6   +   8   =  

After the heavy hitting from February, March and April, May is time for a little bit of relaxation. Historically one of the major movie months, the film calendar has shifted during the last couple of years and the spoils are being shared more evenly. This year, the start of spring is looking a little empty.

Even so, with the Americans celebrating Memorial Day, there are still some big films being released including a wise-cracking superhero, Nicole Kidman going punk rock and a certain smuggler returning to our screens after he was last seen being stabbed by a lightsaber, falling down a massive exhaust shaft before the planet he was on turned into a sun.  

Luckily, Lean on Pete (4th May) is a less confusing way to start May. Andrew Haigh’s follow up to 45 Years follows Charlie (Charlie Plummer) and Pete, his fading racehorse, as they journey across the Great Plains to Wyoming, where Charlie believes his long lost aunt lives. Steve Buscemi, Chloë Sevigny) and Travis Fimmel round out the cast of a movie that was positively received on the festival circuit.

A director looking to return to form is Jason Reitman. After starting his career with panache with hits like Juno and Up in the Air, he stumbled with Labor Day and Men, Women and Children. Reuniting with Diablo Cody and Charlize Theron, Tully (4th Apr) is about modern motherhood. Cody’s scripts are always surprising, acerbic and acidic, so hopefully Reitman can make a great film again.

Another film that didn’t find an immediate release after debuting at Cannes last year is John Cameron Mitchell’s How to Talk to Girls at Parties (11th May), based on a Neil Gaiman short story about a punk rock teenager from Croydon who spends a night he won’t forget with a girl who happens to be an alien. Alex Sharp and Elle Fanning play the boy and girl, and Nicole Kidman is having fun as an alien high priestess with killer hair.

Deadpool 2 (16th May) is looking to carry over the punk rock attitude onto the sometimes stale superhero genre with the return of Ryan Reynolds’ foulmouthed superhero. After the success of the first film, director David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde) has a bigger budget he should take advantage of with the introduction of Cable (Josh Brolin), and the hero’s time travelling superpowers. Deadpool has a bigger sandbox to foul up, and whatever you thought of the original, there’s no denying Reynolds’ powerhouse performance as the Merc with a Mouth. It should be fun having him back, and with Leitch’s action background, hopefully this will be a superior sequel. 

Sequels and prequels, movie jargon can get a bit confusing. But, anyway, Han Solo returns, except not as you know him. Solo: A Star Wars Story (25th May) explores the time before Luke Skywalker and Obi-wan Kenobi met a certain smuggler in a certain cantina. Alden Ehrenreich looks to fill Harrison Ford’s boots in this intergalactic tale that Lucasfilm has kept under their usual shroud of secrecy. Joining the famous smuggler on his journey is Donald Glover as fellow SW legend Lando Calrissian, while Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson and Phoebe Waller-Bridge play new characters. With any major release, there is some backstage baggage, but Ron Howard is a sure hand when it comes to delivering an entertaining movie, and his relationship with Star Wars and George Lucas goes way back — the creator asked Howard to direct The Phantom Menace and he starred in American Graffiti.    

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