I know I’m setting myself up to be crushed by the rolling boulder of popular opinion here, but here goes: the last Indiana Jones sequel wasn’t that bad.
Don’t get me wrong: it’s substantially less good than the original trilogy and it would be better if it hadn’t been made – but in and of itself, it’s a perfectly watchable film, CGI ants notwithstanding.
The film’s real stumbling block, like many a ‘legacy’ sequel that’s come since, is that Spielberg, Lucas and co. had already got it right the first time (and the other two times after that); just like Star Wars, Alien, Jurassic Park and all the other classic films which have been revived with inevitably disappointing and divisive results.
If nothing else, it means that audiences go into Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny this week with expectations duly lowered – here’s hoping it gives the man in the hat the send-off he deserves.
Even though, of course, The Last Crusade already did that…
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Harrison Ford returns for another crack of the whip in this fifth and final big screen outing for his intrepid archaeologist.
Opening with a de-aged, 1944-set sequence harking back to the series’ heyday (some of it filmed not so very far away from here), the film then jumps forward to 1969, where an ageing Dr. Jones is starting to feel like a man out of time.
He’s spurred into action once more by his old foes the Nazis – embodied here by Mads Mikkelsen’s evil scientist, who plans to find the titular MacGuffin and use it to change the course of history.
So begins another race against time (and across continents), with help at hand from friends old and new, including Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Indy’s goddaughter and Toby Jones as his wartime comrade.
Taking over the reins from Steven Spielberg is Logan director James Mangold, whose description of the story as being about ‘a hero at sunset’ suggests the film may have some qualities in common with Wolverine’s swansong – and happily, reviews suggest that while the film doesn’t, inevitably, hit the original trilogy’s heights, it’s not a bad way for Ford to hang up his hat.
Mother and Son
Spanning twenty years, this acclaimed drama follows the ups and downs of an immigrant family who move to Paris to start a new life.
The story begins in the late 1980s, with young mother Rose (Annabelle Lengronne) and her two young sons, Jean and Ernest, newly arrived in the city after leaving their home in the Ivory Coast.
Decades down the line, Jean and Ernest look back at their formative years and their changing relationship with their flawed but fiercely loving mother.
Writer-director Léonor Serraille previously introduced audiences to another complex, vivacious female protagonist in her excellent 2017 debut feature, comic drama Jeune Femme.
Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken
With the live-action Little Mermaid still making a splash in cinemas, this animated tale of another underwater daughter flips the script by making the fish-tailed do-gooders the villains of the piece.
It’s krakens – those traditionally terrifying beasts of the deep – who are the good guys in this coming-of-age story, which follows awkward sixteen-year-old Ruby (Lana Condor, of the To All The Boys… series), whose kraken family have (somehow) been successfully passing as humans in the seaside town of Oceanside for all of her life.
That’s all set to change when Ruby’s discovery of her sub-aquatic warrior princess heritage coincides with the arrival of a red-haired Ariel-esque ‘It’ girl at her school, in this new adventure from Shrek hitmakers DreamWorks.
Other new releases and previews
After a devastating battle against a diabolical turtle – a you-had-me-at-hello start to a synopsis if ever there was one – a team of five superheroes are sent on a mandatory retreat to strengthen their morale in Smoking Causes Coughing, the latest surreal comic outing from French director Quentin Dupieux (aka Flat Beat hitmaker Mr. Oizo); you can catch a preview screening at City Screen on Tues 4th.
Over at Vue on Weds 5th, their regular BFI Presents strand is screening acclaimed new documentary Name Me Lawand, a portrait of a deaf Iraqi boy whose family seek asylum in Derby, and his journey from being voiceless to a voice representing others.
And with Phoebe Waller-Bridge swinging into action alongside Harrison Ford this week, there’s a couple more chances to see the NT Live recording of her one-woman Fleabag stage show at Everyman on Weds 5th and Thurs 6th; they’ve also got another NT Live screening on Thurs 6th, when David Tennant stars in chilling political play Good, which by all accounts lives up to its title.
Two ursine brothers set out on an adventure in Boonie Bears: Garden Code, which is this week’s budget screening at Cineworld, alongside hard-hitting Tooth Fairy exposé My Fairy Troublemaker (both screening on Sat 1st and Sun 2nd, tickets £2.50).
Alternatively, you can walk like an Egyptian over to Vue, where Mummies will welcome you with open arms (Sat 1st/Sun 2nd, £2.49), while there’s another Pixar high-water mark at City Screen in the form of Inside Out on Sat 1st (£3.30).
Barbie Girl vs, er, Oppenheimer Man: old favourites back on the big screen
It’s time to get ready for the Blur vs. Oasis of 2020s cinema, as two of this summer’s biggest releases go head-to-head on July 21st.
Yes, that’s the day when Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer and Greta Gerwig’s Barbie both hit the big screen – a scheduling smackdown which City Screen are using as the perfect excuse (as if one were needed) to let three of the hugely acclaimed directors’ previous masterworks duke it out over the next few weeks.
This week sees twentysomething comic drama Frances Ha (co-written by and starring Gerwig, and directed by her partner and Barbie co-writer Noah Baumbach) go up against Nolan’s mind-bending heist movie Inception – cast your vote (or just treat yourself and watch both of them) at City Screen on Sun 2nd.
If Frances Ha’s joyful deployment of a David Bowie classic on the soundtrack just pips it for you, then there’s plenty more where that came from in Ziggy Stardust: The Global Premiere – livestreamed from the Hammersmith Apollo, this is the first chance to see the digitally restored reissue of the classic 1973 concert doc which marked Bowie’s final performance as his iconic alter ego, preceded by a live Q&A with guests including Richard E. Grant and Suggs (there’s a travelogue pairing in the making); get your platforms on and head down to Cineworld, City Screen and Vue on Mon 3rd, with a repeat screening taking place at City Screen on Thurs 6th.
There are more musical delights on offer at City Screen on Weds 5th, as their You Should Be Dancing season continues with La La Land, director Damien Chazelle’s much-admired love letter to the Hollywood musicals of old.
If you’re looking to keep things simple with a staycation this summer, you’ll be glad to hear the Overlook Hotel is opening its doors again at Vue, as The Shining returns to the big screen on Fri 30th, Sat 1st and Thurs 6th; meanwhile, you can enjoy the lighter side of Stephen King at Everyman, where coming-of-age classic Stand By Me is their Throwback screening on Sun 2nd and Tues 4th.
Vue is also celebrating its 20th birthday on Thurs 6th with a screening of the ever-popular Top Gun: Maverick.
And Pride Month may be over, but Vue is continuing the party into July with screenings of some more LGBTQ+ classics: uplifting British comedy drama Pride screens on Sat 1st and Mon 3rd, while Robin Williams cavorts in The Birdcage on Thurs 6th and Cate Blanchett stars in Todd Haynes’ swoonsome tale of forbidden love, Carol, on Sun 2nd and Tues 4th.
While we’re talking of classic Blanchett performances, let’s close proceedings with one of her latest, as she dances up a storm alongside Sparks in their brilliant Glastonbury set last weekend – a festival highlight to (almost) equal Rick Astley singing The Smiths…