Oscar winners and nominees aplenty in our pick of this month’s new film releases, together with some of the best new films you might have missed in May.
Incredible to think that until 1967—only 50 years ago—interracial marriage was forbidden in the Southern states of the US. Loving brings the stark reality of our recent history to the fore. It’s a beautifully filmed true story based on an ordinary and unassuming couple, Richard and Mildred Loving, who were jailed, then barred from their home state of Virginia after marrying in Washington, DC. Richard was white and Mildred black.
Their plight reached the desk of a young lawyer working with the US Civil Rights movement. He battled to get their case in front of the US Supreme Court, an act that would alter the Constitution. Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga star in a very human drama that will move you to anger and fury at the senselessness of our not-so-distant past.
"Civil rights love story with a heart as hot as molten silver" - Telegraph
“Wonderful, delicate true-life drama” – Observer
Family and identity are the central themes in this riveting 1970s-set film starring Annette Bening in one of her finest performances yet. Sixty-year-old Dorothea is a single mother bringing up her teenage son in a large ramshackle boarding house in Southern California. During the summer of 1979, she decides enlists the help of her lodgers – a punk photographer and a laidback handyman – and her son’s girlfriend, to act as his role models in what she feels is a challenging world. But her desire to provide him with stability doesn’t go to plan. The sparkling screenplay packs a punch with intelligent dialogue and a wry humour that pokes fun at liberal parenting.
“It’s like Corrie in California! Soap fans will love 20th Century Women” – Daily Mail
“Warm and candid drama set in the 1970s… A tapestry of social, cultural and political strands” – Guardian
Fans of Fifty Shades of Grey are in for a thrilling ride! We left Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) rejecting the lifestyle of her billionaire boyfriend Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and walking away. The sequel opens with Grey in hot pursuit, and Ana soon falls under his erotic spell. But the course of kinky love doesn’t run smoothly as jealousy rears its ugly head in the shape of Ana’s new boss and Christian’s ex-lover.
“It’s glossy and at times goofily funny, mostly thanks to Johnson’s subtle comic skills” – Empire
M Night (“I see dead people”) Shyamalan is back with a creepy film starring James McAvoy as Barry (or is it Kevin? Or Dennis?) a man with a multiple personality disorder – 23 personalities in total. Three teenagers on their way to a friend’s party are kidnapped, chloroformed and wake up in windowless basement. How many of Casey’s alter egos are involved and will his sessions with his psychiatrist, Dr Fletcher help him, or the girls? And who or what is The Beast. This is a horror thriller like no other. You’ll be shocked and disturbed, and you’ll definitely be tricked!
“James McAvoy’s joyful and menacingly lunatic performance” – The Times
"James Mcavoy throws himself into multiple parts in M Night Shyamalan's taut, grisly comeback" - Telegraph
Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson and Timothy Spall star in David Hare’s gripping courtroom drama, based on the libel case that made headlines in the 1990s. Writer Deborah Lipstadt branded the Hitler historian David Irving (Spall) a Holocaust denier, a liar and a bigot. He promptly took her to court. It’s down to her legal team, headed by Richard Rampton (Wilkinson) to prove the Holocaust happened in order to win the case.
“Tense, real-life courtroom drama” – Guardian
“Timothy Spall plays Irving with a soul-sapping melancholy” – Independent
In case you missed these…
Nicole Kidman stars as an Australian woman who adopts two Indian boys in this intimate Oscar-worthy true story. Dev Patel, star of Slumdog Millionaire, is Saroo, a young man who embarks on an epic search for his Indian family he was accidentally separated from as a five-year-old. The shining star of the film is cub actor Sunny Pawar, who delivers an astoundingly real and penetrating performance, including a bathtub scene with Kidman that will stay with you forever. There will be tears.
“An astonishing true story that’s treated with an admirably light and artistic touch, rather than an overly dramatic heavy hand.” – Empire
“If you have ever been a child, raised a child, lost a child or met a child — or any of the above with respect to a mother — this movie will wreck you.” – New York Times
Denzel Washington was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for his role as Troy, a 53-year-old African-American working as a binman in 1950s Pittsburgh. Viola Davis, playing his wife, won the Best Actress Oscar, in this drama about a family trying to find their place in a changing world. Adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by August Wilson, this drama about a middle-aged man struggling to provide for his family while attempting to work out where thing went wrong, is an emotional roller coaster of a ride.
“A simply extraordinary film without crashes, bangs and wallops but full of towering performances delivered with intelligence, power and heart.” – Empire
“Intelligent and brilliantly cast adaptation of August Wilson’s play about a garbage collector who was once a baseball star” – Guardian
Mel Gibson’s latest directorial success is the extraordinary true story of Desmond Doss (BAFTA winner and Golden Globe nominee Andrew Garfield) who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun. He was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon, as he believed that while the war was justified, killing was nevertheless wrong. As an army medic, he single-handedly evacuated the wounded from behind enemy lines, braved fire while tending to soldiers and was wounded by a grenade and hit by snipers. Doss was the first conscientious objector awarded the Congressional Medal of Honour.
“The extraordinary, bruising and fantastically moving true story of Desmond Doss, the war hero who refused to kill” – Telegraph
"Mel Gibson finds a conscience in gruesome war story" - Guardian
“Occasionally soapy on the homefront but cataclysmic in combat, this is a worthy addition to the WWII canon.” – Empire
A Monster Calls
Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver and Felicity Jones headline in this deeply moving and cleverly animated drama about a young boy struggling to cope with his mother’s terminal illness. One night the imposing tree he can see from his bedroom window turns into a giant monster (Neeson) who consoles the boy by telling him stories to help him come to terms with his anger, grief and guilt.
“Wrenchingly effective… an excellent adaptation of the Patrick Ness novel.” –Guardian
"Emotionally searing film which isn't afraid to let the monster out" - Independent
“Parents will find this a painful if cathartic watch, but there is enough ingenuity, wit and good old-fashioned scary magic to entertain children.” – The Times
Matthew McConaughey stars as Kenny Wells, a mining man down on his luck with a drink problem. With nothing to lose he gathers his last dollars and dimes, hops on a plane and hooks up with renegade geologist Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramirez). Their seemingly insane decision to dig for gold in the Indonesian jungle – against all odds – leads to a discovery that results in untold wealth , but with rivals and slippery Wall Street types circling like sharks, keeping hold of the haul won’t be easy.
“Sporting a pot belly, snaggled teeth, and receding combover, McConaughey turns in a gonzo performance as a gold prospector” – Variety
“McConaughey’s hard work is impressive” – Empire