This Month in Film: July 2020

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And we’re back!

It’s been a long four month wait for those of us starving for the big screen but cinemas across the UK have finally reopened for business and with that, the return of our regular ‘Month in Film’ column as a bumper summer schedule lands to fill your appetite. Film hasn’t gone away entirely though thanks to many independent films like The Assistant and Never Rarely Sometimes Always heading onto streaming services and digital platforms during the hiatus, alongside a few big hitters such as Trolls: World Tour and Da 5 Bloods.  With this, some of these smaller features have managed to reach much wider audiences that their respective filmmakers wouldn’t have dreamed of. Meanwhile, the concept of the ‘theatrical window’ has been shattered, leading to cinema chains in uproar with all the major studios making some of their tent-pole releases available on home media shortly after their theatrical debuts, such as Pixar’s Onward becoming widely shown on Disney+ after just 29 days in the US. Whether more distributors decide to opt for a digital release will be a developing trend to watch throughout the year, but for now, all eyes are set on the relaunch of cinemas across the country. Although Cineworld and Picturehouse have postponed their opening till July 31st due to the ‘lack of new films’, the Film Distributor Association (FDA) have still provided access to a whopping 450 re-releases that offers plenty of variety. However, if you are planning on heading to your local cinema, please stay safe.

THE ALTERNATIVE: Saint Frances, dir. Alex Thompson

Release Date: 10th July

Starring: Kelly O’Sullivan, Ramona Edith Williams, Lily Mojekwu, Charin Alvarez, Max Lipchitz

It is likely that you probably would not have heard of this gem that was gaining a steady buzz stateside during last year. Winner of audience awards at the Chicago Critics Film Festival and the independent darling South By Southwest (SXSW), Saint Frances is the directorial debut of Alex Thompson and sounds like classic indie fare – a 34-year-old, Bridget (Kelly O’Sullivan), finally lands a much-needed job nannying six-year-old Frances (Ramona Edith-Williams) after meeting a nice guy, but things get complicated upon the arrival of an unwanted pregnancy. That being said, the trailer shows enough promise to warrant some interest, with glimpses of a delightful performance by lead actress Kelly O’Sullivan as well as from newcomer Ramona Edith-Williams who appears to be equally terrific. Keep an eye out for this when it drops on digital platforms.

EDITOR’S PICK: Inception, dir. Christopher Nolan

Release Date: 31st July

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Tim Berenger, Michael Caine

With Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated Tenet getting pushed back to August, Warner Bros have used this opportunity to re-release his back-catalogue, and specifically Inception to coincide with its 10th anniversary. It’s amazing to think that this epic sci-fi spectacle, and one of my favourite films of all time, is now a decade old and that many of its iconic sequences are now embedded into cinematic folklore – the folding in of the Parisian buildings, the zero-gravity corridor and the exploding cafe to name a few. However, if you didn’t catch it in cinemas previously, then now is your chance to do so. It’s a dazzling array of complex theories revolving around the human mind and our dreams, all interwoven into a thrilling heist by a team attempting to implant an idea into someone’s subconscious. An all star cast is at hand to sell the spectacle, including Leonardo DiCaprio who is excellent as Dominic Cobb and a likewise brilliant supporting performance by Ellen Page as the dream architect Ariadne. Nolan has always championed the big screen experience – particularly IMAX – and it’s great to see that many screenings of it will be shown in this format, so don’t miss out on rewatching this jaw-dropping masterpiece.

SUB-EDITOR’S PICK: How to Build Girl, dir. by Coky Giedroyc

Release date: 24th July

Starring: Beanie Feldstein, Paddy Considine, Laurie Kynaston, Alfie Allen

I know I know, another indie coming-of-age film. Why should you be interested in this one? Well for one, How to Build A Girl boasts a star-studded cast with appearances from Emma Thompson and Michael Sheen, spearheaded by rising star Beanie Feldstein who is becoming a bona fide teen movie expert at this point with Ladybird and Booksmart under her performance belt. Based off of Caitlin Moran’s novel of the same name, the movie follows Johanna Morgan’s aspirations in music journalism in the 1990s. While YA movie adaptations have become their own cliche by this point it cannot be ignored that in an era of ‘glow-up’ pressure, the story of a young woman’s struggle of reinvention seems more important than ever for young female audiences. Plus, Caitlin Moran herself wrote the screenplay, so fans can at least expect loyalty to the source material. While How to Build a Girl is in danger of becoming lost in an already saturated genre, its feminist allure mixed with quaint British charm (yes, Feldstein is attempting an English accent in this one) certainly puts up a good fight to not be dismissed and will be heading onto Amazon Prime on 24th July.

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Film Editor. 3rd year film student. Loves Céline Sciamma, hates Thor Ragnarok (bored dragged-a-lot). Would be spotted having drunk film conversations.

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