Shopping centres. Multiplexes. Giant lines and rowdy kids. If there’s one thing years of movie-going has taught us, it’s all those things are kryptonite to a quality viewing experience.

So, with a swag of excellent new movies being released over summer, we’ve put together a two-part guide to a relaxed cinema experience: intimate surrounds, smart flicks or just a cheeky wine-and-cheese pairing.

Rogue One: A Star War Story
Screening from December 15

This prequel to the original Star Wars takes a Dirty Dozen-style look at the theft of the plans for the original Death Star, with mercenary Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) leading the Rebel team sent to steal them from under the nose of the Empire – most notably the cape-wearing Director of Advanced Weapons Research, Orsen Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn).

With director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) promising to put the war back into Star Wars, there’s a good chance not all of Erso’s team (which includes Diego Luna, Forrest Whitaker and Donnie Yen) will be coming back. This is going to be the biggest release of the year. Avoid the packed multiplexes and suburban shopping mall crush.

Pair this with: a handmade choc-top, for that back-of-the-throat chill every time Ben Mendelsohn’s character creeps on screen.

Buy tickets to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Screening from December 26

At the height of World War Two, spy Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) is sent to Casablanca, Morocco, to assassinate the German ambassador. His cover involves pretending to be the husband of former French resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard), and it doesn’t take long for real feelings to grow between them. But when the mission is over and they go back to the UK, there’s a problem: British intelligence isn’t entirely sure she’s not a Nazi spy.

A fun mix of action, suspense and old-fashioned romance, Allied calls back to the golden age of Hollywood (part of it is set in Casablanca, after all), making one of Palace’s impeccably maintained heritage cinemas the perfect backdrop for this particular night at the movies.

Pair this with: An Aperol Spritz, a classic combination of sweet and bitter, bound together by a still-secret recipe.

Buy tickets to Allied

Rosalie Blum
Screening from December 26

Another smart foreign film, this is a small-town French dramedy about a 30-something hairdresser, Vincent (Kyan Khojandi), who finds himself mysteriously drawn to a shop assistant (Noémie Lvovsky) in a corner grocery store.

Based on a successful series of graphic novels, it’s a crowd-pleasing mix of heart and laughs constructed as a trio of focus-shifting chapters (the star of chapter two is a bystander in chapter one, and so forth) that gradually weaves together a cast of quirky, heartfelt characters. Full of life but with a serious side, it has been a hit both in France and around the world.

Pair this with: a mixed-cheese board for the satisfying, slowly dawning realisation you probably don’t need to have dinner now.

Buy tickets to Rosalie Blum

A United Kingdom
Screening from December 26

The year is 1947, and African prince Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo) is studying in London when he meets and falls in love with office worker Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike). That’s the end of the good news: her father is appalled, his uncle (the regent of the kingdom of Bechuanaland) refuses to approve and the British Empire – desperate to keep the deeply racist leadership of nearby South Africa on side – decides to do what it can to keep them apart. An intelligent and thoughtful film.

Pair this with: a coffee to keep you on high alert throughout the narrative twists.

Buy tickets to A United Kingdom

La La Land
Screening from December 26

This infectiously entertaining musical is a nostalgic but self-aware look at the magic of Hollywood. Mia (Emma Stone) is a would-be actress enduring endless horrible auditions while working as a barista; Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a pianist and jazz tragic still grieving the death of his club. Together they sing, dance, and inspire each other to follow their dreams – even when those dreams might drive these young lovers apart.

Pair this with: an XL serving of olive-oil-popped popcorn, the traditional snack of romance for when the lights go down.

Buy tickets to La La Land

New Year’s Eve (previews)

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: Pair this with: an “Epic” glass of wine, for something to nurse while the enormity of the film’s themes sink in.

Buy tickets to Lion

Part Two of our Summer Movie Preview coming soon.

View session times at:
Palace Verona
Palace Norton Street and
Chauvel Cinema.

This article is presented in partnership with Palace Cinemas.