to ‘collect’ a briefcase on board a bullet train travelling between Tokyo and Kyoto. Unknown to him, the train has quite a few other killers among the passengers, among them British duo Lemon and Tangerine (Brian Tyree Henry and Aaron Taylor-Johnson), Mexican assassin Wolf (Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny) and Japanese killer Yuichi Kimura (Andrew Koji). In a neat nod to Speed, that film’s star, Sandra Bullock, plays Ladybug’s handler – Maria Beetle.
From Vampyr, celebrating its 90th year, to anniversary re-issues of Cabaret and even Sylvester Stallone actioner First Blood, there’s no lack of classics being given an airing over the next month or so. But if you’re only planning on making a trip to see just one of them, this 4K restoration of the original theatrical cut what is probably Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous film could be it. Yes, you may have seen it on television, DVD or Blu-ray, but from Bernard Herrmann’s keening, insistent score to the legendary shower scene with its 60 or so jump cuts, the only place to watch Hitchcock’s finest work is on a big screen surrounded by terrified strangers.
Janet Leigh as Marion Crane in Psycho