Eight films to watch in July

EagleHeadline | Jun. 30, 2017

The Beguiled

Sofia Coppola became the second woman ever to win the Best Director prize at Cannes for her remake of the 1971 Clint Eastwood revenge tale set in the deep South. Nicole Kidman is the headmistress of a girls’ boarding school, who agrees to shelter a wounded Union soldier (Colin Farrell): rivalries simmer in the Gothic Western that also stars Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning. Coppola has shifted the original film’s narrative focus from the soldier to the women, ramping up the sexual tension. “The main crux of the story is about the dynamics between a group of women all stuck together, and then also the power shifts between men and women,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “So for me, it’s very universal, but it’s in this exotic setting of the Southern gentility.” Released 6 July in Greece, 13 July in Australia and 27 July in Singapore. (Credit: Ben Rothstein/Focus Features)

Spider-Man: Homecoming

After his debut as a young Peter Parker in Captain America: Civil War, Tom Holland fleshes out the character as he returns home to his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei). Robert Downey Jr co-stars as his mentor Tony Stark, and Michael Keaton takes on a villain role as the Vulture. The reboot of the Spider-Man franchise is the 16th instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Holland confirmed that his character had been part of the MCU since 2010. Director Jon Watts has said “I do feel like now that Spider-Man is a part of this big crazy universe we can definitely tell some new stories” – and he was able to apply ideas he’d been developing for a low-budget film to a blockbuster. “I'd been writing my own coming-of-age story,” said Watts, “and I got to take a lot of that energy and a lot of those moments and themes that I wanted to explore.” On general release from 5 July. (Credit: Chuck Zlotnick/CTMG)

War for the Planet of the Apes

The third part of the rebooted trilogy has drawn praise for offering a fitting climax to a critically-acclaimed blockbuster franchise, balancing epic action with nuanced performances. According to Empire, “After the last film’s ballistic finale, it would have been easy for Matt Reeves to sit back and hurl fur and fireballs at the screen for two hours… But Reeves is no Michael Bay, and War is a more subtle beast than its title implies.” The Telegraph describes the film as a soulful, mesmerising spectacle, arguing “Reeves marshals more than his fair share of battle scenes and sweeping set-pieces, but never forgets the flicker of a face can provide all the spectacle that cinema requires.” Andy Serkis reprises his role as the leader of the apes, Caesar, who leaves his tribe on a revenge quest that ends in a battle between humans and hominids. It’s as much about internal as external conflict, with EW commenting that “like Caesar and company, the films seem to be getting more intelligent and human as they evolve”. On general release from 11 July. (Credit: Twentieth Century Fox)


Director Christopher Nolan follows up the Dark Knight trilogy, Inception and Interstellar with what’s set to be one of the most ambitious historical war movies yet. He has used a real naval destroyer in battle sequences, and there have been rumours that Warner Bros paid $5m for a vintage World War II aeroplane. The ensemble cast includes Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy, Fionn Whitehead and One Direction’s Harry Styles, and long-time Nolan collaborator Hans Zimmer provides the score. Nolan has re-enacted the 1940 evacuation of more than 300,000 stranded Allied troops from the beaches of Dunkirk, telling Total Film “it’s on a colossal scale,” but “it’s a survival story more than a war film.” On general release from 19 July. (Credit: Warner Bros)

The Midwife

Catherine Deneuve drew praise from Variety for her “fearless turn as a boozing, ailing wreck” in this film written and directed by Martin Provost (Séraphine). Catherine Frot plays an uptight midwife who forms an unlikely friendship with the free-wheeling, estranged mistress of her late father (Deneuve). Screen Daily has called the two actors “consummate performers who inhabit their diametrically opposed characters with satisfying élan”, and the Hollywood Reporter says “Provost has once again proven to be a sensitive and sure-handed director of what used to be called ‘women’s films’”. Released 7 July in the US, 14 July in Bulgaria and 27 July in Brazil. (Credit: Michael Crotto/Memento Films)

The Big Sick

“The recent death of the American rom-com has been much remarked upon,” argues the Atlantic, “but it only takes one great film to zap it back into life.” Hailed as one of the best rom-coms in recent years, The Big Sick was written by the married couple Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V Gordon, and is based on the story of their courtship. Nanjiani plays himself, while Zoe Kazan is Gordon – and the plot is “the kind of sweetly funny movie love story that's so bizarre that it has to be real”, according to The Wrap. Meeting when Nanjiani was an aspiring stand-up comedian, they have to navigate his parents – traditional Muslims from Pakistan – and a mystery illness that leaves Gordon in a medically-induced coma. The prospect for tragedy is “handled with a care and deftness that is utterly charming and pulls you closer and closer in without ever overreaching”, says Cinema Blend, claiming that not only is the film the best rom-com of 2017, it’s also “one of the most touching and daring in years”. Released 14 July in Canada and the US and 27 July in Singapore. (Credit: Apatow Productions)

Hounds of Love

When she is abducted by a serial killer couple in Perth, Vicki (Ashleigh Cummings) attempts to drive a wedge between the pair in order to survive. This feature debut from the Australian writer/director Ben Young is a “bone-chilling horror-thriller”, according to The Guardian; “a savagely intense and frightening tale of suburban sickos that is hands down the scariest movie you’ll see this year”. Stephen Curry and Emma Booth play the married psychopaths, with Young looking at the motivations of female murderers and the psychodrama of destructive relationships as well as delivering shocks on a par with The Babadook or Snowtown. As Time Out argues, the film is “a sweat-drenched exercise in psychological warfare… it seeps into your clothes”. Released 30 June in the Czech Republic, 12 July in France and 28 July in the UK. (Credit: Factor 30 Films)

City of Ghosts

Matthew Heineman follows his Oscar-nominated Cartel Land with what the Guardian has called “the definitive contemporary documentary about the tragedy of Syria, as well as an epoch-defining piece on modern media tactics”. Following the citizen journalist collective Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently as they attempt to expose human rights violations by Isis in their home country, the film “reveals accurate information as the first weapon of resistance”, according to Canada’s Globe and Mail. Heineman combines footage from RBSS – which sends reports of daily events behind enemy lines from anonymous correspondents still living there – with his own interviews at Turkish and German safe houses, and according to the Hollywood Reporter offers “a double portrait of devastation, of a truly destroyed city and of partially decimated survivors”. Released 25 June in Germany, 7 July in the US and 21 July in the UK. (Credit: Amazon Studios)

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