From Churchill to Logan Lucky: the best films for summer 2017

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Churchill Movie

This summer is throwing up a multitude of quality films. Here’s our pick of the best...

Summer is when Hollywood traditionally brings out their box office blockbusters. But it’s not just about epic space battles and costumed superheroes. Look between the headline-grabbing movies and you’ll find some cracking quality films, from stunning costume dramas to poignant war stories. Here are six to look out for...


My Cousin Rachel

Based on the much-loved Daphne du Maurier novel, this darkly romantic thriller tells the story of a young man named Phillip Ambrose who plots revenge against his cousin, believing that she murdered his guardian. His feelings however become complicated as he finds himself falling under her spell…

Director Roger Michell has good form with ravishing-looking period dramas (Persuasion, Hyde Park on Hudson) as well as with edge-of-your-seat thrillers (Enduring Love, Changing Lanes), so expect a much more faithful version of the novel than the 1952 Richard Burton vehicle (which du Maurier famously disliked).

With a top-notch cast including Rachel Weisz (The Bourne Legacy), Sam Claflin (The Riot Club), Iain Glen (Game of Thrones) and Andrew Knott (The History Boys), the signs are good that this movie will finally deliver on one of du Maurier’s most gripping and unpredictable novels.

When’s it out?

OUT NOW


Churchill

The first of two Winston Churchill-centred movies out this year (Darkest Hour, starring Gary Oldman, arrives in November), this Jonathan Teplitzky-directed drama focuses on the one-time prime minister in the 96 hours before D-Day.

Promising to be rich with period detail (the writer, historian Alex von Tunzelmann, writes a Guardian column analysing popular films for their historical accuracy), Churchill stars Brian Cox (who shaved his head and gained 22 pounds for the role) as the celebrated wartime leader, with Miranda Richardson as his wife, Clementine.

When’s it out?

16 June


The Beguiled

Filmmaker Sofia Coppola is clearly a chip off the old block. The daughter of cinema legend Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia made an attention-grabbing breakthrough with The Virgin Suicides in 1999 and has since distinguished herself as the director of sophisticated movies with strong, richly-written female leads.

Her latest tells the story of a wounded soldier (Colin Farrell) who arrives at an all-female Virginia boarding school during the American Civil War. Before too long, sexual tensions lead to dangerous rivalries as the women tend to his injuries…

The Beguiled has already been picking up rave reviews. “It is a tremendously watchable movie,” writes The Guardian, “a drama-thriller with subtle touches of noir and black comedy”, while The Daily Telegraph calls it “a slender, refined and witheringly funny morality tale in which a tight-knit sisterhood is destabilised by one man.”

When’s it out?

14 July


Dunkirk

British director Christopher Nolan (the Dark Knight trilogy, The Prestige, Interstellar) has a reputation for crafting thoughtful, grown-up blockbusters, and now he turns his attentions to one of the most crucial moments of the Second World War, when more than 300,000 Allied soldiers, trapped on the shores of northern France and surrounded by German troops, miraculously escaped across the English Channel.

With an all-star cast including Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy, this inspirational epic is set to stir the heart and wow the eyes. While the director isn’t describing Dunkirk as a ‘war movie’ as such, it certainly sounds as if it’s an intense and thrilling experience.

“It's a survival story first and foremost,” Nolan says. “So while there is a high level of intensity to it, it does not necessarily concern itself with the bloody aspects of combat, which have been so well done in so many films."

When’s it out?

21 July


An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

Al Gore’s Oscar-winning climate change film An Inconvenient Truth is surely one of the most important documentaries of our time. Yet much has changed since it hit cinemas in 2006 – both good and bad.

Gore’s original movie was a surprise box office hit when it was released 11 years ago, helping bring the climate crisis into the heart of popular culture. Now, the one-time Vice President of the United States is readying its long-awaited follow-up, addressing the progress made and reflecting on his efforts to persuade the world’s leaders to invest in renewable energy, a campaign that culminated with the landmark signing of 2016's Paris Agreement.

With President Trump having recently pulled the United States out of the Paris Agreement, this sequel is arriving at a time when climate change is dominating the headlines more than ever.

Presented, like the first film, by the charismatic and impressively knowledgeable Gore, this promises to be a movie that everyone should see.

When’s it out?

25 August


Logan Lucky

Daniel Craig as a redneck jailbird from America’s Deep South? If there’s any reason to catch this new comedy from Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s Eleven, Out of Sight), then surely it’s to see the normally sharp-suited 007 as a tattooed thug.

Channing Tatum and Adam Driver also headline, as brothers who set out to pull off a heist during the Coca-Cola 600, the biggest NASCAR race of the year. Except, not being the sharpest tools in the box, they need a bit of help, in the shape of Daniel Craig’s brilliantly named Joe Bang.

From the trailer, Logan Lucky looks like it’s a return to the heist-jinks of Soderbergh’s most famous trilogy, though he calls this film “an anti-glam version of an Ocean’s movie.”

“Nobody has nice stuff,” Soderbergh says, “They have no money. They have no technology, that’s what I thought was fun about it.”

When’s it out?

25 August


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