Editor’s note: Thanks to my actual job taking on extra levels of demand and an ear infection that made me recall certain scenes from Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (I could definitely feel something burrowing into my brain, and my hearing still hasn’t fully returned in that ear), this has become a retrospective rather than a preview. So my one written rule has gone out of the window, in that I’ve actually seen three of the films on this month’s run-down already. I can tell you that Hanna is excellent, although something of an acquired taste to say the least, and My Dog Tulip and Julia’s Eyes are both good solid movies with a few rough edges and both worth a watch.
May is a tricky month in the UK. Traditionally when the weather gets warmer, the cinemas have to work that much harder to get people through the doors, so the big guns come out and the flashiest movies with the biggest budgets and the dullest actors start to flood our multiplexes. As the warmer weather has arrived increasingly earlier, so has the glut of summer releases, with both Fast Five and Thor making big dents in the summer viewing. While that’s driven partly by the weather, the sheer weight of numbers of these summer movies is also a factor. They used to be known as tent poles, but these days that would be almost all pole and very little tent.
So May this year feels a little clogged. There’s certainly less room for the smaller, more plot and character driven movies to breathe, as the likes of Pirates Of The Caribbean: Johnny Depp’s Pension Scheme Part IV even chew up screens at the more arthouse cinemas of our nation. Given that only once so far this year (in February) have I managed to see all of my selected choices, and that was at a time when quality films have their best chance of the year of seeing light of day (or dark of cinema), thanks to Mr Oscar, I think I might be struggling to see any more than four of these this month.
So here’s May’s mix of the standout trailers garnered from all corners of the inter-ma-web.
I loved Atonement, and Joe Wright has threatened for a while to be one of the cream of an impressive crop of up and coming British directors. This looks to be his most outlandish effort yet, but anything close to his peak should be well worth watching.
My Dog Tulip
I was terrified of dogs when I was a youngster, partly because an Alsatian leaped up into my pushchair and scared me back when I was but a wee nipper. Having overcome that fear, I resolutely became a dog person, but have recently been converted to cats and rabbits. Doesn’t mean I don’t miss the joy of dog walking, seeing them run free, scooping up their… well, maybe it is easier just to have it in film form.
Feeling brave? Then why not make a movie with themes based around the biggest trouble spot in the world in the last half century. The concepts of Palestine and culture-clash comedy would seem to make uncomfortable bed-fellows, but in a world with Sasha Baron Cohen, this is actually fairly mild and gentle.
If the credit “Academy Award winner,” or indeed “Academy Award nominee,” is enough to strike fear and dread into the average trailer watcher at the potential pretensions of the film at hand, then the tagline “[director whose own work you really quite like] Presents” must also be one to be wary of. But surely Guillermo Del Toro knows his onions, and also his creepy horror thrillers? This trailer also features the most spectacularly inappropriate opening logo I think I’ve ever seen. Thanks, Umbrella Entertainment!
Woody Harrelson has had a varied career, but I will always think of him as Woody from Cheers. That is all.
The Four Times (Le Quattro Volte)
I had originally picked X-Men: First Class for this slot, but then the fates (and the studio) moved the release date from May to June, and left me scrabbling around for a replacement. And what better to replace a movie about mutants battling in the Cold War than a quiet Italian meditation about sheep farming and nature itself?