The hottest movies to see in Australian cinemas this summer

There’s more to the summer than scorching heat, relentless sun and jam-packed beaches. It’s also the best time of year to get blasted by air-conditioning in a cinema. So, forget about your slip, slop, slap, here are some of the best movies heading your way this Summer.

Avatar: The Way of Water

The long-awaited sequel to the biggest-grossing film of all time, James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water is the first of a promised onslaught of mo-cap blue movies that will see the director deep dive into the kingdom of Pandora. Epic doesn’t even cover it. Shot back-to-back with Avatar 3 over three years and developing new equipment to allow mo-cap technology to be used underwater, Cameron finds himself returning to the forefront of filmmaking.

Once again Sam Worthington stars as disabled army grunt turned VR revolutionary Jake Sully along with Sigourney Weaver and Zoe Saldaña and new arrival on Pandora Kate Winslet. Whatever the waterlogged plot delivers, one thing is sure. Cameron is a master craftsman and as an example of world-building, Avatar: The Way of Water will be an unparalleled cinematic experience.

Triangle Of Sadness

A big success at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival winning the Palme d’Or for writer-director Ruben Östlund, an honour he had previously won in 2017 for his oddball comedy-drama The Square, Triangle of Sadness is a gleefully wicked satire about the great class divide, represented by the chasm between the affluent guests and workers aboard a luxury yacht.

The film follows model Carl (Harris Dickinson) and his influencer girlfriend Yaya (Charlbi Dean, RIP) on a cruise for the super-rich. She was invited to cover the voyage for her social channels. When the ship, captained by Woody Harrelson, sinks, the survivors are trapped on a remote island with no signal!

The Banshees of Inisherin

Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson reunite with their In Bruges director Martin McDonagh in another tale of Irish manners, foul language and brooding machismo. At the tail end of the Irish Civil War in 1923, on the fictional Irish isle of Inisherin, Farrell and Gleeson play Pádraic Súilleabháin and Colm Doherty, two lifelong friends who find themselves at an impasse when Colm abruptly ends their relationship to concentrate on composing music, claiming that Pádraic is dull. This abrupt move proves to have alarming consequences for them both.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri helmer McDonagh has proven himself to be an astute observer of the human condition, taking skills honed writing for the stage to bring serious topics like depression, conflict and male toxicity to the screen. It also helps having Gleeson and Farrell deliver his acerbic lines.

I Wanna Dance With Somebody

She may have sung that she almost had it all, but gospel singer turned stadium-filling pop phenomenon Whitney Houston led a double life. Look beyond the glitz, glamour and perfect pitch and a troubled life of spousal abuse, secret relationships and drug addiction tarnished her previously well-maintained squeaky-clean image. This all makes for a potentially fascinating biopic.

Taking the Bohemian Rhapsody approach (and its writer, Oscar-nominated Kiwi Anthony McCarten), Naomi Ackie will play the singer but will not sing themselves, instead mouthing along to backing tracks. From 1993’s What’s Love Got to Do With It to the aforementioned Freddie Mercury biopic, telling the life story of a rock deity has often seen soapie theatrics and TV movie melodrama overshadow the music. Here’s hoping that Houston is given the big-screen treatment she rightly deserves. And if she is, it will be so emotional.

The Lost King

From Stephen Frears, the British director behind Dangerous Liaisons, The Queen and Philomena, this is co-written, produced and co-starring Steve Coogan—playing second fiddle to the always brilliant Sally Hawkins as Philippa Langley, the woman who discovers the remains of King Richard III under a car park in Leicester. Based on a true story, this is a classic British underdog tale as the amateur historian, inspired by a trip to the theatre to watch Shakespeare’s play about the king, locks heads with the stick-in-the-mud academic establishment in her efforts to find the misunderstood monarch’s 500-year-old remains.

What starts as an interest turns into an unhealthy obsession as she juggles her research with being a single mother while her ex-husband looks on disapprovingly. Frears, reunited with his Philomena team of Coogan and co-writer Jeff Pope, manages to make a potentially stuffy storyline immensely entertaining.

A Man Called Otto

Tom Hanks turns up the grouch in the second film adaptation of the 2012 novel A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, following the 2015 Swedish film of the same name. He plays the titular Otto, a grumpy antihero in the same vein as Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets and Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino, but hopefully less racist. The pitch-black comedy sees suicidal widower Otto trying to take his own life after losing his job of 40 years. The problem is that his relentlessly perky new neighbours keep interrupting him.

It will be great to see Hanks return to the comedy fold playing the miserable misanthrope. In a stellar career that has seen the Forrest Gump actor take home two Best Actor Oscars, the days of Bachelor Party and The ‘Burbs seem all too far away.

The Fabelmans

There is already Oscar buzz aplenty around Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical story loosely based on the Jaws director’s adolescence and first years as a fledgling director. Gabriel LaBelle plays Sammy Fabelman, the adolescent who has his mind blown when he sees Cecil B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show On Earth and spends every subsequent waking minute with an 8mm camera in his hand.

One part Jewish coming-of-age drama set against a backdrop of post-World War II era Arizona and part paean to filmmaking that channels Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso, Spielberg’s love letter to film features a typically stunning ensemble including Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Paul Dano and Judd Hirsch.

Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre

Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen was seen as a return to form for the Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels director after the critical drubbings dished out to The Man From U.N.C.L.E and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. The most memorable character in the director’s star-studded cockney gangster knees-up was Hugh Grant waxing lyrical as a private investigator. Ritchie’s latest cheeky caper sees Grant breaking bad once again with his now well-practiced cockney accent.

Operation Fortune stars Jason Statham as super-spy Orson Fortune who blackmails Hollywood’s biggest movie star, Danny Francesco (Josh Hartnett), to help them on an undercover mission to stop billionaire arms broker Greg Simmonds (Grant) from selling deadly new weapons technology that will send the global populace into meltdown. They say fortune favours the brave, Ritchie will be hoping that the ever-charming Grant, along with an impressive cast that also boasts Aubrey Plaza and Eddie Marsan, will hit big.


James Wan channels his inner Chucky writing the story behind the latest addition to that tried and tested horror sub-genre, the killer doll movie. Get Out star Allison Williams plays Gemma, a robotics engineer at a toy company who builds a life-like doll designed to be a child’s greatest companion and a parent’s greatest ally. Well, that’s what it says on the box. When Gemma takes her recently orphaned niece Cady (Violet McGraw) under her wing, she uses a M3GAN prototype as a babysitter. Bad idea when the malevolent plaything begins to take on a life of its own.

While the plotting has the potential to be a hackneyed mess, Wan along with fellow producer Jason Blum, has a bloody good track record with high-concept horrors, and director Gerard Johnstone’s Kiwi horror comedy Housebound was a delight, so hopes are high that M3GAN will prove to be a living doll.