Well, July is upon us which means one thing – the summer holiday (though do spare a thought for the poor students who, alas, do not get the summer off, for there are many). But whether you’ve got time off or you’re still at university, there’s always time for a film!
If you didn’t get a chance to go to Glastonbury, then I’d recommend the horror Midsommar – about a music festival that dabbles in some rather gruesome pagan rituals – to help you forget all about it. If you like your horror mixed with comedy, then Adam Driver and Steve Buscemi join a fantastic ensemble cast in the zombie comedy The Dead Don’t Die. Then again, summer isn’t just for horror. If you already can’t wait for the more sombre films of awards season, then Vita and Virginia is a good idea; this stars Gemma Arterton and Elizabeth Debicki – the latter as Virginia Woolf – depicting the somewhat unconventional relationship that inspired Woolf’s 1928 novel Orlando.
Of course, if none of that takes your fancy, then there’s plenty more to look out for this month.
Spider-Man: Far From Home – 2nd July
In the first post-Endgame movie of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Spider-Man: Far From Home picks up after those shocking events (*spoilers ahead*).
Following the death of Tony Stark, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is hoping that a school trip across Europe will help take his mind off things. However, it’s not long until Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and a mysterious man from the multiverse (Jake Gyllenhaal) need Parker to step into Stark’s shoes in order to save the world.
Having somehow managed to deliver on perhaps one of the most hyped films in recent history (11 years and 21 films worth of hype), Kevin Feige and the Russo brothers rose to the occasion with Avengers: Endgame. Now, though, Spider-Man: Far From Home has a relatively clean slate to play with – at least, as clean a slate as can be in the multifaceted MCU – and that certainly is an exciting prospect. As well as this, hopefully the addition of Gyllenhaal – an actor who’s project choices are always interesting – will breathe the fresh air necessary to push the MCU into the next phase.
The Lion King – 19th July
Of course, Spider-Man isn’t the only Disney movie coming out this month, as the Mouse House continues to delve into its own archive for inspiration.
Just in case you somehow haven’t watched the 1994 original, The Lion King follows the lion cub Simba (Donald Glover!), who – following the death of his father Mufasa (James Earl Jones!) – must defeat his evil uncle (Chiwetel Ejiofor!) in order to become the rightful King of the Pride Lands. Oh, and that’s with the help of his childhood friend Nala (Beyoncé! Knowles! Carter!).
There’s not really much else I can add to that, to convince you to go watch this. Would it help if I told you that Jon Favreau, who directed the critically and commercially successful 2016 remake of The Jungle Book, is also helming this one? Or that other cast members include Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen as Timon and Pumbaa respectively, with John Oliver as Zazu? No, let’s be honest: I had you at Beyoncé. (Does this count as a Childish Gambino and Beyoncé collaboration?)
Varda by Agnès – 19th July
From big family friendly fanfare to a foreign language documentary, Varda by Agnès follows the life of Agnès Varda, a legend of French cinema, by the woman herself.
A collage of footage from various events that Varda has spoken at, as well as clips from her eclectic work, Varda by Agnès captures a brilliant mind that helped pioneer French New Wave cinema, that explored feminist issues with a documentary-style realism. This is made all the more poignant by Varda’s recent passing in March of this year, but if you’re looking for a burst of inspiration froma truly remarkable woman then look no further.
Teen Spirit – 26th July
There’s something about summer holidays that is inherently nostalgic; perhaps because it’s generally only in childhood and young adulthood that we get such a long time to do with what we will. All that to say: coming-of-age movies are best watched against a backdrop of those lackadaisical days, so if you are searching for one then Teen Spirit could fit the bill.
Violet (Elle Fanning) dreams of becoming a popstar, believing this to be her ticket out of a lonely, tumultuous family life. But when those dreams look like they might be within reach, she must find the strength within herself to see them to the end.
Despite the fact that this sounds a lot like that bastion of Disney Channel Original Movies, Camp Rock (though is that really such a bad thing?) the personnel attached to this project does give me hope. Fanning has proved herself in other coming-of-age movies – such as the underrated 2016 movie 20th Century Women and 2017’s ode to punk subculture How to Talk to Girls at Parties – as more than capable of leading a film. What is difficult to predict, though, is how actor Max Minghella (known recently for The Handmaid’s Tale) will make the transition to director, with this, his debut. His father, director Anthony Minghella, successfully captured ruthless ambition underpinned by crippling self-doubt in 1999’s The Talented Mr. Ripley. Here’s hoping the younger Minghella captures some of that magic.
Featured image courtesy of Georgia Butcher.
Image use license here.