Best films to watch this July

Eva Mackevic 10 July 2022

An offbeat comedy-drama starring Dakota Johnson and a lip-smackingly entertaining George Michael documentary are our top film picks this month 

Cha Cha Real Smooth

When it comes to romantic comedies, this humble number from newcomer Cooper Raiff is somewhat an anomaly. In it, nearly everyone involved gets their heart broken, settles for something they don’t truly want, and comes to some crushing realisation about life in general. On paper, it’s almost on par with the existential angst of Ingmar Bergman; in reality though, it embodies the silly pep of Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. On a Venn diagram, it lives somewhere in between.

Cha Cha follows the story of a somewhat hapless but utterly lovable 22-year-old, Andrew (also Raiff), who’s fresh out of college and not yet sure which direction his life should take. His lucky break comes at a soul-crushingly dull bat mitzvah party, where his goofy geniality and dance moves get the party started, landing him the gig as a motivational dancer at his younger brother’s classmates’ bar and bat mitzvahs. At one such party, he meets a single young mum, Domino (a listlessly dreamy Dakota Johnson) and her autistic daughter Lola, who give him the steer he craved so much—or so he thinks.

It's a witty and whacky film with a soft, gooey centre: from the syrupy, saturated cinematography, to the inherent goodness—however deeply buried—shining through each character, it’ll disarm you with its effortless warmth and big heart. Raiff proves himself as both a director and actor with a magic touch and we can’t wait to see more tricks he has up his sleeve.

 

George Michael Freedom Uncut

From his early days in Wham! to his meteoric rise to international stardom as a solo artist, George Michael’s life was always the subject of controversy, speculation and intense media scrutiny. In this new, posthumous documentary, he “reclaims” the narrative of his career, personal life and scandals in collaboration with co-director and friend David Austin. Michael was heavily involved in the making of this documentary before his tragic passing in 2016, making it a poignant, if somewhat unbalanced tribute to his legacy.

Featuring interviews with what feels like everyone who’s ever crossed paths with the artist (Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Ricky Gervais among many, many others), the film zeroes in on the landmarks and events that shaped his trajectory: struggles with fame, the release of “Freedom”, legal battles with Sony, the untimely death of his partner.

At almost two hours long, the film certainly does feel “uncut” and Michael’s involvement in its making is distinctly palpable in the way his story is told. The tone sometimes verges on adulatory, painting a somewhat one-sided picture of a man who seemingly did no wrong. Yet, if you go in knowing exactly what you’re in for—a deftly produced, lip-smackingly entertaining two hours of fan service, brimming with beloved hits—you won’t be let down.

Read more: Only in America—films that capture the USA 

Read more: 7 Documentaries to watch in 2022

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