The Best Movies, TV, Books and Music for July
Yet another new streaming service, plus the TV debut of “Hamilton” and Bruce Lee’s greatest hits
Welcome to Culture Hound, InsideHook’s deep dive into the month’s most important cultural happenings, pop and otherwise. Note: due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, release dates are highly tentative.
Amazon’s seemingly unnecessary reboot of the very good 2011 action flick about a young girl assassin placed a surprisingly strong emphasis on the frustrations of teenage life with just enough conspiracy/thriller elements to woo adults — sort of like the middle of a Venn diagram between the CW, Jason Bourne movies and Killing Eve. Now that Hanna’s discovered a whole complex of trained girl assassins, we may see the action side more in Season 2. (July 3, Prime Video)
Other returning TV shows: A reboot of Unsolved Mysteries (Netflix, July 1); Desus & Mero (July 5, Showtime); 30 Rock as a special one-off (July 16, NBC); The Alienist (July 19, TNT); Muppets Now (July 31, Disney+); and Umbrella Academy (July 31, Netflix).
You were never gonna get a ticket anyway, so you might as well watch Lin-Manuel Miranda’s epic historical musical with the original cast in an ideal home setting. The star insists this filmed adaptation of the hit stage show gives you a view that’s “better than the best seat in the house.” (July 3, Disney+)
More new films and specials coming to your TV screen: The Tom Hanks submarine thriller Greyhound (July 10, Apple TV+); Charlize Theron’s sci-fi/action epic The Old Guard (July 10, Netflix); Andy Samberg’s Groundhog Day-esque Palm Springs (July 10, Hulu); the gritty, Arthurian Cursed (July 17, Netflix); and Dave Franco’s horror/thriller The Rental (July 24, VOD).
NBC’s entry into the streaming wars has a few advantages, including a deep roster of classic hit shows and a free plan (there’s also a $5/month premium service). Among the new shows you’ll get are an adaptation of the dystopian classic Brave New World, U.K.-set thriller called The Capture, the TV-movie sequel to the long-running USA series Psych, a reality series starring Ryan Lochte and, because it’s NBC, the return of David Schwimmer in the comedy Intelligence. (July 15)
New TV series and specials: The exactly how-it-sounds Warrior Nun (July 2, Netflix); The Grudge prequel series Ju-On: Origins (July 3, Netflix); stand-up special Jim Jeffries: Intolerant (July 7, Netflix); Amy Schumer’s pregnancy/reality series Expecting Amy (July 9, HBO Max); a strip club drama called P-Valley (July 12, Starz); and Black Is King, aka Beyonce’s new “visual album” (July 31, Disney+).
A seven-disc set honoring the martial arts great, featuring 4K digital restorations of The Big Boss, Fist of Fury, Game of Death and The Way of the Dragon, a 2K restoration of Enter the Dragon, tons of new interviews and documentaries, and more. (July 14)
More Blu-ray releases: Pair Bruce with Donnie Yen’s comedic Enter the Fat Dragon (July 14). And discover James Gunn’s first superhero flick The Specials (July 14) as it celebrates its 20th anniversary in a new Blu-ray edition.
READ: Utopia Avenue
David Mitchell’s tackled everything from multi-century, intersecting dystopias (Cloud Atlas) to literary horror (Slade House). Now, he chronicles the life and times of a fictional U.K. psychedelic folk band in the late ‘60s, but really, it’s how Mitchell gets to his story that’s always interesting.
More new books: Antkind by Charlie Kaufman (July 7); Memoirs and Misinformation by Jim Carrey and Dana Vachon (July 7); The Answer Is … by Alex Trebek (July 21); Chasing the Light by Oliver Stone (July 21); The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue (July 21)
LISTEN: The Streets
Mike Skinner’s early-aughts hip-hop was decidedly British and also extremely clever. After a nine-year hiatus between albums, Skinner and his full band return with a mixtape release featuring a duet on every track, including collabs with IDLES and Tame Impala. Plus, he directed his own music video in quarantine, as seen above. (July 10)
More new music: The 50th anniversary release of the Grateful Dead’s Workingman’s Dead (July 10); the physical release of Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters (July 17); The Chicks (July 17); The Pretenders (July 17); X (July 24); and Fontaines DC (July 31).