The Best Movies, TV, Books and Music for July

Including a “What We Do in the Shadows” spinoff and the year’s best concert film

July 1, 2021 5:00 am
Mike Minogue as Officer Minoque, Extraterrestrial Flora, Karen O'Leary as Officer O'Leary in "Wellington Paranormal"
The mockumentary "Wellington Paranormal" debuts this month on The CW
Stan Alley/New Zealand Documentary Board Ltd / The CW

Welcome to Culture Hound, InsideHook’s deep dive into the month’s most important cultural happenings, pop and otherwise. 

DISCOVER: Wellington Paranormal

A spin-off of What We Do in the Shadows (the original film), this New Zealand-set paranormal police procedural/mockumentary was created by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, and pretty much answers the question “What if The X-Files was funny?” (7/11, The CW)

Other new TV series and specials: The Beast Must Die (7/5, AMC+, 7/12 AMC); The White Lotus (7/11, HBO); American Horror Stories (7/15, Hulu); Dr. Death (7/15, Peacock); Schmigadoon! (7/16, Apple TV+); Sexy Beasts (7/21, Netflix); The Tokyo Olympics (starting 7/23 … maybe)

STUDY: Summer of Soul

If you haven’t seen a concert in a while, check out Questlove’s Sundance-winning documentary on the oft-overlooked 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, featuring early and electric performances from Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone and more. (7/2 in theaters and Hulu)

More new documentaries: Catch and Kill: The Podcast Tapes (7/12, HBO Max); Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain (7/16, theaters); McCartney 3,2,1 (7/16, Hulu); Watch the Sound with Mark Ronson (7/30, Apple TV+)

WATCH: Gunpowder Milkshake

Karen Gillan is John Wick. Not exactly, but that’s pretty much an accurate summation of this wild-looking, hyper-violent action/revenge flick that involves crime syndicates and secret societies. And many, many guns. (7/14, Netflix)

More new films coming to the small screen and big: No Sudden Move (7/1, HBO Max); The Tomorrow War (7/2, Prime Video); The Forever Purge (7/2, theaters); Werewolves Within (7/2, VOD); Black Widow (7/9, Disney+ Premier Access and theaters); A Classic Horror Story (7/14, Netflix); Space Jam: A New Legacy (7/16, theaters and HBO Max); The Green Knight (7/30, theaters)

STREAM: Behind the Music

A true guilty pleasure returns. A relic of the late ’90s and early aughts, there were nearly 300 episodes of this entertaining and formulaic [unknown music act finds success — “but then tragedy struck …”] music docuseries. The reboot is a mixture of revamped old episodes and brand new ones, featuring Duran Duran, Huey Lewis, Fat Joe, Busta Rhymes, JLo and more. (7/29, Paramount+)

Returning TV series and specials: I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson (7/6, Netflix);  Gossip Girl (7/8, HBO Max); Atypical (7/9, Netflix); Shark Week (starting 7/11, Discovery); Miracle Workers (7/13, TBS); Kevin Smith’s Masters of the Universe: Revelation (7/23, Netflix); Ted Lasso (7/23, Apple TV+); Behind the Music (7/29, Paramount+)

Perversion of Justice: The Jeffrey Epstein Story
The book cover for “Perversion of Justice: The Jeffrey Epstein Story”

READ: Perversion of Justice: The Jeffrey Epstein Story

A book-length expansion of the work by Miami Herald investigative reporter Julie K. Brown, who tracked down the victims of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking ring; Brown’s reporting was what led to Epstein’s arrest and eventual (and mysterious) suicide. (7/20)

LISTEN: Twin Shadow

The self-titled fifth release and first from his own label, Twin Shadow’s latest continues to mine new wave and indie rock (see the first single “Get Closer”) … and reggae? Speaking of retro vibes, check out TS’s GeoCities-like new website. (7/9)

More new music: Lana Del Rey (7/4); The Wallflowers (7/9); John Mayer (7/16); Wavves (7/16); Tones and I (7/16); Leon Bridges (7/23); Jackson Browne (7/23); David Crosby (7/23); The Descendants (7/23); Bleachers (7/30); Billie Eilish (7/30); Son Volt (7/30) Archive  releases: Tom Petty (7/2); Lucinda Williams (7/9); Brittany Howard (7/23); Prince (7/30)

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.