We have spent the last few years discussing the summer of 2015 and how it is going to be the biggest in cinema history. A quick glance at the films on offer in June, though, suggests that the movies on their way through multiplexes yield considerably more than a few marquee-dominating blockbusters.
On the mega budget side of the coin, the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park are back and the real stars of Despicable Me get their own cinematic outing. However, the spirit of counter-programming is well and truly alive, with June featuring a Keanu Reeves horror flick and a different spin on the tale of Sherlock Holmes.
Here are ten films you should make the effort to see in UK cinemas this month.
10. The Longest Ride (Jun 19)
Robertson plays Sophia, who meets injured bull rider Luke (Scott Eastwood) and urges him to quit his dangerous profession for her. One night, they rescue an old man who has had a car accident and his story puts their lives and struggles into sharp perspective.
At this stage, we pretty much know what to expect from the world of Nicholas Sparks. Expect ludicrously photogenic cast members, steamy sex by the fireside and an utterly nonsensical third act twist.
9. Insidious: Chapter 3 (Jun 5)
Despite an intriguing central conceit, the Insidious franchise has been quite disappointing in its execution. The first film was a decent haunted house horror spoilt by a silly finale, whereas Insidious: Chapter 2 was an illogical mess from the start.
In this third film – a prequel – spiritualist Elise (Lin Shaye) is asked by a young girl to speak to the spirit of her dead mother. Of course, she isn’t the only member of the spirit world listening.
Written and directed by original creator James Wan’s Saw buddy Leigh Whannell, Insidious: Chapter 3 is receiving broadly positive notices from critics. Could it be third time lucky for modern horror cinema’s most persistent spook series?
8. Survivor (Jun 5)
Jovovich plays a government employee who finds herself being pursued by a vicious and cruelly efficient hitman, known as The Watchmaker (Brosnan). It’s standard thriller fare, with Brosnan once again tooling up with the kind of silent pistol that would not seem out of place in Bond’s hands.
Trailers tease a fun, if brainless, thriller. McTeigue has certainly proved that he can direct action.
7. Slow West (Jun 26)
In the wake of Kristian Levring’s bright and brutal western The Salvation in April, the genre is returning to UK cinemas with Slow West. This time, it’s Michael Fassbender and Kodi Smit-McPhee in the saddle.
Smit-McPhee plays Jay – a young Scotsman who travels to America to track down the woman he loves. He is found by Fassbender’s outlaw, who is willing to guide the youngster across the dangerous roads on which he wishes to travel.
Winning a prize at Sundance after a buzzy premiere, John Maclean’s directorial debut is a colourful, darkly comedic take on one of cinema’s oldest genres.
6. Spy (Jun 5)
Paul Feig is one of the most consistent voices in mainstream Hollywood comedy right now. In recent years, Bridesmaids and The Heat have turned him into a sought after filmmaker. He reteams with lucky charm Melissa McCarthy for action thriller spoof Spy.
McCarthy plays a CIA office worker who is sent undercover to track down a nuclear weapon in the clutches of Rose Byrne’s villain. She must deal with constant doubts from her considerably more experienced colleagues, including Bond/Bourne mash-up Jason Statham.
Were it not for the level of talent involved, Spy would be a tough sell. It’s difficult to do action-comedy well, particularly in a post-Austin Powers world. However, Feig, McCarthy and friends have a really good shot at it.
5. The Look of Silence (Jun 12)
In 2012, documentarian Joshua Oppenheimer shook the world of film with his stunning documentary The Act of Killing, which took an innovative look at the Indonesian anti-communist purge in the 1960s.
The Look of Silence is an explicit sequel to that film, focusing on the family of one of the men murdered in the purge. Oppenheimer focuses on their reaction to the first film and the way in which those killers act.
Documentary sequels are fairly rare, but it’s clear that Oppenheimer has found an issue close to his heart and he has no desire to drop the issue. If it’s anything like as brutal as The Act of Killing, this could be one of the best of the year.
4. Knock, Knock (Jun 26)
Horror auteur Eli Roth brings the home invasion genre to the abode of Keanu Reeves in Knock, Knock.
Reeves plays a family man who, whilst home alone one night, offers his hospitality to a pair of young women wet from the rain. He succumbs to their continuous flirtations and has sex with both women, but soon finds himself the subject of some very creative punishment.
Roth’s work is divisive, but it seems that Knock, Knock eschews the director’s usual splatter in favour of something a little more psychological. That can only be a good thing.
3. Jurassic World (Jun 12)
Michael Crichton’s prehistoric park is back in Jurassic World, which serves as a reboot for the Jurassic Park franchise. The last film, in 2001, was met with mixed reviews, so this one wipes the slate mostly clean with a new park and an entirely new roster of characters.
Under the guidance of park manager Bryce Dallas Howard, scientists genetically engineer a new dinosaur to boost attendance. When the beast escapes containment and begins to run wild, dinosaur trainer Chris Pratt tries to take charge of efforts to resolve the chaos.
One of the buzzier films of the summer, Jurassic World could be a huge hit. It’s the latest Hollywood film to parachute a big indie director (Safety Not Guaranteed’s Colin Trevorrow) into the studio mainstream. It’s either going to be a massive success or a dino-disaster.
2. Mr Holmes (Jun 19)
Thanks to Robert Downey Jr on the big screen and Benedict Cumberbatch on television, the character of Sherlock Holmes is once again at the forefront of pop culture. This latest outing for the character, bringing him into his old age, stars Ian McKellen as the iconic sleuth.
Mr Holmes sees the ageing detective living in a secluded country cottage and trying to write the wrongs of his friend Watson’s fantastical versions of his cases. By using flashbacks, the film delves into the character’s intriguing past.
The film is directed by Bill Condon who, before taking the helm on two of the Twilight films, helped McKellen to an Oscar nomination in 1998 for Gods and Monsters. With that pairing back together, this could be one of the best films of the summer.
1. Minions (Jun 26)
The Despicable Me franchise is a cinematic juggernaut, largely propelled by the adorable yellow creatures that take the lead in spin-off Minions. Even in a summer that boasts an Avengers sequel and several big franchise reboots, this would be a decent bet for biggest box office haul of the season.
In Minions, we follow the critters’ origin story as they search for the biggest villain possible to work for. This brings them to Villain Con, in Florida, where they find themselves employed by notorious evildoer Scarlett Overkill, voiced by Sandra Bullock.
The minions are incredibly endearing, very funny and absolute catnip for children. Whether they can sustain that appeal over an entire movie is unknown, but Minions might be the cutest film of the summer.
Which films are you planning to see in June 2015? Are there any I missed or any you will definitely be avoiding? Let me know in the comments section.