The best films to see in the cinema in August

Kathryn Bigelow gets controversial in ‘Detroit’. Domhnall Gleeson looks cool in ‘American Made’

So here we are in the silly season. That’s what we call it, you know? In fact, for some years now, the studios have acted as if summer comes to an end in July. No silliness for you.

There is a distinct dearth of mega-blockbusters released this month. You can see Charlize Theron in the reasonably entertaining spy punch-up Atomic Blonde (August 8th). Idris Elba will be along in the Stephen King adaptation The Dark Tower (August 18th). Annabelle Creation (August 11th) offers us another shocker from the nifty conjuring universe.

Hollywood will hope these vacuum up some spare cash, but the notion seems to be that everyone is away on their holidays and won’t be bothering with Thor or Justice League until the leaves have begun their fall.

As ever, there are still treats around – including at least one potential end-of-year top 10 candidate – if you are prepared to root in the arthouse and the more remote corners of the enormoplex. But independent distributors also seem to have made for the seaside and placed knotted handkerchiefs on their heads.


Smiths fans will, however, savour the Morrissey origin story England is Mine (August 4th). Land of Mine (August 4th) is a tight war drama with an emotional payoff. Geoffrey Rush brings Alberto Giacometti to life in Final Portrait (August 18th).

Hurry along. After all, with everybody away on their little “holidays”, there will be space to stretch out.


Irresistible examination of the Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis from Irish director Aisling Walsh. Sally Hawkins delivers a startling performance as a decent woman who curls up with arthritis as her years progress. Ethan Hawke finds humanity in her unkind husband. Could draw tears from a nasty stone. Opens August 4th.

A Ghost Story

Astonishingly daring, low-fi ghost story (you guessed that bit already) from David Lowery, director of Ain't Them Bodies Saints? and Pete's Dragon. Dead Casey Affleck wears an actual sheet as he fails to leave bereaved Rooney Mara alone with her grief. Already famous for the most famous pie scene since American Pie. Opens August 11th.

American Made

Tom Cruise and Doug Liman are back after their work on the terrific (initially undervalued, eventually profitable) science-fiction epic Edge of Tomorrow. American Made tells the true story of a US airline pilot who is dragged into drug running and espionage. The trailer features Cruise evading a bull and Domhnall Gleeson being cool on top of ammunition boxes. Could be great. Opens August 24th.


Kathryn Bigelow likes a challenge. Her first film since Zero Dark Thirty hangs around a notorious stand-off during the riots that shook Detroit in 1967. Her talent for managing chaos is much in fruitful evidence. The cast throngs with British and Irish talent including Jack Reynor, Will Poulter and John Boyega. Already controversial. Obviously. Opens August 25th.

Logan Lucky

Oh sure, Stephen Soderbergh. You were never going to make another theatrical movie. We believed you. (Behind the Candelabra was initially intended for telly, by the way.) His inevitable return to the cinema is a heist movie packed with stars. Daniel Craig, Channing Tatum, Riley Keough and Brian Gleeson are just a few of those along for the ride. Sounds all right. Opens August 25th .