With summer in full swing, there’s a sure fire way to escape the heat – as well as forget all about it for a few hours: the cinema. Read part one of our guide to summer movies here. Now, for the second act, here’s part two.
Screening from January 1
When Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) wakes up 90 years early on a vast spaceship taking thousands of people to a new life on an alien planet, there’s good news and bad news. The bad seems obvious: he’s not going to make it to his destination alive.
The good news is, for a spaceship designed to hold sleeping passengers, this one seems to be a luxury resort. A lot of the early action even takes place at a fancy bar (where Michael Sheen is the robot bartender). Preston is also not entirely alone. Journalist Aurora Dunn (Jennifer Lawrence) has also been woken by the same malfunction, which at first appears to be good news. But her arrival soon presents problems of its own.
Pair this with: a cold beer, to first ease you through the interstellar exploration and then to clutch on to when the drama kicks in.
Screening from January 12
This look at Jackie Kennedy (featuring a sure-fire Oscar performance from Natalie Portman in the lead) isn’t your usual biopic. It lets the events surrounding her husband JFK’s assassination play out like some kind of unending nightmare, horrific details blurring together as she – and America – try to figure out how to go on.
It’s thought-provoking cinema, a film that looks beyond the clichés to examine the person beneath. Though in Jackie Kennedy’s case, the clichés can be revealing too; after all, what’s the job of the First Lady if not to put on a performance on the world stage – even when that performance ends in tragedy?
Pair this with: an Aperol Spritz, for that elegant, sweetness hiding a bitter tinge.
Screening from January 19
When a movie takes you on an emotional journey, you want to savour it. You want to come out into quiet, elegant surroundings where you can let what you’ve just seen sink in. And there’s no bigger emotional (and physical) journey at the movies this summer than Lion.
Five-year-old Saroo (Sunny Pawar) falls asleep on a train on one side of India and wakes up a thousand miles away. Lost on the streets of Calcutta, his life is a string of close shaves until he’s adopted by a Tasmanian couple (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham). Now grown (and played by Dev Patel) he’s embarking on life as an adult – but his past just won’t let him go. Based on the true story of Saroo Brierley (who tracked down his home town using Google Earth), this is a heart-wrenching tale of struggle and triumph.
Pair this with: an “epic” glass of wine, for something to nurse while the enormity of the film’s themes sink in.
A Monster Calls
Screening from January 26
Twelve year-old Conor O’Malley (Lewis MacDougall) has a lot to deal with. His mother (Felicity Jones) is dying, his grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) is cold towards him, and his father (Toby Kebbell) only visits when it suits him. So when a tree (voiced by Liam Neeson) uproots itself and strolls over to his bedroom window for a chat, the boy seeks its help to cope with his lot.
A strange, challenging mix of fairy tale and real-life tragedy, A Monster Calls is the kind of film that can stay with a young viewer (or one that’s just young-at-heart) for a lifetime.
Pair this with: an XL serving of olive-oil-popped popcorn, the traditional snack of immersive cinematic fantasy.
Manchester by the Sea
Screening from February 2nd
In a film where just about everyone is suffering from almost unbearable loss, Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is a man battling with his own demons. But Manchester by the Sea never wallows in the pain its cast is feeling; rather it focuses on their humanity, and the humour between people that can exist even in grief.
When his brother dies from a sudden heart attack, Lee is forced to return to his home town for the first time since a earlier tragedy drove him away. There he learns he’s been made the guardian of his nephew, Patrick (Lucas Hedges), a role neither of them are too keen on. It’s a warm, often moving portrait of a man struggling to move on, powered by an amazing performance from a brooding yet often transparent Affleck.
Pair this with: a coffee to keep your nerves in check.
This article is presented in partnership with Palace Cinemas.