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The 10 most captivating new films to see this summer

From blockbuster biopics to reimagined period dramas, these are the movies you won’t want to miss

The 9 most exciting new films to see this summer

When the hot weather hits, sometimes all you want to escape. If jetting off on holiday isn’t on the schedule, then spending a few hours in the cinema seeing one of this season’s epic new films may just do the trick. Over the coming months, there are plenty of tempting new releases to pick from. Whether you’re in the mood for Baz Luhrmann’s over-the-top new film about rock legend Elvis, or a stirring new interpretation of a bestselling novel, there’s something for every mood. Here, discover our top picks of the best new films to see this summer.

Elvis

Audacious, sparkling and frankly, pretty brash, the Elvis biopic has everything you’d expect from Moulin Rouge and Romeo and Juliet director Baz Luhrmann. Everything is turned up to the max, from the outfits to the drama, and in the late, great musical icon, Luhrmann has found the perfect subject for his singular aesthetic.

Starring Austin Butler as the King of Rock and Roll, the kaleidoscopic film charts the rise of the singer from his childhood experiences with gospel music in rural Mississippi, through his monumental rise and finally to the collapse of his career and personal life as his issues in the limelight grow. The entire story is narrated by Colonel Tom Parker (played by a prosthetically enhanced Tom Hanks), the man who credits himself with “making” Elvis, but who serves in the film as a sort of antihero. Characteristically over-the-top, Luhrmann has no interest in subtlety — but since Elvis didn’t either, the effect more than pays off. 

In cinemas now

Brian and Charles

It’s for good reason that British comedy Brian and Charles picked up the 2022 Sundance Film Festival: London’s Audience Favourite award. The directorial debut for Jim Archer, written by David Earl and Chris Hayward, is a real feel-good movie. It tells the story of a lonely, luckless inventor Brian, who lives in rural Wales. Enter Charles: an artificially intelligent robot that he’s created from bits and bobs including an old washing machine, who one night springs to life. 

There follows a quirky, yes, but totally heartwarming tale of the robot and his creator as they navigate the world together, dealing with friendship, family and finding love (a grown-up Wallace and Gromit, if you like). Beautifully capturing the growing affection between the two, it’s a film that’s full of warmth and tenderness – which couldn’t be more welcome.

In cinemas now

Nope

Jordan Peele, the king of subversive horror films, is back with another bone-chilling, mind-bending hit. Reuniting with his Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya, Peele this time turns his attention to the supernatural in a rural American town, where two of its residents are noticing some strange events.

Exact details of the plot are still under wraps — Peele, after all, loves for his audiences to be shocked — but what we do know that is that Kaluuya and Keke Palmer star as siblings OJ and Emerald Haywood, who become responsible for their family ranch — the first Black-owned ranch in California — after random objects falling from the sky result in the death of their father. When events continue to get weirder and weirder, the duo enlist tech salesman Angel Torres (Brandon Perea) and documentarian Antlers Holst (Michael Wincott) to help them capture footage of a UFO. Not a film for the faint-hearted.

In cinemas 22 July

Where the Crawdads Sing

One of 2018’s biggest summer reads is now being turned into one of this summer’s biggest films, with none other than Normal People’s Daisy Edgar Jones taking the lead role. Based on the bestselling novel by Delia Owens, the film sees Edgar Jones star as Catherine “Kya” Clark, a resourceful and determined young girl who is something of an outcast in her North Carolina community. Abandoned by her parents and older siblings in the early 1950s, she now lives by herself in the middle of a marsh. Her only companion is her friend Tate Walker (Taylor John Smith), who teaches her to read and write. But when he goes off to college, she’s left alone once again.

This gives local teen heartthrob and football team quarterback Chase Andrews (Harris Dickinson) the chance to insert himself. After making promises of marriage and commitment that never materialise, Kya ends their relationship, and Chase responds by trying to rape her. Kya manages to escape, but this is only the start of her worries, as shortly after Chase is found dead, Kya is at the centre of his murder trial.

In cinemas 22 July

Mr Malcolm's List

An altogether different type of period romantic drama, this decadent Regency era film will surely satisfy all the Bridgerton fans out there. Based on Suzanne Allain’s novel, the film follows two friends who set out on a mission to teach an arrogant bachelor a lesson — and inevitably end up in a romantic entanglement instead.

Mr. Jeremy Malcolm (Sope Dirisu) is on the search for a wife, but the bar for the woman to fit the role is extraordinarily high. After being humiliated by his rejection, London socialite ​​Julia Thistlewaite (Zawe Ashton) discovers that he in fact has a list of specific requirements. Determined to give him his comeuppance, Julia invites Selina Dalton (Freida Pinto), a vicar’s daughter of limited means who has up till now avoided high society, to come into London and enchant Mr. Malcolm, making her into everything that he has on his list. Selina is reluctant to join the scheme, especially after she meets the man in question. Complications, predictably, ensue.

In cinemas 26 August

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Official Competition

Quirky and bursting with sharp humour, this Spanish-Argentine comedy film stars none other than film legends Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas. A somewhat meta concept, the story focuses on the making of a film, unleashing chaos in the process.

Looking to leave a legacy, an aged multimillionaire Humberto Suárez (José Luis Gómez) decides to finance a motion picture directed by eccentric Lola Cuevas (Cruz). Lola settles on adapting a novel about a man who is unable to forgive his brother for killing their parents in a drunk-driving accident. Things seem set for success, except for the fact that they cast serious, defined actor Iván Torres (Oscar Martínez) and celebrity, mainstream actor Félix Rivero (Antonio Banderas), in the two brother roles. As their opposite acting styles and methods become increasingly apparent, the clashes in rehearsals build and the future of the film seems more and more fraught. Consider it a wry look inside the filmmaking world.

In cinemas 26 August

Joyride

If you’re in search of a tearjerker this summer, look no further. Starring the inimitable Olivia Colman, this tender coming of age drama sees an accidental joyride turn into a big lesson on love, family and commitment — with plenty of laughs thrown in for good measure.

Young Mully (Charlie Reid) is tired of being used by his father to help him carry out petty crimes, and so one night, after having enough, he runs off and steals a taxi. Unfortunately for him, Joy (Colman) and her newborn baby are in the backseat. Joy tells Mully that if he helps her take care of the baby as they head to the airport, she won’t turn him into the police. But, as you may expect, things get a little more complicated. Joy, a straight-talking, no-nonsense solicitor, never expected to get pregnant and is struggling to connect to her baby, is headed to see a friend who will raise the child for her. Mully, meanwhile, is struggling with his disappointment with his own parent. Together, the two teach each other lessons on what it means to be a family. Tissues at the ready.  

In cinemas 28 July

McEnroe

Wimbledon may be over, but tennis is still on the mind. Enter McEnroe, an insightful new documentary film focused on tennis’s original bad boy, John McEnroe. Notorious for his foul-mouthed, controversial on court performances, the American tennis player remains one of the sport’s most successful — to date, he is the only male player to win more than 70 titles in both the men’s singles and the men’s doubles categories.

Director Barney Douglas doesn’t seek to wrap up McEnroe’s life and career in a neat little bow — instead, he’s interested in exploring all his complexities. The documentary is unflinching in its examination, and McEnroe is an entertaining on screen presence, opening up about his drug use, the pressure of being at the top of his game and his difficult relationship with his father-slash-manager.

In cinemas 15 July

Eiffel

After debuting in France last year, Martin Bourboulon’s period romantic drama is finally coming to British screens this summer. Focusing on a fictionalised romance between Gustave Eiffel (Romain Duris) and his childhood sweetheart Adrienne Bourgès (Emma Mackey), the film charts the creation of Paris’ most famous — and controversial — monument.

Full of heart-wrenching drama and intense looks, the movie charts the construction of the Eiffel Tower with flashbacks to Gustave’s memories of his relationship with Adrienne. As he struggles with the tumult of creating his masterpiece, he relies on the memories of their romance to sustain him, but gradually we get to the dramatic dissolution of their relationship. 

In cinemas 12 August

The Good Boss

Javier Bardem returns to the big screen in this Spanish comedy film from acclaimed director Fernando León de Aranoa. Think of it as an amped up, Spanish take on The Office — but perhaps even more absurd.

Bardem stars as Julio Blanco, the charismatic and manipulative owner of a family-run factory of industrial scales. Charming yet ruthless in his own ambitions, Julio has his eyes set on winning an award for business excellence, and will stop at nothing to get it. As it turns out, that means interfering in the lives of various employees, to great comedic effect.

In cinemas 15 July

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