Top 10 – Films not to miss in July 2015

Emotions take centre stage in new Pixar film Inside Out

Summer is now in full swing at the cinema, so the studios are beginning to play their ace cards in a bid to bag the best of the box office battle. July 2015 at UK cinemas will feature a new marquee release from Pixar, the climax of Marvel’s ‘Phase Two’ and the latest entry in a number of enormous tentpole franchises.

It’s not all big blockbusters, though, as there are several interesting new horror films in the mix, a sporty Oscar hopeful and arguably the best documentary of the year so far.

Here are ten films you should head out and see this July in UK cinemas.


10. The Gallows (Jul 17)

High school horror film The Gallows is set around a doomed amateur play

This high school-set found footage horror film drifted around Hollywood for a few years under the name Stage Fright. When New Line Cinema acquired the distribution rights in 2014, they gave it its new title and pushed it into cinemas.

A high school boy is killed in a horrific accident at a performance of the eponymous school play. Twenty years later, students wishing to honour the anniversary of the tragedy attempt to put on the production again. Needless to say, it doesn’t all go smoothly.

This is a film that could go either way. The found footage concept is tired beyond belief, but the central conceit sounds incredibly interesting and the recipe for the kind of film that would have been a monster hit in the 1980s.


9. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (Jul 30)

Tom Cruise returns with the fifth entry in the Mission Impossible franchise, Rogue Nation

Tom Cruise’s action juggernaut returns to UK cinemas the fifth Mission: Impossible film – Rogue Nation – makes its long-awaited bow. Jack Reacher director Christopher McQuarrie makes his franchise debut in the director’s chair as Cruise continues his increasingly bizarre habit of dangling himself precariously from things.

This time around, Ethan Hunt goes wrong in an attempt to expose the existence of the Syndicate. The Syndicate is a shadowy organisation of killers who are threatening the existence of the IMF.

Trailers point to another thrilling Mission: Impossible adventure, with a further expanded role for Simon Pegg and plenty of Cruise’s patented daredevil antics.


8. Terminator: Genisys (Jul 2)

Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to the Terminator franchise with reimagining Genisys

Arnie is back, and so is the Terminator franchise. New director Alan Taylor – best known for Game of Thrones and Thor: The Dark World – retcons much of the franchise’s continuity to conjure up the kind of time-hopping plotline that has become the bread and butter of the series.

Emilia Clarke takes on the role of Sarah Connor, who is recast here as someone who doesn’t need the help of Kyle Reese and has re-programmed Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 to work alongside her in preventing judgement day from ever happening.

Early reviews for Genisys are, to put it mildly, mixed. Fingers crossed though.


7. Ted 2 (Jul 8)

Seth MacFarlane returns as Mark Wahlberg's foul-mouthed bear in Ted 2

When the first Ted film was released, Seth MacFarlane’s potty-mouthed playmate was an immediate box office success. Full to the brim with pop culture references and quick-fire gags, the film was a raucous summer comedy.

It’s no surprise, given that level of success, that the character is back. This time, he wants to start a family with wife Tami-Lynn, but cannot adopt as the courts refuse to consider Ted eligible to become a father. Unable to afford an attorney, he is assigned Amanda Seyfried’s wide-eyed novice.

Ted 2 doesn’t have pretensions to greatness, but the trailer points to a very funny film that continues to mine laughs from MacFarlane’s great comedic chemistry with Mark Wahlberg.


6. Cub (Jul 31)

Jonas Govaerts plays with the horror formula for woodsy film Cub

I was fortunate enough to get the chance to see Jonas Govaerts’ Belgian horror film Cub at the BFI London Film Festival last year and wrote a glowing review of the film for Empire Online.

The film follows a bullied scout who is terrorised by his group leaders and their tales of a mythical were-child lurking in the woods. There are homages to the best horror films of the 70s and 80s, as well as a few postmodern touches that recall Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s The Cabin in the Woods.

Cub is a terrific European horror film that recalls the best of the genre’s past whilst bringing a thoroughly modern gruesomeness to its finale. It might not play in many cinemas, but it’s well worth seeking out.


5. Self/less (Jul 17)

Ben Kingsley becomes Ryan Reynolds in sci-fi Self/less

Ryan Reynolds is making a series of very interesting career choices at the moment. After The Voices and Woman in Gold, his latest film Self/less has a strange high concept at its heart.

Ben Kingsley plays a wealthy aristocrat, dying of cancer, who undergoes a hugely expensive and possibly unethical medical procedure to transfer his consciousness into a younger body (Reynolds).

The concept at the centre of this film is deeply interesting and, provided it focuses on ideas rather than spectacle, it could be a real success.


4. Ant-Man (Jul 17)

Paul Rudd gets to play the hero in Marvel's Ant-Man

It seems like only yesterday that Avengers: Age of Ultron was banging and crashing its way through cinemas, but it’s already time for another Marvel movie. This time, it’s a bit of a weird one – Ant-Man.

Paul Rudd stars as the titular hero, who is a thief plucked from his life of crime by Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). Rudd’s Scott Lang becomes a superhero who can shrink himself to the size of an ant.

Ant-Man was set to be directed by Edgar Wright for years of its development, but the director departed and it is now helmed by comedy specialist Peyton Reed. The spectre of a possible failure for Marvel lingers around Ant-Man, but it seems likely that the company will knock it out of the park once again.


3. Amy (Jul 3)

The life of Amy Winehouse gets the Asif Kapadia treatment in Amy

Asif Kapadia is best known as the director of the incredible documentary film Senna, which brought one of motor racing’s most horrible tragedies to the big screen. He casts his eye on the life of Amy Winehouse for his new film – Amy.

Again, Kapadia eschews the temptation to utilise talking heads and instead uses interviews with key players in Amy’s life as voice-over. They serve as narration over home videos and archive footage, with live performances from the star also playing a key part in the film.

I saw the film at a preview screening this week and it’s an engrossing portrait of a vulnerable woman destroyed by the dark side of celebrity culture. Kapadia is terrific at finding the person behind a news story and, in this case, there’s someone very interesting underneath the flashbulbs.


2. Southpaw (Jul 24)

Jake Gyllenhaal underwent a physical transformation to ply a boxer in Southpaw

From the moment early promotional images of Southpaw were released, showing Jake Gyllenhaal’s impressive physical transformation, Oscar discussions began in earnest.

Gyllenhaal plays a boxer, who retires from the sport at the behest of his wife (Rachel McAdams). When familial tragedy strikes and financial troubles cause turmoil in his personal life, Gyllenhaal must don the gloves and get back in the ring once again.

This could be the one for Jake Gyllenhaal, who has been doing the best work of his life in recent years with the likes of Nightcrawler, End of Watch and Prisoners. He’s overdue an Oscar nod and Southpaw looks just meaty enough.


1. Inside Out (Jul 24)

Amy Poehler runs the brain as Joy in Inside Out

Pixar is back and, with it, they’re taking a break from the worrying recent habit of churning out sequels with Inside Out. The film is a fiercely original story, which anthropomorphises the emotions of a young girl in order to explore the turbulent issues of early adolescence.

Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) is a young girl, helped through life by her emotions, bossed by Amy Poehler as Joy. When her family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco, the changes to her life are reflected by changes in the “control room” of her mind.

Inside Out is a fiercely entertaining film, which restores the beating emotional heart that marks the very best of Pixar. It might be the studio’s most mature film and will certainly go on to to be one of the highlights of 2015.


Which films are you planning to see in July 2015? Are there any I missed or any you will definitely be avoiding? Let me know in the comments section.

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