Films to look forward to in 2019: Part Three

21 Jun 2019 BY Steven Ryder in Film Features

5 mins
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We've already looked at the films released theatrically in the first six months of 2019 in Part One and Part Two of our preview series, and now it's time to look ahead to the titles hitting cinemas in July, August and September. As well as traditional summer blockbusters, there's so much more to check out during your school break, including…

Adventures for the Family

For those looking for films suitable for the whole family, where better to start than with The Lion King? Disney's remake, brought to life by stunning computer-generated imagery, promises to be a big-screen experience to rival anything else this year, boasting an all-star voice cast of Beyoncé, Seth Rogen, Donald Glover and many more. From the Pride Lands of Africa to the hallways of Buckingham Palace, The Queen's Corgi is an animated comedy in which Rex, her Majesty's favourite pooch, ends up getting lost in the outside world and must find his way back to the comfort of his royal home.

Elsewhere, the Angry Birds return in a sequel to their 2016 hit, this time having to team up with their arch rivals, the Bad Piggies, in order to take down an even bigger threat. Alongside this are two more films based on existing properties; Playmobil: The Movie, following a young woman as she travels into the animated world of Playmobil to retrieve her lost brother, and Uglydolls (a popular plush toy), which incorporates elements of the musical into a fun animated story about finding their place in a new world despite their apparent flaws.

Release Dates*:

  • The Queen's Corgi - 5 July
  • The Lion King - 19 July
  • Angry Birds 2 - 2 August
  • Playmobil - 9 August
  • UglyDolls - 16 August

Young Protagonists 

This summer also boasts a number of fascinating and complex young characters, protagonists taking centre stage that young people from a variety of backgrounds can relate to.

Kicking things off is your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man in the blockbuster sequel, Spider-Man: Far From Home. After the shocking events of Avengers: Endgame, Peter Parker decides to take some time off as a superhero and travel around Europe with his classmates, a decision that doesn't exactly go to plan when the enigmatic Mysterio makes an appearance.

Then we have the musical drama Teen Spirit, centred around a shy teenager who enters a singing competition that profoundly changes her life and ambition. In one of the more curious films of the year, Dora the Explorer makes the transition from small screen animation to big screen live action as she tackles the start of high school whilst also attempting to solve the mystery behind a lost Inca civilisation.

The latest adaptation of a young adult novel, meanwhile, is The Sun is Also a Star, a timely and heart-breaking tale of a young couple who fall in love despite one of them facing deportation from the US back to Jamaica. Topping this section off is a film being tipped for awards contention, The Goldfinch,. Based on the best-selling novel, the film stars Ansel Elgort as Theodore Decker, a New York boy who steals a prestigious painting after his mother is killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Release Dates*:

  • Spider-Man: Far From Home - 2nd July
  • Teen Spirit - 26th July
  • The Sun is Also a Star - 9th August
  • Dora & the Lost City of Gold - 16th August
  • The Goldfinch - 27th September

British Stories

2019 has been full of exciting British features and the next three months are no exception: the first of this group is Gwen, described as "a dark folk tale set in the hills of Wales during the industrial revolution", a unique setting that promises lots of atmospheric landscapes as a young girl attempts to keep her family together in the face of a sinister darkness.

Next up, warm-hearted comedy Blinded by the Light from director Gurinder Chadha (Bend it Like Beckham), which wowed audiences at Sundance earlier this year. Set in Luton during the 1980s, we follow Javed, a young British boy of Paksitani descent, who discovers that the music of Bruce Springsteen helps him find the courage to express himself creatively. Following on from that in September, The Last Tree is a beautifully shot coming-of-age tale about an adopted black teen who must make the transition from childhood to adulthood as he moves from the rural countryside to live with his birth mother in inner city London.

Released one week later is the feature film directorial debut of British actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. Based on his life story, Farming concerns Enitan, child whose African parents give him to a white, working class family in 1980s London. Unable to reconcile his heritage with his status in England, he grows up to join a skinhead group led by a dangerous, violent man.

Release Dates*:

  • Gwen - 19th July 
  • Blinded by the Light - 9 August
  • The Last Tree - 20th September
  • Farming - 27th September 

History

Lastly, we look forward to the films which look backward; subjects which educate and inspire young people on significant moments and movements from the past.

We begin with the electrifying biopic The Current War, a fictional retelling of the battle of brains, between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse, over whose electrical power system would become the foundation of the modern world.

Two more films out that same week include Armstrong, a new documentary that claims to be the definitive life story of astronaut Neil Armstrong, all the way from his childhood in rural Ohio to his historic first steps on the moon. Alongside this is the big screen debut of one of television's liveliest and most popular children's shows. Horrible Histories: The Movie. A humorous but authentic take on Roman times, the film follows a quick-witted teenager named Atti as he accidentally upsets Emperor Nero and is sent to work in Britain where he meets the Celts.

Rounding off our list of films to look forward to is another documentary, Are You Proud?, examining the history of the LGBTQ+ movement in the fifty years since the Stonewall Riots, promising to cover some of the most important societal advancements of the last half century.

Release Dates*:

  • Armstrong - 12 July
  • Horrible Histories - 26 July 
  • Current War - 26 July 
  • Are You Proud - 26 July

* = release dates are subject to change

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Steven Ryder, Curation Officer (Learning)

Steven has an MA in Film Studies, Programming and Curation from the National Film and Television School. He has previously worked for various exhibitors around England and currently freelances as a film critic/podcaster.

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