The sun is shining (on and off) now, so the beer garden might seem more alluring than the dark recesses of your local cinema. Then again, you wouldn't want to miss out one May’s new movie releases, featuring a cracking variety of Londoners displaying their talents, not to mention the city itself taking on numerous starring roles. Oh, and there’s also Chris Rock. Here’s our handy guide.
Far From The Madding Crowd – London Talent
Director: Thomas Vinterberg Certificate:12A Release Date: 1 May
Stars: Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge, Juno Temple
It’s surely only a matter of time till Londoner Carey Mulligan starts being hailed as the new Judi-National-Dench-Treasure. After her acclaimed onstage performance in Skylight, she tackles Thomas Hardy’s Bathsheba Everdene. Naturally she is fabulous, giving his feisty, calculating and impetuous heroine a thoroughly contemporary air. Supported by hot buttered crumpet du jour Matthias Schoenarts (fresh from cosy-ing up to Kate Winslet in A Little Chaos, the tart) it’s an engaging and beautifully-shot take on the surprisingly feminist classic novel.
Anti-Social – London talent
Director: Reg Traviss Certificate: 15 Release Date 1 May
Stars: Gregg Sulkin, Meghan Markle, Skepta, Josh Myers, Christian Berkel
The marketing team in charge of Anti-Social must have been rubbing their hands at the recent Hatton Gardens robbery, for Reg Traviss’ latest cinematic romp takes inspiration from the rash of jewellery story smash-and-grab heists that have been rocking the capital of late. Following firmly in the Mockney Crime Geezer sub-genre (we’re looking at you, Guy Ritchie), what the film lacks in budget and realism it makes up for with some well-staged crime sequences and traditional East End grit.
Spooks: The Greater Good – London set
Director: Bahrut Nalluri Certificate: 15 Release Date 8 May
Stars: Kit Harington, Peter Firth, Jennifer Ehle, Elyes Gabel
Nipping in before Bond’s Spectre steals the spy-spotlight, TV’s Spooks are graduating to their first big screen outing. Most importantly, Peter Firth is in starring place as Harry Pearce, everyone’s favourite cuddly spy-master general. As nobody does it better, Harry must return from disgrace to save London from an imminent terrorist attack. So probably not one for Londoners of a nervous disposition.
Still – London set
Director: Certificate: 15 Release Date 8 May
Stars: Aiden Gillen, Jonathan Slinger, Elodie Yung, Amanda Mealing
Depressingly, gang-related violence is an all-too frequent occurrence in our capital. Still examines the toll it takes on families; Aiden Gillen plays the desperate father of a son murdered through gang violence who, through chance events, becomes involved himself in a feud with a teenage gang. An assured debut by a first time writer and director, this gritty and harrowing North London set thriller has already gained plaudits at various international film festivals.
Director: Chris Rock Certificate: 15 Release Date 8 May
Stars: Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Gabrielle Union, Cedric The Entertainer, JB Smooth
Chris Rock is primarily known for being a US-centric, motor-mouthed, foul-mouthed stand-up. Prepare to widen your perceptions when Top Five hits town. Written by, directed by and starring Rock, he plays a hapless comedian saddled with a floundering career and preening, reality TV star fiancée. This could be an inflated vanity project, but instead it’s satirically razor sharp, perceptive and self-mocking, not dissimilar to elements found in the best of British humour.
Mad Max: Fury Road – London Talent
Director: George Miller Certificate: 15 Release Date 15 May
Stars: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult
Hammersmith boy Tom Hardy’s relentless march towards Hollywood domination continues as he assumes Mel Gibson’s iconic action hero mantle to bring dystopian chaos to a new generation of filmgoers. Supported by the marvellous Charlize Theron as well as fellow Brit Nicholas Hoult — whose recent Top Gear interview indicated the onscreen raucousness carried on off-screen — the presence of original Mad Max director George Miller at the helm suggests good things for this reboot.
A Royal Night Out – London icons
Director: Julian Jarrold Certificate: 12A Release Date 15 May
Stars: Sarah Gadon, Emily Watson, Rupert Everett
We love the idea of this. Set on V.E. Day in 1945 and based on true events, A Royal Night Out imagines what happened when Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret were allowed out incognito, for one night only, to join in the celebrations with the Great Unwashed. We’re thinking Liz hanging off the Victoria monument, pulling mooners at revellers in the Mall, Margaret necking gin and throwing up in the Trafalgar Square fountains. Well, Harry must have got his wild boy genes from somewhere.
We Are Many – London events
Director: Amir Amirani Certificate: tbc Release Date 21 May
Stars: Damon Albarn, Tony Benn, Hans Blix, Richard Branson, Danny Glover
If the current election has you disillusioned or apathetic about the influence of the masses on government, We Are Many might provide some uplifting inspiration. It documents the 2003 global march against the Iraq War in which an astonishing 15 million people in 800 cities (including London) took part, and how its legacy spawned a people power movement. Did you march in the London rally? If you did, here’s your chance to reminisce. If you didn’t, here’s your chance to be awestruck.
Man Up – London set
Director: Ben Palmer Certificate: 15 Release Date 29 May
Stars: Simon Pegg, Lake Bell
Simon Pegg’s career has recently been in the full-beam glare of the Hollywood spotlight. Rom com Man Up sees him stepping down into a lower key. Simon plays Jack, who mistakes the rather lovely Nancy (Lake Bell) for his blind date. Clearly lacking the pathological stranger-danger suspicion of 99.9% of Londoners, Nancy keeps schtum about the mix up and decides to go along on the date. Filmed in various locations around our lovely capital, we’d suggest those of you actually ON a blind date might be best to avoid it, in case your other half gets any ideas in the popcorn queue...
Lambert & Stamp – London talent
Director: James D. Cooper Certificate: 15 Release Date 29 May
Stars: Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, Kit Lambert, Christopher Stamp, Terence Stamp
Think ‘London bands’ and few are more iconic than The Who. Documentary Lambert & Stamp traces the story of their founding - and it’s a bit more Simon Cowell than you might have thought. Chris Lambert & Kit Stamp were aspiring filmmakers. Keen to film a band for a movie that epitomised the underground, rebellious youth spirit of 1960’s London, the pair chanced upon rough & ready rockers the High Numbers. A touch of management and mentoring from them later, The Who were born. The rest is history.