School’s out and if you own Londoners of the small, non-adult variety, you have doubtless been doing the cinematic rounds of Minions and Inside Out, while hopefully not stumbling en masse into Ted 2 on the suggestion of a well-meaning but ill-informed grandparent. Should you now be dreaming in 3D saturated colour, may we suggest a child-free respite with one of the following, London-y films gracing the capital’s cinemas throughout August.
The Diary Of A Teenage Girl – London Talent
Release Date: 7 August Certificate: 18 Director: Marielle Heller
Stars: Bel Powley, Alexander Skarsgård, Kirsten Wiig
Maximum respect to London girl Bel Powley for racking up controversial roles in her short film career. Last seen in A Royal Night Out as Princess Margaret, necking gin and cavorting in a Soho knocking shop, The Diary Of A Teenage Girl raises the bar multiple (bedpost) notches. Bel plays Minnie, an underage and knowing teenager who pursues an affair with her mother’s boyfriend. Frank, explicit and unapologetic in its exploration of a controversial subject, awards and critical praise have rained down, with Bel’s performance hailed as a breakthrough.
War Book – London Set, London Talent
Release Date: 7 August Certificate: 15 Director: Tom Harper
Stars: Ben Chaplin, Kerry Fox, Sophie Okonedo, Antony Sher, Phoebe Fox
If you run screaming to the corner store to panic-buy bottled water and tins of beans each time Hugh Edwards mentions ‘Cobra Committee’ on News At Ten, we suggest you skip this. A talky, chamber piece drama, it documents a three day exercise in which a government minister and committee of civil servants must respond to a fictional nuclear attack in preparation for a potential real life crisis. Brilliantly acted, it raises searching questions of morals, ethics and integrity.
The Gift – London Talent
Release Date: 7 August Certificate: 15 Director: Joel Edgerton
Stars: Joel Edgerton, Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall
Aussie actor Joel Edgerton negotiates the actor > director transition with aplomb in this above-average psychological stalker tale that pays homage to 80’s Fatal Attraction style chillers (fret not, no bunnies were boiled in the making of this movie). The marvellous Rebecca Hall, daughter of RSC founder Sir Peter and a true blue blood of the London acting community, provides support.
Release Date: 14 August Certificate: 12A Director: Terry Jones
Stars: Simon Pegg, Kate Beckinsale, Robin Williams, The Pythons
Forced to choose between your spouse or your dog, obviously you’d choose your better half. Who wouldn’t pick the unconditional love of a wagging tail and wet nose over matrimonial trouble & strife? Simon Pegg faces this (frankly, no brainer) choice in a sci-fi comedy from Terry Jones, who recruited his fellow Python alumni to voice a group of eccentric extra-terrestrials. The late, much-missed Robin Williams ironically doesn’t play an alien but instead voices the dog.
Captain Webb – London-y hero
Release Date: 14 August Certificate: 12A Director: Justin Hardy
Stars: Warren Brown, Steve Oram, Terry Mynott, Georgia Maguire
One of the greatest Victorian heroes you’ve never head of, Captain Matthew Webb was a merchant seaman and the first ever man to swim the English Channel. Long before Sport Relief was even a twinkle in David Walliams’s eye, the good Captain trained first in Lambeth Baths, then progressed to splashing about in the sewage-filled Thames, equipped with just a wire wool bathing suit and flask of brandy. Captain Webb pays homage to his impressively moustached achievements.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E – London Talent
Release Date: 14 August Certificate: 12A Director: Guy Ritchie
Stars: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Hugh Grant, Alicia Vikander
Move over The Avengers, there’s a new crime-fighting mega-group in town. Superman, The Lone Ranger and Murdock’s nemesis, Hugh The Phone Hacking Heckler put their best slim-cut, single-breasted suits forward in Mockney and publican Guy Ritchie’s adaptation of the classic 60s show. And as if that weren’t enough, Leytonstone’s finest right foot and all-round National Treasure Becks is rumoured to make an appearance too…
Paper Towns – London Talent
Release Date: 17 August Certificate: 12A Director: Jake Schreier
Stars: Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne, Halston Sage
You wait, er, possibly no time at all for a Cara Delevingne movie then three show up at once. Hot on the heels of Face Of An Angel and pre-empting London Fields comes indie thriller Paper Towns in which the larky London lass adopts an American accent to play a girl who mysteriously disappears. To her credit, her role has been universally acclaimed by critics, silencing any doubters and winning her the CinemaCon Rising Star award. Clearly a model performance (sorry).
The Bad Education Movie – London Talent
Release Date: 21 August Certificate: TBC Director: Elliot Hegarty
Stars: Jack Whitehall, Harry Enfield, Matthew Horne, Sarah Solemani
Mrs Browns Boys smashed it (in the box office sense, we’ll withhold personal views on its artistic merits). The Inbetweeners smashed it (twice). Can lightning strike yet again for London comic Jack Whitehall’s latest offering in the crude-UK-TV-comedy-goes-large sub-genre? The basic elements are there: errant teens – check. Road trip – check. We’re just wondering how he plans to top The Inbetweeners’ infamous waterslide scene...
Gemma Bovery – London Talent
Release Date: 21 August Certificate: 15 Director: Anne Fontaine
Stars: Gemma Arterton, Fabrice Luchini, Jason Flemyng
Well this is terribly post-modern and existential. RADA alumni Gemma Arterton and Putney boy Jason Flemyng play married couple Gemma and Charles Bovery who share names with the husband and wife in Flaubert’s novel, Madame Bovery, set in a small French town. Gemma and Charles (the live ones) move into the small French town where Flaubert wrote Madame Bovery to live nearby local hipster Martin who is a huge fan of Flaubert’s novels. Need an asprin yet? Stroke your chin and nod knowingly at references to the novel. Or pretend to.
Release Date: 28 August Certificate: 15 Director: Andrew Haigh
Stars: Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay
If you only see one film this month, make it this one. Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay deservedly won Best Actress and Best Actor at the Berlin Film Festival, with Charlotte collecting a further gong at the Edinburgh Film Festival for this desperately moving portrait of a marriage in crisis. An exercise in restraint and simplicity among all the bells and whistles of the summer blockbusters, it’s a reminder that the film industry is nothing without the skills of its actors.
By Ruth Sloss