2017: A film guide for lazy students

Will Tilbrook 5 January 2017

Being a Cambridge student is difficult. Sometimes you just need to get away, to lie back on those giant reclining seats they have in the big Vue up by Primark and blissfully forget that you have a lecture at 9am the next day. We’ve even done all of the googling for you (so much googling), so sit back and peruse the year ahead. Whether you’re a horror fan, a sci-fi nerd, or a romance junkie, there will be something here for you.

January has arrived and you’re horrified, frantic, realising with an impending sense of doom that term is starting in a couple of weeks and all you’ve done this vacation is scroll aimlessly through Memebridge. Fear not – January is packed full of good films to give you a break. La La Land, a musical, is definitely one for the romantics and the Old Hollywood fans out there. Hidden Figures also looks extremely good, telling the story of three African-American female scientists at NASA during the Space Race. T2: Trainspotting, the sequel to Danny Boyle’s 1996 film, should also feature enough dark comedy to transport you away from Cambridge for a couple of hours.

February comes and you are usually back into the swing of things – which is good, because the reservoir of good films begins to dry up slightly. Luckily, The Lego Batman Movie is coming out. This sequel to 2014’s brilliant The Lego Movie is already shaping up to be the animation event of the year, although there admittedly isn’t much competition. Fifty Shades Darker is also out on the same day, if you’re more into your slightly awkward erotic film franchises than your comedy.

Mid-March brings the Easter vacation. The third and final Wolverine movie – confusingly just titled Logan – should help fill this gap, especially if you’re a fan of Hugh Jackman (and let’s face it, who isn’t?). Kong Island is also released, featuring Cambridge’s own Tom Hiddleston, as well as the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast with Emma Watson. If you’re bored of the blockbusters, the Watersprite Film Festival is running from 10-12 March in Cambridge, featuring films from some of the best student filmmakers from around the world. It’s also worth going along to their Pink Week screening of past films at the Picturehouse cinema on 3 February which is completely free.

For most of April you’ll be home, hopefully finding time to soak up the Spring sun (and rain) between catching up on sleep and doing your revision. One film that could shape up to be good is Stephen Chobsky’s adaptation of Wonder, starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson as the parents of a boy with a rare facial deformity who goes to school for the first time. If you fancy an uplifting underdog story in the run-up to exam term, this one is probably for you.

The start of May means the coming of the dreaded exam month for almost everybody at Cambridge, but luckily there are two movies released that will take you far, far away from this world – literally. The first is Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. This is very highly anticipated, and what we’ve seen so far in the trailers has not disappointed – I’d watch the whole film just for adorable Baby Groot. Also out in May is Alien: Covenant, the sequel-to-Prometheus-but-prequel-to-Alien, which may even be scarier than the thought of your fast-approaching exams.

The freedom of June arrives! If you’re lacking something to do during May Week, there are plenty of summer blockbusters out. Nobody asked for another Cars film, but the third one is coming out on 16 June all the same. Despicable Me 3 is following closely after, which is sure to bring a fresh influx of Minion merchandise into stores near you. Also out is Wonder Woman, although if DC continues with their spate of mediocre films then this may not be the glorious female-led movie we’ve all been hoping for. This year also brings a remake of The Mummy, alarmingly replacing Brendan Fraser with Tom Cruise. The chance of any of these films being really good is slim, but at the very least they’ll probably be watchable.

July is another jam-packed month to distract you from missing your Cambridge friends too much. War of the Planet of the Apes is out, if you’re after a couple of hours of decent special effects and action. Spiderman: Homecoming is also coming to screens near you, as Marvel continue to pull out the big guns. The small taster we received of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker in Captain America: Civil War seemed to be a fresh take on the role, which is desperately needed in the Spidey-saturated world we live in. Also out is Dunkirk, which is weirdly going to feature Harry Styles, and an adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, with Matthew Mcconaughey.

August has an absolute dearth of good films, with only the dubious-sounding Emojimovie being released. Much like the recent Angry Birds movie, this looks set to disappear into the oblivion of subpar animations. Really, it’s probably a better idea to just watch repeats of old episodes of Mock the Week on Dave.

September is similarly bereft of entertainment, mirroring the way you’ll be feeling when all your friends go back to university at the start of the month and you’re left alone. However, you could always go and see Flatliners, a sci-fi horror about medical students carrying out experiments to find out what comes after death (don’t get any ideas, medics).

October arrives and you’re finally back in Cambridge. To distract you from the scariness of the coming year, be spooked by any one of the multitude of horror films out over the course of the month, as the Friday the 13th reboot, Saw: Legacy, and Insidious Chapter 4 are all released in time for Halloween. Someone needs to tell the makers of Saw that putting the word ‘Legacy’ at the end of their title won’t automatically make the audiences forget that their last one was billed as the ‘Final Chapter’. Still, whether you’re after gore, jump-scares or thrills, it looks like October has plenty in store.

The days are getting shorter and you need somewhere warm and comfortable to go when you have to escape your work in the evenings. Luckily, there are many films out in November for you to choose from. Thor: Ragnarok will definitely be a safe bet for an entertaining evening, although Justice League is less of a safe bet after the embarrassment of Suicide Squad. Murder on the Orient Express is also coming out if you want to test your detective skills with some classic Agatha Christie.

By the time December arrives, you’ve already celebrated Bridgemas and you’re getting ready to pack up your stuff and head back home. Once you get back, you have a couple of films out to tide you over on the entertainment front before you’re back in Cambridge again next January. The release of Star Wars: Episode VIII is sad in the wake of the wonderful Carrie Fisher’s death, but will hopefully still be a brilliant tribute to her. It also feels far too soon to be remaking Robin Williams films, and yet they’ve still made a new Jumanji – all we can do is pray that it does the original justice.

Which brings us right back round to January again. 2017 has some really big films coming out, some of which will be seen as classics for years to come. So, try not to get too preoccupied with life at Cambridge this year and treat yourself to some time in front of the big screen.