The following is another installment in my monthly column for CultureFly
First up, an apology. After last month’s feature, the studio moved the UK release date of Rough Night back to August. So, you’ll probably see it pop up again next month.
Anyway, on with this month. Normally, July is the last month of the summer season, but since branded entertainment has taken over the multiplexes, it doesn’t really matter when you release your blockbuster. This leaves space for smaller films and this month is a good blend of big and small budgets.
Kickstarting the month is the anticipated and possibly over-hyped return of everyone’s favourite wall-crawler. Spider-Man: Homecoming (5 July) witnesses Spider-Man entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe and making a lot of uber-Marvel fans squeal with glee. Now, whilst a supporting part for Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) doesn’t guarantee a good movie, it does separate Homecoming from the five previous movies. After stealing the show in Captain America: Civil War, it’ll be interesting if Tom Holland can survive his two-hour battle with the Vulture (Michael Keaton). The casting of Keaton, a former and the best Batman, is inspired, if only for the fact he was Oscar nominated for playing a former bird-based superhero actor in a film that couldn’t hide its contempt for the genre.
From one possibly oversaturated genre to another, It Comes at Night (7 July) is another type of horror movie. Featuring Joel Edgerton as a man who has protected his family (Carmen Ejogo and Kelvin Harrison Jr) from the disease ravaging the outside world, the film goes deep on existential and psychological horror when Christopher Abbott, Riley Keough and Griffin Robert Faulkner arrive. Director Trey Edward Shults creates a thick atmosphere, and the last time Edgerton played around in this genre, the resulting film was the awesome The Gift.
Skip forward a week and Pixar will be revving up the engine for Cars 3 (14 July). Of all their franchises, common knowledge would dictate Cars is the worst, but it gets to be Pixar’s second threequel because it is easily merchandisable. Whilst the first film is an underrated ode to living a simple life, the second featured an ill-conceived spy plot. Fortunately, the third one seemingly goes back to the series’ roots with Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) questioning his place in the world after a horrendous crash. Even if Cars is lesser Pixar, you can still guarantee it’ll be a fun ride.
For a complete 180 in content and maturity, The Beguiled (14 July) is Sofia Coppola in full on exploitation mode as she remakes a film once labelled the most misogynist of all time. It stars Nicole Kidman, Elle Fanning and Kirsten Dunst as a group of women holed up in a boarding school during the American Civil War and Colin Farrell as the Union soldier who disrupts their life. The film looks heavy on suspense and atmosphere as Coppola seemingly widens her reach.
Another director mixing up genres is Christopher Nolan, with Dunkirk (21 July) being his first film since Insomnia taking place outside of the superhero or sci-fi genre. A new take on the famous World War 2 evacuation of British troops from Nazi-occupied France, Nolan has filled the film with suspense and has made very on-brand statements about meddling with “temporal realities” in his version of events. As always, his cast is stacked, featuring Sir Kenneth Branagh and Mark Rylance, as well Nolan regulars Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy. Newcomers Fionn Whitehead and Harry Styles round out the impressive ensemble.
Ending the month is The Big Sick (28 July). The toast of Sundance is based on the real-life experiences of writers Kumail Nanjiani (also starring) and Emily V Gordon, as they negotiate the pitfalls of falling in love with the added pressure of cultural differences and family meddling. A funny and heartwarming movie about love, starring Zoe Kazan, Ray Romano and the awesome Holly Hunter. It is the perfect way to end the month.