Chicago - Whether you’re looking for a summer blockbuster, a summer romance or even a summer horror movie, July has everything you could want from a movie month. And that includes not one but two Regency-era rom-coms. This month’s splashiest premieres come from two directors with distinctive comedic voices — Taika Waititi’s latest Marvel installment "Thor: Love and Thunder" and Jordan Peele’s highly anticipated new horror flick "Nope."
You’ve also got Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans teaming up with the Russo brothers on Netflix’s "The Gray Man," Reese Witherspoon producing the buzzy big screen adaptation of "Where the Crawdads Sing" and two animated comedies for the whole family to enjoy. So read on to see what’s headed your way, cinematically speaking, in July 2022.
Minions: The Rise of Gru (in theaters July 1)
(from left) Minion Bob, Gru (Steve Carell) and Minion Kevin in Illumination's Minions: The Rise of Gru, directed by Kyle Balda.
The Minions may have taken over pop culture since they first debuted in "Despicable Me," but how did those oddball yellow blobs first meet up with their supervillain leader Gru (Steve Carell)? Thankfully, "Minions: The Rise of Gru" is finally here to answer that question! "The Rise of Gru" takes us back to 1970s suburbia where Gru is just a 12-year-old boy charting his path to world domination. He meets the Minions, builds his first lair and tries to impress a supervillain supergroup led by the likes of Taraji P. Henson, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Lucy Lawless — at least until they kidnap him and the Minions have to stage a daring rescue. The promos for "Rise of Gru" promise "more spectacular action than any film in Illumination history," but, let’s be real, we’re just here for the "bananas."
Rated PG. 87 minutes. Dir: Kyle Balda. Featuring: Steve Carell, Taraji P. Henson, Michelle Yeoh, RZA, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lucy Lawless, Dolph Lundgren, Danny Trejo, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews, Alan Arkin.
Mr. Malcolm’s List (in theaters July 1)
Freida PInto, Zawe Ashton.
Yes, yes, this period romance with a modern edge is clearly coming to life on the heels of the massive success of "Bridgerton." But it’s also been in the works for years — ever since author Suzanne Allain self-published her novel of the same name and then adapted it into a screenplay circa 2009. Director Emma Holly Jones even made an 11-minute short as proof of concept pre-"Bridgerton" and the video quickly racked up over 2 million views. Now "Mr. Malcolm’s List" is finally making its big screen debut. Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù is the eligible bachelor with a long-list of requirements for his future bride, Zawe Ashton is the sociable woman he jilts and Freida Pinto is the humble friend she enlists to get revenge by making Mr. Malcolm fall for her. But could this elaborate ruse spark real feelings? We’re gonna guess yes.
The Princess (streaming on Hulu July 1)
Don’t expect your average princess story with this one. Joey King may be playing a young royal stuck in a tower, but the tone is more "Kill Bill" than Disney fairy tale. And while the "tough princess saves herself" thing has been done before, you have to give "The Princess" props for fully committing to the bit. Not only is it R-rated, it’s also helmed by Vietnamese director Le-Van Kiet, who’s best known for the bloody martial arts revenge thriller "Furie" and the horror film "The House in the Alley." The irreverent trailer for "The Princess" plays like a bloodier, bone-shattering version of Fiona’s fight scene from "Shrek." So we’re gonna go ahead and suggest you don’t throw this one on for the kids.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Joey King stars in the coming-of-age dramedy "Summer ’03" — get the app
Fire of Love (in theaters July 6)
A still from "Fire of Love" by Sara Dosa, an official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.
A documentary unlike any you’ve seen before, "Fire of Love" tells the story of Katia and Maurice Krafft, two French volcanologists who fell in love at university and spent the next two decades capturing stunning footage of volcanic eruptions. As FOX Digital film critic Allison Shoemaker writes in her glowing review from the Sundance Film Festival, "Pick just one of the major elements of this remarkable film — the Kraffts’ mind-boggling footage, Miranda July’s appealingly curious narration, direction that’s equal parts playful and mournful, masterful editing, a real humdinger of a love triangle — and that one element would be enough to make "Fire of Love" well worth approximately 100 or so minutes of your time. (93 minutes to watch, plus at least 10 to recover.) But director Sara Dosa allows all those fascinating pieces to roil together before, yes, erupting into a singular experience. ... In the poetry of this precious scientific footage, Dosa unearths meditations on love, life, art, discovery, film, sacrifice and joy."
Rated PG. 93 minutes. Documentary. Dir: Sara Dosa. Featuing: Miranda July.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Sara Dosa’s 2019 documentary "The Seer & the Unseen" — get the app
Thor: Love and Thunder (in theaters July 8)
(L-R): Natalie Portman as Mighty Thor and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in Marvel Studios' THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER. Photo by Jasin Boland. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.
After giving the "Thor" franchise a soft reboot with fan-favorite installment "Thor: Ragnarok," director Taika Waititi is back for another go — as is Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster, who mostly disappeared from the MCU after the disastrously received "Thor: The Dark World." Even more excitingly, Thor’s former girlfriend has somehow taken on his powers herself. That will make her a crucial ally in the fight against Christian Bale’s creepy looking villain, Gorr the God Butcher. Could "Thor: Love and Thunder" be the movie to bridge the gap between the MCU’s original, more serious take on Thor and the new, goofier one? That’d be a tall order. But this colorful, ‘80s-infused film looks up for the challenge.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Taika Waititi’s acclaimed comedy "Hunt for the Wilderpeople" — get the app
Where the Crawdads Sing (in theaters July 15)
Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones) in Columbia Pictures' WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING.
Between the horror movie "Fresh" and the true crime TV series "Under the Banner of Heaven," Daisy Edgar-Jones has already had quite the year. And now the breakout "Normal People" star adds yet another buzzy project to the mix with this highly anticipated adaptation of Delia Owens’ "Where the Crawdads Sing," one of the best-selling books of all time. Edgar-Jones plays Kya, a young woman who raised herself alone in the dangerous marshlands of North Carolina in the 1950s and ‘60s. But when she’s charged with the murder of a local golden boy, Kya must use her well-honed survival skills in a whole new way in this haunting, ethereal mystery. Will the novel’s phenomenal success translate to big screen acclaim? Producer Reese Witherspoon sure hopes so.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon star in the rural drama "Mud" — get the app
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (expands in theaters nationwide July 15)
"Marcel the Shell with Shoes On"
Back in 2010, a humble little shell named Marcel took the internet by storm in a three-minute YouTube stop-motion shortcalled "Marcel the Shell with Shoes On." Two more shorts and several children’s books eventually followed, and now, after an eight year hiatus, the tiny sneaker-wearing shell is back with his first full-length adventure. While this coming-of-age mockumentary from A24 is very much a funny, family-friendly good time, it’s also a surprisingly poignant story about friendship, family and finding your place in the world. Jenny Slate returns to voice the optimistic little seashell (and co-write the screenplay with Dean Fleischer Camp), while the legendary Isabella Rossellini is on hand as Marcel’s loving grandmother. Expect laughter and tears in equal measure.
The Gray Man (in theaters July 15; streaming on Netflix July 22)
The Gray Man (2022). Chris Evans as Lloyd Hansen. Cr. Paul Abell/Netflix © 2022
Chris Evans reteams with frequent Marvel directors Joe and Anthony Russo for this high-octane action thriller. Only this time around, he’s not playing a heroic captain but a psychopathic assassin with a killer ‘stache. Evans stars as Lloyd Hansen, a CIA black ops mercenary who’s charged with hunting down his former colleague Court Gentry (Ryan Gosling) after Court discovers incriminating secrets about the agency. That kicks off a star-studded, globe-hopping cat-and-mouse thriller where Evans is clearly having a blast delivering lines like, "You wanna make an omelette? You gotta kill some people." With a production budget of more than $200 million, "The Gray Man" is reportedly one of the most expensive films Netflix has ever produced — one the struggling streamer hopes to spin off into a James Bond-esque franchise.
Rated PG-13. 122 minutes. Dir: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo. Featuring: Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jessica Henwick, Wagner Moura, Dhanush, Billy Bob Thornton, Alfre Woodard, Regé-Jean Page, Julia Butters, Eme Ikwuakor, Scott Haze.
Persuasion (streaming on Netflix July 15)
DAKOTA JOHNSON as ANNE ELLIOT in PERSUASION. Photo Credit: Nick Wall/Netflix © 2021
If "Mr. Malcolm’s List" isn’t enough to fulfill your Regency romance quota for the month, try this latest adaptation of a Jane Austen classic. The trailer generated some heated debate over its use of "Fleabag"-esque direct address to add a little comedic quirk to this poignant tale of love and loss. But we’re excited to see the always reliable Dakota Johnson put her own spin on Austen’s sensitive, intelligent heroine Anne Elliot — who’s been left desperately lonely since her family persuaded her to turn down a marriage proposal seven years ago. When her dashing old flame Captain Wentworth (Cosmo Jarvis) suddenly reenters her life, however, she must choose between trying to reopen the past or paving a new future with Henry Golding’s caddish Mr. Elliot.
Nope (in theaters July 22)
Three years after "Us" and five years after "Get Out," contemporary horror aueteur Jordan Peele is back with his latest evocatively-titled horror flick. This one has a sci-fi edge, as ranch co-owners (and siblings) OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald Haywood (Keke Palmer) suddenly find unidentified flying objects falling from the sky. Peele has promised that "Nope" will be crammed full of the kind of spectacle best enjoyed on the biggest screen possible. Other than that, a lot about this mysterious movie has been kept under wraps, and for pure entertainment’s sake, it’s probably best to go in knowing as little as possible. But we can safely predict the unique blend of horror, comedy and social commentary that makes Peele such a maestro of horror. Plus aliens. There are probably aliens.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Steven Yeun in the Korean mystery thriller "Burning" — get the app
Anything’s Possible (streaming on Prime Video July 22)
Eva Reign and Abubkar Ali star in Anything's Possible. Property of Amazon Studios
Breakout "Pose" star Billy Porter make his directorial debut with this appealing teen romance about the ups and downs of first love. Eva Reign plays Kelsa, a confident trans teenager, and Abubakr Ali is Khal, the sensitive young artist who falls for her. The trailer evokes the tone of "To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before," with some signature Porter flair and thoughtful character work throughout. Not only do Kelsa and Khal have to navigate their feelings for one another, they also have to deal with the world’s opinion of their burgeoning relationship. But the trailer seems to suggest they do so with hope, joy and endless support from "Hamilton" standout Renée Elise Goldsberry as Kelsa’s loving mom.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Billy Porter in the 2000 queer rom-com "The Broken Hearts Club" — get the app
House Party (streaming on HBO Max July 28)
It’s a good thing LeBron James knows a thing or two about high-stakes games — he’s playing one in producing a follow-up to one of the most beloved cult comedies of the 1990s. To be fair, James has clarified that his new take on "House Party" is "definitely not a reboot." Instead it’s "an entirely new look for a classic movie," designed to "bring a new "House Party" to a new generation." Rising stars Jacob Latimore and Tosin Cole step into the spiritual shoes of Christopher "Kid" Reid and Christopher "Play" Martin from the 1990 Reginald Hudlin original about two high school friends throwing, yep, a house party. Fingers crossed this new installment will also include a dance-off.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa in "Mac & Devin Go to High School" — get the app
Vengeance (in theaters July 29)
B.J. Novak writes, directs and stars in this podcasting dark comedy, which earned mostly positive reviews out of the Tribeca Film Festival in June. Novak plays Ben Manalowitz, a journalist who travels from New York City to West Texas to attend the funeral of a casual hookup. When it turns out her family suspects she may have been murdered, however, Ben decides to launch a true crime podcast investigating their claims. That makes "Vengeance" part comic crime thriller, part fish-out-of-water comedy. Expect plenty of culture clashing as well as a magnetic performance from Ashton Kutcheras a successful local music producer.
Resurrection (in theaters July 29; VOD August 5)
Rebecca Hall appears in "Resurrection" by Andrew Semans, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Wyatt Garfield.
One of the breakout horror films of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, "Resurrection" stars Rebecca Hall as Margaret, a successful single parent who has her life in order — until her abusive ex David (Tim Roth) suddenly reenters her life. As film critic Clint Worthington writes in his festival review: "Hall, who hasn’t yet found a role that could stump her, leans fully into Maggie’s full-body response to her monster’s reappearance: At first sight, she drops everything and runs full-tilt away from the scene. Midway through the film, when Maggie discloses her horrifying past to an unsuspecting friendly ear, director Andrew Semans simply holds the camera on Hall, whose face is engulfed in a shadowy void as she delivers one of the most jaw-dropping monologues of her career. ... "Resurrection" isn’t for everybody. It takes some major swings, especially in its third act, which turns positively Cronenbergian in its discomfiting body horror. But it’s hard not to admire "Resurrection" for its pointed reflection on sexual trauma, for Semans’ cold and isolating camera and especially for one of the most alive horror performances in recent memory."
DC League of Super-Pets (in theaters July 29)
(L-R) DWAYNE JOHNSON as Krypto and JOHN KRASINSKI as Superman in Warner Bros. Pictures’ animated action adventure "DC LEAGUE OF SUPER-PETS," a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
Between animation’s love of cute animals and our culture’s general obsession with superheroes, it’s kind of wild that it took us this long to get an animated movie about superhero pets. But "DC League of Super-Pets" promises to make up for lost time with every superpowered animal under the yellow sun, starting with Krypto (Dwayne Johnson), the loyal sidekick to John Krasinski’s Superman. When the Justice League is kidnapped by Lex Luthor, however, Krypto must train a rag-tag group of newly-powered shelter animals to save the day. So get ready to fall for an indestructible hound, an enlarging pig, a super fast turtle and a squirrel with who can shoot electricity from his paws.
Rated PG. Dir: Jared Stern. Featuring: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Kate McKinnon, John Krasinski, Vanessa Bayer, Natasha Lyonne, Diego Luna, Marc Maron, Thomas Middleditch, Ben Schwartz, Keanu Reeves.
Top, from left: "Don't Make Me Go," "Good Madam." Bottom, from left: "Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris," "The Sea Beast," "Code Name Banshee."
FOR DRAMA: Ralph Fiennes and Jessica Chastain are tourists with a dark secret in "The Forgiven" (in theaters July 1). The legendary Claire Denis directs Juliette Binoche in the marital drama "Both Sides of the Blade" (in theaters July 8). And John Cho is a single dad with a terminal disease trying to bond with his daughter in the road trip movie "Don’t Make Me Go" (Prime Video, July 15).
FOR ACTION AND THRILLS: Antonio Banderas and Jaime King are assassins on the run in "Code Name Banshee" (in theaters and VOD, July 1). The fate of the planet rests in the hands of a handful of astronauts in "Rubikon" (in theaters and VOD, July 1). And Winona Ryder tries to solve her boyfriend’s mysterious disappearance in "Gone in the Night" (in theaters July 15).
FOR ROMANCE: Jordan Fisher and Talia Ryder are high school seniors preparing to break up before college in "Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between" (Netflix, July 6). Katie Holmes writes, directs and stars alongside Jim Sturgessin the pandemic romance "Alone Together" (in theaters July 22; VOD July 29). And Dale Dickey and Wes Studi play two nomadic friends who cross paths in the Colorado mountains in the quietly lyrical drama "A Love Story" (in theaters July 29).
FOR HORROR: A man and his famous girlfriend attend a creepy self-help retreat in "The Summoned" (VOD, July 7). Shudder debuts the South African psychological horror flick "Good Madam" (Shudder, July 14). A haunted house takes center stage in the Irish supernatural thriller "Gateway" (VOD, July 15). And "Hypochondriac" (in theaters July 29; VOD, August 4) charts a young gay potter’s dark mental breakdown. [Read FOX Digital’s review of "Hypochondriac"from the South by Southwest Film Festival.]
FOR FAMILIES: "The Sea Beast" (Netflix, July 8) is a rollicking animated adventure about a high-seas monster hunter and a young stowaway. Samuel L. Jackson voices a samurai cat who trains Michael Cera’s humble hound in "Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank" (in theaters July 15). And Seabrook High gets some alien invaders in the trilogy capper "Zombies 3" (Disney+, July 15).
FOR DOCUMENTARIES: "Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down" (in theaters July 15) tells the story of the former Congresswoman and gun violence survivor. "Aftershock" (Hulu, July 19) explores the crisis of maternal mortality for Black women in America. And Alan Cumming recounts a larger-than-life tale in "My Old School" (in theaters July 22).
FOR COMEDY: Lesley Manville plays a 1950s British housekeeper who follows her Parisian couture dreams in "Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris" (in theaters July 15). Catherine Tate brings her iconic sketch comedy character Joannie Taylor (a.k.a. Nan) to the big screen in "The Nan Movie" (in theaters and VOD, July 22). And Zoey Deutch plays an Instagram scammer in the biting social media satire "Not Okay" (Hulu, July 29).
About the writer: Caroline Siede is a film and TV critic in Chicago, where the cold never bothers her anyway. A member of the Chicago Film Critics Association, she spent four years lovingly analyzing the romantic comedy genre one film at a time in her column When Romance Met Comedy for The A.V. Club. She also co-hosts the movie podcast, Role Calling, and shares her pop culture opinions on Twitter (@carolinesiede).
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