The summer blockbuster gauntlet just keeps on getting thrown down, doesn’t it? In April we had the triumphant return of The Avengers (even if it wasn’t quite as bottled-lightning as their first outing), in May we had the reinvention of the action wheel (possibly literally) with Mad Max: Fury Road and just last month, Jurassic World broke the all-time box-office record with an astounding $208.8m opening weekend. I mean, damn, cinema… damn. I really don’t want to be in July’s shoes right now having to follow all this increasing spectacle, but, you know, who’s saying it has to? You just be yourself, July, show us what you’ve got in store and I promise we won’t judge you too harshly. Well… I won’t. Much.
Terminator Genisys – July 2nd
Another long-awaited sequel to a revered science-fiction franchise, the insultingly-infuriatingly-titled Terminator Genisys veers very close to the flames of Jurassic World, but will it prove as successful? The wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey shenanigans of the first films have somehow gotten even wibblier and wobblier, with future-human-resistance-leader-type John Connor (Jason Clarke) sending his bestie Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back in time to 1984 to save his mother Sarah (Emilia Clarke) from the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), you know, like the first film! This time, however, the events as we knew them have gone all wonky-donkey, with multiple Arnies, Korean T-1000s and lord-knows-what-else. Could be a laugh.
Magic Mike XXL – July 3rd
I realise the very last thing you can do with Steven Soderbergh is predict what he’ll do next, but did ANYBODY think he’d make something like 2012’s Magic Mike? Even a little bit? It’s a blow to the cinematic community that he retired from directing in 2013, but he did leave us the tragically human world of male stripping. Due to Magic Mike’s undeniable cult popularity, Soderbergh’s Assistant Director, Greg Jacobs, steps up to the main chair to continue the tale with Magic Mike XXL. This time, Channing Tatum’s Mike and the rest of the Kings of Tampa come out of retirement for one last blow-out performance, kinda like The Expendables but with better choreography and when the cast lose their clothes the audience don’t shriek. Well, not in THAT way.
Ted 2 – July 8th
It seems to be that in almost every monthly preview I write there’s a film destined to do well that I just do not see the appeal of. I only make you, my fearless and charming readers, aware of such films on the chance that it may align with your interests or personal proclivities. I’m wasting good preview space on saying as such because my chosen movie pariah this month is Ted 2 and I’d rather not talk about it too much, but here I go anyway: The joke is still that Seth MacFarlane voices a living teddy bear who says crude things to Mark Wahlberg (and does crude things to everybody else), only now he has to prove he’s a person in a court of law in order to father a child. * shrugs *
Song of the Sea – July 10th
You didn’t happen to see the 2009 Academy Award nominated The Secret of Kells by any chance did you? If you’re currently talking to your screen in response, I’m afraid I can’t hear you so please speak up… Ah right, you didn’t? Well that’s a flipping shame, mainly because it was a bloody gorgeous bit of animation. Luckily for us though, the studio behind it were nominated again in the Oscars-just-gone for Song of the Sea, which I could try to explain to you is about a boy and his little sister (who can turn into a seal) trying to save the world of magic, but I’d rather you just lap up the nearby trailer and get yourself into the cinema to see it when it comes out. Would you kindly?
Dear White People – July 10th
After making a variety of waves over in those American lands, the critically-acclaimed and racially-charged comedy Dear White People finally makes it’s ways over here to good ol’ UK. The film focuses on a quartet of black students who attend an auspicious Ivy League college and the natural racial politicking that arises from such a scenario. A lot has been said for the unique voice and stance that the film takes on the issues of race, but if you ask me it sounds like the kind of movie Spike Lee wishes he could still make. And while we’re on the subject, no, I still haven’t forgiven him for his version of Oldboy and I doubt I ever will.
The Legend of Barney Thomson – July 24th
The directorial debut of Robert Carlyle couldn’t be something simple or easy. It couldn’t be a cuddly family drama. It couldn’t be a crime-’em-up. It couldn’t even be a black comedy about Glaswegian barbers. That said, it could be about all three. The Legend of Barney Thomson sees Carlyle as the eponymous Thomson, your average unsuspecting barber who accidentally kills his co-worker and seeks the help of his mum (Emma Thompson) to help him cover it up, all the while Ray Winstone’s detective is sniffing around. I’m a big fan of Carlyle and Thompson, so I’m expecting an endearingly odd bit of film.
Love & Mercy – July 10th
I reckon it’s fair to say The Beach Boys haven’t had the smoothest history; they may have created some of the greatest music of the 20th century, but there’s no way you can do justice to the group’s story in a few short hours. If you were, on the other hand, to just focus on one of the many Boys from the Beach, maybe Brian Wilson for argument’s sake, maybe then present their life in a dualistic narrative in the 1960s and 80s being portrayed by two exemplary actors such as Paul Dano and John Cusack, we may be on to something. That might even be the synopsis for Bill Pohland’s debut Love & Mercy, but you’d have to check me on that.
Ant-Man – July 17th
Just when you got over the ups and downs of Age of Ultron, you spot another MCU entry eyeing you up from the other side of the room. What does it want? What do those hand gestures mean? Why is it so tiny? It is of course, Ant-Man, the most troublingly-produced of all the Marvel movies and the one with the biggest role to play. Can the tale of Paul Rudd’s convict-turned-superhero-under-the-tutelage-of-Michael-Douglas-like-some-sort-of-Mask-of-Zorro-meets-Iron-Man-for-reasons-we-don’t-really-know-right-now be the pallet-cleanser we need after the multitude of plots that was “Ultron”? Will the script by Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay and Paul Rudd fit together? Answers available July 17th.
Inside Out – July 24th
Did you know it’s been nearly two years EXACTLY since we last had another Pixar film? That last one was “Monster’s University”, which while not being to the standard to which we are accustomed from Pixar, was still a lovely time with our two monstrous buds James P. Sullivan and Mike Wazowski. This time, our fears of Pixar’s increasing sequelitis have been thankfully scuppered in favour of a brand new story all about the feelings of a pre-teen girl, Riley, who all happen to be little personified versions of her core emotions Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling). When Riley moves from her Minnesota hometown to San Francisco, things spell trouble for her and her emotions. Check out our own Dave Griffiths’ review here.
Southpaw – July 24th
When you’re Antoine Fuqua, riding high on your recent successful, straight-up entertaining reboot of The Equalizer with the ever bankable Denzel Washington, what the devil do you do next? Open a health-food shop called ‘Fuqua’s Quinoa?’ Start a band with your buddy-for-life Denzel? Direct a film about a boxer whose personal life spirals whilst his professional one rides high with Hollywood’s most malleable star, Jake Gyllenhaal? Given that Fuqua’s not currently in the business of being an aspiring musician or a competitor to Holland & Barrett I’m going to say the last one. Rachel McAdams and Forest Whitaker also star.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation – July 29th
There’s something missing from all these summer-y, blockbuster type films we’ve had recently. Something token that this season is known for having at least one instance of… Oh wait, how could I forget: it’s Tom Cruise running, ladies and gents. Yup, Ol’ Crazy-Legs is back with another Mission: Impossible movie full of stunts and spying-do, this time, though, the Impossible Mission Task Force is on the defensive from an organization of rogue spies called The Syndicate. It’s up to Cruise, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Ferguson and Alec Baldwin to do the right thing and save the day. I have to admit, though, I never thought I’d ever find myself saying those names in a list.