Big screen adventures: what’s on at the movies this summer?

 This is hands-down the best time of year for lovers of cinema. As the studios start their awards campaigns in earnest, Hollywood remembers adults still go to the movies occasionally.

So with summer upon us already, we’d best get started.

Marion Cotillard, left, and Brad Pitt in a scene from Allied. Photo: Daniel SmithAllied

Brad Pitt is a US spy, Marion Cotillard a French Resistance fighter, who join forces and fall in love on a mission in Casablanca in 1942. Job done, they return to London, get married and have a child. Then his superiors tell him she is a German spy, and order him to kill her. Robert Zemeckis is better known for high concept stuff like Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Forrest Gump than for intimate drama, but in Steven Knight (Dirty Little Things, Locke, Peaky Blinders) he has a screenwriter with more than a passing acquaintance with gritty realism. Intriguing. The Legend of Ben Hall.” src=”http://www.smh苏州夜网.au/content/dam/images/g/s/u/b/t/d/image.imgtype.articleLeadwide.620×349.png/1480716274323.png” title=”” width=”100%”>

Jack Martin as Ben Hall in The Legend of Ben Hall. Photo: Two Tone PicturesThe Legend of Ben Hall

He may have his own folk ballad, but Ben Hall has long been the poor man’s Ned Kelly. This take, from young writer-director Matthew Holmes, focuses on the last nine months of Hall and co as they roamed the backblocks of NSW, and stars Jack Martin as the charismatic bushranger.

Levi Miller (Mick) and the young kelpie in Red Dog: True Blue.Photo: ROADSHOW FILMSRed Dog: True Blue

For years, we assumed director Kriv Stenders and producer Nelson Woss were simply joking when they talked about making a trilogy of movies about the outback kelpie who leapt from rural myth to Louis de Berniere novella to topgrossing n film of 2010. Now we have a prequel, with Levi Miller (Peter Pan) starring as the kid who befriends the peripatetic pup, so maybe they were serious after all.

Tika Sumpter, right, and Parker Sawyers in a scene from Southside With You. Photo: Roadside Attractions Southside With You

An afternoon in 1989, summer, Chicago, and a young black man woos a woman he’s met at work with an epic date that includes ice-cream, sunsets and inspirational speeches. Oh, did we mention his name is Barack Obama (played by Parker Sawyers) and hers is Michelle Robinson (Tika Sumpter)? It’s a novel approach to the

Presidential biopic, but why not? The prospect of a movie about Donald Trump’s dating practices might be the one upside of him ending up in the White House.

Michael Fassbender as Callum Lynch in a scene from Assassin’s Creed. Photo: Kerry BrownAssassin’s Creed

Justin Kurzell (Snowtown) and his Macbeth star Michael Fassbender reunite for the rarest of propositions: a video game adaptation that might actually be worthwhile. Fassbender’s Callum Lynch has been created specifically for the film, presumably taking the place of the first-person gamer in the narrative about a corporation that taps into the genetic memories of a long line of assassins. With Kurzel’s exceptional visual flair and feel for bloody action, it promises to be spectacular.

Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence in the upcoming Passengers. Photo: RoadshowPassengers

Chris Pratt and Jennifer Laurence star in this Adam and Eve in space tale. They’re woken from deep sleep 90 years too soon when their spacecraft, carrying more than 5000 people to a colony planet, malfunctions.

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are both nominated for Golden Globes best actor in a comedy or musical. for La La Land. Photo: Dale RobinetteLa La Land

Damien Chazelle’s follow-up to Whiplash is a modern-day take on old style Hollywood musicals – this one about the Hollywood dream itself, with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone starring as musicians whose love affair is threatened by the success they are beginning to enjoy. The stars sang, mostly live, the songs crafted by Chazelle and John Legend, and the early reviews from its debut at the Toronto Film Festival in September were close to ecstatic.

Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy from the film, Jackie.Photo: APJackie

There’s already plenty of muttering about “Natalie Portman” and “Oscar” on the basis of a couple of clips from Chilean director Pablo Larrain’s portrait of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy in the days following the assassination of JFK. But take it with a grain of salt: as our own Naomi Watts (Diana) and Nicole Kidman (Grace of Monaco) can attest, playing a high profile and much-loved First Lady type can be a risky business.

Actor Adam Driver’s natural urgency adds to the unease beneath the surface of the movie Paterson.Paterson

It was bound to happen: Adam Driver is cast as a driver. Of buses. His name is Paterson and he lives and works in the town of Paterson, New Jersey. This being a Jim Jarmusch film, he’s also a poet, a dreamer, a man of unfathomable depths and unshakeable routine. It follows a week in his life, with Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani as his supportive wife.

Nicole Kidman with Sunny Pawar star in n film Lion. Photo: SuppliedLion

Garth Davis directs David Wenham, Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara in the true story of Saroo Brierley, who used Google Earth to track down his birth parents in India 25 years after being adopted by an n couple. One of the most anticipated n films in years, though the response at Toronto, where it debuted, was distinctly muted.

Nate Parker as Nat Turner, center, in a scene from The Birth of a Nation. Photo: Jahi ChikwendiuThe Birth of a Nation

Nate Parker is certainly putting it out there: he wrote, directed and stars in this film about Nat Turner, the preacher who led a slave revolt in Virginia in 1831 that saw more than 50 whites killed and, in reprisal, more than 200 blacks. At times the stories around it – an allegation of a campus rape; the record-breaking price ($US17.5 million) paid for it at Sundance – have threatened to overwhelm the film itself, but you can expect this one to be at the head of the pack come awards season.