Best films to watch in July
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One
In the seventh Mission: Impossible adventure, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his trusty band of globe-trotting secret agents learn about a deadly new weapon that could cause... well, never mind the plot. Mission: Impossible films aren't really about the story, but about the chance to see Cruise perform ever more hair-raising stunts. In this case, he rides a motorbike off the edge of a cliff in Norway and freefalls 4,000ft before his parachute opens. "Obviously, you hear the idea and you get an idea of what it is in your head," said Cruise's co-star, Simon Pegg, who witnessed the stunt. "But it wasn't until I got up there on the mountain that I realised just how death-defyingly awesome the whole thing was... We could be facing losing our leading man. It was genuinely a fear. But, my god, it was exciting."
Somehow, one of the year's most anticipated films is a live-action tie-in to a range of Mattel children's dolls – and they're not even dolls that everyone likes. "We have to acknowledge that there are a lot of people who aren't fans of Barbie," the film's star and producer, Margot Robbie, told Alyssa Bailey in Vogue. "And in fact, aren't just indifferent to Barbie. They actively hate Barbie." Robbie's solution was to hire Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird, Little Women) to write and direct, along with co-writer – and Gerwig's partner – Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story, White Noise). In their irreverent comedy, Barbie and Ken (Ryan Gosling) venture beyond the perfect, pink, plastic dreamland they share with dozens of other Barbies and Kens, and find themselves in the real world, much to the annoyance of a Mattel executive played by Will Ferrell. The Lego Movie meets Enchanted, anyone?
Christopher Nolan has long been fascinated by mind-boggling scientific advances, as the likes of Tenet, Interstellar, Inception and The Prestige demonstrate. But Oppenheimer marks the first time he has channelled that fascination into a biopic of a real person. The person is J Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy), the theoretical physicist who helped develop the first nuclear weapons. Emily Blunt co-stars as his wife, and a stellar supporting cast includes Robert Downey Jr, Matt Damon and Florence Pugh.