Five films to catch in June that aren’t Wonder Woman
Blockbuster season is upon us, but there’s more going on this month than just crash, bang, wallop
Whitney: Can I Be Me. In cinemas June 16th
These are the months when, traditionally, the big blockbusters scare quality cinema into the shadows. The last awards season has receded over the rear horizon and the next will not threaten until the leaves turn brown.
True enough, the big, big movies are about. You will have heard that Wonder Woman, currently on release, is easily the best DC film since the Nolan era. The Mummy, Universal’s latest attempt to raise their classic monsters from the grave, arrives on June 9th and we shall approach it with an open mind. Then there is the new Transformers film. It’s called Transformers: The Last Night (June 22nd) and it will make a fortune “overseas”.
Don’t fret. There are odder pictures about. Fans of Edgar Wright are, I’m sure, slavering for his postmodern thriller Baby Driver (June 28th) with Jon Hamm and Ansel Elgort. The gifted Teresa Palmer stars as an inconvenienced tourist in Cate Shortland’s gripping Berlin Syndrome (June 9th). We will get the first of two Winston Churchill biopics – Gary Oldman stars in Darkest Hour later in the year – when Brian Cox appears in the unimaginatively titled Churchill (June 16th ). The news that Diane Keaton and Brendan Gleeson are appearing together in a romcom is surely reason enough to attend Hampstead (June 23rd). Isn’t it?
Then there is Bong Joon Ho’s terrific Okja. We reviewed the ecological curiosity in Cannes. But it was a film then. Now it’s just a Netflix release. So we shouldn’t even be mentioning it here. Anyway, it’s on the service from June 28th. Don’t tell anybody I told you.
MY LIFE AS A COURGETTE
If you go to one animation about excluded French kids this month then make it Claude Barras’s gorgeous, touching (and very brief) Oscar-nominated triumph. The characters are rounded. The message is optimistic. The jokes are elegantly worked out. Just go.
WHITNEY: CAN I BE ME
We knew so much about Whitney Huston, but her decline and death still holds mysteries. The unstoppable Nick Broomfield is surely the man to dig through the data, track down the survivors and allow us to draw our own conclusions. The director of Kurt & Courtney and Battle for Haditha remains one the UK’s most influential documentarians.
Respect to Mark O’Connor. Ever since the energetic, singular Between the Canals, the Dubliner has shown a stubborn determination to hack out his own path. (His barmy Stalker is a trip, man.) Cardboard Gangsters, a hit at last year’s Galway Film Fleadh, stars John Connors, an O’Connor regular, as a low-level hood getting by in Darndale. Mark is always worth heeding.
Another domestic triumph. It’s great to see Tom Ryan’s lovely, low-key comedy finding space between the Transformers and the Spider-Men. The film concerns an abortion, but, like Gillian Robespierre’s Obvious Child, that procedure is very much in the middle distance. Twice Shy is perfectly balanced film about being young and in love. Good parent work from Ardal O’Hanlon and Pat Shortt.
Some sad people (I for one) have been nagging distributors to get on board with this film since we first saw a trailer. We didn’t know anything about the director. We hadn’t read the reviews. But this was the documentary about the cats of Istanbul. Who doesn’t want to see that? Happily, the reviews were excellent and a distributor was found. Can’t wait. It’s about the cats of Istanbul. Did I say that?