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What to Watch in May 2024

image credit: James Pardon/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios

From a watch-through-your-fingers true crime documentary to the return of Doctor Who, here's your guide to all the best new films & TV shows coming to screens big and small in the month of May...

Film

The Fall Guy

Given his former career as a stunt-performer himself, director David Leitch (John Wick, Deadpool 2) seems an apt choice to helm this new action-comedy, based loosely on the 1980s TV series of the same name starring Lee Majors.

The Fall Guy stars Ryan Gosling as Hollywood stuntman Colt Seevers, whose main line of work is being the stunt double for a famous action star named Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Having abandoned the film business after a stunt gone wrong leaves him injured, Colt is tempted back into action by a call from film producer Gail Meyers (Hannah Waddingham) with the news that his ex-girlfriend, camera operator Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt), is directing her debut feature and has requested his services.

However, when his arrival on set comes as an unwelcome surprise for Jody, Gail confesses the real reason he has been hired; Tom has gotten himself into trouble and disappeared, so Colt is tasked with locating him. In doing so, Colt finds himself in the frame for a crime he didn’t commit and faces a fight to prove his innocence. Also starring Teresa Palmer, Stephanie Hsu and Winston Duke, The Fall Guy is set to make its arrival in UK cinemas on May 2.

 

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

The long-awaited next chapter in the Mad Max series finally makes its debut this month, some nine years since the previous instalment first arrived in cinemas. Billed as both spinoff and prequel to 2015’s Fury Road, Furiosa examines the backstory of its protagonist, Imperator Furiosa – depicted here in her younger years and played this time by Anya Taylor-Joy.

Abducted by a biker gang led by a warlord named Dementus (Chris Hemsworth), Furiosa faces a long and arduous journey home amidst a battle between two tyrants who both have plans to rule over the citadel.

George Miller returns to the director’s chair once again for this latest offering, which also stars Tom Burke, Lachy Hulme, John Howard and Charlee Fraser. Due to arrive in cinemas on May 24, Furiosa looks set to match the stunning visual spectacle offered by its predecessor.

 

IF

John Krasinski has enjoyed a successful transition from actor to director in recent years with films such as The Quiet Place and its sequels, but his latest directorial offering is something entirely different. A mixture of live action and animation, IF stars Ryan Reynolds as a man named Cal with an unusual gift; he can see the imaginary friends of children. Thinking he is alone in this unique ability, Cal is surprised when his young neighbour, Bea (Cailey Fleming), confides in him that she has the same gift.

However, Cal explains that these “imaginary” friends are, in fact, real. Worse than that, when the children who invented them grow up and become adults, these friends – knowns as ‘IFs’ – are forgotten and left to lead a lonely existence without purpose. On learning this, Bea resolves to try and help these IFs find new children to be friends with, leading the pair on a bizarre adventure.

Featuring an impressive voice cast that includes Steve Carrell, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Blake Lively, George Clooney and Bradley Cooper, among many others, IF makes its debut on UK cinema screens May 17 and sure to provide plenty of entertainment for the whole family.

 

La Chimera

The latest film from Italian director Alice Rohrwacher earned rave reviews when it premiered at the Cannes film festival in 2023 and, after securing a cinematic release in the US earlier this year, La Chimera is set to debut in the UK this month.

Telling the story of a British archaeologist working in Tuscany who becomes involved in an international network trading in stolen Etruscan artifacts, Rohrwacher’s extraordinary film has earned the director comparisons to the likes of legendary Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini and has been described as “a masterpiece of magical realism”. Starring The Crown’s Josh O’Connor, Carol Duart and Isabell Rossini, La Chimera is well worth a look when it arrives in cinemas on May 10.

 

Young Woman and the Sea

Our final film pick this month stars Daisy Ridley as Olympic medal-winning swimmer Gertrude Ederle, an American who in 1926 became the first woman to swim across the English Channel. Directed by Joachim Rønning, whose previous credits include Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, the film tells the story of Ederle’s difficult journey to completing her record-breaking feat.

Also starring Christopher Ecclestone, Tilda Cobham-Hervey and Stephen Graham, Young Woman and the Sea is set to arrive on UK cinema screens on May 31.

 

TV

Doctor Who (May 11, BBC One / BBC iPlayer / Disney+)

After making his debut in a Christmas special at the end of last year, Ncuti Gatwa is set to return for his first series proper when Doctor Who makes its hotly-anticipated return to our screens this month. The first black actor to take on the role of the iconic time-traveller, Gatwa’s Doctor is to set due off on a host of new adventures alongside his new companion Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) when the show returns on May 11.

Russell T Davies resumes his role as showrunner for the latest series, replacing Chris Chibnall and marking his return to the show after a 14-year absence. As for guests stars already confirmed to be making an appearance, we can look forward to seeing the likes of Anita Dobson, Jonathan Groff, Jemma Redgrave, Bonnie Langford, Ruth Madeley and Lenny Rush in the coming weeks, while Yasmin Finney also joins the cast in the role of Rose Noble, daughter of Catherine Tate’s character Donna Noble.

The first two episodes are set to land on BBC iPlayer on May 11, with the first episode airing on BBC One that evening, but the show will also be available on Disney+ the same day. You can find the latest trailer below…

 

Bodkin (May 9, Netflix)

This dark comedy-thriller series from British writer stars Will Forte as an American podcast star named Gilbert Power, who travels to Ireland to discover more about his Irish heritage and also to investigate a local mystery; the disappearance of three strangers from an idyllic rural town.

Along with his assistant Emmy (Robyn Cara) and Dublin-based investigative journalist named Dove (Siobhán Cullen), Gilbert begins to conduct investigations into the disappearance of the three strangers for his podcast. The locals, however, are less than welcoming and the more Gilbert and his team pull at the threads of this strange tale, the stranger it becomes, hinting at a much bigger story than they could have imagined. Due to arrive on Netflix on May 9, this offbeat yarn is sure to provide plenty of intrigue.

 

Dark Matter (May 8, Apple TV+)

The folks at Apple TV+ sure do like they’re sci-fi, don’t they? Not that we’re complaining, especially when they’ve already delivered shows as brilliant and beguiling as Severance and For All Mankind. Their newest offering, Dark Matter, arrives in May and looks every bit as intriguing.

Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Connelly lead the cast for this twisting sci-fi thriller, whose story revolves around a renowned scientist living an idyllic life in Chicago with his family until he is abducted by a mysterious stranger and wakes to find himself in a parallel universe. What follows is a head-spinning journey through several alternate realities as he tries to discover what has happened to him, who is behind his abduction and, most importantly, how to get back home.

Created by writer Blake Crouch and directed by Jakob Verbruggen (Black Mirror, The Twilight Zone), Dark Matter arrives on Apple TV+ on May 8 and promises to be a riveting watch.

 

The Sympathizer (May 27, Sky Atlantic / NOW)

A new HBO series is always something to look forward to and this new black comedy-drama, based on the novel of the same name by Vietnamese author Viet Thanh Nguyen, is no different. Created for its streaming service Max – still unavailable in the UK due to an ongoing license deal with Sky TV – The Sympathizer made its debut on American screens earlier this year, but in May UK viewers will finally get to see what all the fuss is about.

Co-created by Oldboy director Park Chan-wook and Don McKellar, The Sympathizer is set late in the Vietnam war and stars Hoa Xuande as The Captain, a plant embedded in the South Korean army who flees to America when his cover is blown. Hiding out in a refugee community, he continues to relay information back to his Viet-Cong spymasters with the help of his new associate Claude (played in eye-popping fashion by Robert Downey Jr.).

Also featuring appearances from Sandra Oh, John Cho and David Duchovny, The Sympathizer makes its arrival on Sky Atlantic and NOW from May 27.

 

Hollywood Con Queen (May 8, Apple TV+)

Last but not least on our list of TV recommendations this month comes this true-crime documentary following the extraordinary tale of a character known as the ‘the Hollywood Con Queen’, who for several years successfully lured many freelancing workers in the film industry to Indonesia on the promise of an exciting opportunity, only to find themselves drawn into an increasingly bizarre game of cat-and-mouse that often leaves them broke and stranded.

Created by the same team behind the equally bizarre Tiger King, this compelling tale arrives on Apple TV+ on May 8 and if you’ve enjoyed squirming in front of other true-crime docs like Making a Murderer and the outstanding Don’t F*** With Cats, this is a must-watch.

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