Sunday 23 July 2017

10 summer sizzlers - this season's blockbusters

From talking apes and wise-cracking cars to dark towers and darker Dunkirk, this season's blockbusters promise something for everyone

War For The Planet of the Apes.
War For The Planet of the Apes.
Cars 3
Spider-Man: Homecoming
Atomic Blonde.
The Beguiled.
Captain Underpants.
Gunslinger: Idris Elba as Roland in Columbia Pictures' The Dark Tower
Dunkirk
Valerian
Ed Power

Ed Power

It's summer - meaning school's out and the weather is mostly rubbish. Fret not, as a bevy of blockbusters is incoming. In the wake of hits such as Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Wonder Woman, here is our countdown of the good, the bad and the ugly for the rest of 2017's tent-pole season.

1 Spider-Man Homecoming Out now 

Another summer, another Spider-Man reboot. This time the dorky webslinger is portrayed by British newcomer Tom Holland, with Robert Downey Jr as his mentor Tony Stark/Iron Man. Michael Keaton plays the villainous Vulture while Marisa Tomei is Aunt May.

The previous two "Amazing" Spider-Man films were anything but - here, Spidey reconnects with his high-school roots in a film that feels at times like a webtastic Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Holland impressed with his Spider-Man cameo in Captain American: Civil War, the climactic fight of which is reprised in Homecoming's opening sequence.

Gunslinger: Idris Elba as Roland in Columbia Pictures' The Dark Tower
Gunslinger: Idris Elba as Roland in Columbia Pictures' The Dark Tower

2 War for the Planet of the Apes July 11 

It's a case of unfinished monkey business as the critically-lauded reboot of the Planet of the Apes reaches a climactic conclusion. Andy Serkis returns as champion chimp Caesar while Woody Harrelson gives it the full Colonel Kurtz as evil human warlord McCullough. He is assisted by Red (Ty Ollson) a traitorous gorilla who has thrown his lot in with the humans. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wonder why men and walking, talking apes can't all just get along.

3 Cars 3 July 14 

Pixar aficionados look down on the studio's Cars movies as superficial and lacking the emotional punch of Toy Story, Up etc. Which may be why they are so popular with kids, who are far more interested in watching sentient motors zoom around a track than contemplating the meaning of existence, the bittersweet nature of life and so forth. Top racer Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) finds himself usurped by super-powered newcomer Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer). Cue burning rubber, silly sight-gags and cheesy one-liners - a formula sure to send the little people in your life home happy.

4 The Beguiled July 14 

Sofia Coppola was thrown into a tail-spin by the success of 2004's Lost In Translation. To avoid repeating herself, she has devoted the past decade moving as far away as possible from that wistful, low-key relationship drama. Her latest is an adaptation of Thomas Cullinan's American Civil War-set novel and a remake of the 1971 film starring Clint Eastwood.

As the conflict rages, a once-prominent Virginia girl's school is reduced to just headmistresses Miss Farnsworth, teacher Edwina (Kirsten Dunst) and five students (included Elle Fanning's Alicia). Their life of solitude is interrupted by the discovery of an injured Union soldier (a never more careworn Colin Farrell).

5 Dunkirk July 21 

Christopher Nolan's epic retelling of (depending on your perspective) one of the British military's greatest humiliations/triumphs in the face of impossible odds. With the Third Reich sweeping across Europe, thousands of soldiers from the UK's Expeditionary Force are trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk in Northern France.

Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy and, yes this is actually happening, ex-One Directioner Harry Styles play some of the surrounded squaddies. At the time of writing, it is unconfirmed whether Styles sends the Germans fleeing by performing highlights from his solo album.

6 Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie July 28

Irreverent, gross and gloriously low-brow, it's no surprise that Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpaints series is a huge hit with young kids. Now the saga of a school principal who thinks he's a Y-fronts-advocating superhero reaches the big screen.

It's already released in the United States, where critics have praised its maniacal slapstick qualities and loyalty to the source material. You may roll your eyes - your kids, however, will love it.

7 Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets August 2

Potentially one of the big flops of the summer - or monster hits, if Luc Besson's last film, 2014's Lucy, is anything to go by - this sci-fi romp stars Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne and Cara Delevingne's eyebrows as space adventurers trying to prevent evil forces destroying Alpha, the eponymous City of a Thousand Planets.

Besson gave us one of the quirkiest sci-fi hits of the '90s with The Fifth Element - but can lightening strike twice with this adaptation of an obscure '60s French graphic novel? The inter-galactic jury is very much out.

8 The Emoji Movie August 4

At the recent Cannes film festival, TJ Miller created a literal splash as he parachuted into the harbour accompanied by half a dozen life-sized emojis. This was to publicise The Emoji Movie, which also features the voice talent of James Corden, Anna Faris and - in a step which possibly confirms the downfall of western civilisation - Patrick Stewart as the "poop emoji". Time will tell whether this deserves a smiley face or triple thumbs down.

9 Atomic Blonde August 11

Charlize Theron is arguably the great action hero of the age. On the heels of Mad Max: Fury Road, she plays bone-crunching spy Lorraine Broughton, who prefers to smash noses first, ask questions later. It's the dying days of the Cold War and in West Berlin, MI6's intelligence network is being wiped out one by one. Broughton is sent to solve the mystery and strikes an uneasy alliance with station chief David Percival (James McAvoy).

Director David Leith was involved in the John Wick movies and brings the same kinetic energy and penchant for sinew-snapping ultra violence.

10 The Dark Tower August 18

The sprawling Stephen King saga was widely agreed to be un-filmable. That hasn't put off Danish filmmaker Nikolaj Arcel, whose stab at the first novel in the series is intended to launch a franchise of film and small-screen sequels.

Idris Elba plays Roland, a dimension-hopping Wild West gunslinger with Matthew McConaughey as the evil Man in Black, a devil-like remorseless force intent on destroying humanity.

Irish Independent

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