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50 Movies You Must See This Summer

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Our guide to summer 2019 at the movies!


Words by Eric Hillis

Why spend summer sunning yourself on a beach when you could be indoors in an air-conditioned cinema enjoying all that the filmmaking gods have seen fit to bless us with?

Along with the usual superheroes and sequels, Summer 2019 boasts a crop of tasty movies from acclaimed filmmakers like James Gray, Claire Denis, Sebastián Lelio, Peter Strickland, Andrew Bujalski, Christian Petzold and more.

We've picked out the 50 most exciting movies coming to UK/ROI cinemas this summer.


Ad Astra
Ad Astra
James Gray follows up his exploration epic The Lost City of Z with another tale of exploring new worlds. Ad Astra stars Brad Pitt as an astronaut who heads into deep space in search of his missing father (Tommy Lee Jones). Gray has said his film will boast "the most realistic depiction of space travel that's been put in a movie."

In cinemas May 22nd.



Annabelle Comes Home
Annabelle Comes Home
Along with The Curse of La Llorona, Annabelle Comes Home is one of two Conjuring spin-offs hitting cinemas this year. This one sees the eponymous possessed doll menacing the daughter of paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga).

In cinemas June 28th.





Beats
Beats film
Director Brian Welsh's Beats takes us back to the '90s and the era of illegal raves to tell the story of two young men who plan to take in one last rave before their parents split them up. The movie stars Cristian Ortega, Lorn Macdonald, Laura Fraser and Brian Ferguson, and is executive produced by no less than Steven Soderbergh.

In cinemas May 17th.





Birds of Passage
Birds of Passage
Colombia's entry for the Foreign Language Film award at this year's Oscars, Embrace of the Serpent director Ciro Guerra's latest charts the rise and fall of a Native American family in the early days of the country's infamous drug trade.

In cinemas May 17th.





Black and Blue
One of two 2019 thrillers from director Deon Taylor (the other being The Intruder), Black and Blue stars Naomie Harris as a rookie cop who finds herself hunted by her colleagues when she records their murder of a drug dealer on her body-cam.

In cinemas September 20th.



Blinded by the Light
Blinded by the Light
Director Gurinder Chadha's film tells the story of a Bruce Springsteen obsessed Asian teenager (Viveik Kalra) growing up in the suburban Britain of the '80s. Fans of the New Jersey singer/songwriter will no doubt be won over by the film's use of his music.

In cinemas August 9th.



Booksmart
Booksmart
Actress Olivia Wilde makes her directorial debut with Booksmart, a coming of age comedy centred on two high school friends played by Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever. Can Wilde reap the acclaim of Greta Gerwig's similarly themed Lady Bird?

In cinemas May 27th.





Brightburn
Brightburn
What if the infant Superman adopted by the Kents grew up to be a villain? That's essentially the question that appears to be asked by director David Yarovesky's Brightburn. Elizabeth Banks and David Denman play the unwitting couple who adopt an alien child who turns out to have some nasty teething problems.

In cinemas June 21st.





The Chambermaid
The Chambermaid
This character study from director Lila Aviles follows a young single mother (Gabriela Cartol) who works as a chambermaid in a sprawling Mexican hotel. If Roma made you thirsty for more dramas involving the underpaid women who keep Mexico ticking over, this might quench you on a hot summer evening.

In cinemas July 26th.





Crawl
Piranha 3D director Alexandre Aja offers up more man-eating monsters, this time in the shape of alligators. Kaya Scodelario is the unfortunate young woman who finds herself trapped in a flooded house with the hungry gators during a Florida storm.

In cinemas August 9th.



The Curse of La Llorona
The Curse of La Llorona
Inspired by a Central American legend, Conjuring spinoff The Curse of La Llorona stars Linda Cardellini as a social worker who finds herself and her children targeted by the spirit of the titular folklore figure. The film is the feature debut of director Michael Chaves, who won Shriekfest’s Best Super Short Film in 2016 for The Maiden.

In cinemas May 3rd.





Dark Phoenix
Dark Phoenix
Simon Kinberg directs and writes the latest instalment in the long-running X-Men saga. This one sees Sophie Turner's Jean Grey turn villainous after being affected by a malevolent force while on a mission in space. Jessica Chastain joins series regulars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan and Alexandra Shipp.

In cinemas June 5th.





Downton Abbey
Downton Abbey film
Julian Fellowes' hugely popular British period drama gets a big screen continuation with a film whose plot revolves around a royal visit from King George V and Queen Mary. Series stars Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery and Hugh Bonneville return, but Lily James is presumably too expensive these days.

In cinemas September 13th.





Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile
Boasting the year's most cumbersome title, director Joe Berlinger's true crime drama tells the story of serial killer Ted Bundy (Zac Efron) from the perspective of his girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer (Lily Collins). John Malkovich and Kaya Scodelario also star.

In cinemas May 3rd.





Gloria Bell
Gloria Bell
Sebastián Lelio gives his 2013 breakout film, Gloria, the English language remake treatment. Julianne Moore steps into the role of the fifty-something divorcee, with John Turturro as the man she embarks on a rocky relationship with.

In cinemas June 7th.





Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Following on from Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island comes the latest entry in Warner Bros' monsterverse. This one sees everyone's favourite giant lizard battle the classic Toho monsters Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah, while the human cast features Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga, Sally Hawkins and Bradley Whitford.

In cinemas May 29th.





Gwen
gwen film
Writer/director William McGregor's feature debut evokes the tropes of folk horror to tell the story of a young woman (Eleanor Worthington-Cox) in 19th  century Wales who finds herself struggling to keep her dysfunctional family together.

In cinemas July 19th.



High Life
high life
Acclaimed French filmmaker Claire Denis' full English language debut stars Robert Pattinson as the survivor, along with his daughter, of a deep space mission involving death row inmates and involuntary insemination. Juliette Binoche, Mia Goth and Andre Benjamin also star in the sci-fi drama.

In cinemas May 10th.





Hobbs & Shaw
hobbs shaw
With the Fast & Furious franchise raking in the sort of money usually reserved for Star Wars and superhero movies, spinoffs were inevitable. The first is Hobbs & Shaw, which sees Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham's titular hard men reluctantly team up to take down a terrorist played by Idris ElbaDeadpool 2's David Leitch directs the film, which also stars Vanessa Kirby and Helen Mirren.

In cinemas August 2nd.





The Hunt
Craig Zobel (Compliance; Z for Zachariah) directs this script from writers Damon Lindelof and Nick Cuse, all three having previously worked on HBO's acclaimed show The Leftovers. Blumhouse have yet to release specific plot details but it's said to be a political thriller inspired by The Most Dangerous Game. Emma Roberts leads the cast.

In cinemas September 27th.



In Fabric
In Fabric
With films like Berberian Sound Studio and The Duke of Burgundy, Peter Strickland has established himself as one of the most interesting British filmmakers working today. His latest follows a dress that wreaks havoc on a series of owners. Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Gwendoline Christie and Sidse Babett Knudsen star.

In cinemas June 28th.





It: Chapter Two
It: Chapter Two
Just like the '90s TV mini-series, the cinematic adaptation of Stephen King's tome has been split into two chapters. The upcoming second part sees the central protagonists now grown up but still menaced by Pennywise. James McAvoy, Bill Hader and Jessica Chastain headline, with the child stars of the first chapter returning in flashbacks.

In cinemas September 6th.



John Wick: Chapter 3
John Wick: Chapter 3
John Wick: Chapter Two was one of those rare sequels that bested its predecessor, so can this third instalment top the lot? Picking up form the ending of Chapter Two, this one sees Keanu Reeves' immaculately tailored hitman battling his way out of New York. Ian McShane and Laurence Fishburne return, with Anjelica Huston and Halle Berry joining the cast.

In cinemas May 17th.





The Kitchen
The Kitchen film
When their mobster husbands are locked away, Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish and Elisabeth Moss decide to continue their spouses' work. Hmmm... why am I getting a feeling of deja vu? Writer/director Andrea Berloff's debut also stars Common, Domhnall Gleeson and James Badge Dale.

In cinemas September 20th.



Knife + Heart
Knife + Heart
Set in the late '70s Parisian gay porn scene, Knife + Heart stars Vanessa Paradis as a porn producer whose stars are being killed by a masked maniac. The film is a witty and stylish homage to the Italian giallo thrillers of the '70s that manages to feel fresh and never strays into the realms of parody.

In cinemas July 5th.





Late Night
late night film
Directed by Nisha Ganatra and written by Mindy Kaling, Late Night stars Emma Thompson as a popular late night talk show host who comes under fire for her reluctance to work with other women. In the face of such criticism she hires a female gag writer (Kaling) to join her all-male writers' room.

In cinemas June 7th.





Leto
leto film
Director Kirill Serebrennikov tells the story of the rock scene in 1980s Leningrad. A mix of biopic and jukebox musical, Leto might be the feelgood movie of the summer, and you'll be downloading Soviet era rock tunes as soon you leave the cinema.

In cinemas August 16th.





The Lion King
The Lion King
Jon Favreau surprised cynics with his impressive live-action remake of The Jungle Book. Can he repeat the success with his take on this beloved '90s animation? The CG animals look as great as those seen in TJB, and the voice cast includes Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor and James Earl Jones.

In cinemas July 19th.





Ma
Ma film
Ma, the latest thriller from the Blumhouse stable, sees Octavia Spencer reteam with director Tate Taylor (The Help). Spencer plays a lonely woman who befriends a group of teenagers. Things take a dark turn when her friendliness turns to obsession. Diana Silvers, Juliette Lewis, Luke Evans and Missi Pyle also star.

In cinemas May 31st.





Madeline's Madeline
Madeline's Madeline
Writer/director Josephine Decker takes an expressionistic approach to explore the ethics of mining art from cultural appropriation. Newcomer Helena Howard is outstanding as an aspiring teenage actress who finds her troubled relationship with her mother (Miranda July) exploited for its dramatic potential by her theatre workshop director (Molly Parker).

In cinemas May 10th.





Midsommar
Midsommar
Director Ari Aster burst onto the horror scene last year with his acclaimed debut Hereditary. He's sticking with the genre for his sophomore effort, Midsommar, which stars Florence Pugh as a young tourist who finds herself welcomed into a sinister Swedish village. Jack Reynor, Will Poulter and William Jackson Harper also star.

In cinemas July 5th.





Never Look Away
Never Look Away
The Lives of Others director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck continues to explore Germany's troubled past with Never Look Away. Set in post-WWII Germnay, the film concerns a young art student (Tom Schilling) who falls for a fellow pupil (Paula Beer), unaware of her connection to a traumatic incident in his childhood.

In cinemas July 5th.





The New Mutants
The New Mutants
Originally meant to open in 2018, this long delayed X-Men spinoff is pitched as a hybrid of the superhero and horror genres. Anya Taylor-Joy and Maisie Williams lead the cast of young mutants held captive in a secret facility. The Fault in Our Stars' Josh Boone directs.

In cinemas August 2nd.





Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Quentin Tarantino's latest stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt as respectively a struggling TV star and his stunt double who find themselves embroiled in the murder of Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie). Expect this to be the most talked about movie of the summer, with theories abounding already as to how Tarantino will play out this blend of fantasy and history.

In cinemas August 14th.





Our Time
our time film
Often compared to Terrence Malick and Andrei Tarkovsky due to his languid - some would say patience testing - filmmaking, Mexico's Carlos Reygadas returns with his first film since 2012's Post Tenebras Lux. Our Time features the director and his family playing fictional versions of themselves in a story of a failing relationship.

In cinemas July 12th.





Pain & Glory
pain and glory
Spain's most celebrated living filmmaker, Pedro Almodóvar returns with Pain & Glory, which stars Antonio Banderas as an ailing filmmaker who begins to reflect on his past. Almodovar's regular muse Penelope Cruz headlines the supporting cast.

In cinemas August 23rd.





Rambo V: Last Blood
Rambo V: Last Blood
Can John Rambo make a comeback on the level of Sylvester Stallone's other iconic hero? The cheesily titled Last Blood sees the Vietnam vet taking on a Mexican cartel when his friend's daughter is kidnapped.

In cinemas September 20th.



Spider-Man: Far from Home
spider-man far from home
As much a teen comedy as a superhero romp, Spider-Man: Homecoming proved a breath of fresh air in the stuffy realm of the comic book movie. In Far From Home, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) finds his school tour of Europe interrupted when he is enlisted by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to battle the villainous Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal).

In cinemas July 3rd.





Sunset
sunset film
Hungary's László Nemes burst onto the scene with his 2015 directorial debut, gruelling Holocaust drama Son of Saul. With Sunset, he takes us back to the days before WWI where a young woman (Juli Jakab) travels to Budapest in search of her brother, whom she suspects of murdering their parents.

In cinemas May 31st.




Support the Girls
support the girls
Andrew Bujalski (Computer Chess; Results) directs this comic drama which follows the lives of a group of young women working in a Hooters style restaurant. Regina Hall, Haley Lu Richardson and James LeGros star.

In cinemas June 28th.





Thunder Road
thunder road
Jim Cummings writes, directs and stars in this indie drama as a cop suffering a breakdown in the wake of a divorce and his mother's death. Few caught this one on its 2018 US release, but those who did raved about Cummings' film.

In cinemas May 31st.





Too Late to Die Young
too late to die young
Chile has become something of a filmmaking powerhouse in recent years. The latest acclaimed drama to emerge from the South American nation is director Dominga Sotomayor Castillo's Too Late to Die Young, a coming of age tale set in the post Pinochet early '90s.

In cinemas May 24th.





Toy Story 4
toy story 4
Toy Story 3 may have wrapped up the series perfectly in the eyes of most fans, but as this is Pixar's most successful franchise, the inevitable fourth instalment is on the way. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen are back as Woody and Buzz in a plot that sees the toys embark on a road trip with new owner Bonnie.

In cinemas June 21st.





Transit
transit film
Transit sees German filmmaker Christian Petzold (Phoenix) recontextualise Anna Seghers' World War II novel of the same name in the modern world, with German Nazi troops rolling into contemporary France. Victoria's Franz Rogowski plays a refugee attempting to depart Marseille for Mexico, with Frantz's Paula Beer as the mysterious woman whose allure threatens to derail his plans.

In cinemas August 2nd.





Vita & Virginia
vita & virginia
Director Chanya Button's Vita & Virginia tells the story of writer Virginia Woolf (Elizabeth Debicki) and her affair with London socialite Vita Sackville-West (Gemma Arterton), a romance which inspired Woolf's novel Orlando.

In cinemas July 5th.





Vox Lux
vox lux
Actor turned director Brady Corbet follows up his striking directorial debut, The Childhood of a Leader, with this tale of a school shooting survivor who finds herself struggling with fame when the song she wrote as a tribute becomes a hit. The main character is played by Raffey Cassidy and later Natalie Portman as her adult self.

In cinemas May 3rd.





We the Animals
we the animals
Following a string of documentaries, director Jeremiah Zagar makes his narrative feature debut with an adaptation of author Justin Torres' novel We the AnimalsNominated in five categories at the recent Independent Spirit Awards, We the Animals is a coming of drama that focusses on three young brothers growing up in poverty in rural New York.

In cinemas June 14th.





Werewolf
werewolf film 2019
Polish writer/director Adrian Panek's gruelling Werewolf sees a group of young concentration camp survivors battling a pack of released guard dogs when their camp is liberated by Russian soldiers. Be warned - Werewolf isn't afraid to portray the true horrors of this chapter of European history.

In cinemas August 30th.





Woman at War
woman at war
Currently being remade by Jodie Foster, this Icelandic drama stars Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir as an environmental activist who struggles to evade the law while in the process of adopting an orphan child.

In cinemas May 3rd.





The Woman in the Window
the woman in the window
Director Joe Wright (Darkest Hour) teams with screenwriter Tracy Letts (August: Osage County) for this adaptation of A.J. Finn's novel. Amy Adams plays a voyeur who witnesses a crime while spying on neighbours, and struggles with how to inform the police. Wyatt Russell, Julianne Moore and Gary Oldman also star.

In cinemas September 27th.


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