If you’re one of those people who believe that there’s never enough choice at your local cinema, it may be time to reappraise that crisis of faith. We are less than one week into the month of May and we’ve already had 24 different films released, with another 59 set to challenge cinema schedulers before the month’s out. Truly this is a golden age for cinematic content.
To help you out, we’ve studied the forthcoming filmic slate and reduced those 59 films down to 20 digestible top picks. There’s every subject you could ever think of, from awesome A cappella singers to dastardly deaf school children, and just about everything in between. It’s fair to say that this month, you’re spoilt for choice.
May’s Top Pick
Mad Max: Fury Road (Dir. George Miller) – Released May 14th
We’ve had so many different directors offer us their own interpretation of Earth’s end, but few have been as visually vivid as George Miller’s. Even now, 30 years since we went beyond Thunderdome with Mel Gibson in the last Mad Max film, Miller’s spine-tingling tableau of the Australian outback continues to leave an indelible mark on the post-apocalyptic landscape.
Following a problematic production process, the forth part of Miller’s apocalyptic adventures with Max Rockatansky finally arrives at cinemas on May 14th. Once more we will find ourselves in the middle of a deadly desert, where humanity has been broken and turned on each other in a bid to survive. Against this baron backdrop Mad Max walks alone, searching for peace in amongst the pandemonium. Soon however, he finds himself partnered with Furiosa, a woman who believes she knows which path to take in order to survive. Together Max and Furiosa set off on a trip across the desert, fending off various foes in a bid to restore some sort of order to this chaotic world.
With Tom Hardy replacing Mel Gibson in the lead role and Charlize Theron joining him at the front of the fray as Furiosa, this is a film with strong foundations from which it looks like brilliance has been built. The trailer is a fierce vortex of astonishing action and demonic doom that sweeps you up and spins you round, before spitting you out and leaving you sweating and shaking as the dust settles. It may be a film about hell on earth, but if what we’ve seen so far is any indication, Mad Max: Fury Road will transport us to cinematic heaven.
There’s a wonderfully diverse range of dramas available to tuck into this month. Perhaps one of the most tantalising is a true-life tale from the end of the Second World War that few people know about. A Royal Night Out (May 15th) tells of Princess Elizabeth and Margaret’s trip out in to London town on V.E. day, where their regal duties where relaxed so they could join in the euphoric excitement of the day and indulge in the first flutters of love.
Also immortalised on the big screen this month is the 2009 Iranian presidential election protests. In Rosewater (May 8th) we are told the true account of London-based journalist Maziar Bahari’s trip to and subsequent detainment in Iran, where he was brutally interrogated under suspicion of being a spy. We first saw Rosewater back at the London Film Festival (LFF) last year, and though it wasn’t without problems, Gael García Bernal perfectly captured both the horror and humanity of the situation in the lead role.
Not as striking a story, but no less significant is The Goob (May 29th) a brutal British kitchen-sink drama that we loved when we saw it at LFF. Despite being set in rural Norfolk during a long hot summer, it’s a chilling coming of age yarn that sees a young boy (a fantastic performance from newcomer Liam Walpole) battling a brutal racecar driver for his mother’s attention whilst falling in love with a pretty foreign field worker. It’s unlikely to be the easiest film to find in the cinematic schedules, but this is well worth hunting down if you can.
Fascinating Foreign Films
There’s a strong hand of exciting and extraordinary films from foreign lands being released in the cinemas this month, and top of the pack is another one we raved about at LFF. The Tribe (May 15th) may have no dialogue, but it sure makes a lot of noise. A crime epic set in a Ukrainian boarding school, it’s told through a cast communicating entirely in sign language, without subtitles to aid your understanding. Intoxicating and infuriating in equal measure, it’s a film that breaks the boundaries of visual dialogue and reveals a brave new cinematic direction that begs to be explored.
Also in demand of your attention is A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (May 22nd). Said girl is a lonesome vampire who’s stalking the streets for prey in the Iranian ghost town Bad City. Shot in stark black and white and accompanied with a killer soundtrack, the trailer promises a terrific and tumultuous tale of troubled souls.
Not as haunting but equally as haunted is teenager Merieme, the heroine at the heart of Girlhood (May 8th). Hoping to escape of the oppression of her mundane life, Merieme sees an opportunity to enliven her existence when she meets a gang of free-spirited girls.
For a different type of French film, be sure to check out The Connection (May 29th). Starring Jean Dujardin, it’s a tightly woven crime thriller with flavors of Mesrine and The French Connection both being thrown in to the mix.
Praised at the Berlinale as being a powerful and passionate film, Futuro Beach (May 8th) looks set to be another masterpiece from Karim Aïnouz that’s not to be missed by fans of his work. A quiet melodrama that beings in Brazil and ends in Berlin, its about a lifeguard haunted by the loss of a recently downed tourist.
Action & Adventure
We’ve seen Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson overcome various obstacles on the big screen, but this month he faces his biggest challenge yet when a massive earthquake strikes in the heart of California. That’s right, San Andreas (May 29th) sees The Rock laying a smack down on mother nature herself… do you really need any other reason to see this film?
The same goes for Big Game (May 8th), which finds Samuel L. Jackson playing the US President and fighting foes in the Finnish wilderness with the aid of a young teenager. Are you sold yet? Because we are!
For the youngsters there’s Disney’s Tomorrowland (May 22nd), the eagerly awaited new film from The Incredibles’ Brad Bird. Based on a theme park ride and starring George Clooney, it looks to be trying to follow the successful formula of the Pirates franchise. Here’s hoping it’s as entertaining as the first one, and not as forgettable as the fourth one.
For those who like their thrills to have a harder edge, why not journey back into the world of British espionage in Spooks: The Greater Good (May 8th). Based on the hit BBC series, it continues the adventures of MI5 intelligence agent Harry Pearce and his team as they try to thwart a terrorist attack in London.
As ever, let’s gloss over the fact that there’s a new Adam Sandler movie out this month to focus on the funny men and funnier women. Flying the flag for girl power this month are Anna Kendrick and her Barden Bellas, who once more take centre stage in Pitch Perfect 2 (May 15th). This time the awesome A cappella troop are attempting to save their reputation by winning an international competition no US group has won before. It’s irrelevant whether they win or loose of course, as we’ll no doubt be cheering them whatever happens.
Also taking to the stage this month is Al Pacino in Danny Collins (May 20th). Here he plays the eponymous Collins, an aging rocker looking for a late in life comeback. Pacino’s output hasn’t been particularly inspired of late, so lets hope this marks as a rebound for the actor as well.
Someone who’s in no need of a career recovery is comedian Chris Rock, who writes, directs and stars in Top Five (May 8th). With satirical smarts and cast that includes a crop of cracking comedians, expect laughs aplenty from this tale of a man trying to make it as a serious actor.
Best Of The Rest
If you were after a few creepy chills this month… then I’d probably refer you back to A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night. But if vampires fail to stir up your blood lust, then how about haunted houses or possessed people? The former refers to the forthcoming remake of Poltergeist (May 22nd), which finds Sam Rockwell and his family at the mercy of evil forces lurking in his abode. The latter, and hopefully more original horror is Spring (May 22nd), the story of a young man who begins a romance with a girl with a dark, primordial secret.
If you’re after something to take the youngsters to over the bank holiday weekend, then how about an adventure with everyone’s favorite Finnish hippos in Moomins on the Riviera (May 22nd). And if it’s the older audience you wish to cater for, then head to the BFI Southbank in London and check out the restored re-release of Only Angels Have Wings (May 15th), which stars Cary Grant and is directed by Howard Hawks.