It pains one to say it, but cinemas are not always the most pleasant of places. Despite the air-conditioned auditoriums offering a sanctuary for those who want to escape the glare of the sun, some cinemas have become uninhabitable thanks to growing number of rowdy attendees who seem intent on making sure that neither you nor themselves can hear the film.
Once every 4 years though, things are a bit different. With the nation eminently transfixed on finding out just how quickly it will take the England team to disappoint (turns out it’s less than 90 minutes), our cinemas return to being the fortresses of solitude us cinephiles love them to be; and with such a strong line-up of new releases hitting the screens this month, who really has time for football?
July’s Top Pick
Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (Dir. Matt Reeves) – Released July 17th
When it was first announced back in 2013 that the Planet Of The Apes series was to be rebooted, the disgruntled cries from the franchise’s legion of fans were even more bloodcurdling than those let out following the release of Tim Burton’s repugnant remake. However, the shrieks of excitement and adulation that eventually met 2011’s Rise of The Planet Of The Apes were unanimous, infusing the series with a new lease of life that few could have envisaged. Praised for its stylish direction, awe-inspiring visual effects and stunning central performance from Andy Serkis as chief chimp Caesar, Rise reignited a series that was on the verge of extinction. Now Caesar and his band of progressive primates are back to do battle with humans once again in Dawn of The Planet Of The Apes.
A decade has passed since the humanity-threatening virus swept around the planet and Earth is now divided in to factions of humans and apes. Soon enough, both sides find themselves brought to the brink of a war that will eventually determine who will be the world’s dominant species.
In various interviews, director Matt Reeves has promised that Dawn will be driven by greater scope, grander action and fiercer performances from his fantastic cast, which includes Serkis, Gary Oldman & Keri Russell. Furthermore, with the narrative now rooted in the simians’ struggle for survival, this will undoubtedly be the best example yet of how motion-capture can transplant a powerful performance to an entirely different face. Hail Caesar!
We’re deep in to this summer’s blockbuster season now, the annual period where films strive to be bold, brash, and occasionally brilliant. One film that certainly looks to be covering all of those bases is Guardians Of The Galaxy (July 31st), the next stage in Marvel’s conquering crusade for cinematic supremacy. Transferring yet another host of colourful characters from the page to the screen, Marvel’s latest promises to be a wild ride that will keep audiences sated until Avengers 2 is released next year.
Likely to be less of an all-round winner critically, but just as successful commercially is Michael Bay’s next slice of unashamed mayhem Transformers: Age Of Extinction (July 5th). Once again Earth finds itself being brought to its knees by an alien threat and once again Optimus Prime and his gang of mechanical mercenaries are the only ones with the power to save us.
After Kellan Lutz stirred nothing but unanimous feelings of nausea in The Legend Of Hercules earlier this year, it now rests on the sturdy shoulders of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson to save the image of the Greek demigod. Hercules (July 25th) finds the eponymous hero battling a tyrannical warlord with nothing but his sword, his strength and a lion skin on his head… surely it can’t be any worse than the other one!
Richard Linklater has always shown great ambition in his work and Boyhood (July 11th) is likely to be pinnacle of his illustrious career. A groundbreaking study of youth that has been filmed at periodic intervals with the same cast over 12 years, Linklater’s film will once again underline the director’s unrivalled ability to combine wondrous storytelling with warmth, wit and poignancy. Begin Again (July 11th) equally promises to enchant audiences, infusing similar sensations with a melodic quality. Told through the eyes of two people working in very different areas of the music industry, director John Carney revisits the themes of love, loss and aspiration he so dynamically explored in Once.
Give him the right material and Nicholas Cage proves to be one of Hollywood’s most vibrant actors. In the role as the titular ex-con who’s given the opportunity to either redeem or ruin his life, Joe (July 25th) looks to be a perfect opportunity for the actor to remind us of the versatility power he can bring to a film.
For those who aren’t satisfied by all the football found on the TV, then Believe (July 25th) is the film for you. Fictionalising a tale of how Manchester United coach Matt Busby helped a rebellious young boy and his mates realise their footballing potential, David Scheinmann’s film is likely to stir the passionate feelings of excitement amd inspiration the England team failed to exude.
50 years after it was first released to screaming masses of hysterical youngsters, The Beatles’ first film A Hard Days Night (July 3rd) is once again in cinemas having benefited from a 4K digital restoration. Though it may have been originally conceived as a vehicle to channel the Fab Four’s success, the result was a satirically smart and musically magnificent ode to Beatlemania. Also the benefactor of a digital restoration, Some Like It Hot (July 18th) is rightly considered by many to be both one of the funniest and finest films ever made. Both Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis effortlessly nail the ceaseless stream of hilarious material that emanates from I. A. L. Diamond and Billy Wilder’s script, but it’s the career-defining performance from Marilyn Monroe that makes the film sparkle like a diamond.
Restored amd reshown at last year’s London Film Festival, Orson Welles’ fourth feature as director The Lady Of Shanghai (July 25th) now benefits from a wider re-release. The incomprehensible narrative combined with Welles’ sharp and witty script embodies the tone of Hollywood’s classic noir thrillers, while simultaneously managing to poke fun at them.
It was a surprise to many that last year’s The Purge was so well received by audiences, what’s less surprising is that its success has quickly spawned a sequel. The Purge: Anarchy (July 25th) centres on the same intriguing premise that drove the first one, but takes the action to the streets of America as a couple strives to stay alive when crime is once again legalised for a single night. The streets of Copenhagen are also in the spotlight this month with the release of Northwest (July 25th). Though this tale of small-time crooks may sound generic, many revere Nordic thrillers for their smart characterisation and unexpected twists, making this film a delightful prospect.
Melissa McCarthy is fast becoming Hollywood’s chief comedic treasure of our generation and this month sees the release of her first starring vehicle Tammy (July 4th). With actor-turned-director Ben Falcone in the chair and McCarthy looking to be on fine form in the trailers, Tammy has the potential to be this year’s answer to The Heat.
Best Of The Rest
Though their film’s can be every bit as funny and exciting, DreamWorks have never been able to display the same dizzying levels of creativity we see in Pixar’s finest offerings. How To Train Your Dragon proved the studios ability to compete on every level and How To Train Your Dragon 2 (July 11th), which picks up Hiccup and Toothless’ story five years later, looks set to prove that DreamWorks are now every bit as capable of producing animated hits that are truly fun for the entire family.
Two very different, but equally intriguing documentaries are also out this month. I Am Divine (July 11th) is an insight in to the life of eponymous drag-act, actor and singer Divine; with interviews from lifelong friend, collaborator and filmmaker John Waters. While Finding Vivian Maier (July 11th) lifts the lid on a nanny whose cache of photos that were discovered after her death led expects to proclaim her as one of the world’s greatest street photographers.
Writer-director Noel Clark is constantly proving himself to be a filmmaker with the ability to break down barriers between genres and The Anomaly (July 4th) will further prove his incredible skills. Blending an action-thriller with sci-fi smarts, the film looks set to offer a unique cinema experience that shows such films don’t need exorbitant amounts of money to succeed… take that Michael Bay!