As Netflix et al. add more content, it’s difficult to know what to look for amidst all of the newly added titles. So at the start of every month, I publish a list of particularly noteworthy and interesting movies and TV shows to add to your streaming queues.
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Airplane! (July 1)
What remains to be said about this, one of the greatest comedies of all time? Its near-endless supply of sight gags, absurdities, cameos, and slapstick humor is something for the ages. From Robert Stack’s battle with a bunch of Hare Krishnas to Lloyd Bridges’ glue-sniffing, from the epic disco battle to the jive translation, Airplane! has everything you could possibly want in a movie, and then some.
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (July 1)
It’s a well-known fact that Batman: The Animated Series is one of the best — if not the best — takes on the Caped Crusader. Mask of the Phantasm was a theatrical movie intended to capitalize on the animated series’ appeal. It continues the series’ acclaimed visual style and noir-influenced aesthetic with a story that finds Bruce Wayne facing a new foe with mysterious ties to his past. Though it had lackluster success at the box office, Mask of the Phantasm has since been called one of the best Batman movies of all time.
The Karate Kid (July 1)
Wax on, wax off… Daniel is the new kid at school who quickly runs afoul of a local gang that’s well-versed in karate thanks to the vicious Cobra Kai dojo. Fortunately for Daniel, his apartment complex’s handyman happens to be a karate master himself, and he begins training Daniel for an eventual confrontation with Cobra Kai. This movie inspired every kid in my school to become a master of the crane kick (which, to my dismay, turned out to not actually be a thing in karate).
Spaceballs (July 1)
I still remember the first time I saw Spaceballs. I was in junior high at the time, and I had no idea what the movie was, but the moment I saw the “We brake for nobody” bumper sticker on Spaceball One, I knew my life would never be the same. One of the most quotable movies of all time — e.g., “I am your father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate.” — Spaceballs is a true comedy classic.
Warrior Nun (July 2)
In this upcoming adaptation of Ben Dunn’s comic book, a young woman dies and is resurrected as a member of a secret squad of Catholic priests and nuns that fight against evil. Their enemy: a tech entrepreneur who has somehow unlocked the gates of heaven. Let’s face facts: Warrior Nun looks completely absurd, but it could also be some good religiously-tinged fun in the same vein as Constantine and the Hellboy movies.
Japan Sinks: 2020, Season 1 (July 9)
Netflix continues with their push into anime with this adaptation of Sakyo Komatsu’s popular disaster novel. When a series of earthquakes strike Japan, a family must struggle to survive in the aftermath. Japan Sinks: 2020 is directed by Masaaki Yuasa, whose previous series, Devilman Crybaby, received considerable acclaim for its striking visual style.
The Old Guard (July 10)
Charlize Theron and Chiwetel Ejiofor star in this Netflix original about a band of immortal mercenaries who have spent centuries fighting in the shadows. But when their cover’s blown, they must fight against those who seek to take advantage of their mysterious powers. The Old Guard is based on a graphic novel by Greg Rucka (Batman, Elektra, Wolverine).
Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy, Season 1 (July 30)
Originally planned for June, and then delayed due to the coronavirus, the first season of Transformers: War for Cybertron (titled “Siege”) is finally arriving on Netflix. The first season takes place during the final hours of the war on Cyberton, as the Autobots and Decepticons plan their final, desperate strategies for victory and survival. Transformers: War for Cybertron is animated by Polygon Pictures (Blame!, Godzilla, Knights of Sidonia, Ronja the Robber’s Daughter).
Here’s everything arriving on and leaving Netflix in July 2020.
The Forbidden Kingdom (July 1)
For years, martial arts movie fans have been waiting for two of the biggest names in the genre — Jackie Chan and Jet Li — to team up. Obviously, Chan and Li’s names are the biggest draw for The Forbidden Kingdom, which also stars Collin Chou, Li Bingbing, and Michael Angarano as an American teen suddenly transported to ancient China, only to find himself in the thick of battle.
Waiting for Guffman (July 1)
In this classic Christopher Guest mockumentary, a small town community theater is hard at work on a new play chronicling their town’s history. Led by their irrepressible director, the cast eagerly awaits the arrival of the titular producer, who they see as their ticket to appearing on Broadway. An obvious reference to Waiting for Godot, Waiting for Guffman features the usual Guest players, including Bob Balaban, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Parker Posey, and the late Fred Willard.
Bolt (July 22)
Bolt is a super-powered pup who helps a young girl named Penny defeat the nefarious schemes of Dr. Calico. Or so he thinks. Turns out, it’s all for a TV show, and he’s blissfully unaware that he’s just a normal dog. Which makes for all kinds of hilarious hijinks when he’s forced to travel cross-country to reunite with Penny. Though it’s been overshadowed by Disney’s many other animated films (e.g, Tangled, Zootopia, Frozen), Bolt is not without its own charms and definitely worth checking out for your next family movie night.
Here’s everything arriving on and leaving Hulu in July 2020.
Big Fish (July 1)
Tim Burton is, to put it mildly, an eccentric director. But Big Fish finds him channelling those eccentricities into one of his most straightforward and charming movies, about a man who discovers that there might be some truth to all of his father’s tall tales. Both of Burton’s parents died in the years leading up to his work on Big Fish, which almost certainly informs its storyline and gives it some emotional heft.
Hitch (July 1)
Alex Hitchens (Will Smith) is an expert at teaching other men how to woo women. But his latest case may prove his most challenging yet. Adding further complications, Alex finds himself falling for a cynical reporter who seems resistant to his charms, and who could ruin his career. Hitch’s plot may have you rolling your eyes, but it’s still a fun date movie due in large part to Smith’s charisma and comedic timing.
Jim Gaffigan: Pale Tourist (July 24)
A new Jim Gaffigan comedy special? I assume it’ll contain yet another array of jokes about his large family, being exhausted from parenting, eating terrible foods, and growing fat and old — and I assume they’ll still be as funny as ever.
Here’s everything arriving on and leaving Amazon in July 2020. As usual, there’s a lot of overlap between Hulu and Amazon Prime’s offerings.
Hamilton (July 3)
The filmed version of the smash Broadway hit about America’s Founding Fathers was originally supposed to arrive in theaters on October 15, 2021. But then it was announced that Hamilton would arrive on Disney+ 15 months early — and just in time for Independence Day. Disney is touting the Hamilton movie as “a leap forward in the art of ‘live capture’ ” that highlights “the best elements of live theater, film, and streaming.”
Solo: A Star Wars Story (July 10)
Yes, Solo: A Star Wars Story ranks fairly low on the list of Star Wars movies (though, to its credit, it’s no Attack of the Clones). But it does its best to tell the story of a young Han Solo as he sets out to become the galaxy’s greatest scoundrel. Solo features some cool things, like the summa verminoth and Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian, but in the end, you’re still left wondering what might’ve been had The Lego Movie’s Phil Lord and Christopher Miller remained in the director’s chair.
The Incredibles 2 (July 31)
I have a confession to make: after years of anticipation, The Incredibles 2 left me feeling a bit underwhelmed when our family finally saw it in the theatre. But I suspect that’s because we watched it right after watching The Incredibles, one of my favorite movies of all time, and I was unfairly comparing the two. So I’m looking forward to seeing the sequel again, but this time, with a bit more distance from the first Incredibles film.
Here’s everything arriving on Disney+ in July 2020.