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“Sparrows” is Rúnar Rúnarsson’s stunning coming-of-age film

The ten tranquil films you need to see this summer

Dive right into that summer feeling with the sun-drenched slow burners that will have you aching for hot weather

Much like the grass waving languidly at the beginning of Kiki’s Delivery Service, the Lolita-posturing of Dakota Johnson in A Bigger Splash, or the wild abandon of the three boys in The Kings of Summer, there are certain cinematic tableaus that become synonymous with summer. They burn slow and move even slower – a reminder that’s what’s important is to take it easy. Many films accomplish this heightened level of torpor, such as Sofia Coppola’s LA postcard Somewhere, or rural moodboard Sunset Song. They aren’t necessarily style over substance, but some summer films can’t be experienced the same way at any other time of year. These upcoming releases are popping Hollywood’s thermometer, and proffer hot hot heat whenever you choose to watch them.


Taking place over a single day, King Jack has all the hallmarks of summer: a backyard baseball game where a window gets smashed, a house party, and a guy duct-taped to a lawn chair pelted close range with paintballs. It’s kind of like a glimpse at what could have happened to River Phoenix’s character, Chris Chambers, in Stand By Me, had he flunked out of middle school and become the punching bag for local hood bullies. “King Jack” is coasting through summer school, but after his aunt falls ill and his chubby cousin comes to stay, Jack’s bullies take their tormenting up a notch. (They call him scab.) With mood to spare, this summertime sizzler will likely make a huge star out of its main actor, Charlie Plummer.


A hypersexual take on teen lust, director Eva Husson’s debut feature is a lesson in how your innocent Snapchat nudes can escalate into a runaway orgy. While Alex’s mum is away digging up dinosaur bones in Morocco, some IRL boning is happening chez Alex without her knowledge. Together with a few pioneering mates, the promiscuous teens forge the “bang gang”. Clandestine texts reveal the date and time of these sex sessions. Heavy panting begets butt stuff. One virgin in particular, Gabriel, fancies a girl at the breathless epicentre of this version of Britney’s “Slave 4 U” video. When he joins the bang gang, there is no turning back. This film is what happens to people when they are pretty, bored and rich. But this is basically any teen’s ideal French Riviera vacation, non? Fair warning though: the ending is a boner shrinker.


Kids in Love stars model-turned-actress Cara Delevingne as a flower crown wearing (not a joke, this happens) bohemian. Like Eat, Pray, Love for the Everybody Gets A Trophy generation, the whole business of finding yourself for Jack is really just something you have to untangle from a buttload of drugs and sex. “But it’s not about explicit sex or drugs,” a producer told The Daily Mail. “It’s about how a lot of young people live their lives in London today, enjoying a fast-paced lifestyle.” Jack, on his gap year, meets a young girl (played by Alma Jodorowsky) who shows him through probably sex and drugs that there’s more to life than the school-job-marriage arc. Could it be the UK’s answer to The Dreamers?


If the best you can do is a council estate staycation, The Violators might make you feel a bit better about your situation. It makes a cement wasteland in Birkenhead’s Ship Canal region look like Puerto Vallarta. 15-year-old Shelly exercises her five finger discount when she wants something, until she finds Mikey, a sugar daddy lying-in-wait who gifts her prizes from the pawn shop. Their friendship blossoms because she’s flattered by his trinkets. Then she strikes up an unlikely bond with 17-year-old Rachel before finding out her dad is getting out early on parole. This is the debut feature of Helen Walsh, who wrote a book called The Violators and came out of left field to direct it for the big screen. She cross-examines classist Britain, and damn is it pretty.


Experience Iceland’s nordic wilderness at its most potent, captured in director Rúnar Rúnarsson’s stunning coming-of-age film Sparrows. The narrative may be a tad hackneyed: 16-year-old Ari is sent away to live with his estranged father, trading life with mum in Reykjavik for the wind-whipped Westfjords where his father, Gunnar, lives. The relationship is strained, as Gunnar doesn’t work very hard and has never made an effort to connect with his son. He’s a freeloader, living comfortably in a home owned by his former wife. All this interpersonal turmoil plays out over the mouth-drooling backdrop of the land of Björk and those tiny ponies. Come for the calendar-ready landscapes, stay for the explosive hostility between father and son.


Summertime shares many similarities with Todd Haynes’ Academy-Award winning Carol. Both feature torrid lesbian love during a time when it’s low-key forbidden. Toss in a feminist element and a family farm and Catherine Corsini’s extraordinary third feature is very far indeed from the lip-lined perfection of Cate Blanchett. In 1970s France, 25-year-old Delphine falls in love with a woman 10 years older. When Delphine’s father dies of a sudden stroke, she’s tasked with helping out on the farm in the French countryside. Her new (older) lover, Carole, follows her there to help, but not everything can be kept a secret…


Twenty-one years after Dawn Wiener, aka Wiener-Dog, cut off the head of her sister’s Barbie in Todd Solondz’s cult treasure Welcome to the Dollhouse, audiences are treated to a sort-of sequel. This time, however, a dachshund is the protagonist. Solondz worked out that everyone loves dogs. Filmed in short vignettes, the dog ties the diametrically-opposed characters into a rollercoaster storyline complete with an intermission. Starring perpetually quirky Greta Gerwig as Dawn, she returns with a chip on her shoulder as a veterinarian. Like his 1995 outsider anthem that introduced us to Dawn, Wiener-Dog yokes together a love of pets with a passion for letting your freak flag fly.


Awash with post-mortem farts and CGI gags, to call The Daniels’ debut Swiss Army Man a riot would be an understatement. It’s like Castaway meets Goldmember. Like Bear Grylls married Tropic Thunder. Hank (Paul Dano) gets stranded on an island, and just as he’s about to give up on any chance of rescue and take his life, he spots a corpse on the beach. The corpse is played by Daniel Radcliffe. In some wacked-out fit of zombie phenomena, the cadavre, named Manny, reanimates and conveniently acts as the perfect Swiss Army-like tool to abet Hank’s survival. Can-opener? Check. Rope-chomper? Check. Flatulence-powered escape jet ski? You got it. The Daniels, who in 2014 created short film Interesting Ball for Dazed, are known for injecting crude humour into their visually baffling storytelling, and Swiss Army Man delivers it and then some.


Remember that scene in Jurassic Park where the dad, screechy girl and her twig brother have to scale a giant electric fence to get away from the T-Rex, and the boy is blasted off it in one of the most comically underappreciated scenes in 20th century cinema? Well, imagine that as a whole movie. From the director who brought you new vampire comedy classic What We Do in the Shadows – Taika Waititi – comes a laugh riot about orphan Ricky and his guardian, Uncle Hec. The uncle character is played by Sam Neill, who you’ll remember from Jurassic Park. The two are stranded in the New Zealand bush, because Ricky, fed up with his new home life, attempts to make a run for it. Uncle Hec pursues him, which spurs on a manhunt.


Some kind of distant relation to the Royal Tenenbaums, this eccentric backwaters family is bubbling over with a bunch of Max Fischer-esque characters. In the Pacific Northwest, the family – with horribly white names like Vespyr and Bodevan – are raised as Luddites by single dad Ben. The film’s tagline is “He Prepared Them For Everything Except The Outside World”. They celebrate “Noam Chomsky Day”, for gosh sakes. Their aunty and uncle disapprove of their freewheeling lifestyle, and battle for custody. The comedy comes in the assimilation of these teens; Bodevan ends up proposing to a random girl moments after they kiss. Captain Fantastic will have you dying to get off the grid.