Summer is here (even if the weather disagrees) and that means blockbuster movies are heading your way! Let’s see what’s on offer this month…
FILM OF THE MONTH: CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR – 5 stars (out now) – Credit: Disney/Marvel
Proving that you can make a decent superhero-showdown movie, Captain America: Civil War is a complete success from start to finish. An outstanding ode to cinematic spectacle and action, this could be Marvel’s opus. With the human race scared of the collateral damage left after various attacks on earth, The Avengers are strongly advised to sign a bill that makes them accountable for their actions. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) believes that this could be a massive mistake, trusting the teams own instincts rather than any forced agenda. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), weighed down by his own guilt, is in favour of the legislation and this rift fractures the team. When a prominent world leader’s assassination points to Bucky aka The Winter Soldier being responsible, a civil war begins as friends become foes in a bid to discover the truth. The script is intelligent, with palpable tension and sensational action that will blow you away. Throw in tantalising first-looks at Black Panther and Spider-Man and you have the best Marvel ensemble yet.
LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP – 4 stars (out 27th May) – Credit: Curzon/Artificial Eye
A glorious retelling of an Austen classic, this rapturous medley of love & laughter delivers joy throughout. Lady Susan Vernon (a deliciously devious Kate Beckinsale) takes up temporary residence at her in-laws’ estate. Determined to play matchmaker for her daughter Frederica (Morfydd Clark), Lady Susan soon starts to draw her own suitors, namely Reginald DeCourcy (Xavier Samuel). Superbly acted throughout, there’s stellar support from Chloë Sevigny, Justin Edwards and Emma Greenwell, but without doubt, Tom Bennett steals the show as the hapless Sir James Martin. Meticulously crafted by director Whit Stillman, based on Austen’s novella, this hilarious & heartfelt tale has a sharp script that simply sparkles with mischief and verve.
SING STREET – 4 stars (out 20th May) – Credit: Lionsgate
After huge success with Once and the criminally-underrated Begin Ahead, writer/director John Carney returns for more feel-good cinema with a healthy dose of heart. Ferdia Walsh-Peelo plays a teen schoolboy in Dublin during the 80s, who is forced to relocate to a new school after marital and financial problems hit his parents (Game of Thrones star Aidan Gillen and Maria Doyle Kennedy). Struggling to fit in at first, he soon cheers up when he crushes hard on teen-dream Raphina (an excellent Lucy Boynton) and decides to form a band to impress her. Taking advice from his big brother (Jack Reynor) and best mate Eamon (Mark McKenna), what follows is a wonderful coming-of-age tale of love, loss and hope with a toe-tapping soundtrack collaboration of classics and original gems.
GREEN ROOM – 3 stars (out 13th May) – Credit: Altitude
Who wouldn’t be interested in a thriller where thespian Patrick Stewart plays massively against type as the leader of white supremacists looking to kill a band who have unwittingly witnessed a murder? Star Trek’s Anton Yelchin joins Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole and Callum Turner as unsuspecting musicians who land a gig at a remote bar in the middle of nowhere. After seeing a murder, the band are trapped inside the venue’s Green Room as Stewart’s gang make plans to kill them all. The set-up is simple but the execution is solid, with writer/director Jeremy Saulnier delivering thrills and winch-worthy horror in abundance. Throw Imogen Poots into the mix and you have a competent shocker that perhaps relies a little too heavily on silly circumstance, but nevertheless delivers a memorable experience.
FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS – 4 stars (out 6th May) – Credit: Pathe
The remarkable true story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York socialite during the 1940s who sung with passion, enthusiasm and zero vocal talent, is utterly fascinating. Unknown to Florence, her husband St Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant) controlled and protected her exposure to the outside world, fearing that their mockery would destroy her unsuspecting spirit. After a series of circumstantial events (and unbeknown to St Clare), Florence cuts a record that draws huge public attention. Now primed to play the world famous Carnegie Hall, St Clare and her piano companion Cosme McMoon (Simon Helberg from The Big Bang Theory) must try and talk Florence out of performing before her secret is revealed to everyone, including herself. The peerless Meryl Streep is great but it’s Hugh Grant that steals the show with a towering performance.
EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! – 4 stars (out 13th May) – Credit: eOne
Richard Linklater is one of the best talents of his generation, delivering countless classics like the Before trilogy and Boyhood. He returns to a time-period he’s very familiar with for this spiritual sequel of-sorts to Dazed and Confused. We follow Jake (Blake Jenner) as he joins up with his new baseball college fraternity the weekend before the semester begins. College life has never looked so good as Jake and his new teammates get acquainted over a few beers and some off-the-wall parties. The early 1980s setting is simply perfect, and every character is wonderfully realised, especially Glen Powell as head honcho Finnegan. Heartfelt, sincere and brilliantly observed, this resonates with anyone who remembers their halcyon days fondly.
MUSTANG – 3 stars (out 13th May) – Credit: Curzon/Artificial Eye
Deniz Gamze Ergüven directed and co-wrote this absorbing sibling drama along with Alice Winocour, for a festival circuit favourite that has drawn great praise from all corners. Five orphan girls who live with their strict uncle and his mother prepare for arranged marriages as they sit on the cusp of adulthood. Living in a very strict household in northern Turkey where traditions must be maintained and respected, the young girls struggle to find their identity as the old world clashes with modern sensibilities. A fascinating character study with equal parts elation and tragedy.