If you’ve ever wondered where the makers of the Mission: Impossible films get the ideas for all those awe-inspiring stunts from, the answer may be closer to home than you think.
Mark Kermode’s new Secrets of Cinema series on BBC4 has pointed out the similarities between the famous vault heist scene in the first M:I movie, and Wallace’s sleep-walking jewel theft in The Wrong Trousers, which predates M:I by three years.
If Mission: Impossible – Fallout features a scene where Tom Cruise and a bunch of sheep ride a motorbike in formation, I’m sure Aardman Animation will be contacting their lawyers.
Elsewhere this month, Jason Statham tells a prehistoric shark to do one in The Meg, and a middle-aged Christopher Robin gets a helping hand from a few old friends…
Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation
Cert U, 97 mins
Vue York, Everyman
From Fri Jul 27
The return of the popular children’s franchise, which reimagines Dracula as a put-upon hotelier, sees the Count go on his summer hols (presumably packing plenty of Factor 50).
Dracula (Adam Sandler) and his gang of friends and family- including daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) and her human husband Johnny (Andy Samberg) – head off on a luxury cruise, complete with monster volleyball games and a spot of moon-bathing.
But who is the ship’s mysterious captain, whom Dracula finds himself falling for – and what secret is she hiding?
Cert TBC, TBC mins
Vue York, City Screen, Everyman
From Fri Aug 17
The latest in Disney’s ongoing series of live-action updates sees them breathe new life into AA Milne’s bear of very little brain.
As with the forthcoming Mary Poppins sequel, the story here sees a grown-up Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) being visited by some familiar faces from his childhood.
Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and the gang – pleasingly rendered as slightly raggedy long-lost childhood toys – help their jaded old friend rediscover his love of life.
Pooh and Tigger are voiced by Jim Cummings (who’s voiced Pooh for Disney since 1988), while the human cast includes Hayley Atwell (Marvel’s Agent Carter) as Christopher Robin’s wife Evelyn and Mark Gatiss as his beastly boss.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Cert 12A, 147 mins
Vue York, City Screen, Everyman
From Weds Jul 25
Tom Cruise is back as Ethan Hunt in the sixth film in the long-running series (22 years and counting).
This time round, Hunt and his team (including Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson and Simon Pegg) are racing to prevent a planned simultaneous nuclear attack on three locations across the globe.
Writer/director Christopher McQuarrie, who was behind the previous instalment Rogue Nation, is back at the helm here, while Cruise as ever does those death-defying stunts himself – which ended rather painfully for him in one case.
Surprisingly for such a venerable franchise, Mission: Impossible continues to wield a large amount of commercial and critical clout, with the last two entries being seen by many as the series’ best – and reviews suggest that Fallout is set to continue that trend.
Ant Man and the Wasp
Cert 12A, 118 mins
Vue York, City Screen, Everyman
From Fri Aug 3
Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly lead the latest instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which picks up the story of Scott Lang (Rudd), a former petty criminal who becomes an insect-sized superhero with the aid of a high-tech suit.
Scott Lang (Rudd) finds himself once again pressed into service as Ant Man by Hope van Dyne (Lilly) and her father Dr Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) – but this time he has a partner, as Hope dons one of Pym’s incredible shrinking suits to become The Wasp.
Their mission unearths long-buried secrets as they fight against a powerful new enemy…
The first Ant Man film’s director Peyton Reed is back at the helm for this sequel, which also sees Michelle Pfeiffer join the cast as Hope’s mother (and the original Wasp) Janet.
Cert 12A,113 mins
From Fri Aug 10
Coming across like a kind of classier Sharknado, this rather fun looking film pits the redoubtable Jason Statham against a giant prehistoric shark.
Based on a 1997 novel by Steve Alten, the story sees the 75-foot-long beastie attack a deep-sea submersible, trapping it at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
It’s up to Britain’s own shiny-bonced latter-day Roy Scheider to save the crew and the ocean itself – the ocean itself! – from the monster known as the Megalodon.
Honestly, just typing out these sentences has made me feel about 50% happier than I was before. The power of cinema, eh?
The Spy Who Dumped Me
Cert 15, 117 mins
Vue York, Everyman
From Weds Aug 22
Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon star as best friends who find themselves at the centre of an international conspiracy in this action comedy.
The story sees underachieving shop assistant Audrey (Kunis) and her free-spirited best friend Morgan (McKinnon) discover that Audrey’s ex Drew (Justin Theroux) is a CIA operative.
When he entrusts them with a secret package to deliver to a contact in Vienna, the pair set off on a string of misadventures across Europe as they attempt to see the mission through.
Early reviews suggest that Kunis and McKinnon make an entertaining pairing – with McKinnon’s crazed comic energy coming in for particular praise – even if the film itself is rather hit and miss.
Hearts Beat Loud
Cert 12A, 95 mins
From Fri Aug 3
Nick Offerman (the none-more-manly Ron Swanson in TV’s Parks and Recreation) and rising star Kiersey Clemons play a father and daughter who set up a band together in this Brooklyn-set comedy-drama.
Facing both the closure of his failing record shop and his daughter Sam’s (Clemons) imminent departure for college, single dad Frank (Offerman) persuades Sam to record a song with him, only for it to become an internet breakout hit.
Reviews suggest this is an easygoing serving of US indie comfort food, shored up by strong performances from the two leads.
Cert PG, 101 mins
Vue York, City Screen
From Fri Aug 3
Gemma Arterton stars in this British drama as a suburban housewife who sets out to reclaim her life.
Far from the modern-day Shirley Valentine which that description implies, however, The Escape is by all accounts a much grittier affair.
Arterton plays Tara, a woman whose life with husband Mark (Dominic Cooper) and their two young children seems happy on the surface, but is leaving her feeling depressed and unfulfilled.
Desperate for a change, she buys a one-way ticket to Paris – but soon finds that walking out on your life isn’t so simple.
Director Dominic Savage created the film for Arterton after the two confided in each other that they’d yet to make something they were really proud of – the result has been widely acclaimed by critics, both for Arterton’s performance and for its compassionate approach to its subject.
Cert 15, 135 mins
Vue York, City Screen, Everyman
From Fri Aug 24
Following his well-received Netflix adaptation of his 1986 film She’s Gotta Have It, director Spike Lee returns to the big screen with a stranger-than-fiction true story.
BlacKkKlansman tells the tale of Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department, who in 1979 set out to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan.
Together with colleague Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), he works to take down the extremist hate group, at the same time as it attempts to increase its mainstream appeal.
The film bagged Lee the Grand Prix at this year’s Cannes Festival, and was hailed by Variety as “the best thing the director has made in a dozen years…and a welcome throwback to the days when Lee’s movies struck a nerve in the cultural conversation”.
A special preview screening featuring a live satellite Q&A with Spike Lee will show at all three York cinemas on Monday 20th.
The Great Outdoors
The Luna Cinema, York Minster
Mon Aug 27 – Thurs Aug 30
Outdoor cinema comes to York Minster for the first time this month, with screenings of three popular family films taking place in Dean’s Park courtesy of Luna Cinema.
It kicks off on Bank Holiday Monday (27th) with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, followed by The Greatest Showman on 28th and then back to Rowling land for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on 29th.
A second screening of The Greatest Showman on 30th has already sold out, so best to get your tickets for these sooner rather than later.
There will be a bar serving alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and food will be provided by the catering team at York Minster.
All films start at 8pm, with doors opening at 6:30pm. Tickets can be booked from the Luna Cinema website.
School’s out for Summer…
With the heatwave giving way to torrential downpours just in time for the school holidays, it’s handy that City Screen have got quite a few family-friendly offerings this month.
First up, their usual summer Children’s Matinees are back, running Monday – Thursday each week.
Carrot-chomping sociopath Peter Rabbit gets up to mischief on 6th – 9th, followed by singalong showings of popular Disney musical Moana on 13th – 16th.
A school of magic hides a dark secret in Mary and the Witch’s Flower on 20th – 23rd, before Pixar’s wonderful Coco wraps things up on 27th – 30th.
All screenings start at 10:45 and all tickets are £2.
In addition to the matinees, City Screen also have seasons of some Pixar and Studio Ghibli favourites running this month.
Pixar’s films are the subject of the next Vintage Sundays season, with six of their classics showing through August and September.
You can catch the one that started it all, Toy Story, on Sunday 19th, before Monsters Inc open for business on 26th.
Meanwhile, the Summer of Ghibli season showcases some of the Japanese animation house’s best-loved tales, with films showing in both English and the original language.
The benevolent forest spirits of My Neighbour Totoro kick things off (Sat 4th English, Weds 8th original), followed by wizarding antics in Howl’s Moving Castle (Mon 6th, English only).
Next up are fish-out-of-water romance Ponyo on Fri 10th (English only), the Oscar-winning Spirited Away (Sat 11th English, Weds 15th original), and fantasy quest Princess Mononoke (Mon 13th, original only).
Things draw to a close with coming-of-age tale Kiki’s Delivery Service on Friday 17th (English only) and moving wartime drama Grave of the Fireflies on Thurs 23rd (original only).
Elsewhere, there’s a one-off screening of Martin Scorsese’s 1930s Paris-set adventure Hugo on Fri 10th, showing as part of Explore York’s Summer Reading Challenge.
Finally, there’s also the regular Saturday Kid’s Club, which this month offers canine caper Isle of Dogs (subtitled screening, 4th), the original Jumanji (11th), 1988 dinosaur animation The Land Before Time (18th), and Aardman Animations’ sewer-set adventure Flushed Away (25th).
Seasons and one-offs
Crooked impresarios, murderous high schoolers and a rock’n’roll legend all feature in anniversary screenings this month.
Mel Brooks’ The Producers is, slightly confusingly, a comedy about a sure-fire flop stage musical which inadvertently becomes a hit – which then itself was adapted into a hit stage musical, and the musical version subsequently remade as a film (and, while we’re on the subject, it was also the basis for one of the best series of Curb Your Enthusiasm).
I don’t think anyone remembers that remake too fondly, but the original movie celebrates its 50th anniversary this month, with screenings at Vue and City Screen on Sunday 5th.
Also marking its 50th is Elvis Presley’s ’68 Comeback Special. The legendary televised concert, which marked the singer’s return to performing live, will show at City Screen on Thursday 16th, which is also the anniversary of Presley’s death.
Meanwhile, there’s a chance to see Winona Ryder in her most iconic role, as she takes bloody revenge on the in-crowd in jet-black teen comedy Heathers. A flop on its release 30 years ago, but long since established as a cult classic, it returns to cinemas with screenings at Everyman (Sun 12th) and City Screen (Mon 13th).
Regularly voted one of the best films of all time, Alfred Hitchcock’s tale of obsession Vertigo turns 60 this year, and it’s showing at City Screen on Sunday 12th as the finale of their Hitchcock season – you can also catch Psycho a week before that on 5th.
Moving back to the present, City Screen also have preview screenings of two highly anticipated releases this month.
US indie drama The Miseducation of Cameron Post (Tues 7th) stars Chloë Grace Moretz as a gay high schooler sent to a conversion therapy centre, while post-war romance Cold War (Tues 14th) is the latest work from Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski, whose previous film was 2015’s Oscar-winning Ida.
…Cameron Post is showing as part of the Women’s Work season, celebrating groundbreaking women behind and in front of the camera, which also this month offers a chance to see UK director Deborah Haywood’s acclaimed feature debut Pin Cushion (Tues 28th), which examines the damage wrought by bullying on an eccentric mother and daughter.
It shows in the regular Discover Tuesdays strand, which also includes UK/Taiwan co-production The Receptionist (Tues 7th), a hard-hitting drama set in an illegal London massage-parlour, and documentary The Eyes of Orson Welles (21st), which offers a fresh perspective on the Hollywood legend through an examination of his paintings and drawings.
And finally, love is in the air over at Everyman, with screenings of Baz Luhrmann’s pop video take on Romeo + Juliet on Weds 22nd, followed a week later on 29th by last year’s live action remake of Beauty and the Beast.
South Bank Community Cinema return in September after their summer break, but Film at the Folk Hall are back up and running, and this month they’re offering something slightly different – an outdoor screening of Disney favourite The Lion King.
Taking place at Huntington Sports and Social Club (a few minutes away from the Folk Hall) on Saturday 25th, it tells the tale of young lion Simba’s quest to take back his rightful place as King of his homeland from his evil uncle Scar.
Pre-purchased tickets are available for £3 via Film at the Folk Hall’s website or direct from Huntington Sports and Social Club, and exchangeable for a drink at the bar.