National Dinosaur Day (1st) – Jurassic Park – Starring Sam Neill, Laura Dern – NowTV – 1993 – 2h 7min – Dir. Steven Spielberg – PG
Based on the novel of the same name by Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park acts as an amalgamation of much of Spielberg’s previous work. With the teeth and terror of Jaws, wrinkly puppetry of E.T, and feel-good spirit of Saving Private Ryan, the film goes from strength to strength, making for a rare occasion when every scene in a film is not only memorable, but completely irreplaceable. It’s a film without filler, a movie without mush, a picture without padding, packed with dinosaurs out the wazoo and enough of Jeff Goldblum’s bare chest to make a fly blush, Jurassic Park has what no other subsequent film in this series of raptor-rampant-romps has: a rating higher than 6/10.
Sausage Roll Day (5th) – Okja – Starring Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano – Netflix – 2017 – 2h – Dir. Bong Joon-Ho – 15
Thinking about it, we could have done a two-for-one Sausage Roll and Dinosaur Day with Jurassic Pork, but alas that film is yet to be made. That aside, from the director of smash-hit Parasite, Okja follows Mija as she attempts to rescue her big pig friend from certain doom on the other side of the world. One of a few films that features a big pig of such immense size (a surprisingly rare genre), Okja is like Parasite in a lot of ways, acting as a statement on the state of late-stage capitalism, the exploitation of the lower classes and the planet by the wealthy, and the lengths a normal person must go to just to take their life and liberty back from the powerful. It sounds rather bleak, but you must remember the big pig of such immense size, which will certainly lift your spirits. Swings and rounda-snouts, I suppose.
Father’s Day (18th) – Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back – Starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher – Disney+ – 1980 – 2h 4min – Dir. Irvin Kershner – PG
When Star Wars was released, it seemed nearly impossible to top it. And yet The Empire Strikes Back did just that. It leapt over its predecessor, in fact, and is still regarded not just as one of the best sequels ever made, but one of the best films entirely. Following some three years after the destruction of the Death Star, Empire follows our heroes as the hope of their previous venture is dashed on the pavement and the Empire seems to only grow stronger. Introducing favourites like Yoda and Boba Fett, it could be said that no film has ever impacted culture as greatly as this one. Let’s not forget the ultimate twist, as well, which I will not spoil, even if nearly everyone knows it by now. It’s a struggle to write jokes about such an incredible film, but here goes. What is Yoda’s last name? Le-hee-hoo. I’ll be here all week.
Summer Solstice (21st) – The Wicker Man – Starring Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee – Prime Video – 1973 – 1h 24min – Robin Hardy – 18
Following Sergeant Howie as he investigates the disappearance of a child on the Scottish island of Summerisle, The Wicker Man is often called ‘the Citizen Kane of horror movies,’ an accolade so commonly given to the film that it’s found its way into this very paragraph. Frightening stuff. Speaking of frightening, the portrayal of pagan rituals and the eventual burning of the titular Wicker Man are like a window into something we really aren’t meant to see, so well-made and well-filmed that the viewer feels like an intruder in a place they don’t quite understand. Here, the score and the setting are like characters of their own, as large and odd as Howie and Lord Summerisle. With enough early-70s weirdness to make David Bowie look like Steve Davis, and enough Christopher Lee to make Steve Davis look no different, The Wicker Man is a testament to what can be achieved with the art of film. If you want to watch something rubbish, however, watch the remake from 2006, in which you’ll wish you were the one being burned alive.