The 25 Best New Movies Streaming in July 2024

The heat is on, but chilling with a great movie is the best way to cool down. July has a number of noteworthy new releases in the world of streaming, and we understand the sheer volume of content on the major streamers can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together a curated list of the best new movies streaming this month that’s as robust as it is diverse. We’ve got picks from Netflix, Prime Video, Max, Peacock and even MGM+ which has a very buzzy movie this month. There’s a little something for everyone, from genuine new releases to recent hits that are making their streaming debut to library titles that are well worth checking out.

See our list of the best new movies streaming in July 2024 below.

“Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F”

beverly-hills-cop-axel-f-eddie-murphy
Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold and John Ashton in “Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F” (Credit: Netflix)

Netflix – July 3

Axel Foley, once again played by Eddie Murphy, is back. The last entry in the franchise, “Beverly Hills Cop III,” was released 30 years ago. That installment, while fun, was also the weakest of the three, with a clearly disinterested Murphy and a meandering storyline. Thankfully, “Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F” is just as good as the first or second movie, with franchise regulars Judge Reinhold, John Ahston, Paul Reiser and Bronson Pinchot joined by welcome newcomers Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Taylour Paige and Kevin Bacon. This time, Murphy’s Axel Foley is involved in a mystery involving Rosewood (Reinhold) and some supposed impropriety within the force, which is also endangering his estranged daughter (Paige). It’s fun, fast-paced and still pokes fun at Beverly Hills in the best possible way. What’s incredible is that Australian filmmaker Mark Molloy, making his directorial debut, nails the tone and vibe of the first two movies perfectly. He is aided in this pursuit by composer Lorne Balfe, who brings the Harold Faltermeyer feeling from the first two movies, with just enough added sheen. Honestly, “Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F” feels like a miracle. It’s one of the best summer movies this year. And it’s debuting inside your home. How great is that? – Drew Taylor

“Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire”

godzilla-x-kong-the-new-empire-monsters
Legendary/Warner Bros.

Max – July 4

When “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” was released earlier this year, it was a surprise juggernaut, cresting more than $80 million on its opening weekend on the way to becoming the most successful movie in Legendary’s Monsterverse series of films. In this film, a direct follow-up to 2021’s “Godzilla vs. Kong,” a new threat emerges from Hollow Earth – a lanky red ape who, unlike Kong, wants to conquer the surface world. (He also keeps an adorable, ancient kaiju named Shimo under his spell; she has the arctic power to trigger a new ice age.) This forces Kong and Godzilla to form an uneasy alliance in order to take down the Skar King and free Shimo. Rebecca Hall and Brian Tyree Henry return from the earlier film, now joined by Dan Stevens as a affable kaiju veterinarian named Trapper. (Stevens’ charming performance is almost as big as any of the monsters.) This leads to some of the biggest and most outrageous monster battles in the entire franchise, and serves as a colorful dessert after the more somber, full meal of the more somber “Godzilla Minus One.” You know. Like some raspberry sorbet after a steak dinner. What makes the current pop culture landscape so fun is that allows for all of these disparate iterations of Godzilla, which speaks to the elasticity of the character and the creativity that these different filmmakers bring to the franchise. Long live the King of the Monsters. – Drew Taylor

“Space Cadet”

space-cadet-emma-roberts
Prime Video

Prime Video – July 4

Remember that movie “SpaceCamp?” Well, cross it with a little bit of “Legally Blonde” and a dash of “Spring Breakers” and you’ve got “Space Cadet.” Emma Roberts plays a woman who has always wanted to be an astronaut and who gets admitted to the training program under false pretexts. Will she end up proving people wrong? Could she fall in love with one of her fellow potential astronauts? Will we be treated to a vaguely hopeful message that will prop up the movie up where its technical merits and storytelling prowess let us down? We’re guessing the answer to all of the above is a resounding yes. – Drew Taylor

“Back to Black”

"Back to Black"
“Back to Black” (Credit: Focus Features)

Peacock – July 5

The Amy Winehouse biopic “Back to Black” hits streaming this month, offering a chance to check out director Sam Taylor-Johnson’s film that chronicles the “Rehab” singer’s rise to fame. Marisa Abela plays Winehouse in the film opposite a cast that includes Jack O’Connell as boyfriend Blake Fielder-Civil and Eddie Marsan as her father Mitch. – Adam Chitwood

“The Imaginary”

The Imaginary
Netflix/Studio Ponoc

Netflix – July 5

This is a very special film indeed. Studio Ponoc, a Japanese animation studio that arose when it seemed like Studio Ghibli, home of Hayao Miyazaki, was shuttering operations, has returned with a beautiful new movie. It’s their first since 2017’s excellent “Mary and the Witch’s Flower,” and was postponed, in part, because so many of its animators had to work on Miyazaki’s Oscar-winning “The Boy and the Heron.” But now they are back and operating at full capacity. An adaptation of the 2014 book of the same name, written by A.F. Harrold and illustrated by Emily Gravett, “The Imaginary” follows a young girl (voiced in the American version by Evie Kiszel) and her imaginary friend Rudger (Louie Rudge-Buchanan). Together they get into adventures and uncover an island where forgotten Imaginaries live, hiding out from nefarious forces. Gorgeously animated and deeply felt, “The Imaginary” is, somewhat inconceivably, the third movie released this year to deal with imaginary friends (after Blumhouse’s “Imaginary” and John Krasinski’s “IF”). It’s easily the best. This is an all-ages film that will delight each demographic. It could also be a dark horse contender for the Best Animated Feature Oscar nomination. Be ahead of the game. Watch “The Imaginary.” – Drew Taylor

“If”

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

Paramount+ – July 9

John Krasinski, as both star and director, decided to follow up his two “Quiet Place” films with an altogether sunnier project about the power of imagination and the awkwardness of growing up. “IF,” described by Krasinski in marketing materials as a “live-action Pixar film,” very much bears the hallmarks of the films produced by that animation giant – there’s a whimsical, high concept core, about a young girl (Cailey Fleming) who, together with an eccentric neighbor (Ryan Reynolds), discovers a rest home for forgotten imaginary films; a small army of animated creatures voiced by starry talent (Steve Carell, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Emily Blunt, George Clooney, Matt Damon and more); some heart-tugging emotionality, mostly due to the girl’s sick father (Krasinski) and her connection to an elderly imaginary friend (Louis Gossett Jr.); and a soaring Michael Giacchino score, which somehow makes everything even sadder and more moving. Not all of the ideas in “IF” work, but it’s nice to see a healthily budgeted family movie based on a (mostly) original concept. – Drew Taylor

“Tyler Perry’s Divorce in the Black”

tyler-perry-divorce-in-the-black
Prime Video

Prime Video – July 11

Part of Tyler Perry’s four-movie pact with Amazon, “Divorce in the Black” is a new thriller that follows “a young bank professional who is devastated when her husband Dallas abandons a marriage she is determined to fight for. However, fate intervenes, revealing Dallas’ wicked deeds that have trashed their marriage, and once upon a time sabotaged Ava’s destiny to be loved by her true soulmate” (according to the official synopsis). If that doesn’t sound like a great, juicy Tyler Perry joint, we don’t know what does. For those keeping score, this is Perry’s second movie of the year following the Kelly Rowland-led erotic thriller “Mea Culpa” that hit Netflix in February. Only two movies in the first half of 2024? Talk about an overachiever! – Drew Taylor

“Arcadian”

arcadian
RLJE Films

Shudder, AMC+ – July 12

Nicolas Cage makes so many movies, with most of them being delivered straight-to-streaming, that it’s hard to figure out which are worth checking out and which you should skip. (This is especially hard since so many of them have such similar titles.) “Arcadian” is definitely worth your 92 minutes. Directed by Benjamin Brewer, who worked on another ace Cage sleeper called “The Trust,” the movie is set in a post-apocalyptic future, after a virus has wiped out most of the population. Cage and his sons live in a rundown farmhouse, wary of the creatures that stalk the countryside at night. Of course, wouldn’t you know it, they do have to venture out and face down some of these monsters head-on. “Arcadian” isn’t exactly revolutionary, either in storytelling or execution, but it is anchored by a committed performance from Cage and some of the weirdest creature design you’ll ever see in any movie. (Seriously, it’s too odd do give away here. And you might not even believe me.) If you’re in the mood for a cozy little thriller, “Arcadian” will do the job. Isn’t a Nicolas Cage movie kind of like pizza? Even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good. – Drew Taylor

“Trolls Band Together”

“Trolls Band Together” (Credit: Universal)
“Trolls Band Together” (Credit: Universal)

Netflix – July 15

“Trolls” is DreamWorks Animation’s most relentlessly cheery franchise. It’s also, arguably, the studio’s most enjoyable. And “Trolls Band Together,” the third film in the series, is a total hoot. It follows Branch (Justin Timberlake) and Poppy (Anna Kendrick) as they search for the missing members of Branch’s old boy band – who also happen to be his long-lost siblings (voiced by Eric André, Daveed Diggs, Kid Cudi and Troye Sivan). The trolls have been captured by Velvet and Veneer (Amy Schumer and Andrew Rannells), two talentless automatons who want to capture the trolls’ musical spirit. (This is the kind of free association dream logic plotting that the “Trolls” movies follow and we support wholeheartedly.) Of course they travel to truly exceptional locations – our personal favorite is Vaycay Island, which looks like a postage stamp and whose musical identity is indebted to Yacht Rock, the 1970s a.m. playground of Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald. If you are a fan of the franchise or curious about what a “Trolls”-ized version of NSync looks like, this is the movie for you. – Drew Taylor

“Land of Bad”

land-of-bad-liam-hemsworth
Netflix

Netflix – July 18

“Land of Bad” is, lowkey, one of the very best films of 2024. And it will explode on streaming. Liam Hemsworth plays a young JTAC – a joint terminal attack controller – basically a drone pilot on the ground in high-risk operations, who accompanies an army detail in southeast Asia working on a covert rescue operation. (Luke Hemsworth and Milo Ventimiglia are also in his unit.) Once they get there, well, all hell breaks loose; the group is captured or killed, leaving Liam as the lone survivor. Russell Crowe plays a supporting role as a drone operator working out of a base in Nevada. It’s honestly a perfect late-stage Crowe performance, deeply felt, rarely showy and delicately calibrated. (There is a scene, late in the movie, of Crowe in a grocery store, that is just as riveting as any of the white knuckle action.) Crowe attempts to lead him out of hostile territory, but he can only do so much. It’s an oddly moving film, full of muscular set pieces and quiet character moments, with William Eubank, the underrated young director behind “Underwater” and “Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin,” delivering career-best work. To watch “Land of Bad” is to love “Land of Bad.” – Drew Taylor

“The Commandant’s Shadow”

the-commandants-shadow
HBO Documentary Films

Max – July 18

“Zone of Interest” made waves at this year’s Oscars, but the new documentary “The Commandant’s Shadow” tells the true story of Jurgen Höss, the son of Auschwitz concentration camp director Rudolf Höss whose family is the central focus of the Oscar-winning film. What’s striking about this doc is not only how it tells their life story, but also brings Jurgen face to face with an Auschwitz survivor in an emotional confrontation. – Adam Chitwood

“Young Woman and the Sea”

Young Woman and the Sea
Disney

Disney+ – July 19

The latest based-on-a-true-story sports movie from Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney, in the tradition of “Remember the Titans” and “Glory Road,” recounts the journey of Gertrude “Trudy” Ederle (played, fabulously, by Daisy Ridley), who, in 1926, became the first woman to swim the grueling 21 miles across the English Channel. Based on a note-perfect script by Jeff Nathanson and energetically directed by Norwegian filmmaker (and Bruckheimer protégé) Joachim Rønning, “Young Woman and the Sea” is the kind of handsomely made, old-fashioned, feel-good movie that people say they don’t make anymore. (They do, but sometimes you have to look on streaming.) Just remember to have the tissues handy when you queue up “Young Woman and the Sea” – it’s almost guaranteed to make you sniffle a little. – Drew Taylor

“Abigail”

(from left) Joey (Melissa Barrera) and Abigail (Alisha Weir) in Abigail, directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett.
From left to right: Melissa Berrara and Alisha Weir in Universal Pictures’ “Abigail” (Universal)

Peacock – July 19

One of the best horror movies of the year, “Abigail” hails from Radio Silence, the filmmaking team of directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett and producer Chad Villella, who were behind the two most recent “Scream” sequels and the terrific “Ready or Not.” The plot is ingenious – a group of skuzzy thieves (including Melissa Barrera, Dan Stevens, Will Catlett, Kathryn Newton and Angus Cloud in one of his last roles) kidnap a mobster’s daughter (Alisha Weir). As it turns out, the little girl is an ageless vampire and her dad is most likely Dracula (it’s never explicitly stated but come on). The Radio Silence piles on the scares, with copious amounts of gore and blood and just as many solid laughs. Throw in Giancarlo Esposito, chewing scenery in a small role as the thieves’ handler, and you’ve got yourself a horror comedy that is both scary and funny – a rare feat indeed. – Drew Taylor

“Love Lies Bleeding”

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Kristen Stewart and Katy O’Brien in “Love Lies Bleeding” (A24)

Max – July 19

Rose Glass’ follow-up to her outstanding “Saint Maud” fully cements her as one of the most exciting young filmmakers working today. “Love Lies Bleeding,” which takes place in a slightly fantastical American Southwest in the late 1980s, follows the budding romance between a gym manager named Lou (Kristen Stewart) and the musclebound drifter named Jackie (Katy O’Brian) who shows up like a bolt out of the blue. It’s a whirlwind romance that becomes quite dangerous, since Jackie is working for Lou’s father, a local thug and gunrunner (a devilish Ed Harris). Bodies start to pile up, the FBI gets involved and all hell breaks loose. It’s wonderful. Glass creates at atmosphere of unchecked chaos, nestled inside an affecting love story between two wonderful actresses. (When the movie premiered at Sundance earlier this year, the audience went bonkers.) This is a fun one. – Drew Taylor

“Skywalkers: A Love Story”

A man and a woman share an intimate moment atop a crane, high above a cityscape with the sun lighting up the sky in the background from the horizon.
A still from “Skywalkers: A Love Story” from writer/director Jeff Zimbalist. (Courtesy of Sundance Institute)

Netflix – July 19

Another breakout from this year’s Sundance Film Festival (the wide-eyed way viewers said the movie was “wild”), “Skywalkers: A Love Story” isn’t set in a galaxy far, far away, but is instead a romance between Ivan Beerkus and Angela Nikolau. Beerkus and Nikolau are the titular “skywalkers” – daredevils who take part in a phenomenon known as “roof-topping,” where they climb rooftops, scaffolding, cranes and other tall structures, usually in pursuit of truly amazing photographs. It’s incredibly dangerous and has led to many deaths. In 2017 it became a popular craze in Russia and apparently it’s how Beerkus and Nikolau (both Russian) fell for one another. “Skywalkers” was directed by five-time Emmy winner Jeff Zimbalist and co-directed by co-directed by Maria Bukhonina. It’s the kind of documentary that will probably give you vertigo. – Drew Taylor

“Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire”

Paul Rudd in "Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire" (Sony)
Paul Rudd in “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” (Sony)

Netflix – July 22

Who ya gonna call? “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” follows the events of 2021’s charming “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” with the Spengler family (led by Carrie Coon) and their ex-science teacher (Paul Rudd) relocating to New York City and living inside the iconic Ghostbusters firehouse. That’s where they come face-to-face with an ancient evil, intent on throwing the world into the next ice age. What’s nice about the sequel is that it maintains the emotional intimacy of the original film and the modest scale, but brings bigger, more complicated set-pieces and expands the world admirably (including introducing a group of Ghostbusters engineers who work out of an abandoned aquarium in Long Island). It’s also nice to see the new generation, including Mckenna Grace and Finn Wolfhard, spending more time with the seasoned Ghostbusters (Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson and Annie Potts). Plus, the new villain is very cool and scary and it’s good to see Slimer again. We’re hoping to see the Spengler family again, with maybe a little bit bigger scope. Remember when the first “Ghostbusters” ended with a giant marshmallow mascot stomping through the streets of New York and an interdimensional rift? Us too. – Drew Taylor

“Knox Goes Away”

Knox Goes Away
(Lionsgate)

Max – July 26

Michael Keaton directed and starred in this hitman thriller, about an assassin (Keaton) who starts losing his mind to dementia, with deadly consequences. “Knox Goes Away,” which premiered at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, has a terrific cast (that includes James Marsden, Al Pacino, Marcia Gay Harden and Ray McKinnon) and was warmly reviewed when it first premiered. And you know what? After “The Killer” and “Hit Man,” we need another assassin movie to round out the trifecta. And who better to deliver than Michael Keaton? – Drew Taylor

“Challengers”

challengers-zendaya-josh-connor-mike-faist
MGM

MGM+ – July 29

If anything will get people to subscribe to MGM+, which we assure you is a very real streaming service that costs actual American dollars, then it’s Luca Guadagnino’s “Challengers.” One of the year’s very best movies, “Challengers” is a drama set in the world of professional tennis – Zendaya plays Tashi Duncan, a young phenom who could have changed the game, except for a career-ending injury suffered in her youth; she has instead married and coached Art Donaldson (Mike Faist), a talented technical player whose heart isn’t in it anymore. And then there’s Patrick Zweig (Josh O’Connor), Tashi’s ex, Art’s ex-BFF and his current rival in a low stakes challengers match in upstate New York. The movie’s script, by Justin Kuritzkes, lobs back and forth in time like a runaway tennis ball, charting the three’s relationship at various periods, all fulcruming around the challengers match. It’s beautifully designed and directed, with Guadagnino staging the tennis sequences (and everything else, really) with energy and grace. And the movie’s score, by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, is absolutely unreal – it gives a pounding rhythm to both the tennis sequences and the domestic drama, in a way that elevates every moment. What a movie. – Drew Taylor

“Heisei-Era Godzilla – The Return of Godzilla” (1984), “Godzilla vs. Biollante” (1989), “Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah” (1991), “Godzilla vs. Mothra” (1992)

godzilla-vs-mothra
Toho

Criterion Channel – July 1

You thought “Godzilla x Kong” was the only spot the King of the Monsters would hold on our list? Think again! The Criterion Channel has four of the Heisei Era Godzilla films, which is very exciting because a) these are some of the best films in the entire franchise and b) they have been increasingly hard to find. (Hopefully this means we’re getting another Godzilla box set from Criterion; their box set of the initial Toho films is a treasure.) “The Return of Godzilla” (released in America as “Godzilla 1985,” complete with new Raymond Burr scenes) reintroduced the King of the Monsters for the first time in almost a decade, reestablishing him as a terrifying god king, with Koji Hashimoto, an assistant director on earlier entries, taking over from genuine giant monster auteur Ishirō Honda. This will be fun to watch again. The crown jewel of the collection (which also includes the very enjoyable “Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah” and “Godzilla vs. Mothra”) is “Godzilla vs. Biollante.” Not only is Biollante one of the greatest, strangest Godzilla foes in the entire franchise, a genetic mutation that includes genetic material from a rose and the cells from a scientist’s lost daughter and cells from Godzilla himself (yes seriously), but the central conceit of corporations fighting over Godzilla’s biological material is fresh, scary and incredibly modern. Incredibly, the story came from a contest where everyday citizens could submit their idea for a Godzilla movie. In the years since the movie was released, it has become one of the most beloved entries in the franchise. Now let’s get that box set! – Drew Taylor

“Back to the Future” Trilogy

Back to the Future Doc Brown
“Back to the Future” (Credit: Universal)

Netflix – July 1

“Back to the Future” is not only one of the best film trilogies of all time, it’s also one of the most bingeable. The original 1985 film is a bona fide classic with Michael J. Fox playing Marty McFly, a high schooler who accidentally travels back in time and interacts with his parents as high schoolers (played by Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover). 1989’s “Back to the Future Part II” and 1990’s “Back to the Future Part III” were shot back-to-back but are wildly different films – “Part II” travels to the future and offers a decidedly ‘80s twist on dystopia while “Part III” is a full-blown Western. Taken together, director Robert Zemeckis’ trilogy is a wildly entertaining sci-fi jaunt. – Adam Chitwood

“Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2”

Sony Pictures
Sony Pictures

Netflix – July 1

The “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” sequel is an animated delight, and while the follow-up doesn’t quite reach the heights of Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s goofy original, it’s full of fun ideas. Bill Hader’s Flint Lockwood is hired to return to his food-covered island by a tech guru voiced by Will Forte. In a very “The Lost World: Jurassic Park”-esque plot the group encounters terrors and delights on the island while Forte’s character is not-so-secretly up to no good. – Adam Chitwood

“Bad Boys” 1 and 2

bad-boys
Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in “Bad Boys” (Paramount Pictures)

Netflix – July 1

If “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” got you ready to revisit the franchise from its humble beginnings, “Bad Boys” and the bombastic “Bad Boys II” both hit Netflix on July 8. The original film put director Michael Bay on the map and helped launch the film career of Will Smith alongside Martin Lawrence, and it’s a decidedly lowkey affair compared to the sequels that followed. “Bad Boys II,” released in 2003 after Bay had made a career out of crafting expensive mayhem onscreen, is one of the most over-the-top action movies ever made in the best way possible. Both films are well worth revisiting or watching for the first time. – Adam Chitwood

“Call Me by Your Name”

call-me-by-your-name
Sony Pictures Classics

Netflix – July 1

The film that really put Timothee Chalamet on the map, “Call Me by Your Name” is one of the most deeply felt love stories ever put to screen. Filmmaker Luca Guadagnino transports the viewer to a time and place, yes, but also exudes the feeling of lust, love and possibility throughout. Chalamet plays a 17-year-old vacationing with his family in Italy in 1983 who strikes up a romantic relationship with a 24-year-old grad student (played by Armie Hammer). The soundtrack features two original songs by Sufjan Stevens, and the supporting performance by Michael Stuhlbarg is outstanding. If you dug “Challengers,” also by Guadagnino, check out the director’s more quietly romantic spin on a love story. – Adam Chitwood

“Chinatown”

Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway in Roman Polanski's "Chinatown"
Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway in Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown” (Paramount Pictures)

Max – July 1

There’s never a bad time to revisit the masterpiece that is “Chinatown,” but in the wake of screenwriter Robert Towne’s death it seems fitting to throw this one on. Roman Planski’s 1974 noir is hailed as one of the greatest films ever made as it tells the story of a private investigator (played by Jack Nicholson) who is hired by a woman to tail her husband. But what begins as a benign assignment soon plunges Nicholson’s Jake Gittes into a world of conspiracy that involves Los Angeles’ water supply. Faye Dunaway is unforgettable, John Huston is terrifyingly charming and that ending is simply the best. – Adam Chitwood

“Lady Bird”

A24
A24

Max – July 1

Coming-of-age movies are a dime a dozen, but “Lady Bird” stands among the best of the best. Writer-director Greta Gerwig’s 2017 film is a triumph of storytelling as it chronicles the journey of a smart high school senior (played by Saoirse Ronan) who struggles through various strained relationships as she prepares to go to college. Set in Sacramento, the film draws from Gerwig’s youth as it captures a wickedly relatable teen story that traverses the love, heartbreak, and loss that come with growing up. The movie scored five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actress for Ronan, and announced Gerwig as one of our most exciting writer-directors — something she’d prove again with “Little Women” and “Barbie.” – Adam Chitwood

“Twister”

Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton in "Twister"
Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton in “Twister” (CREDIT: Warner Bros.)

Max – July 1

Before “Twisters” hits theaters later this month, why not revisit one of the biggest blockbusters from the 90s: “Twister?” The film spawned an entire generation of meteorologists as its stars Bill Paxton as a former storm chaser turned weatherman who books it to Oklahoma to get his wife (a tried-and-true storm chaser played by Helen Hunt) to sign divorce papers, only to be wrapped up in a 24-hour storm chase involving increasingly volatile and destructive tornadoes across Oklahoma. A spectacular ensemble cast (Philip Seymour Hoffman! Todd Field!) anchors a truly unique twist on the blockbuster formula, with what at the time were cutting-edge visual effects. – Adam Chitwood

“Gladiator”

Russell Crowe in "Gladiator"
(Universal Pictures)

Prime Video – July 1

Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator” holds up and then some. And with “Gladiator II” hitting theaters later this year, now’s the perfect time to revisit this Best Picture-winning epic. Russell Crowe stars as a Roman general who is arrested and whose family is murdered when a new king (played by Joaquin Phoenix) takes over. Crowe’s character escapes, finds himself rescued by slave traders and ends up becoming a gladiator, which brings him back to Rome and face-to-face with the man who ruined his life. Epic battles, an epic Hans Zimmer score and delicious performances make this one of Scott’s best. – Adam Chitwood

“Love & Mercy”

love-and-mercy-paul-dano
Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions

Prime Video – July 1

If the new Beach Boys documentary on Disney+ made you interested in learning more about this legendary group, Bill Pohlad’s 2014 drama “Love & Mercy” is a must watch. Paul Dano and John Cusack play Brian Wilson at two stages in his life – Dano as a young Wilson who is experiencing the beginning stages of schizophrenia as he records “Pet Sounds” and Cusack as Wilson in the 1980s, where he was being taken advantage of by his doctor. The film is warm and lovely and Dano and Cusack are terrific. – Adam Chitwood

“The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”

the-man-from-uncle
Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer and Alicia Vikander in “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Netflix – July 27

Now here’s a hidden gem that deserves to be brought to the forefront. Director Guy Ritchie’s “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” is a stylish, sexy and flirty spy romp set during the 1960s that is outlandishly enjoyable. Based on the TV series of the same name the story follows a pair of secret agents on opposite sides of the Cold War – Henry Cavill is CIA agent Napoleon Solo while Armie Hammer is KGB Agent Illya Kuryakin – who are forced to work together to stop a maniacal villain played by Elizabeth Debicki. Alicia Vikander is the woman caught in the middle, the daughter of a nuclear scientist. A flirtatious triangle of insults, loaded glances and terrific fashion ensues. This one’s a blast and a half and it arrives on July 27. – Adam Chitwood

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