Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2/ Cars 2/ Beginners

Easily the most eagerly-awaited release of the month – nay, the year! – is the final installment of JK Rowling’s epic wizarding saga Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 (July 15).

For anyone unfamiliar with the story: Harry and the gang are on a quest to destroy Lord Voldemort’s horcruxes – magical objects containing fragments of his soul – in an attempt to weaken him sufficiently before the final face off. Loose ends are tied up, wands are waved and evil wizards are given their comeuppance. Satisfactorio!

Of course, seeing Harry finally wreak vengeance upon the wicked wizard responsible for murdering his parents, his godfather and countless others before the final curtain is satisfying, but not as half as satisfying as seeing Ron and Hermione finally kiss (seriously, it’s been like 10 years already – the audience needs a satisfactorily happy conclusion after a decade of emotional involvement in the story). A magnificent, magical end to one of the best cine-franchises of the decade. Accio Kleenex.

Next up this month is one for the little ‘uns (or adults in a state of arrested development) Pixar’s Cars 2 (July 22).

The story is thus: Race-car Lightening McQueen (played by a man with a face made for voice-over work, Owen Wilson) and battered tow-truck Mater embark on a journey to Europe and Japan to compete in the first World Grand Prix. Things are fine until Mater becomes involved in international espionage and becomes torn between assisting Lightning McQueen in the World Grand Prix and helping with a top-secret spy mission. Can this haphazard lil’ tow-truck beat the odds and succeed?

You can probably guess the answer to that but Cars 2 ticks all the boxes: plucky underdog who overcomes some kind of hardship? Check. Engaging, uncomplicated animation? Check. Dialogue full of lame puns that children absolutely adore? Check.

Finally this month is Beginners (July 22), the touching true-life tale of Oliver (Ewan McGregor), whose life is turned upside down when his 75 year-old father Hal (played by Christopher Plummer) drops a double bombshell following his mother’s death: that he’s a) gay and b) terminally ill.

As Oliver tries to understand the seismic shift that has occurred in his perception of his family dynamics, Hal simultaneously begins to explore his sexuality and emotional emancipation and even embarks upon a new romance, ultimately leaving both father and son with a deeper understanding – and love – for each other. Plummer and McGregor put in fantastic performances and the arty, off-kilter direction lends a certain indie charm.