There’s no Tenet this July—but you can watch Tom Hanks at sea and Charlize Theron on Netflix

There’s no Tenet this July—but you can watch Tom Hanks at sea and Charlize Theron on Netflix

Clockwise, from left: Greyhound (Photo: CTMG), The Kissing Booth 2 (Photo: Netflix), and Palm Springs (Photo: Hulu)
Clockwise, from left: Greyhound (Photo: CTMG), The Kissing Booth 2 (Photo: Netflix), and Palm Springs (Photo: Hulu)
Graphic: Jimmy Hasse

July was supposed to be the month that new movies began opening in theaters again. But here in the States, at least, we’re still a long way from it being remotely safe to set foot inside an auditorium like before. And so the major studios have pushed back the releases of the blockbusters that were originally slated to hit multiplexes in July, including Tenet and Mulan. For now, we’re still watching at home, which makes the following another preview of the new movies you can stream from your living room, alongside a few hitting drive-ins this month and a couple still tentatively promising to be in theaters by July’s end. Consider those release dates especially subject to change.

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Hamilton

Hamilton

Hamilton

Disney+ July 3

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop musical about the life and death of Alexander Hamilton is such an enormous cultural sensation that it’s easy to forget that tons and tons of people haven’t seen it. They’re the audience Disney is targeting with this Fathom Events-style presentation of the show, filmed on stage in 2016 and featuring the original cast. While surely no substitute for the live experience, it’s a hell of a lot cheaper; you can make your living room the room where it happens for what you’d probably spend just checking your coat on Broadway. Those seeking an actual cinematic adaptation of Miranda’s work will have to wait until next summer, when In The Heights finally opens.

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Relic

Relic

Relic

Select drive-in theaters July 3; VOD and digital platform July 10

An elderly widow (Robyn Nevin) mysteriously disappears, drawing home her grown daughter (Emily Mortimer) and granddaughter (Bella Heathcote). When the old woman suddenly returns, she brings with her something malevolent. Dementia is, rather unambiguously, the real monster of this slow-burn Aussie horror movie, the debut feature of writer-director Natalie Erika James. But the film’s transparently metaphorical nature can’t diminish the scares of its intense back half, nor the strange, stark dramatic power of its ending. How such a deliberately paced thriller will play on drive-in screens remains to be seen.

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The Truth

The Truth

The Truth

VOD and select theaters July 3

Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche, together at last! That overdue pairing of French acting royalty is at the center of The Truth, which casts Deneuve as a revered, aging star and Binoche as her screenwriter daughter, reunited during the shooting of a sci-fi movie. If that’s not enough of a hook, this frothy family drama marks the first time Japanese writer-director Kore-eda Hirokazu (Shoplifters) has made a film outside his native country and language. Like a lot of his work, it’s a little slight, though seeing the filmmaker mix his own sensibility with a distinctly Gallic one is interesting.

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Family Romance, LLC

Family Romance, LLC

Family Romance, LLC

Mubi July 3

Eschewing the slick production values and grand subjects that have characterized his later documentaries, the singular Werner Herzog trains his camera on Yūichi Ishii, a Japanese entrepreneur whose company allows people to hire actors to pose as everything from wedding guests to parents for an hourly rate. (Never mind that this peculiar business has already been covered by Conan O’Brien and The New Yorker, among others.) Herzog’s trademark deadpan narration is absent from Family Romance, LLC, though by all reports, his proclivity for muddying the line between fact and put-on isn’t.

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John Lewis: Good Trouble

John Lewis: Good Trouble

John Lewis: Good Trouble

VOD July 3

Few members of Congress possess more immediate “money where their mouth is” credibility than Georgia’s John Lewis, whose years as a pivotal member of the civil rights movement paved the way for his now 17 outspoken and uncompromising terms in the U.S. House. Dawn Porter’s new documentary examines Lewis’ lifelong career of standing up to oppression and calling out opponents, from George W. Bush to Trump and beyond; the film taps colleagues both old and new (including Reps. Nancy Pelosi, Jim Clyburn, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) to pay tribute to his life and career.

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Desperados

Desperados

Desperados

Netflix July 3

We’ve all sent an embarrassing message while under the influence, but how many of us have dusted off our passports in an attempt to make it right? Although some of Netflix’s biggest rom-com hits have featured teenagers, the streaming service’s latest comedy casts Nasim Pedrad as a woman whose biological clock is ticking loud enough to strain her relationship with Mr. Good-Enough (Robbie Amell). After sending him angry emails when she fears she’s being ghosted, our heroine has second thoughts and embarks on a presumably wacky road trip to Mexico to delete them. Anna Camp, Heather Graham, and Pedrad’s one-time New Girl love interest Lamorne Morris costar.

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Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets

Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets

Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets

Virtual theaters July 8

Remember bars? Anyone thirsty for the currently impossible (or just unwise) experience of knocking back cold ones in public may get a buzz of warm nostalgia—and maybe a wince of recognition—from this slippery, often hilarious documentary about the final night of a Las Vegas dive. Truthfully, the where and when of the production are not as the film presents them, but directors Bill and Turner Ross (Contemporary Color) nonetheless capture the spirit of a local watering hole; as The A.V. Club put it from this year’s Sundance, it’s “much more ‘real’ than plenty of documentaries that play by the rules.”

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Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend Of Walter Mercado

Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend Of Walter Mercado

Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend Of Walter Mercado

Netflix July 8

Even astrology skeptics may find it difficult not to be charmed by Walter Mercado, the Puerto Rican astrologer and psychic whose horoscopes reached more than 120 million homes at the height of his popularity. Described in a press release as “equal parts Oprah, Liberace, and Mr. Rogers,” Mercado preached love and peace in his nightly televised messages, which he delivered draped in luxurious silks and flamboyant costume jewelry. Then he disappeared from the public eye, prompting documentarians Cristina Costantini and Kareem Tabsch to track him down, à la Searching For Sugar Man. The film struck a chord with audiences and critics at Sundance in January.

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Greyhound

Greyhound

Greyhound

Apple TV+ July 10

Father’s Day may have come and gone, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to enjoy an old-fashioned World War II movie aimed squarely at the proverbial dad demographic. Originally intended for a June theatrical release, Greyhound stars Tom Hanks as a Navy commander who must protect a convoy of Allied ships from a pack of German U-boats. Hanks wrote the screenplay, which is based on a novel by C.S. Forester, the nautically fixated author of The African Queen and Horatio Hornblower series. Master And Commander aside, the subject of naval combat often reads better on the page than it plays on screen; hopefully director Aaron Schneider (Get Low) fares better than most.

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Palm Springs

Palm Springs

Palm Springs

Hulu July 10

Five months ago, Palm Springs looked like the movie that might finally make Andy Samberg a big-screen star. That, of course, was before the pandemic relegated it to a growing list of films going straight to streaming instead. Not that the small screen is likely to diminish the pleasures of this high-concept romantic comedy, which casts the Lonely Islander as an amiable goofball stranded at an indefinite wedding ceremony and Cristin Milioti as another guest sucked into his sunny California purgatory. It’s the rare spin on a particular comedy classic that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as its inspiration—especially now, when its vision of being stuck in one place, doing the exact same thing day after day, suddenly has a new resonance.

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The Old Guard

The Old Guard

The Old Guard

Netflix July 10

Ever since making her feature debut with Love & Basketball, Gina Prince-Bythewood has played genre chameleon, directing everything from sitcoms to historical dramas to Marvel superhero TV. Netflix thriller The Old Guard marks her first foray into the spy genre, and she’s bringing in the big guns—namely, Mad Max: Fury Road’s Charlize Theron. The plot, based on an Image miniseries, is pure comic book pulp, with Theron as the leader of a band of immortal mercenaries. Kiki Layne plays the new recruit.

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Guest Of Honour

Guest Of Honour

Guest Of Honour

Virtual theaters July 10

It’s been a bumpy ride for fans of Atom Egoyan, the Canadian filmmaker who hit his creative peak in the ’90s with chronologically fractured dramas like Exotica and Calendar, then spent the two decades that followed churning out alternately trashy and ponderous art thrillers. Egoyan’s latest, starring Laysla De Oliveira as a teacher accused of a crime she didn’t commit and David Thewlis as her anguished father, possesses superficial echoes of his masterful The Sweet Hereafter, including the involvement of a school bus driver. But withering reviews from the festival circuit describe a more ludicrous melodrama. Still, even Egoyan’s misfires often generate some intrigue from their knotty, nonlinear plots.

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The Painted Bird

The Painted Bird

The Painted Bird

VOD, digital platforms, and select drive-in theaters July 17

By nearly all accounts, the feel-bad movie of the year. Adapted from a novel by Jerzy Kosiński (Being There), The Painted Bird follows a young Jewish boy across the ravaged landscape of Eastern Europe circa World War II; during his search for sanctuary, he encounters all manner of horrors and injustices. At nearly three hours, this is probably no one’s idea of an easy sit; it’s surely one of the longest, bleakest movies to ever threaten to open at American drive-in theaters. But reviews from the festival circuit were also largely admiring, citing the movie’s gorgeous black-and-white 35mm cinematography. Not all summer movies need be escapism, even during a summer as dark as this one.

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The Kissing Booth 2

The Kissing Booth 2

Netflix July 24

Illustration for article titled There’s no iTenet/i this July—but you can watch Tom Hanks at sea and Charlize Theron on Netflix
Photo: Netflix

The success of so many youth-oriented Netflix rom-coms has led to a fascinating ongoing experiment in serializing romantic relationships. The disturbingly lascivious teen sensation The Kissing Booth ended with central couple Elle (Joey King) and Noah (Jacob Elordi) happy and close, but not physically together, as he took off for college and she stayed behind to complete high school. Now The Kissing Booth 2 must toy with whether to untie that bow by giving Elle and Noah long-distance growing pains, plus the obligatory third point of a new love triangle. Presumably the boy in question is newcomer Marco (Taylor Perez), though the teaser trailer has been admirably close-lipped about what actually happens next.

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Radioactive

Radioactive

Illustration for article titled There’s no iTenet/i this July—but you can watch Tom Hanks at sea and Charlize Theron on Netflix
Photo: Amazon Studios

Radioactive

Amazon Prime July 24

She made her name with the autobiographical graphic novel Persepolis. Now author and director Marjane Satrapi takes on someone else’s story with the Marie Curie biopic Radioactive, starring Rosamund Pike as the famed Polish physicist whose research on radioactivity helped shape the 20th century, for good and ill. In terms of style, the trailers promise your standard British-accented, elaborately costumed historical drama, delving into Curie’s “scientific and romantic passions.” Scenes pulling back to show the historical aftermath of Curie’s research hint at something a little more inspired, however, so maybe Radioactive won’t be quite as familiar as its logline suggests.

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The Rental

The Rental

Select theaters and VOD July 24

Power couple Dave Franco and Alison Brie are better known for their comedic work, but in Franco’s feature directorial debut, they’re entering an IFC house of horrors: specifically, a vacation rental shared by two couples (played by Brie, Dan Stevens, Sheila Vand, and Jeremy Allen White) who come to believe they’re being watched (or worse). IFC has been providing drive-in-friendly indies all summer; accordingly, The Rental held its premiere at a drive-in theater a few weeks ago. The small cast, single setting, and Joe Swanberg co-writing credit also suggest a hint of mumblecore. Has Franco fashioned his own Baghead?

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Unhinged

Unhinged

Unhinged

“Theaters everywhere” July 31

As notable for its dogged and uncompromising insistence that it will be in theaters this month—whether those theaters are open or not, apparently—this thriller seems to be taking its scheduling cues from its own antagonist, a gravel-voiced psychopath (Russell Crowe) who decides to go full The Hitcher after a young mother (Caren Pistorius) honks her horn at him one too many times. Jimmi Simpson, Gabriel Bateman, and Austin P. McKenzie all co-star, but this is clearly The Crowe Show, with the Oscar winner steering into his own reputation for anger issues with a performance that promises to get more threatening the more supposedly “calm and reasonable” he acts.

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Boys State

Boys State

Boys State

Select theaters July 31; Apple TV+ August 14

Every year, a thousand Texas teenagers convene for a one-week crash course in American democracy—a “politics camp” in which the lucky few selected get to create their own state government and hold mock elections. Boys State, which shares its name with the prestigious program, follows a recent class of participants, tracing the ups and downs of a contentious gubernatorial campaign between two fake political parties. It’s easy to see why the film won the Grand Jury Prize for documentaries at Sundance this year: It’s a real crowd-pleaser that nonetheless finds, in the tactics of its ambitious young subjects, some troubling implications about the nature of our political system.

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The Fight

The Fight

The Fight

Select theaters and VOD July 31

Directed by Eli B. Despres, Josh Kriegman, and Elyse Steinberg—the latter two coming off the well-received WeinerThe Fight tracks four cases from the increasingly (and depressingly) full load of the ACLU, as its ever-more-worn-out members attempt to push back against the Trump administration’s various injustices. A prizewinner at this year’s Sundance, the documentary emphasizes the human element of these fights, foregrounding those putting together legal arguments on topics ranging from abortion to transgender soldiers in the military to immigration and the separation of families.

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Summerland

Summerland

Summerland

Select theaters and VOD July 31

Award-winning playwright Jessica Swale writes and directs the genteel World War II story of reclusive academic Alice (Gemma Arterton), who’s unexpectedly saddled with new responsibilities when a young evacuee (Lucas Bond) from London turns up on her doorstep. Flashbacks reveal a figure from Alice’s past played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw; Arterton and Mbatha-Raw have both worked with Swale before, each having played the title role in productions of her Olivier-winning play Nell Gwynn. Swale’s first feature has a pleasantly low-key rhythm, at least until its second half, when it jumps into melodramatic overdrive.

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Plus

Plus

The Outpost
The Outpost
Photo: Screen Media

Plus

Scott Eastwood, Caleb Landry Jones, and Orlando Bloom fight the Taliban in The Outpost (VOD July 3), a war movie based on the nonfiction novel by Jake Tapper. Infection fears may provide the horror thriller The Beach House (Shudder July 9) an extra charge of unease. Stage, film, and television star Olympia Dukakis gets the documentary profile treatment in Olympia (virtual theaters July 10). Don’t worry, it’s not another zombie movie—the undead of We Are Little Zombies (virtual theaters July 10) are four Japanese orphans who form a punk band in this colorful Sundance favorite. One month after Da 5 Bloods, along comes Never Too Late (virtual theaters July 10), starring James Cromwell as a Vietnam veteran and one-time POW plotting an allegedly comical escape from a retirement home. As its title suggests, Fatal Affair (Netflix July 16) is the latest spin on Fatal Attraction, pitting a lawyer (Nia Long) against a dangerously obsessed admirer (Omar Epps). Jenny Slate breaks from her comedy roots to play a painter who finds love in the secluded Norway of The Sunlit Night (VOD July 17). Southern Gothic writer Flannery O’Connor also gets the documentary profile treatment in Flannery (virtual theaters July 17). Lucy Hale breaks out of the Blumhouse for the bawdy (and loosely factual) sex comedy of A Nice Girl Like You (VOD July 17). Speaking of supposedly true stories, Jeff Daniels adapts his ripped-from-life play Guest Artist (digital platforms July 21), starring as a bitter Michigan playwright who meets one of his fans. There’s even more semi-autobiography in Yes, God, Yes (virtual theaters July 24; VOD and digital platforms July 28), directed by Obvious Child cowriter Karen Maine and starring Stranger Things’ Natalia Dyer as a horny Catholic teenager fighting her sinful desires. Sundance midnight selection Amulet (VOD July 24) drops a homeless military veteran into a haunted house in London. And director Jan Komasa chases his Oscar-nominated Corpus Christi with The Hater (Netflix July 29), about a man who gets a job spreading political misinformation.

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Postponed

Postponed

Tenet
Tenet
Photo: Warner Bros.

Postponed

After months of insisting the film would open in July as planned, Warner Bros. has of course pushed back Christopher Nolan’s mysterious time-bending new blockbuster Tenet, which is now scheduled to hit theaters that may or may not be open on August 12. Similarly, Disney has moved its latest live-action remake, Mulan, to August 21. Like those two tentpoles, romantic comedy The Broken Hearts Gallery (starring Bad Education’s Geraldine Viswanathan) has given up its dream of a July release and is now tentatively opening on August 7. Minions: The Rise Of Gru will entertain kids and their indiscriminate families next Independence Day, while its one-time counterprogramming, the Ryan Reynolds action-comedy Free Guy, has moved to December 11. Jason Reitman’s inexplicably kid-centric Ghostbusters sequel Afterlife has been banished to March of 2021, where it might now compete against fellow delayed franchise extension Morbius, starring Jared Leto as the vampiric Spider-Man foe. Like its namesake theme park attraction, Disney’s Jungle Cruise won’t be taking on any passengers this July—it’s been pushed back a full year. And Wes Anderson fans will have to wait until at least October to catch a glimpse of his latest dollhouse contraption of a comedy, The French Dispatch.

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