It’s been quite a summer so far, May was the busiest May for cinema admissions since 1969 and June was the second busiest June since 1969. Films such as Avengers: Endgame and Toy Story 4 have captured the public imagination and now The Lion King is set to join them as it wows audiences throughout the school holidays. August is usually a time when some of the more interesting films of the summer are released, so they don’t have to compete with the blockbuster behemoths that are unleashed earlier in the summer.
This August is no different and after the action extravaganza Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw is released on 1 August, some of the summer’s most interesting films can be found. On 8 August, one of the UK’s most distinctive directors, Gurinder Chadha, releases her latest film Blinded By The Light. Set in 1987 during the austere days of Thatcher’s Britain, Viveik Kalra plays a teenager who learns to live life, understand his family and find his own voice through the music of Bruce Springsteen. It has already played at the Sundance Film Festival and was one of the most warmly received films there this year. Chadha’s brand of social commentary and optimism is usually charming, and add the music of The Boss and we should be on to a winner.
Next up and out on Wednesday, 14 August is Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. Leonardo DiCaprio plays A faded television actor, who along with his stunt double strives to achieve fame and success in the film industry during the final years of Hollywood’s Golden Age in 1969 Los Angeles. The supporting cast, as we’ve come to expect from a Quentin Tarantino film is incredible, including Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie and Al Pacino. It’s an epic 161-minute drama that will likely confound, surprise and horrify and will inspire a thousand thinkpieces in the following weeks. As with all Tarantino films, if you’re game, it’s unmissable.
Also out that weekend is Good Boys. Produced by Seth Rogen this is the new Superbad, except this time around the protagonists are tweens, rather than teens. Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams and Brady Noon play three sixth-graders who skip school and accidentally steal some drugs while trying to get to a party. The story is slight but the three leads have bundles of charm and the laughs frequently land. It will also enrage a whole host of people as three 12-year-old boys talk about drugs, sex and swear like leads in a Tarantino film. It’s in cinemas on 16 August and is one of the funniest films of the summer.
Finally, on the 23 August is Pedro Almodovar’s latest, Pain & Glory. Antonio Banderas plays a film director who reflects on the choices he’s made in life as past and present come crashing down around him. Penelope Cruz co-stars making something of a dream triumvirate of director and lead actors. Almodovar’s films are always an event in the European Cinema calendar and this one has already premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to typically strong reviews. Almodovar is a true artist and for fans of arthouse cinema, his films are unmissable.
So that’s four films in August. If they don’t quite pique your interest, there’s also Angel Has Fallen, the third film starring Gerard Butler’s secret service agent, Mike Banning, there’s another entry in the ‘alligators loose in a flooded house’ genre in Crawl, or the first big-screen outing for Dora The Explorer. August genuinely does have something for everyone.