Time flies when you’re having fun…It might make readers of a certain vintage feel slightly pained to realise that Men In Black, Austin Powers and The Full Monty are all now 20 years old.

Why not cheer yourself up by trying to guess which of this month’s offerings might induce a midlife crisis in today’s young cinema-goers when 2037 rolls around?

Among the contenders are a coma comedy, a hillbilly heist movie, and Casey Affleck with a white sheet over his head…

Family films

Captain Underpants

Cert U, 90 mins

Vue York, Reel

From Fri July 28

Movie website

The latest film from Dreamworks (the studio behind Shrek and Madagascar) tells the story of two overly imaginative school pranksters, George and Harold, who hypnotise their horrible headmaster into believing he is their comic book creation Captain Underpants. (Don’t try this at home, kids…)

This first adaptation of the bestselling series of children’s books features the voices of Kevin Hart (Ride Along) and Ed Helms (The Hangover).

The Emoji Movie

Cert U, 86 mins

Vue York, Reel

From Fri Aug 4

Movie website

Ever wondered what it would be like if emojis were real? Me neither, but maybe we should have done, because someone got paid a bunch of money to make a film about just that.

Set inside a smartphone (where all emojis live in the city of Textopolis), The Emoji Movie follows Gene, an exuberant emoji who, unlike all the others, is capable of more than one facial expression.

Enlisting the help of his best friend, hand emoji Hi-5 (voiced by James Corden) and codebreaker emoji Jailbreak (Anna Faris), he sets out on a mission to become ‘normal’.

A mix of Wreck-It Ralph and Inside Out, then, and if it’s anything like those then it ought to be worth a look.

Comedy

Girls Trip

Cert 15, 122 mins

Vue York, Reel

From Weds July 26

Movie website

A weekend getaway to New Orleans gives four lifelong friends a chance to reconnect with each other in this raucous comedy.

The gang – self-help guru Ryan (Regina Hall), gossip blogger Sasha (Queen Latifah), divorced mum-of-two Lisa (Jada Pinkett-Smith) and hard-partying Dina (Tiffany Haddish) – relish the chance to let off some steam, before eventually facing up to the problems they’d rather ignore.

It’s a familiar set-up but reviews suggest this is a superior take on it, with a strong chemistry between the leads and a scene-stealing turn from Haddish, along the lines of Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids.

The Big Sick

Cert 15, 120 mins

Vue York, City Screen

From Fri July 28

Movie website

There’s been huge praise for this romantic comedy from producer Judd Apatow (Bridesmaids, Trainwreck), in which a Pakistani stand-up (Kumail Nanjiani, playing himself) begins seeing American graduate student Emily.

He worries about his traditional Muslim parents’ reaction – but events take a dramatic turn when Emily is diagnosed with a rare illness and has to be put into a coma.

While keeping vigil at Emily’s bedside, Kumail also has to deal with her concerned parents (Ray Romano and Holly Hunter), who he’s never met.

As the tag line says, this is ‘an awkward true story’ – Nanjiani and his wife Emily V Gordon (played by Zoe Kazan in the film) wrote the screenplay based on their early life together.

Action/thriller

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Cert 12A, 137 mins

Vue York, Reel, City Screen

From Fri Aug 4

Movie website

This colourful sci-fi adventure from director Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) is set in the 28th century, where sinister forces threaten the peaceful city of Alpha, home to species from a thousand planets.

Special operatives Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara DeLevigne) race to identify the mysterious enemy and protect not just Alpha, but the future of the universe itself.

Based on a French comic book series, the film also stars Clive Owen, Rihanna and Ethan Hawke.

The Dark Tower

Cert 12A, 95 mins

Vue York, Reel, City Screen

From Fri Aug 18

Movie website

A fantasy about a gunslinger and an ageless sorcerer locked in eternal combat in an alternate dimension might sound a fairly niche proposition – but maybe less so when those characters are played by Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, and the film is based on a bestselling series by Stephen King.

Set partly in a dimension called Mid-World and partly in modern-day New York, the film introduces us to The Gunslinger (Elba) and The Man In Black (McConaughey) through the eyes of adventurous 11 year-old Jake (Tom Taylor), who becomes The Gunslinger’s protégé.

Combining elements of fantasy, western, action and horror, and clocking in at an unusually brief 95 minutes, the film is intended to kickstart an interlinked film and television franchise.

Logan Lucky

Cert TBC, 119 mins

Vue York, City Screen

From Fri Aug 25

Movie website

A hillbilly family tries to pull-off an elaborate robbery in this very promising heist comedy, described by director Steven Soderbergh as an “anti-glam” version of his earlier Ocean’s Eleven.

Channing Tatum, Riley Keough and Adam Driver star as the Logan siblings, who vow to put an end to their family’s decades-long run of bad luck by plotting to steal $14 million from the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

They enlist help from legendary local con Joe Bang (Daniel Craig, who looks to be relishing his time out of James Bond’s tux in the trailer).

Drama

Maudie

Cert 12A, 115 mins

Vue York, City Screen

From Fri Aug 4

Movie website

Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky, Paddington) stars in this biographical romantic drama about Maud Lewis, a Canadian artist.

Set in Nova Scotia in the 1930s, the film sees the fragile but determined Maud apply for a job as housekeeper for Ethan Hawke’s rough fish peddler. An unlikely romance develops between them, alongside Maud’s blossoming artistic career.

Reviews are tipping Hawkins as a possible Oscar candidate for her performance.

A Ghost Story

Cert 12A, 136 mins

Vue York, City Screen

From Fri Aug 11

Movie website

A ghost story, but not a typical one…this thoughtful supernatural drama follows the ghost of a recently deceased man (Casey Affleck) who returns to his home to console his bereft wife (Rooney Mara).

Described as an exploration of legacy, love and loss, and with Affleck wearing a bedsheet with eye holes as the ghost, this certainly looks intriguing.

Detroit

Cert 15, 143 mins

Vue York, City Screen

From Fri Aug 25

Movie website

This tense film from director Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty) is based on real events that took place in Detroit in 1967.

Set during the racially charged Detroit riot in July of that year, the film focusses on the Algiers Motel incident, in which three young African American men were killed.

Star Wars’ John Boyega plays a security guard caught up in the terrible violence, alongside Will Poulter (The Revenant) as one of the perpetrators.

Special Events

There are two documentaries screening this month on major contemporary issues, one global and one local, and both well worth getting along to.

Citizen Jane: Battle For The City plus Panel Session

Cert PG, 93 mins

City Screen

Weds Aug 2, 6pm

Movie website

Jane Jacobs was a US academic and activist, and this documentary depicts her fight to save historic neighbourhoods in New York in the 1960s, when they came under threat from a ruthless redevelopment scheme.

The film will be followed by a panel discussion about city planning in York, looking at how Jacobs’ ideas could be applied to some of the city’s key planning challenges: York’s Local Plan, the Castle Gateway and York Central.

Members of the panel include Phil Bixby and Helen Graham, who are heading up My Future York, a local group who are bringing an innovative approach to the consultation process on the Castle Gateway, aimed at giving residents the chance to set the agenda.

Phil Bixby says of the film, “It highlights the need for decision-making about urban change to involve the people whose lives are affected, and to give those people the chance to develop their own vision of their future city.”

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power plus Satellite Q&A

Cert PG, 98 mins

Vue York, City Screen

Preview showing plus satellite Q&A with Al Gore, Fri Aug 11, 7:15pm

General release from Fri Aug 18

Movie website

A decade on from his original call to action on climate change, former US Vice President Al Gore here presents a follow-up, looking at how things stand in 2017.

All too timely in the era of President Trump, the film shows the progress made in the last ten years, and Gore’s global efforts campaigning on behalf of renewable energy.

Both Vue and City Screen will show a live interview with Gore on Friday 11th August followed by a preview screening of the film, which goes on general release on Friday 18th.

Seasons and one-off screenings

Lots going on this month, most of it at City Screen unless otherwise stated.

First off, there’s an Alfred Hitchcock season, with films showing on Monday evenings starting 31st July with Vertigo. Regularly voted one of the best films of all time, this engrossing thriller starring James Stewart is definitely worth catching.

There are also screenings of The Lady Vanishes (7th August), The Birds (14th), Psycho (21st, bring your mum) and Rear Window (28th).

On the documentary front, one to flag up for cat lovers is Kedi (Tues 8th Aug), a film about the street cats of Istanbul, who wend their way into residents’ lives and are much-loved members of the community. If you can make it through the trailer without going “Aww” at least 5 times you’re made of stronger stuff than me.

As Alice Cooper likes to remind us at this time of year, School’s! Out! For Summer! That means the return of City Screen’s series of Children’s Summer Matinees, with kids’ favourites showing for £2 throughout the month – a different film screens each week, from Monday to Thursday.

There’s an all-animal music talent contest in animated comedy Sing (31st July – 3rd Aug), a refresher course in the Bare Necessities in the original Jungle Book (7th – 10th)¸ the recent live action remake of Beauty and the Beast (14th – 17th), singalong screenings of last year’s Disney ocean adventure Moana (21st – 24th), and Studio Ghibli favourite My Neighbour Totoro (28th – 31st) – I would highly recommend the last one in particular for kids and grown-ups alike.

The Criminal Acts season, marking the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales, concludes with two films set in ‘60s London – the 1987 Alan Bennett-scripted Prick Up Your Ears about playwright Joe Orton (Weds 9th), and Victim (Tues 15th), a 1961 film starring Dirk Bogarde as a gay lawyer being blackmailed at a time when consensual homosexual acts were still illegal.

“STOP GETTING BOND WRONG!” There’s a chance to see one of Alan Partridge’s favourites when The Spy Who Loved Me screens on Sun 30th July as part of the regular Vintage Sundays screenings of classic films, which this month also include Elvis in Jailhouse Rock (Aug 6th), period drama Howard’s End (13th) and John Waters’ cult dance comedy Hairspray (27th).

And finally…two behemoths of the big screen are back to cause carnage at both Vue and City Screen this month. On Thursday 10th August you can catch a screening of Shin Godzilla, the Japanese reboot of the franchise, while on Tuesday 29th the classic Terminator 2: Judgment Day returns, now jazzed up and refitted in 3D (with the exception of Arnie’s acting skills, which remained stubbornly resistant to the process).

James Beeken

James Beeken

James Beeken is a film fan, Britpop aficionado and appalling cook. He lives in York and in fear of someone remaking Back to the Future