An Inconvenient Sequel, The Only Living Boy in New York, The Trip to Spain, Mubarakan, Detroit are among nine films to watch in August

From Atomic Blonde and The Dark Tower to The Trip to Spain, who says August presents a dearth of exciting films?
A feel-good Bollywood musical comedy, Mubarakan flaunts its delightfully ridiculous premise with pride: twin brothers Karan and Charan Singh (both played by Arjun Kapoor) are in love with each other’s betrothed. Call it a love square instead of a love triangle? The film addresses serious issues with a light touch, including the survival of Indian identity outside of India, the way people in India view ex-pats – Karan was raised in London while Charan grew up in Punjab – and the problems arranged marriages can present. A true product of Bollywood, this Hindi-language comedy is an epic 156 minutes long and features music by South Asian superstars Amaal Mallik, Gourov Roshin and Rishi Rich. Released in the US, UK, India and Australia on 28 July.
Al Gore’s follow-up to his 2006 climate change documentary may be even hotter property – no pun intended. Although it screened at the Sundance Film Festival in January – BBC Culture critic Sam Adams gave it three stars out of five – An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power has, according to The Wrap, been re-edited to feature Donald Trump and his controversial decision to remove the US from the Paris Agreement on climate change. Much of the original cut remains in the final version, though – it’s primarily concerned with Gore’s efforts to petition government officials and corporate executives to invest more heavily in renewable energy. Released in the US on 4 August, in Singapore on 17 August and in New Zealand on 24 August.
Stephen King has been trying to adapt his seven-book Dark Tower series for the big screen for years. Finally, the approach he and rights-holders Sony Pictures settled on is not an adaptation at all but a continuation of the book series after the seventh book in the saga, released in 2004. Danish director Nikolaj Arcel, making his Hollywood debut, gets behind the camera for a movie that, like the books, follows a mysterious gunslinger named Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), his recruitment of a young boy named Jake (Tom Taylor), and a nemesis named The Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey). Deschain is trying to protect a dark tower that controls all reality – meaning that this film is ‘going meta’ and will link up directly with other Stephen King stories, each of which will exist in one of the realities protected by the dark tower. In an intriguing example of multi-platform storytelling, the movie, only 95 minutes, will then be followed a TV series starring Elba and Taylor that will air in 2018 and fill in some of the backstory leading up to the film from the books. Released 3 August in Russia, 4 August in Canada and the US and 31 August in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Actor Taylor Sheridan was once best-known for appearing on camera on Sons of Anarchy, but in the past few years he’s made his mark as an accomplished screenwriter, having penned the scripts for Sicario and Hell or Highwater. Now he’s making his directorial debut with this thriller about a US Fish & Wildlife official (Jeremy Renner) who discovers a body on a Native American reservation in Wyoming, and foul play is suspected. Elizabeth Olsen plays an FBI agent who is sent in to find out what really happened. The Verge’s Chris Plante says that it’s like “Coen brothers noir meets the case of the week”, suggesting that it does have a TV procedural quality to it. Released 4 August in the US and Lithuania, 10 August in Russia and 31 August in Brazil and Ukraine.
A story of the afterlife like no other, David Lowery’s film stars Casey Affleck as a friendly ghost, covered in a simple white sheet like a Halloween costume, who hangs around and haunts his wife (Rooney Mara), as she processes the crippling grief she feels over his death. Lowery made a name for himself with the low-key, deeply sensitive indie character study Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (also starring Affleck and Mara), before directing the critically acclaimed remake of Pete’s Dragon for Disney in 2016. Like Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, A Ghost Story was a huge success at the Sundance Film Festival, where BBC Culture’s Sam Adams wrote in his four-out-of-five star review, “You will find it hard to wave off the movie’s naked depiction of unresolved grief.” Released 27 July in Australia and 11 August in the UK and Ireland.
It’s been five years since Kathryn Bigelow’s last film. That one was a flashpoint – to say the least. Zero Dark Thirty topped many critics’ Top 10 lists in 2012 and it went on to be nominated for five Academy Awards, including best picture. However, it also spawned a major controversy: many claimed the movie endorsed the idea that torture is effective and led to the capture of Osama Bin Laden. With Detroit, Bigelow is courting controversy once again. The film concerns the ‘Algiers Motel’ Incident, a tragedy that occured during a race riot in Detroit in 1967, in which three black men were killed and several others beaten by police. Although the film is set 50 years ago, it’s still a timely topic. Released in the US 4 August and in the UK 25 August.
We now have a female Doctor Who, but a big question still remains: could we ever have a female James Bond? A Jane Bond, perhaps? Well, Charlize Theron certainly looks like she qualifies for ’00’ status as a superspy for MI6, Bond’s covert organisation, in Atomic Blonde. The film takes place in 1989 just before the fall of the Berlin Wall – hence the presence of New Order’s dance anthem Blue Monday in the trailer. If that suggests Atomic Blonde may be more an exercise in style than substance, you’d be right. Director David Leitch, who previously won acclaim from action nerds with his Keanu Reaves hitman drama John Wick, is a strong visual stylist, but early reviews, though largely positive, have complained about the incomprehensible plot. Eric Kohn of Indiewire says it “oscillates between the relentless energy of John Wick and the dense plotting of a John Le Carré novel, Atomic Blonde never quite finds a happy medium between the two.” Released in Australia and Brazil on 3 August and the UK on 9 August.
Director Marc Webb made a splash with the romantic comedy (500) Days of Summer in 2009. Then he got trapped in a sticky mess of a spider’s web – his two Amazing Spider-Man films, starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, were met with critics’ sighs at best, groans at worst. His new film for Amazon returns to safer romantic territory. The Only Living Boy in New York stars Callum Turner as the son of a wealthy New Yorker (Pierce Brosnan) who is having an affair with a beautiful woman (Kate Beckinsale) – in the process cheating on Turner’s mother (Cynthia Nixon). Of course, the son finds he’s falling for Beckinsale himself – all the better to keep her away from his father and save his parents’ marriage. Fans of Beckinsale’s latter-day rom-com classic Serendipity – count me as one – will be thrilled she’s returning to date-movie territory. Released 11 August in the US and 24 August in the Netherlands.
Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are back for more gastronomic adventures in a sun-kissed locale. Playing versions of themselves, Coogan is now riding high off the success of Philomena, which he produced, wrote, and starred in opposite Judi Dench, and for which he was nominated for two Oscars. The pair openly mock each other: “And we welcome Philomena back into the conversation, it’s been a good five or six minutes,” says Brydon as they’re driving across the Spanish countryside from one restaurant to another. Released as a TV series in the UK, like the previous two Trip installments, The Trip to Spain was re-edited for theatrical release by director Michael Winterbottom and will be released on 3 August in Australia, 11 August in the US, and 31 August in Denmark.