The Best Movies, TV, Books and Music for July
Jordan Peele returns (with aliens). And it’s both Shark Week and SharkFest.
Welcome to Culture Hound, InsideHook’s deep dive into the month’s most important cultural happenings, pop and otherwise.
Thankfully little has been revealed about Jordan Peele’s upcoming horror film, except that it involves two siblings in a small town who try to prove the existence of aliens after a UFO sighting. Bad things ensue. (July 22)
More new films coming to the small screen and big: The Forgiven (July 1, theaters); Thor: Love and Thunder (July 8, theaters); The Gray Man (July 15, theaters; July 22, Netflix); Anything’s Possible (July 22, Prime Video); Not Okay (July 29, Hulu)
WELCOME BACK: Harley Quinn
Is the best superhero show ever… animated? Harley Quinn’s always been R-rated fun, and it’s certainly better than HQ’s cinematic counterparts (no fault of Margot Robbie). In this HBO Max series, power villain couple Quinn and Poison Ivy finish up their “Eat, Bang, Kill” road trip and return to Gotham. Expect a full-on musical episode, more Joker and weirdly, no cunnilingus.
STUDY: Shark Week vs. SharkFest
Shark Week, now in its 34th year, hits Discovery and Discovery+ with a lot of celebrity-hosted content, including an Impractical Jokers-helmed shark special. Sadly, the channels have not announced much in the way of programming. (July 24)
SharkFest, meanwhile, celebrates its 10th anniversary with 30 hours of new content spread over multiple channels (Nat Geo, ESPN, ABC, Hulu, Disney+) and over four weeks — it includes shark races (Game of Sharks on ESPN, natch) and Sharks That Eat Everything, which is about … sharks that eat everything. (July 10)
More new documentaries and specials: Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, a Song (theaters, July 1); The Anarchists (July 10, HBO); How to Change Your Mind (July 12, Netflix); The Last Movie Stars (July 21, HBO Max); Light & Magic (July 27, Disney+)
BINGE: The Rehearsal
How do you erase uncertainty in a real-life situation? Leave it to Nathan Fielder (Nathan For You, How To With John Wilson), who utilizes a construction crew and a “legion of actors” to help everyday people prep for life-changing moments through … well, a lot of prep and simulation. (July 15, HBO)
READ: The Pallbearers Club
Paul Tremblay writes horror novels that aren’t quite what they seem on the surface. The Cabin at the End of the World — soon to be a movie — feels like an apocalyptic novel, except it’s also a bizarre house invasion tale gone wrong. A Head Full of Ghosts follows the attempted exorcism of a troubled girl who might not be possessed. And here, we have the tale of an unpopular teenager in the ‘80s who works as a volunteer pallbearer … and deals with some creepy fallout when he writes a memoir about it 30 years later (called The Pallbearers Club, in a slightly meta twist). (July 5)
More new books: Venomous Lumpsucker by Ned Beauman (July 12); Hollywood Ending: Harvey Weinstein and the Culture of Silence by Ken Auletta (July 12); The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (July 19); Putin by Philip Short (July 26)
The Other Side of Make-Believe is, somehow, the seventh album from this iconic New York band — and also marks 20 years since their debut release and a quarter-century since the post-punk band formed. Feel old yet? The sound now: Familiar but also more uplifting. (July 15)
More new music: Fleet Foxes (July 1); Journey (July 8); Jack White (July 22); Beyonce (July 29)
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