For avid film watchers, there are a lot of exciting movies coming your way this July. BBC has listed five of the top films you should watch out for over the next few weeks.
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Ant-Man and the Wasp is set before Thanos killed half the universe, and, just like its heroes, it’s a decidedly small-scale affair. Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), who stole a suit that can shrink him to the size of an ant or blow him up to become a giant, teams up with Evangeline Lilly’s Wasp to track down a criminal who can phase through walls. Early word is that it’s a light, frothily comedic affair with Collider’s Steven Weintraub saying it’s “a tonne of fun and had the crowd laughing from beginning to end and Slashfilm’s Peter Sciretta saying it’s “at its best when it’s almost an over-the-top silly comedy.” So no insect repellant required.
What happened to Whitney Houston?
That’s the question that Kevin Macdonald’s new documentary about the singer tries to answer. As BBC Culture’s Nicholas Barber wrote in his four-out-of-five star review from Cannes, there is indeed a shocking revelation near the end: “But just when Whitney seems to be no more than the latest entry in the ‘little girl blue’ genre, it reaches its ‘Rosebud’ moment.” Along the way Macdonald interviews a number of the people close to Houston, like her ex-husband Bobby Brown and famed record producer Clive Davis. Macdonald, who has made narrative dramas, such as The Last King of Scotland, which was criticised for telling the story of Idi Amin through the eyes of a white onlooker, is at his best with documentaries, such as One Day in September, Touching the Void and Marley. In Whitney, Macdonald, writes Nicholas Barber, “suggests she was cursed and blessed from the day she was born.”
Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again
You’ve been haunted by the sight of Pierce Brosnan dancing in flippers too, haven’t you? Well, he’s back along with virtually everyone else in the sequel to the movie version of the musical that grossed $615m (£464m) worldwide in 2008. This time Amanda Seyfried’s Sophie is pregnant and the action shifts back and forth between the present when her mother Donna is played by Meryl Streep and a few decades earlier when her mother was pregnant with her and played by Lily James. A number of the songs from the first film are being recycled for this one, but a few new additions are in the mix too, such as One of Us, Fernando, Knowing Me, Knowing You – but alas probably not this writer’s favourite, Tropical Loveland. This sure-to-be smash tops a big year for Abba: the reformed group has promised new music while Abba’s Benny Andersson and Björn have been trying out a revival of their 1986 musical Chess in the UK and US. These pop superstars have not yet met their Waterloo.
Mission: Impossible Fallout
James Bond has met his match in Ethan Hunt: the previous two entries in the Mission: Impossible series, subtitled Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation, have been more works of kinetic art than traditional action film – and, apart from the exceptional Skyfall, have flown (and motored and swum and parachuted) circles around the 007 franchise – and basically every other Hollywood film series too. In this sixth movie, Fallout, Rogue Nation director Christopher McQuarrie is back, and so are many actors from previous films, including Michelle Monaghan (who was Ethan Hunt’s fiancée in Mission: Impossible 3) and Sean Harris. But the undiminished star of these films is Tom Cruise, who comes up with more and more elaborate stunts for each film and, risking life and limb, shows how unsatisfying the rest of the CGI-filled action-movie landscape really is.
Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far on Foot
Ten years ago Gus Van Sant was riding high. His film Milk was a smash with critics and won two Oscars – one for best original screenplay and a best actor award for Sean Penn. But he followed it with three critical and commercial disasters. This latest effort, which was an official selection at the Sundance and Berlin film festivals earlier this year, looks to correct all that. Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot tells the story of John Callahan, an addict who was paralysed in a car crash in his early twenties and went on to become a famous, and famously controversial, cartoonist. Callahan’s drawings sometimes earned charges of insensitivity but his response to The New York Times in 1992 was “My only compass for whether I’ve gone too far is the reaction I get from people in wheelchairs, or with hooks for hands. Like me, they are fed up with people who presume to speak for the disabled.” Joaquin Phoenix plays the artist, who died in 2010. Screen International’s Tim Grierson wrote at Sundance that Phoenix’s “raw, wiry performance never strives for greatness, which only makes it all the more affecting” and that “the movie radiates considerable compassion”.