Did you know that the ‘Dog Days’ of summer are so-called because they mark the return of the brightest star in the night sky, a Canis Majorus, colloquially called ‘Sirius’ or the ‘Dog Star’? Well, now you do. We’re well into the Dog Days now; a period commonly thought to be the hottest, sultriest time of the year. Let’s see if August’s big-screen offerings complement that Dog-Day feeling, and aren’t just looking a bit rough…
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (August 4th)
The plot extends about as far as that title, as far as anyone can tell: but is that why anyone wants to see what amounts to Luc Besson’s Avatar? A futuristic romp starring Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, and apparently, Rihanna, fans are hoping the iconic (or ‘visionary’, as the trailer would have it) French director of The Fifth Element and Lucy brings his trademark extravagant unpredictability to his latest feature.
Atomic Blonde (August 11th)
Even the title of this suggests – well, a particular song by Debbie Harry’s band – but also, white-hot nuclear power. Adapted from the graphic novel The Coldest City by Antony Johnson and Sam Hart, Charlize Theron leads Atomic Blonde, kicking ass and taking names… and she’s all out of names. No, literally, the impetus for this film is that a list of names of active field agents has been stolen during the Cold War, throwing Charlize into all sorts of trouble. Explosive hijinks ensue.
The Dark Tower (August 18th)
Long-described as ‘unfilmable’ – a word that somewhat troublingly has been used by some people who have already seen this movie –Nikolaj Arcel has at least attempted to give Stephen King’s dense fantastic opus a leg-up the ladder by casting two of the world’s most filmable men, Idris Elba and Matthew McConnaghey. Co-starring Tom Taylor as the adventure-seeking Jake Chambers, caught between Elba’s lone gunslinger and McConaughey’s Man in Black in a multi-dimensional battle between good and evil, let’s hope this dark tower doesn’t cast too long a shadow…
Logan Lucky (August 25th)
From the team that brought you Magic Mike – director Steven Soderbergh, producer Gregory Jacobs and the charming potato, Channing Tatum – comes a fast-talking, fast-driving heist movie that looks like a lot of fun. Adam Driver and Riley Keogh co-star with Tatum as three siblings out to orchestrate a heist during a high-profile NASCAR race over a long hot weekend. Make tracks to catch this if you can at the end of the month.
This bank holiday weekend sees a number of events take place at cinemas across the country, not least among them the 25th GAZE International LGBT Film Festival in Dublin. Amidst a range of new Irish shorts, panels, and workshops, the Lighthouse Cinema will also host Queering in the Years, an audiovisual exhibition looking back on 40 years of LGBT representation in Irish media. Some of the features screening include After Louie, starring Alan Cumming as an artist and activist; the Yorkshire-set God’s Own Country, and a retrospective screening of Neil Jordan’s iconic The Crying Game. GAZE International LGBT Film Festival (August 3rd-7th)
Meanwhile slightly further north, in Kells, the Guth Gafa documentary festival enters its 11th year. This year’s programme includes a line-up of films focusing on autism; a behind-the-scenes discussion with the creative crew behind Emer Reynolds’ Voyager documentary The Farthest; the aptly-titled, four-hour Grateful Dead documentary Long Strange Trip; and Quest, Jonathan Olshefski’s quiet chronicle about America, race and class chronicling a Philadelphia family over the course of 10 years. Guth Gafa Film Festival (August 3rd-7th)
Even further North, even further away from now, you might want to celebrate Cinema Day at Queens Theatre Belfast. Kicking off the upcoming anniversary celebrations marking the cinema’s 50th year in 2018, patrons can start the day by having ‘breakfast with Bill’ – complimentary breakfast/tea/coffee before a screening of Groundhog Day. Then the theatre will offer the chance to see five classic 1968 films – Bullitt, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Barbarella, If, and Planet of the Apes – for just 50p each. Cinema Day (August 28th)
Warner Brothers may be attempting to build a new MonsterVerse with Godzilla, King Kong, Loch Ness, Goblin, Ghoul, and a zombie with no conscience… no, excuse me, I’m getting them mixed-up with Jay-Z’s Monster verse. But the studio is indeed building to a clash between two of these beasts following the success of the 2014 Godzilla and this year’s Kong: Skull Island. If you wish they would stop their silly nonsense and want an alternative take on this iconic monster instead, try last year’s Japanese kaiju film, Shin Godzilla. Also known as Godzilla: Resurgence, this story of a 21st century Japan, shell-shocked by the reappearance and mutation of the Godzilla, will be showing at the Lighthouse Cinema, Dublin as well as Movies @ Dundrum and Swords, for one night only.
Shin Godzilla (August 10th)