“The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself…”

And lo, in the year 2018 it came to pass that the Great Swedish Pop Prophecy of 1974 was finally fulfilled, as the gods of cinema saw fit to grant the platform booted faithful a Mamma Mia! sequel.

As punishment for those whose devotion had been diverted from the one true faith by The Greatest Showman, however, they made sure that Pierce Brosnan was available for filming, and that his vocal chords were still in full working order.

Whilst the legions of believers thronged to worship St Meryl of the Dungaree once more, heathens who had yet to be converted looked at the ground and mumbled, “Er, they’re showing Incredibles 2 next door, I’ll see you in a couple of hours…”

Family films

Incredibles 2

Cert PG, 125 mins

Vue York, City Screen, Everyman

From Fri Jul 13

Movie website

Pixar’s big summer release sees them returning to the world of Bob and Helen Parr, aka Mr Incredible and Elastigirl, and their equally super-powered children.

The plot sees the couple undergo a role-reversal, with Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) taking centre stage as the face of a new project to change the public’s perception of superheroes.

That leaves Bob (Craig T. Nelson) at home taking care of the kids – Violet, Dash, and baby of the family Jack-Jack, whose volatile emerging powers look set to prove particularly challenging.

Adjusting to the changed family dynamic proves a struggle for all of them – but when a new villain appears on the scene, they and family friend Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) must find a way to work together again.

It’ll have its work cut out living up to the super-stylish, funny and exciting 2004 original – so it’s encouraging that the first film’s writer/director Brad Bird (who also voices imperious superhero costume designer Edna Mode) is once again at the helm here.

Drama

Leave No Trace

Cert PG, 109 mins

City Screen

From Fri Jun 29

Movie website

Back in 2010, a spellbinding US indie drama called Winter’s Bone propelled the then-unknown Jennifer Lawrence into the spotlight, earning her an Oscar nomination in the process.

There was great praise too for the film’s director Debra Granik, from whom relatively little has been heard since – so it’s very exciting to see her back with Leave No Trace, which by all accounts is more than worth the wait.

It tells the story of a father and daughter (Ben Foster and newcomer Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie) living an isolated but happy existence off the grid in a beautiful nature reserve near Portland, Oregon.

When a small mistake tips them off to the authorities, they are brought back into contact with mainstream society and must adjust to a new life.

It’s been the subject of huge critical acclaim for its tender yet unsentimental approach to its story, with McKenzie’s performance drawing comparisons to Lawrence’s breakthrough role.

Adrift

Cert 12A, 96 mins

Vue York, City Screen, Everyman

From Fri Jun 29

Movie website

Shailene Woodley (the Divergent series) and Sam Claflin (Their Finest) play a young couple who must fend for their lives at sea in this survival drama.

Based on a true story, it sees avid sailors Tami Oldham (Woodley) and Richard Sharp (Claflin) set out on an epic journey over the Pacific, only to be caught up in one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in recorded history.

With Richard badly injured and the boat in ruins, Tami’s one chance of saving them is to attempt to get to Hawaii, some 2000 miles away.

The director is Baltasar Kormákur, who has experience in delivering nail-biting thrills as the maker of 2015’s disaster movie Everest .

Sicario 2: Soldado

Cert 15, 122 mins

Vue York, Everyman

From Fri Jun 29

Movie website

This follow-up to the highly acclaimed 2015 drama returns us to the tense, violent world of the drug war on the US-Mexico border.

When the Mexican cartels start smuggling terrorists, FBI agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) once again calls on the services of mysterious operative Alejandro Gillick (Benicio de Toro).

Gillick sets up a plan to kidnap kingpin’s daughter Isabela (Isabela Moner) to deliberately increase tensions – but when it goes wrong, all their lives are put in danger.

Not reprising her role is original star Emily Blunt, with writer Taylor Sheridan perhaps sensibly feeling that her character’s story had been played out.

There’s a change of personnel behind the camera too, with relatively unknown Italian director Stefano Sollima taking over from the first film’s Denis Villeneuve (due to the latter being too busy working on Blade Runner 2049).

First Reformed

Cert 15, 113 mins

Vue York, City Screen, Everyman

From Fri Jul 13

Movie website

This tense drama from Hollywood legend Paul Schrader (writer of Taxi Driver and Raging Bull) stars Ethan Hawke as the troubled pastor of a small, poorly attended church in upstate New York.

His life spirals out of control when a young, pregnant woman (Amanda Seyfried) asks him to counsel her husband (Philip Ettinger), an unstable environmental activist.

It’s won rave reviews both for writer/director Schrader and for Hawke’s performance, with
Vox declaring it “a confounding stunner of a movie (which) richly deserves our full, serious attention”.

Music and musicals

Whitney

Cert 15, 117 mins

Vue York, City Screen, Everyman

From Fri Jul 6

Movie website

This documentary on Whitney Houston’s life and career is the second in a year to cover the singer, following hot on the heels of 2017’s Whitney: Can I Be Me.

Directed by Kevin Macdonald (who covered another music legend in 2012’s Marley), it’s the first doc to have the full approval of Houston’s estate, meaning it has access to a range of never-before-seen material, from archive footage to studio recordings and home videos.

Covering the star’s rise to fame and the troubles that led to her tragic early death in 2012, it was described by Empire as “a sobering, haunting but completely fresh look at Whitney’s life and death that will reframe everything you think you know about the singer“.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Cert TBC, TBC mins

Vue York, City Screen, Everyman

From Fri Jul 20

Movie website

Hitting cinemas 10 years after the box office-conquering original, this eagerly-awaited sequel sees Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) look to her mum Donna (Meryl Streep) for advice when she discovers that she’s pregnant.

That’s the cue for a series of ABBA-soundtracked flashbacks to Donna’s trials and tribulations before Sophie was born (for which Cinderella’s Lily James takes the role of her younger self).

All the original leads are returning for more fun under the sun, with Julie Walters and Christine Baranski back as Donna’s best friends Rosie and Tanya, and Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan and Stellan Skarsgård reprising their roles as her erstwhile suitors.

Meanwhile, Cher joins the cast as Donna’s mother Ruby (possibly setting up a spin-off Kaiser Chiefs musical?), and Andy Garcia will doubtless find himself questioned about the audibility of percussive instruments in the role of Fernando.

Action

Skyscraper

Cert TBC, TBC mins

Vue York

From Fri Jul 13

Movie website

Former wrestler Dwayne Johnson seems to have carved out an enviable place for himself in the movie world, managing to helm a succession of well-performing action and comedy flicks while accruing an increasing amount of respect from critics too.

Skyscraper sees him playing US war veteran Will Ford, an amputee now working as a security assessor for skyscrapers.

He’s on assignment in China in the tallest building in the world when it’s suddenly set ablaze – and he finds himself in the frame as the perpetrator.

Will must find the real criminals, clear his name and save his family, who are trapped in the building above the fire line.

Co-starring Neve Campbell as Will’s wife Sarah, the film sees Johnson reunited with director Rawson Marshall Thurber, with whom he worked on 2016’s action comedy Central Intelligence.

Horror/thriller

The First Purge

Cert 15, 97 mins

Vue York

From Fri Jul 6

Movie website

This fourth film in the dystopian franchise takes things back to the beginning, showing how the infamous annual “Purge” – a 12 hour period in which all crime in America is legal – came into being.

The story sees the totalitarian New Founding Fathers of America put the first Purge Night into action as a kind of sociological experiment, with one isolated community being selected as the guinea pigs.

However, it doesn’t take long for the explosion of violence to extend well beyond the confines of the trial city…

Marisa Tomei (Spider-Man: Homecoming) stars as Dr May Updale, whose bright idea this all was in the first place.

Documentary Special: Planes, Remains and life on two wheels

While Whitney is likely to garner the lion’s share of attention, there’s quite a few one-off documentary screenings on offer this month, so I thought I’d round them all up here.

First up, a couple which come with live Q&A sessions.

Time Trial + Q&A with director Finlay Pretsell

Cert 18, 81 mins

Everyman (with Q&A), City Screen (film only)

Everyman – Sun Jul 1, 5:00 & 7:45pm; City Screen, Thurs Jul 12, 6:30pm

Movie website

This immersive film sees David Millar – the only British rider to have won all the Tour de France jerseys – narrate his last season in the saddle. The pioneering camerawork used in filming was designed to make you feel as if you’re in the race yourself as you watch.

Everyman have two screenings on Sunday 1st, both followed by a Q&A with the film’s director Finlay Pretsell.

If you can’t make those, it’s also showing (without Q&A) at City Screen on Thursday 12th.

Postcards From The 48% + Q&A with director David Wilkinson

Cert PG, 114 mins

City Screen

Sun Jul 22, 3pm

Movie website

Made by and featuring those who voted Remain in the EU Referendum, this documentary is intended to show the other 27 EU member states that it was far from a landslide victory, and just why they are fighting to stay part of the EU.

Director David Wilkinson will be on hand for a Q&A session after the screening.

And the rest…
Both Vue and City Screen have two showings of Spitfire: From The World Premiere on Tuesday 17th.

This doc explores the story of the iconic aircraft, told in the words of the last-surviving combat veterans, and will also feature exclusive footage from the night of the film’s world premiere and accompanying Q&A in London.

Next up, US film Generation Wealth sees acclaimed photographer and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield look at the modern obsession with wealth culture, which she’s found to be a recurring feature in her work over her 25 year career.

It’s showing at City Screen on Tuesday 17th, and will include a pre-recorded Q&A with Lauren Greenfield, in conversation with author Kate Muir.

Finally, I shamefully failed to flag up McQueen when it was on general release last month. I’ve been hearing great things about this portrait of the celebrated designer Alexander McQueen, and there’s one more chance to catch it this month when it shows at Everyman, also on Tues 17th.

Seasons and one-offs

ABBA aren’t the only musical legends making a cinematic comeback this month – for one day only, on Sunday 8th, The Beatles are back at City Screen, with a 50th anniversary screening of Yellow Submarine, fully restored and in surround sound.

Having caught the trailer a couple of times on recent visits, the colourful psychedelia of the animation looks stunning up on the big screen – and even for a Beatles agnostic like myself (I know, sacrilege), the sound of the crunching guitars of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band blasting from the speakers is pretty thrilling.

There are two screenings, at 11am and 6pm.

I’m less ashamed that I’ve never ‘got’ Muse, but I’ve heard that their live shows are a spectacular experience – you can see for yourself with screenings of their Drones World Tour at Vue York, Everyman and City Screen on Thurs 12th.

For those not about to rock, though, Everyman salutes you, with several more offerings from their musicals season.

The pint-sized hoodlums of Bugsy Malone take to the screen on Sunday 1st, before Julie Andrews shatters the tranquil alpine quiet in The Sound of Music on Thursday 5th.

It wouldn’t be a musical season without at least one exclamation mark, which Oliver! happily provides on Sunday 8th, while fellow orphan Annie rounds things off on Thursday 12th.

Meanwhile, City Screen are giving over their next Vintage Sundays season to the Master of Suspense himself, with the chance to see several Alfred Hitchcock classics.

This month’s offerings see Cary Grant on the run in espionage caper North By Northwest (8th); James Stewart wondering what the neighbours are up to in Rear Window (15th); two Strangers on a Train (22nd) making a murderous pact; and newly married Joan Fontaine repenting at leisure in gothic psychodrama Rebecca (29th).

City Screen’s Discover Tuesdays strand this month offers the intriguingly-named French crime drama Racer and the Jailbird on 10th, which looks to have shades of Drive about it from the trailer.

It’s followed later in the month on 17th by 1987 EM Forster adaptation Maurice, which features Hugh Grant in an early role, and another French film, The Apparition, on 31st – it’s a psychological thriller about a journalist recruited by the Vatican to investigate a young girl who claims to have seen the Virgin Mary.

Last up, both Vue and Everyman have 40th anniversary screenings of Michael Cimino’s epic Vietnam drama The Deer Hunter this month.

Starring Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken and Meryl Streep, it focusses on three steelworkers whose lives are changed forever by the war.

It shows at Vue on Weds 4th and at Everyman on Mon 9th.

Community Cinema

South Bank Community Cinema are now taking their summer break, but happily Film at the Folk Hall are back this month.

You can check out their newly-refurbished venue when they make an all-singing, all-dancing return with The Greatest Showman.

As if you needed telling, the musical no-one’s calling The X Man Factor celebrates the birth of show business, based on the (just slightly sanitised) story of how PT Barnum (Hugh Jackman) created his world-famous circus.

If you’ve yet to see it, or if you’re one of the legions of fans for whom one viewing is (ahem) Never Enough, then get yourself down to the Folk Hall, New Earswick on Friday 27th. Doors open at 7pm, film starts at 7:30.