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Here’s your July movie checklist

A dozen movies to get excited about this month.

Dev Patel wears robes and a crown, and a pained expression.
Dev Patel in The Green Knight, which comes out this month.
Courtesy of A24
Alissa Wilkinson covers film and culture for Vox. Alissa is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics.

In the heat of July, amid all the beachgoing and picnicking and general merrymaking, spending a few hours in a cool, dark movie theater (or your own cool, dark living room) might sound especially appealing. You’re in luck: This month boasts the release of new movies for every mood. There’s a throwback heist, a raucous concert doc, a sequel to an old favorite, an epic medieval fantasy, a long-anticipated addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and a lot more.

Here are a dozen of July’s most interesting films to look for in theaters or on streaming platforms.

No Sudden Move

Release date: July 1

Steven Soderbergh returns with another heist movie, though it’s not quite like any of his others (such as Logan Lucky or the Oceans movies). Working from a screenplay by Ed Solomon (Men in Black; the Bill & Ted franchise), No Sudden Move is the story of a couple of small-time crooks in 1950s Detroit who get hired by some bigger-time crooks to pull off a simple job. To nobody’s surprise, nothing is as simple as it seems. It’s a purely satisfying film, Soderbergh’s best in years, and was shot under Covid-19 safety protocols with a bumper crop of a cast — Don Cheadle, Benicio del Toro, David Harbour, Jon Hamm, Amy Seimetz, Julia Fox, Noah Jupe, Ray Liotta, Kieran Culkin, Bill Duke, and the list continues.

How to watch it: No Sudden Move will premiere on HBO Max.

Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

Release date: July 2

Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) has been one of the biggest crowdpleasers on the festival circuit since its Sundance debut in January, and that’s no surprise. Ahmir Thompson — better known as Questlove, the drummer and frontman for the Roots — directed the film about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, sometimes dubbed “Black Woodstock.” The staggering concert, held over a series of weekends in Harlem’s Mount Morris Park, featured everyone from Sly and the Family Stone to Nina Simone to Stevie Wonder to Mahalia Jackson. The events were filmed, but the footage sat in a basement for 50 years. Now it’s been compiled into a documentary about a pivotal moment in Black cultural history, and an absolutely infectious film to watch.

How to watch it: Summer of Soul will premiere in theaters and on Hulu.

Black Widow

Release date: July 9

Black Widow was originally set to premiere in May 2020; now it’s finally coming out, effectively launching “Phase 4” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and returning the MCU to the big screen for the first time in two years. Scarlett Johansson stars in the movie, a prequel of sorts that is set after 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. Natasha Romanoff (a.k.a. Black Widow) is on the run and must confront her past. Florence Pugh, David Harbour, O-T Fagbenle, William Hurt, Ray Winstone, and Rachel Weisz also star.

How to watch it: Black Widow will premiere in theaters and on Disney+ with premier access.

No Ordinary Man

Release date: July 16

The 20th-century jazz icon Billy Tipton was a legend in the 1940s and ’50s, but his identity as a trans man wasn’t revealed until after his death in 1989, and it was a surprise to many around him, including his son. Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt tell his story in No Ordinary Man, which is both a moving portrait of and tribute to Tipton, and an examination of how his legacy has shifted as cultural ideas about trans identities have changed. The film contains interviews with a number of trans artists who find Tipton especially meaningful in their lives; the moment when Tipton’s son discovers that his father is important to so many people is worth the price of admission.

How to watch it: No Ordinary Man will premiere in select theaters.


Release date: July 16

In this odd and always surprising dead-quiet drama, Nicolas Cage plays Rob, a gruff loner who lives in a cabin in the Oregon woods with his truffle-hunting pig. He spends his days in solitude, rarely venturing out of the trees, selling the precious truffles to a precocious reseller named Amir (Alex Wolff). But when thieves steal his pig, he’s forced to trek into Portland to find her, and the path he follows takes him back to his past and a world he’d rather forget. It’s not exactly what you expect when you think of a “revenge thriller,” but it might be better as a result.

How to watch it: Pig will premiere in theaters.

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain

Release date: July 16

Morgan Neville (who made the wildly successful Mr. Rogers documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?) returns to explore the life of Anthony Bourdain, the chef and host of Parts Unknown. It’s an emotional look at Bourdain’s life and work, leading up to his death by suicide in 2018, at the age of 61. Friends and colleagues share their recollections, mixed with archival footage and a deep feeling of loss. The film is moving and raw, and it doesn’t offer easy answers — but it’s also a welcome glimpse into a fascinating life.

How to watch it: Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain will premiere in theaters.

Space Jam: A New Legacy

Release date: July 16

Ready to feel old? The original Space Jam came out 25 years ago, in 1996. In Hollywood years, we’re more than due for a new one, or at least one that takes advantage of new IP, so Space Jam: A New Legacy is on its way. This one stars LeBron James, Don Cheadle, Khris Davis, Sonequa Martin-Green, and Cedric Joe — alongside Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Marvin the Martian, Sylvester the Cat, Foghorn Leghorn, and Lola Bunny (voiced by Zendaya).

How to watch it: Space Jam: A New Legacy will premiere in theaters and on HBO Max.


Release date: July 23

Speaking of feeling old: Old is M. Night Shyamalan’s latest, and it’s sure to be a twisty take on the process of aging. The setup is simple: A family on vacation travels to an idyllic, deserted cove to relax in peace. Upon arrival, they realize something odd is afoot at this beach, as the children begin mysteriously to grow up — very, very fast. Based on the graphic novel Sandcastle by Pierre Oscar Levy and Frederik Peeters, the film has an impressive cast: Gael García Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Eliza Scanlen, Thomasin McKenzie, Alex Wolff, Abbey Lee, Aaron Pierre, Rufus Sewell, Ken Leung, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Embeth Davidtz, Emun Elliott, and Kathleen Chalfant.

How to watch it: Old will premiere in theaters.

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins

Release date: July 23

In this world of franchise entertainment, everybody gets an origin story. So this spinoff of the G.I. Joe franchise will focus on the character of Snake Eyes, the G.I. Joe team’s original commando, who’s always been a bit of a mystery. Henry Golding (of Crazy Rich Asians) plays Snake Eyes, and the film is directed by Robert Schwentke (who made several films in the Divergent series). Andrew Koji, Iko Uwais, Úrsula Corberó, Samara Weaving, and Peter Mensah also star.

How to watch it: Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins will premiere in theaters.

Jungle Cruise

Release date: July 30

Jungle Cruise is a popular ride at several Disney theme parks, beloved for the jokes its pun-loving skippers tell as they navigate many of the world’s major rivers. Now it’s set to be a movie, too. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (who makes horror films as well as Liam Neeson-starring thrillers), Jungle Cruise tells the story of a riverboat captain (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) around the turn of the last century, who brings a scientist (Emily Blunt) and her brother (Jack Whitehall) on a trip into the jungle to find the Tree of Life. It also stars Édgar Ramírez, Jesse Plemons, and Paul Giamatti. Huh!

How to watch it: Jungle Cruise will premiere in theaters and on Disney+ with premier access.


Release date: July 30

Matt Damon stars in Stillwater, the latest from director Tom McCarthy (Spotlight; The Station Agent), and it is slated to make its debut at the Cannes Film Festival in July before premiering stateside. Damon plays an oil worker named Bill who learns that his estranged daughter (played by Abigail Breslin) has been arrested on false charges while studying abroad. He resolves to help her and clear her name, but that task becomes increasingly difficult. With McCarthy at the helm, Stillwater is likely to be less of a Taken-style thriller and more of a drama that digs into the legal and bureaucratic challenges Bill faces while trying to rescue his daughter.

How to watch it: Stillwater will premiere in theaters.

The Green Knight

Release date: July 30

If the words “epic medieval fantasy film starring Dev Patel” fill your soul with glee, then you are in luck, my friend. David Lowery (The Old Man and the Gun) wrote and directed this adaptation of the Arthurian legend “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.” Patel stars as Gawain, the nephew of King Arthur (Sean Harris), who takes off on a journey to confront a green-faced knight (Ralph Ineson). Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, Sarita Choudhury, Kate Dickie, Barry Keoghan, and Erin Kellyman also star.

How to watch it: The Green Knight will premiere in theaters.

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