With Britain celebrating its longest heatwave since 1976, England finishing fourth in the World Cup and Love Island sating our shallow need for romance and drama, it’s unsurprising that June and July saw a downturn at the UK box office. Sun is a rare commodity in the UK – not many of us are going spend that time in a dark room looking at a large screen.
Luckily for you, that is exactly what we do, and August is full of cinematic delights that should keep you entertained when the sun finally goes in.
Opening the month is Ant-Man and the Wasp (2 Aug), the twentieth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Positioned as a nice bit of tonic to the aftermath of Infinity War, this superhero team-up is delightfully low stakes, the emphasis put on family and jokes. Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas star, with Michael Peña bringing the laughs as the loveable Luis. Most importantly, it also features Michelle Pfeiffer returning to the comic book realm for the first time since Batman Returns. There’s no doubting she’s on a role after being the best part of both Murder on the Orient Express and Mother!
A more irreverent superhero caper is Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (3 Aug), a feature-length adaptation of the Cartoon Network TV show. Poking fun at modern superhero movies, the manic and colourful visuals should be enough to distract any hyper child.
Hearts Beat Loud (3 Aug) isn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with ABBA in the battle for feel-good comedy, as Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons create a father-daughter band as she prepares to move to college. Inclusive, progressive and fun, this film puts a smile on your face, and even though it might be a bit twee for some, there’s no denying Clemons’ talent. It also stars Sasha Lane, Toni Collette and Ted Danson.
Since The Hunger Games ended, the YA market has been looking for another phenomenon and The Darkest Minds (10 Aug) is after the crown. Set in a dystopian future where some children have supernatural powers, Amanda Stenberg and Harris Dickinson star as two teenagers who start a revolution against a fascist dictatorship and fight for the freedom of others. Mandy Moore and Gwendoline Christie have supporting roles.
The Meg (10 Aug) is a $150 million B-movie about Jason Statham fighting a GIANT SHARK. Do I need to say anymore?
If that isn’t your thing, you might be tempted by The Negotiator (10 Aug), directed by Brad Anderson, written by Tony Gilroy and starring Jon Hamm and Rosamond Pike. A negotiator (Hamm) is hired by the CIA (represented by Pike as his handler) to sort out a difficult situation in Beirut. A socio-political thriller yearning to play with Zero Dark Thirty and Gilroy’s own Jason Bourne adaptations, this is a thinking person movie. Anderson has been crafting low-budget unpretentious genre films for years with the likes of The Machinist, aka the movie where Christian Bale got super-super skinny,Transsiberian and Stonehearst Asylum, so it’s great to see him paired up with a screenwriter of Gilroy’s pedigree.
Winnie the Pooh is about as British as teatime, so when watching the trailer for Christopher Robin (17 Aug), it’s hard not to think: don’t muck this up. This is an original story, penned by hipster darling Alex Ross Perry (Queen of Earth) and directed by Marc Foster (Finding Neverland), focusing on a grown-up Christopher Robin (Ewen McGregor) who is reunited with his childhood pals Pooh, Piglet and the rest of 100-acre wood when he loses sight of what’s important in life. A whimsical tale brightened up by the voice work of Jim Cummings, who perfectly captures the soothing tones of Sterling Holloway’s defining voice.
Spike Lee has had an eclectic recent career (Chi-raq is a highlight), and BlacKkKlansman (24 Aug) is being positioned as his return to form (aka might get some awards attention after winning the Grand Prix at Cannes). It’s based on the real-life tale about African-American police officer Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) and his Jewish partner Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) infiltrating the KKK. Ever the film historian, Lee places his film as a commentary on the blacksploitation pictures of the 1970s and once again serves up a comical and spiky exposé of race relations. Topher Grace co-stars.
Have you ever wanted to see Kermit and Miss Piggy have sex? If you have, then watch The Happytime Murders (24 Aug). Brian Henson has taken a big swerve to the left with this R-rated crime-comedy about two cops, one played by a puppet and the other by Melissa McCarthy, investigating a string of puppet murders. Think Who Framed Roger Rabbit? but with booze, hard drugs and sex. A perverse night out indeed.