With the Downton Abbey film imminent, has ITV stablemate Midsomer Murders just pipped them to the post in the race to the big screen?

Well, sadly not. This week’s big new release may be called Midsommar, and as a horror movie I’m pretty sure it includes a murder or two, but it appears to suffer from a distinct lack of John Nettles.

Those in search of less nerve-wracking fare may want to check out literary period drama Vita and Virginia. After all, who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?

New releases

Midsommar

  • Cert 18, 147 mins
  • Vue York, Everyman
  • From Fri Jul 5
  • More details

A sunlit Swedish paradise harbours terrifying secrets in this new film from director Ari Aster – the man behind last year’s much talked-about chiller Hereditary.

As in Aster’s previous film, the horrific events here take place in the shadow of grief, with Dani (Florence Pugh, Lady Macbeth) reeling from a family tragedy when she decides to join boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor, Sing Street) and his friends on their holiday in a remote Swedish village.

They’re there to take part in a midsummer festival which happens only once every 90 years – but as the exact nature of the rituals they’re expected to partake in becomes clear, they’re plunged into a waking nightmare under the blazing sun.

Vita and Virginia

  • Cert 12A, 110 mins
  • City Screen
  • From Fri Jul 5
  • More details

Gemma Arterton (Their Finest) and Elizabeth Debicki (The Night Manager) star in this drama about the love affair between Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West.

When Vita (Arterton), a novelist and socialite, and literary icon Virginia (Debicki) meet in 1920s London, it is the beginning of an affair and friendship that inspire one of Woolf’s most popular novels, Orlando.

It’s had some mixed reviews, but Arterton and Debicki are always worth watching, with Variety full of praise for the latter’s performance in particular: “(Debicki’s) interpretation of Woolf, picking her fearful but curious way through the unmapped territory of a dangerous relationship, (is) quite riveting.”

The Queen’s Corgi

  • Cert PG, 85 mins
  • Vue York
  • From Fri Jul 5

The Queen’s favourite pooch goes missing in this CGI kids’ caper from the writers of Gnomeo and Juliet.

Rex (voiced by Jack Whitehall) sets out on the daunting journey back to the palace, getting into plenty of scrapes and making some new friends on his way.

Everything about the trailer suggests this will be one that kids might enjoy, and parents will sit through with the stoicism of Her Maj on a rain-lashed Jubilee flotilla…

Other screenings and one-offs

The Principal Hotel’s York Outdoor Cinema season continues this week with the Godfather II of ABBA-based musicals, last year’s hit sequel Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.

It shows on Friday 5th, doors at 7pm, film at 9:30pm, and you can book via their eventbrite page.

Moving indoors, documentary Armstrong – showing at all three York cinemas on Tuesday 9th – promises to offer the definitive portrait of the first man on the moon.

Released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the moon landings, it should also make an interesting companion piece to Ryan Gosling’s portrayal of the astronaut in last year’s First Man.

The screening is followed by footage from the film’s world premiere, plus a broadcast of a Q&A hosted by Dara Ó Briain alongside Mark Armstrong (Neil’s son) and British scientist and The Sky at Night co-presenter Maggie Aderin-Pocock.

City Screen also have matinee screenings of the ace-sounding Apollo 11 documentary, while on Thursday 11th, Serbian documentary maker Mila Turajlić uses her mother’s life story as a prism through which to view her country’s political history in The Other Side of Everything.

Meanwhile, there’s a febrile brew of mods, rockers and mobsters on offer in three classic movies showing at City Screen this week.

James Fox’s desperate gangster seeks refuge with Mick Jagger’s reclusive rock star in 1970 crime drama Performance, showing as part of their Nicolas Roeg season on Sunday 7th.

There’s another cult British classic on Monday 8th, as Phil Daniels takes on the rockers in Quadrophenia, showing to mark its 40th anniversary, while on the same night Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta contemplate the Royale with Cheese in Pulp Fiction.

You can also catch Reservoir Dogs again this week, as it kicks off Everyman’s own Tarantino season on Friday 5th.

Finally, music fans can catch concerts by two bands coming from pretty much polar opposites of the sonic spectrum – Westlife mark 20 years of key changes in Westlife – The Twenty Tour Live (Vue and Everyman, Sat 6th), while marking twice as long in the biz (and approximately 1000% greater expenditure on mascara) are Robert Smith and co. in The Cure – Anniversary 1978-2018 Live in Hyde Park (City Screen, Thurs 11th).