Infinity War hath come and Infinity War hath conquered. It almost seems like, after that monumental close to April, no one else should really bother walking the walk and talking the talk for the rest of the summer, or at least until Infinity War‘s infinite conquest eventually begins to wind down. However, if you thought that the 2018 summer movie season was to peak with the mega crossover movie, then you, dear reader, are sorely mistaken. We’ve still got four months left: four months filled with franchise movies, spin offs, sequels, quirky indies and, of course, more superhero movies. And that’s just May! Speaking of which…
Tully, dir. by Jason Reitman
Starring: Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, Mark Duplass, Ron Livingston.
Release date: May 4th.
The name “Jason Reitman” may not immediately jump to mind as one to keep tabs on, after all, the guy has only done a handful of movies and is still perhaps seen as riding the coattails of his father, Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman. But as director of Indie smash hit Juno and the criminally underrated Up in the Air, Reitman Jr. is forging his own path pretty handily, and he’s back in multiplexes this May with Tully. A success from this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Tully, which tells the story of a mother of three (Charlize Theron) who forms a unique bond with the babysitter (Mackenzie Davis) to her children, looks set to put Reitman back on track after his 2014-wobble Men, Women and Children. The reviews out thus far are positive, praising Theron’s performance and Reitman’s screenplay in particular, but this should be expected; Juno became a cult hit for a reason and Theron isn’t often heralded as one of the best actresses of her generation for nothing. Hell, Reitman managed to make a movie about a guy who lives out of a suitcase one of the best movies of the decade, with Theron leading the line on screen, Tully was made for great things. Add in Blade Runner 2049‘s Mackenzie Davis and the ever lovable Mark Duplass and Ron Livingston, and you have the perfect recipe for sweet success.
Lean on Pete, dir. by Andrew Haigh
Starring: Charlie Plummer, Travis Fimmel, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Steve Zahn.
Release date: May 4th.
Continuing on with May’s indie highlights, A24’s latest – coming of age film Lean on Pete – looks set to join the aforementioned Tully as an off-radar hit for the Summer movie season precursor. Telling the story of teenager Charley (Charlie Plummer), a boy who forms a bond with an ageing racehorse, the titular Lean On Pete, and steals him away on a journey cross country to find a new home, Lean on Pete has already made waves in festival circuits. Screening in main competition at the 74th Venice International Film Festival, the film claimed the prestigious Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor or Actress for the performance of Charlie Plummer, before going on to screen at the Telluride, Toronto and London film festivals last autumn, earning rave reviews in the process. Director Andrew Haigh’s prior effort 45 Years also earned highly positive reviews and scored a slew of awards nominations along the way, signalling the director as a talent to be reckoned with, the 90% Rotten Tomatoes rating for Lean on Pete, then, speaks for itself. Whilst Plummer clearly emerges as the breakout star of the piece, the rest of the ensemble are not to be overlooked; Steve Buscemi and Zahn have track records that many are familiar with, Travis Fimmel is a highly sought after talent, waiting for his big movie break, and Golden Globe winner and Oscar nominee Chloë Sevigny is one of the independent scene’s most prolific actresses. Just like Tully, Lean on Pete has every piece working in its favour and inevitably will join the heralded ranks of the boy and his horse narratives, up there with the greats.
Deadpool 2, dir. by David Leitch
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hilderbrand, Stefan Kapicic, Jack Kesy, Leslie Uggams, Karan Soni, Terry Crews, Lewis Tan, Rob Delaney, Shioli Kutsuna, Eddie Marsan, Bill Skarsgård.
Release date: May 15th.
A lot of people were hotly anticipating the arrival of Deadpool in 2016, but I’m not sure anyone could’ve foreseen the cultural phenomenon it would become; rave reviews, box office records and more fourth wall breaks and references than you can shake a stick at, Deadpool was a bonafide mega hit. So of course we’re getting a Deadpool 2. Ryan Reynolds’ “Merc with a mouth” is back, this time he’s up against big bad Cable (a second tentpole villain role for veteran actor Josh Brolin in as many months), who himself is after a young mutant Russell (Julian Dennison), leading to Deadpool forming the X-Force to protect Russell from the time travelling soldier. Alongside the returning Reynolds and new additions of Brolin and Dennison, the cast of Deadpool 2 is mightily impressive, featuring the debuts of Atlanta star Zazie Beetz as Domino, Terry Crews as X-Force member Bedlam, and actor-writer-comedian Rob Delaney as the X-Force’s x-factor Peter. Add into the mix the returning Morena Baccarin, Brianna Hilderbrand and Stefan Kapicic, and Deadpool 2 boasts an intriguing superhero-comedy ensemble. Whether the foul mouthed sequel can match up to its foul mouthed predecessor remains to be seen; superhero sequels are largely solid affairs, whilst comedy sequels largely aren’t. Deadpool managed to balance a fine line of wit, gross-out, meta and vulgar humour, alongside a solid story, good performances and strong action. One can’t help but fear that Deadpool 2 may fall foul of expectations and end up being just another awful vulgar comedy like Get Hard, but expectations should be higher given the returning writers and true stars of the original, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. Also, new director David Leitch’s work in particular on the action of 2017’s Atomic Blonde was widely praised. The trailers have been fantastic, showcasing great action and huge laughs, lets hope that Reynolds and company can deliver on all the promise of everyone’s favourite R-rated shit talker.
EDITOR’S PICK: Solo: A Star Wars Story, dir. by Ron Howard
Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Paul Bettany, Jon Favreau, Joonas Suotamo.
Release date: May 24th.
“BUT STAR WARS IS DEAD, KATHLEEN KENNEDY AND RUIN JOHNSON DESTROYED MY CHILDHOOD AND DISNEY IS JUST PANDERING TO SJWS – THIS IS NOT MY STAR WARS”
Anyway, now that that’s out of the way, Solo: A Star Wars Story is out this month and I’m really looking forward to it. Why? Well, I loved The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, and really liked Rogue One. Ron Howard, after taking over directorial duties, helmed the highly publicised reshoots and he’s won an Oscar before. Woody Harrelson is in it and he’s a really good actor. Alden Ehrenreich is playing the non-enviable role of Han Solo and he was the best part of the disappointing Hail, Caesar! I like Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones. I like Thandie Newton in Westworld. And Donald Glover as young Lando Calrissian is the most perfect piece of casting, possibly of all time. And the trailers look really cool, showing a different part of the Star Wars universe, whilst also incorporating familiar elements, with some cool action and awesome shots. And this is screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan’s (The Force Awakens, Empire Strikes Back) passion project and reportedly one of the best Star Wars scripts ever. And it’s premiering at the Cannes Film Festival, so there’s that too.
So yeah, this movie looks really good. There. I said it. Trash Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy for firing Jump Street directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller and reshooting most of the movie all you want, won’t change this from being my top pick for May. Ignore the neck bearded trolls who still live in their parents’ basements – Star Wars is far from dead and Solo: A Star Wars Story will prove it.