Given that it’s now June, the UK is now given its allotted 2 weeks of relatively pleasant weather. While this does mean the sudden rise in the appearance of people’s knees and the overcrowding of flat open spaces, it’s not looking so good for the film industry. Who wants to spend the few precious days with naturally-occurring Vitamin D locked inside a dark room staring at giant, illusory moving faces? It’s a pickle, I know. Almost as if it knew in advance, June has gifted us a light selection of films this month, from book adaptations to fairy tales to flippant crime capers to a sequel to The Conjuring(?) and only ONE alien-zapping blockbuster full of bangs and pew-pew-pews. Just the one.
Me Before You – 3rd June
As she cuts a bloody swathe through the corrupt slave lords and cities of Essos, even Danaerys Targaryen finds she needs a change of pace. So if Me Before You is anything to go by, she (Dany/Emilia Clarke) dyes her hair, moves to England and winds up caring for a recently-paralyzed man Will Traynor (Sam Claflin) in more ways than she bargained for. That Charles Dance and Jenna Coleman also turn up shouldn’t be read as Me Before You being the signs of a grand Doctor Who/Game of Thrones crossover, before you get yourself too excited. Everybody’s in Game of Thrones these days anyway, you might be and not even realise.
The Nice Guys – 3rd June
Shane Black writes buddy comedies the same way that Quentin Tarantino writes dialogue: subtle variations on the same thing for the past 20 years, but by God is it good. The Nice Guys sees Black step to the director’s chair for only the third time in his career (following 2005’s peerless Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang and 2010’s better-than-the-last-two Iron Man 3), and the plot is as Black as it can get. Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) beats up stalkers and creeps for money, Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is quite possibly L.A’s worst private investigator, when their paths cross following the death of a local porn star, not even a broken arm, alcohol abuse and a squad of hired killers can stop our dream team from getting to the bottom of things. Not for lack of trying.
The Conjuring 2 – 13th June
I didn’t want to believe it at first either, but apparently people really got into James Wan’s 2013 spook-’em-up The Conjuring, so much so that’s probably why they gave him the keys to the Fast and Furious franchise. After the events of the first film, the not-even-remotely-distressed paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) have a go at solving The Enfield Haunting, so travel to North London for a routine stressful spelunk into the world of ghosts, demons and possessions. You would think there was a better way to make a living based on the skills of these two, heck, Derek Acorah had himself a good thing going and he’s never even met a damn ghost.
Tale of Tales – 17th June
It was only a matter of time following Disney’s live-action reimagining of their fairy tales that someone with an eye for literary lineage would attempt a similar thing. Based on the collection of fairy tales gathered by 16th century Neapolitan Giambattista Basile, Tale of Tales tells of three classically dark and morally disturbing stories, you know, the way that fairy tales used to be. You can expect sea dragons, ogres, giant fleas, blood magic, albino twins, the blind ambition of parents and other freaky treats alongside the likes of Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, Toby Jones and John C. Reilly.
Long Way North – 17th June
Animation that doesn’t belong to a notable school like Pixar, Laika or Cartoon Saloon (they did The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea) doesn’t get a fair cop in the cinematic industry. I’m not saying that I’m duty-bound to make you aware of that which might slip under the radar, but if I can do one dang thing with these monthly previews it’s something close to that. This is why I want you to know about Long Way North, the debut of Rémi Chayé (who used to work with Cartoon Saloon, don’t you know). Long Way North follows Sasha, the daughter of a Russian aristocrat who goes off on a grand adventure to the northern-most reaches of the planet to find her grandfather and save her family’s reputation.
Independence Day: Resurgence – 22nd June
So it’s come to this: an Independence Day sequel. The first one, for all its flag-waving, Eagle-baiting, hotdog-in-a-burger-in-a-doughnut, gun-toting, yippee-kay-yay focus on all things ‘Muricuh, was a very silly, mid-1990’s space-invasion film. Landmarks exploded, Will Smith cracked wise, aliens were defeated and Jeff Goldblum smouldered. Now we’re 20 years down the line, an even bigger alien armada has rocked up at our doorstep and making “come at me, bro” gestures, such as landing a mothership with its own gravity into our atmosphere. It’s up to Jeff and a load of younger actors to save the day/planet, yet again.
The Secret Life of Pets – 24th June
If you thought getting all those “inspirational” Minions memes and posters popping up on your Facebook feed was bad enough, then at least take comfort in knowing that the next wave of things to do so will be the animal cast of The Secret Life of Pets. Brought by those harbingers of all things Minion-related, Illumination Entertainment, The Secret Life of Pets seems narratively straight-forward: devoted dog Max (Louis C.K.) winds up all over New York following the arrival of the new dog in his owner’s life, Duke (Eric Stonestreet). He’ll find himself facing alley cats, a crime syndicate ran by a bunny (Kevin Hart) all the while his friends from his apartment block try to track him down. There are poop jokes. It’s that level of highbrow.
Elvis & Nixon – 24th June
Nobody has ever said that Kevin Spacey resembles Richard Nixon, similarly nobody has also said that Michael Shannon looks like Elvis. Did either of these facts stop these two from being cast in such respective roles in Elvis & Nixon? Apparently not! Based on the no-way-can-that-be-real-oh-wait-that-actually-happened story behind the infamous photo documenting the meeting of these two men, Elvis & Nixon isn’t one to let actual facts get in the way of having a good time. Did Elvis hand-deliver a letter to the White House? Did he bring a small coups’ worth of firearms on his person? Does Nixon really have such fervent love for M&M’s and Doctor Pepper? Probably! Ask the movie for details.
The Meddler – 24th June
Hold the phone, everyone! It’s nearly the end of the month and we haven’t had an indie release from Sony Pictures Classic! What the what are we going to do? Before we all submit to a feverish panic, let me just point at The Meddler, a film all about being a directionless mother and/or the troubles of being Susan Sarandon. It seems light, bubbly and fun enough to get away with being mistaken for a bottle of pinot grigio blush, with Sarandon’s Marnie seeking to reconnect with her L.A-based daughter (Rose Byrne) whilst getting good with her all her daughter’s friends and a potential new bae (J. K. Simmons) in the process. Way to stick the landing, Marnie.