Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Top 20 Movies to Look Out For In July (2021)

 According to: Cat
20 – Great White (7/16)

Production/Distribution:  Thrills & Spills, Altitude Media Group, Chop Shop Post, Cornerstone Pictures, Filmology Finance, Piccadilly Pictures, ProdigyMovies, Truth or Dare, Golden Village Pictures, Just Entertainment, RLJE Films, A Contracorriente Films, EuroVideo, Synapse
Director: Martin Wilson
Writer: Michael Boughen
Actors: Aaron Jakubenko, Jason Wilder, Kate Jaggard, Katrina Bowden, Kimie Tsukakoshi, Patrick Atchison, Tatjana Marjanovic, Te Kohe Tuhaka, Tim Kano
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rated: Unrated
Length: 91 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A fun filled flight to a remote atoll turns into a nightmare for five passengers when their seaplane is destroyed in a freak accident and they are trapped on a raft, 100 miles from shore with man-eating sharks lurking beneath the surface.
This month was a rough one for picking a Top 20. There were so many cool-looking and outright awesome movies releasing in July that it was harder than usual to narrow it down. Needless to say, there are far more spiffy movies releasing than I could contain within just 20 so keep your eyes peeled at your local theaters and streaming services for those that I couldn’t fit.
July is the month that the Discovery and National Geographic Channels host their respective annual shark programming extravaganzas. I can’t wait! In celebration of these oceanic toothsome terrors, I couldn’t help but list Great White this month.
Are there “better” movies releasing in July? Probably. I’m on a bit of an action, adventure, comedy, thriller, horror kick this month, however, so the more dramatic titles just didn’t make the cut. I crave excitement and escapism rather than films that will bog me down with rivers of tears and feelings. It’s the summer blockbuster season, baby! I digress…
I like the way that Great White seems to be presenting a well-worn genre in a slightly different fashion. We’re used to seeing shark fins circling close to shore and closing down beaches. We’re used to them molesting fishing boats, haunting coves, and even lurking in caves. We rarely see a shark vs. plane scenario. I’m also jazzed that Great White is also in the hands of the same executive producers as 47 Meters Down (2017). It gives me a little more faith that the production will be elevated above basic. The shark effects in the trailer were really impressive, the cast also seems pretty solid, and I’m also loving the fact that we’ll get to enjoy some Aussie accents.
Great White seems to be set for release in theaters and digital on-demand only.
19 - Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway (7/1)

Production/Distribution: Sunrise, Shochiku, Netflix
Director: Shûkô Murase
Writers: Yasuyuki Muto, Yoshiyuki Tomino, Hajime Yatate
Actors: Kenshô Ono, Reina Ueda, Jun'ichi Suwabe, Sôma Saitô, Kenjirô Tsuda, Yui Ishikawa, Fukushi Ochiai, Shunsuke Takeuchi, Misato Matsuoka, Chiharu Sawashiro, Atsumi Tanezaki, Kôichi Yamadera
Genre: Animation, Action, Drama
Rated: Unrated
Length: 95 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Hathaway Noa, still haunted by his past actions, joins a terrorist organization called Mufti and adopts the alias "Mufti Nabiyy Erin". Mufti is fighting a terrorist campaign against the Earth Federation government.
It’s no secret that I am a die-hard lover of anime. The very mention of the word ‘Gundam’ involved with anything gets me excited. It’s an IP that dates back to at least 1979 with Mobile Suit Gundam (1979-1980), making this one of the OG anime franchises. I’ve generally enjoyed anything I’ve watched in the Gundam –verse, though my main experiences with them were through Mobile Suit Gundam Wing (1995-1996) and the movie that capped off that story arc, Gundam Wing: The Movie - Endless Waltz (1998). I’ve seen some of the other stuff, but those are the ones I remember the most.
I’m not sure if this new movie is connected to any of the other Gundam-related movies and series that have released in the last decade or so – but it’s sure to have lots of action and giant robot battles.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway will be releasing on Netflix.
18 - How it Ends (7/20)

Production/Distribution: Mister Lister Films, American International Pictures, MGM
Directors: Zoe Lister-Jones, Daryl Wein
Writers: Daryl Wein, Zoe Lister-Jones
Actors: Zoe Lister-Jones, Cailee Spaeny, Whitney Cummings, Tawny Newsome, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll, Logan Marshall-Green, Bobby Lee, Fred Armisen, Glenn Howerton, Bradley Whitford, Ayo Edebiri, Sharon Van Etten, Olivia Wilde, Paul W. Downs, Raymond Cham Jr., Lamorne Morris, Angelique Cabral, Rob Huebel, Paul Scheer, Helen Hunt, Colin Hanks, Charlie Day, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Pauly Shore
Genre: Comedy
Rated: R
Length: 82 minutes
IMDb Blurb: In this feel-good apocalyptic comedy, Liza (Zoe Lister-Jones) embarks on a hilarious journey through LA in hopes of making it to her last party before it all ends, running into an eclectic cast of characters along the way.
So the world is ending by meteor or comet strike in a number of hours. What do you do? I’d say Prince had the right idea with “Party Like it’s 1999.” It seems like that is the direction the characters in How it Ends want to go as well.
I have to say, I never expected to see the phrase “feel-good apocalyptic comedy” said with any sort of seriousness. Apparently, it’s an accurate description if I judge by the trailer. I’m intrigued at the very least.
This past year and a half or so has been a dumpster fire for the whole world. I’m sure some have really felt like it was the end of things at some points. Why not throw some comic relief into the mix? I know I could use the laughs! I am also curious as to whether or not the main character makes it to the party before it’s too late.
You also can’t beat the cast. There’s a good mix of well-known actors here – among them some seriously good comedians. The trailer touches on several, such as Helen Hunt (Soul Surfer, The Night Clerk, Blindspotting), Colin Hanks (Vacation, Life in Pieces, Jumanji: The Next Level), Charlie Day (Fist Fight, Pacific Rim: Uprising, Hotel Artemis), Lamorne Morris (The Christmas Chronicles, Yesterday, Bloodshot), Olivia Wilde (The Lazarus Effect, Love the Coopers, Richard Jewell), and Fred Armisen (Portlandia, All Together Now, The Mitchells vs the Machines). I think I’m most excited about Pauly Shore’s (Whiskey Business, Sandy Wexler, Guest House) appearance, even if it does seem like it’s a cameo instead of a full-fledged part.
Frankly, the idea of journeying with one’s younger self to make amends with life’s regrets on the way to the end of life is a brilliant idea. Hats off to triple-threat co-writer, co-director, and lead Zoe Lister-Jones (Salt, Lola Versus, Life in Pieces) for this gem. I really want this one to be as good as the trailer teases.
How it Ends will be released in theaters. At this time, I don’t have confirmation on its digital availability.
17 - Meander (7/9)

Production/Distribution:  Equitime, Cinéaxe, WTFilms, Ynnis Interactive, SG Image 2018, Alba Films, OCS, Fulltime Studio, Cinéfrance Studios, JL Vision Film, Altitude Films, At Entertainment, Gravitas Ventures, Lumix Media
Director: Mathieu Turi
Writer: Mathieu Turi
Actors: Gaia Weiss, Peter Franzén, Romane Libert, Frédéric Franchitti, Corneliu Dragomirescu, Eva Niewdanski
Genre: Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Rated: Unrated
Length: 87 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A woman gets locked in series of strange tubes full of deadly traps.
The trailer for Meander was really intense. Both Selina and I were reminded of the Cube (1997) franchise, as we watched the woman crawl from one bit of tunnel to another amidst harrowing life-threatening traps.
The trailer seems to indicate that the protagonist is kidnapped and has no clue why she finds herself in this predicament. After watching that teaser, now I want to know too!
Meander originally released as a French film, but seems to be releasing with dubbed English (if the English-dubbed trailers are any indication). It seems like an odd name for the horror-thriller, but I guess it fits, considering the confined space is limiting the woman’s rate of movement.
Regardless, I am intrigued and want to see how it turns out, as well as wonder what the traps she has to face will be. Hopefully, the plot won’t follow its namesake and will keep a good pace.
Meander is scheduled to release in theaters and on digital on-demand.
16 – No Sudden Move (7/1)

Production/Distribution: HBO Max, Warner Bros., Warner Max, Warner Bros. Pictures Germany
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Ed Solomon
Actors: Amy Seimetz, Brendan Fraser, Noah Jupe, Matt Damon, David Harbour, Benicio Del Toro, Jon Hamm, Don Cheadle, Kieran Culkin, Julia Fox, Ray Liotta, Frankie Shaw, Bill Duke, Lauren Rys Martin, Craig muMs Grant, Lauren LaStrada, Javon Anderson, Claudia Russell, Hugh Maguire, Emily Jane Smith, Lucy Holt, Tina Gloss, Wallace Bridges, Peter Tocco, Michael Adams
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 115 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A group of criminals are brought together under mysterious circumstances and have to work together to uncover what's really going on when their simple job goes completely sideways.
No Sudden Move has so many things going for it right out of the gate. First, Steven Soderbergh (Contagion, Logan Lucky, High Flying Bird) is a phenomenal director. He’s helmed a wide variety of film types. He’s well known for some dramas, some comedies, a few well-known heist movies, and, of course, Magic Mike (2012).
No Sudden Move appears to be a bit more on the somber side, since it’s billed as a crime drama taking place in Detroit during the mid-50s.
Aside from a great director, this movie has a star-studded cast. Of course, you have your usual suspects for a movie of this caliber, such as Jon Hamm (Lucy in the Sky, Good Omens, Wild Mountain Thyme), Benicio Del Toro (Savages, Sicario, Avengers: Infinity War), Ray Liotta (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Blackway, Hubie Halloween). Then throw in some excellent wild cards with David Harbour (Stranger Things, Sleepless, Extraction), and Matt Damon (The Great Wall, Suburbicon, Unsane). All of those guys are great, but do you know who I’m super excited to see in a more serious movie these days?  It’s Brendan Fraser (A Case of You, The Nut Job, Doom Patrol).
While this looks like an ensemble cast, the trailer seems to indicate that Don Cheadle (Flight, House of Lies, Black Monday) will be playing one of the primary characters. That has me extra jazzed. He’s been a bit of a secondary character in the MCU, and I really want to see him shine.
No Sudden Move has grabbed my attention, and now I want to know more.
This movie is slated to release exclusively on HBO Max.
15 – The Green Knight (7/30)

Production/Distribution: Sailor Bear, BRON Studios, A24, Creative Wealth Media Finance, Ley Line Entertainment, Wild Atlantic Pictures, Chantier Films, Elevation Pictures, Remain In Light, Telepool, The Searchers, Volga Film Ukraine, Volga, Ascot Elite Entertainment Group, Entract Films, Front Row Filmed Entertainment
Director: David Lowery
Writer: David Lowery
Actors: Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, Sarita Choudhury, Sean Harris, Kate Dickie, Erin Kellyman, Ralph Ineson, Megan Tiernan
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Horror
Rated: R
Length: 125 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A fantasy re-telling of the medieval story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
Who doesn’t love the tale of King Arthur of Camelot? Arthurian legend has fascinated me for what seems like forever. The Green Knight is adapted straight out of the Arthurian legends.
I’m curious how closely this story will follow the legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. All signs seem to point to an honest adaptation if the trailer is to be believed. However, there is certainly some wiggle room within the tale for some creative license since I believe the original story glosses over some of Gawain’s journey by saying he had ‘many adventures’ along the way – or something like that. The unfamiliar aspects of the trailer might be from that point in the story.
Portions of the trailer for The Green Knight was a little on the odd side, but overall this looks like it will be an interesting and captivating flight of fantasy.
To my knowledge, The Green Knight is releasing exclusively in theaters.
14 - Blood Red Sky (7/23)

Production/Distribution: Rat Pack Filmproduktion, Sirena Film, Netflix
Director: Peter Thorwarth
Writers: Stefan Holtz, Peter Thorwarth
Actors: Graham McTavish, Dominic Purcell, Peri Baumeister, Roland Møller, Alexander Scheer, Chidi Ajufo, Sinead Phelps, Rebecca Dyson-Smith, Karen Brown, Leonie Brill, Gordon Brown, Kais Setti, Roy McCrerey, Kai Ivo Baulitz, Rutger Lysen, Petra Michelle Nérette, Carl Anton Koch, Florian Schmidtke, Jamie Marshall, Booda, Ralph Gassmann
Genre: Action, Horror, Thriller
Rated: TV-MA
Length: 121 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A woman with a mysterious illness is forced into action when a group of terrorists attempt to hijack a transatlantic overnight flight.
While I only recognize 2 of the cast members involved with Blood Red Sky, that doesn’t matter. This whole premise feels fresh and promises one wild ride. (Pun totally intended.)
The trailer for this movie had me doing a double-take. It was a ‘wait, WHAT?’ moment as what seemed like your average plane hijacking turned into vampires running amok on a plane.  Well, at least 1 pissed-off momma vampire.
I can’t wait to see how Blood Red Sky plays out, and I’m super excited that it’s going to be streaming on Netflix.
13 – Old (7/23)

Production/Distribution: Universal Pictures, Blinding Edge Pictures, Toho-Towa, United International Pictures, Universal Pictures Argentina, Universal Pictures International
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writers: Pierre-Oscar Lévy, Frederick Peeters, M. Night Shyamalan
Actors: Gael García Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Thomasin McKenzie, Abbey Lee, Embeth Davidtz, Rufus Sewell, Alex Wolff, Eliza Scanlen, Ken Leung, Aaron Pierre, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Alexa Swinton, Emun Elliott,
Kathleen Chalfant, Matthew Shear, Mikaya Fisher, Luca Faustino, Nolan River, Jeffrey Holsman, Daniel Ison, Rakib Miah
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Rated: PG-13
Length: Unknown
IMDb Blurb: A thriller about a family on a tropical holiday who discover that the secluded beach where they are relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly reducing their entire lives into a single day.
Honestly, Old had me hooked the moment that I saw M. Night Shyamalan (The Visit, Split, Glass) is the director. I absolutely adore Shyamalan’s work. Even his films that ended up being box office duds were at least interesting.
Old isn’t an original work of his, however, as it is an adaptation of a French graphic novel. I am also a huge fan of comics, graphic novels, and the like so I really enjoy when those works are expanded on into other media.
Given that the graphic novel is French, however, it’s a pretty safe bet that I haven’t read it. I wouldn’t be able to tell you whether or not it seems like this will be faithful to the story. What I can tell you is that I am dying to peel back the layers of this story and find out what will happen to the people that get trapped on the crazy beach of doom.
Old is set to release in theaters. I’m not sure at this time whether or not it will be available for digital on-demand.
12 - Fear Street Trilogy (7/2, 7/9, 7/16)

Fear Street Part 1: 1994
Fear Street Part 2: 1978
Fear Street Part 3: 1666

Production/Distribution: Chernin Entertainment, Netflix
Director:  Leigh Janiak
Part 1 - R.L. Stine, Kyle Killen, Phil Graziadei
Part 2 - R.L. Stine, Zak Olkewicz, Leigh Janiak, Phil Graziadei
Part 3 - R.L. Stine, Phil Graziadei, Leigh Janiak, Kate Trefry
Part 1: Kiana Madeira, Olivia Scott Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr., Maya Hawke, Charlene Amoia, David W. Thompson, Noah Bain Garret, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Ashley Zukerman, Julia Rehwald, Fred Hechinger, Matthew Zuk, Jeremy Ford, Danyon Huntington, Elizabeth Scopel, Jordana Spiro, Eric Mendenhall, Todd Allen Durkin, Jordyn DiNatale, Lloyd Pitts, Kevin Waterman, Emily Brobst, Keil Oakley Zepernick, Michael Chandler, Lacy Camp, Gillian Jacobs
Part 2: Olivia Scott Welch, Gillian Jacobs, Chiara Aurelia, Sadie Sink, Drew Scheid, Michael Provost, Ashley Zukerman, Kiana Madeira, Ryan Simpkins, Emily Rudd, Benjamin Flores Jr., Marcelle LeBlanc, Ted Sutherland, Eden Campbell, Brandon Spink, Matthew Zuk, Dylan Gage, Sam Brooks, Jacqi Vene, McCabe Slye, Keil Oakley Zepernick, Todd Allen Durkin, Alejandra Stack, Paul Teal, Michael Chandler
Part 3: Kiana Madeira, Ashley Zukerman, Gillian Jacobs, Elizabeth Scopel, Benjamin Flores Jr., Randy Havens, Julia Rehwald, Matthew Zuk, Fred Hechinger, Michael Chandler, Emily Rudd, Olivia Scott Welch, Lacy Camp, McCabe Slye, Jeremy Ford, Charlene Amoia, Mark Ashworth, Todd Allen Durkin, Ryan Simpkins, Noah Garrett, Keil Oakley Zepernick, Emily Brobst, Kevin Waterman, Jordyn DiNatale, Ted Sutherland, Lloyd Pitts, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Daniel Thomas May, Rachel Doman
Genre: Horror, Mystery
Rated: R
Part 1 - 95 minutes
Part 2 - 99 minutes
Part 3 - 112 minutes
IMDb Blurbs:
Part 1 - A circle of teenage friends accidentally encounter the ancient evil responsible for a series of brutal murders that have plagued their town for over 300 years. Welcome to Shadyside.
Part 2 - Shadyside, 1978. School's out for summer and the activities at Camp Nightwing are about to begin. But when another Shadysider is possessed with the urge to kill, the fun in the sun becomes a gruesome fight for survival.
Part 3 - The origins of Sarah Fier's curse are finally revealed as history comes full circle on a night that changes the lives of Shadysiders forever.
I’m sure that quite a few Gen X and Gen Z and beyond are doing a happy dance right about now because of the Fear Street trilogy. A lot of us grew up on the works of R.L. Stine (R.L Stine's The Haunting Hour, Eye Candy, R.L. Stine's Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls). The Goosebumps book series was a staple of our youth before it began to hit screens large and small with adaptations.
Though, unlike the Goosebumps (2015) movie and its sequel, which were both rated PG, this trio of interconnected tales of horror will be rated R.
All the great slasher film elements appear to be present, and there’s even a summer camp in the 2nd movie. I love that the 3rd installment delves into the origins of the curse that haunts the town the films are set in. It’s not often you get the full story to bring it all full circle within such a short span of films.
You can bet that I’ll be watching this whole anthology trilogy. I might even wait until they are all released and binge the whole lot. If you don’t mind a little waiting in between, you’ll be in for 3 weeks of chills and thrills once Fear Street begins its release.
The Fear Street trilogy will be a Netflix exclusive release.
11 - The Forever Purge (7/2)

Production/Distribution: Blumhouse Productions, Platinum Dunes, Universal Pictures, Perfect World Pictures, Man in A Tree, United International Pictures, Universal Pictures Argentina, Universal Pictures International
Director: Everardo Gout
Writer: James DeMonaco
Actors: Alejandro Edda, Ana de la Reguera, Ana González, Anthony Molinari, Brett Edwards, Cassidy Freeman, Edward Gelhaus, Emily Trujillo, Flanagan John, Gregory Zaragoza, Josh Lucas, Joshua Dov, Leven Rambin, Sammi Rotibi, Susie Abromeit, Tenoch Huerta, Veronica Falcón, Will Patton
Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 103 minutes
IMDb Blurb: All the rules are broken as a sect of lawless marauders decides that the annual Purge does not stop at daybreak and instead should never end.
I am definitely a fan of The Purge (2013) franchise. Not only is it a good bit of social commentary, but the stories make for some great horror thrills on both big screen and small.
It makes sense that, at this stage in the game, that there would be a group that takes the purging thing too far. This installment of the saga shows us what would happen if the Purge just simply didn’t stop. I’ve read that The Forever Purge, while the 5th movie in the franchise is meant to be the direct sequel to The Purge: Election Year (2016).
Honestly, I’d be down for watching this movie even if I hadn’t seen the trailer. Watching that short tease of the plot only reeled me in deeper. My curiosity demands I find out how it all plays out.
The Forever Purge was set to release in July 2020, but was delayed due to the pandemic, as so many other films were.
At this time, it appears that The Forever Purge will be released in theaters only. I am not aware whether or not it will be available as digital on-demand.

10 – The Comeback Trail (7/23)

Production/Distribution: StoryBoard Media, Alla Prima Productions, Don Kee Productions, Ingenious Media, Living the Dream Films, Lucky 13 Productions, March On Productions, Rapid Farms Productions, Scoring Berlin, Sprockefeller Pictures, Albatros Film, Cloudburst Entertainment, Dutch FilmWorks, Shaw Organisation, Telepool, Eagle Films, NOS Audiovisuais, Originals Factory, VVS Films, Vértice 360
Director: George Gallo
Writers: George Gallo, Josh Posner, Harry Hurwitz
Actors: Robert De Niro, Tommy Lee Jones, Morgan Freeman, Eddie Griffin, Emile Hirsch, Kate Katzman, Malcolm Barrett, Natalie Burn, Patrick Muldoon, Vincent Spano, Zach Braff
Genre: Comedy, Crime
Rated: R
Length: 104 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Two movie producers who owe money to the mob set up their aging movie star for an insurance scam to try and save themselves. But they wind up getting more than they ever imagined.
You know what? I’m going to cheat. I’ve copied for you here exactly what I wrote for the December 2020 list, where The Comeback Trail also featured as the #10 entry. I promise that it’s not laziness on my part – I just simply can’t think of any better way to explain why I want to – and why others should – see this movie. This film was plagued by COVID pandemic delays, though we’re reasonably certain that it will finally hit the screens now that things are starting to open up again.
There are three reasons I am fairly chomping at the bit to see this movie.
The first is, obviously, the cast. I’ll watch just about anything with Robert De Niro (The Intern, Joy, The Irishman) and Morgan Freeman (Lucy, Going in Style, Angel Has Fallen) in it. Freeman’s in that category of those I could just listen to all day, even if he was reading the driest and boring dissertation on earth. I digress… In addition to those two cinema powerhouses, you’ve also got Tommy Lee Jones (Hope Springs, The Homesman, Ad Astra) playing this wild over-the-hill stuntman that seems to have a death-wish that the film’s main character desperately wants to grant.  When you add the comedic elements from the likes of Eddie Griffin (How Sweet it Is, American Hero, A Star is Born) and Zach Braff (Scrubs, Oz the Great and Powerful, The Disaster Artist) there are going to be some guaranteed laughs – and some awkward moments.
Beyond the cast, the story itself is interesting and looks like it will be a lot of fun. Jones’ character reminds me of a song I learned ages ago at camp about ‘the cat came back the very next day’ after ‘they thought he was a goner.’ The premise is odd, a bit dark, but absolutely hilarious. The trailer had me in stitches.
Finally, I am curious as to how many precarious situations Jones’ character will be put in and how everything ultimately works out. Will the aged stunt-man actually die in one of the rigged incidents or will he defy all expectations and survive? Will the gangsters come after De Niro’s character or will something work out in a clutch moment? My curiosity is killing me, and I’m happy that the journey to the answers looks to be an enjoyable one.
The Comeback Trail is confirmed for release to theaters. This one is another I have not seen the on-demand status for. Just keep checking whatever service you get your on-demand content from, once this release date hits.
9 - Escape Room 2: Tournament of Champions (7/16)

Production/Distribution: Columbia Pictures, Original Film, Shaken Not Stirred, Moonlighting Films, Sony Pictures Releasing Argentina, Sony Pictures Releasing International, Sony Pictures Releasing, United International Pictures, Universal Pictures International
Director: Adam Robitel
Writers: Fritz Böhm, Will Honley, Christine Lavaf, Maria Melnik, Bragi F. Schut, Daniel Tuch, Oren Uziel
Actors: Amali Golden, Anton David Jeftha, Avianah Abrahams, Carlito Olivero, Corin Silva, Evan Hengst, Holland Roden, Indya Moore, Isabelle Fuhrman, James Frain, Jay Erving, Jaymes Butler, Logan Miller, Tanya van Graan, Taylor Russell, Thomas Cocquerel
Genre: Action, Adventure, Horror
Rated: PG-13
Length: 88 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Six people unwittingly find themselves locked in another series of escape rooms, slowly uncovering what they have in common to survive. Joining forces with two of the original survivors, they soon discover they've all played the game before.
Escape rooms are all the rage these days. I’m sad that I have yet to visit one, but I am eagerly anticipating the chance to do so sometime in the near future. In the meantime, I will enjoy them vicariously through tales of my friends that have experienced them and through cinematic adaptations.
Of course, your average escape room only gives you the illusion of being trapped and a potential fictional narrative of danger. In this movie, the danger is very real and the puzzles involve life and death.
I really enjoyed the first Escape Room (2019), and since so many others also did, we now are treated to the answer to the burning questions about what comes next. Escape Room: Tournament of Champions is going to be a direct sequel to the first movie, and will feature returning characters.
The trailer gave a small peek into the mind-bending situations the new batch of ‘champion’ contestants will be facing. Everything seems to be taken up to the next level. I am very excited to see how this all pans out.
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions is releasing in theaters. I have not found any information at this time as to whether or not it will be available as digital on-demand.
8 – Jolt (7/23)

Production/Distribution: Campbell Grobman Films, Millennium Films, Nu Boyana Film Studios, Film & TV House, GEM Entertainment, Kinepolis Film Distribution, Leonine Distribution, Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Prime Video, Blue Swan Entertainment, Eagle Films, Joy n Cinema, VVS Films
Directors: Tanya Wexler
Writers: Scott Wascha, Louis Waymouth
Actors: Kate Beckinsale, Stanley Tucci, Bobby Cannavale, Jai Courtney, Laverne Cox, Christian Brassington, Constantine Gregory, David Bradley, Lili Rich, Ori Pfeffer, Tom Xander, Sophie Sanderson, Lewis Bray, Eugene Buica, Joseph Grogan, Sofia Weldon
Genre: Action, Comedy
Rated: R
Length: 91 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A bouncer with a slightly murderous anger-management problem that she controls with the help of an electrode-lined vest she uses to shock herself back to normalcy whenever she gets homicidal. After the first guy she's ever fallen for is murdered, she goes on a revenge-fueled rampage to find the killer while the cops pursue her as their chief suspect.
But seriously, Jolt has Kate Beckinsale (Absolutely Anything, Love & Friendship, Underworld: Blood Wars) in the role of a kick-ass female protagonist on a hell-bent revenge kick. I rearranged my list the minute I watched the trailer.  (I’m sorry Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans (2021), releasing to Netflix July 21st. Nothing personal. You just got edged out is all. Too many good movies this month!)
Not only is it Beckinsale doing what she does best, but there’s a phenomenal supporting cast involved as well. Stanley Tucci (A Private War, Night Hunter, The Silence), Jai Courtney (A Good Day to Die Hard, The Water Diviner, Storm Boy), Bobby Cannavale (Angie Tribeca, Motherless Brooklyn, The Jesus Rolls), Susan Sarandon (Cloud Atlas, Feud: Bette and Joan, Ray Donovan), and Laverne Cox (Charlie's Angels, Bad Hair, Promising Young Woman) are just a handful of the star-studded cast.
Let’s also not forget the guy everyone loves to hate – whether he’s a curmudgeonly caretaker in the Potterverse or the mastermind of the Red Wedding in Game of Thrones (2011-2019), David Bradley (The Lodgers, The Strain, Await Further Instructions) excels in the role of a slimy bad guy.
As I watched the trailer, I was reminded of Crank (2006). The exception, of course, is that the main character had to keep shocking himself to stay alive in that movie. Here, our heroine has to shock herself out of homicidal rage. I’m wondering what other applications the ‘Jolt’ will have.
I’m honestly so excited that Jolt is going to be releasing as an Amazon Prime Video exclusive that I’m fairly bouncing in my seat.
7 - Gunpowder Milkshake (7/14)

Production/Distribution: StudioCanal, The Picture Company, Studio Babelsberg, ACME, Belga Films, Big Bang Media, Bontonfilm, Chantier Films, Diamond Films, Elevation Pictures, Hoyts Distribution, Impuls Pictures, Independent Films, Italia Film, Kino Films, Lark Films Distribution, M2 Films, Mongkol Major, Movie Cloud, New Guys / Red Cape Distribution, PVR Pictures, Playlist, Ro Image 2000, STX Entertainment, Shaw Organisation, Spentzos Films, StudioCanal Germany, StudioCanal UK, Svensk Filmindustri, Times Media Films, Volga Film Ukraine, Volga, Vértice 360, Netflix
Director: Navot Papushado
Writers: Ehud Lavski, Navot Papushado
Actors: Karen Gillan, Carla Gugino, Lena Headey, Paul Giamatti, Angela Bassett, Michelle Yeoh, Adam Nagaitis, Chloe Coleman, Ed Birch, Freya Allan, Ralph Ineson, Michael Smiley, Adam Nagaitis, Samuel Anderson, Joanna Bobin, Jack Bandeira, Joshua Grothe, David Burnell IV, Luka Omoto, Billy Buff
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 114 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Three generations of women fight back against those who could take everything from them.
My gut reaction when I even hear mention of the ABCs of Death (2012) movies is to run screaming in the other direction – internally, at least. That said, I was surprised to learn that Navot Papushado (Rabies, Big Bad Wolves, ABCs of Death 2: F is for Falling) is the director for Gunpowder Milkshake. I was already sold on the film based on the trailer and cast at that point, so all I can do is shrug and carry on. There’s no way I’m missing this one. Hey, every director’s got a crazy project somewhere in their filmography, right? I digress…
I love the premise of a female assassin’s guild with a headquarters in the guise of a library. It gives off serious John Wick (2014) vibes – though with badass women in the key roles.
I am absolutely adoring this cast, as I mentioned. I was hooked the minute I even saw the still frame of the trailer before I pressed Play. Lena Headey (Dredd, 300: Rise of an Empire, Fighting with My Family) and Karen Gillan (Doctor Who, The Big Short, The Call of the Wild) playing a deadly mother-daughter duo is absolute awesomesauce on top of that titular milkshake. When you add in the likes of Angela Bassett (London Has Fallen, Mission Impossible: Fallout, American Horror Story), Michelle Yeoh (Strike Back, Star Trek: Discovery, Boss Level), and Carla Gugino (The Space Between Us, Gerald's Game, The Haunting of Bly Manor), that is a serious team of powerhouses.
Returning to that library theme for a minute, I have to say that I am loving the titles of the books that are mentioned in the trailer. I giggled so much. My inner literature geek was doing cartwheels. I firmly believe that this points to some intelligent humor pairing up with the ass-kickery going on.
Gunpowder Milkshake is releasing as a Netflix Original, and I can’t wait.
6 - Die in A Gunfight (7/16)

Production/Distribution: Align, Culmination Productions, Digital Ignition Entertainment, JoBro Productions & Film Finance, Leeding Media, The Mark Gordon Company, Lionsgate, Parakeet Film, Rialto Distribution
Director: Collin Schiffli
Writers: Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari
Actors: Alexandra Daddario, Diego Boneta, Emmanuelle Chriqui, John Ralston, Justin Chatwin, Michelle Nolden, Nicola Correia-Damude, Stuart Hughes, Travis Fimmel, Wade Allain-Marcus, John Tench, Neven Pajkic, Billy Crudup
Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime
Rated: R
Length: 96 minutes
IMDb Blurb: In New York City, a young guy falls for the daughter of his father's nemesis.
I am a sucker for a retelling of Romeo and Juliet. I’ve seen most of the versions out there, and am excited for this new one. While it’s not being billed as such, it’s clearly where Die in a Gunfight draws its inspiration. Even if it wasn’t, who can resist an action-filled tale of two star-crossed lovers?
Not only is this modern Hatfields and McCoys type feud packed with action, it seems to have a liberal dose of comedy mixed in. I have laughed every time I watch the trailer. I have a feeling the movie, itself, will have me in stitches. This is exactly the sort of escapism that I want this summer.
Of course, you can’t forget the cast here, either. Alexandra Daddario (Night Hunter, Can You Keep a Secret?, Songbird) and Diego Boneta (Monster Party, Revenge Ride, Louis Miguel: The Series) tend to both be a bit underrated. I loved their chemistry on screen and think this is a phenomenal pairing for the lead protagonists. On the other side of the coin, we have Travis Fimmel (Vikings, Danger Close, Raised by Wolves) and Justin Chatwin (Shameless, Unleashed, In the Cloud) as antagonists. We’re going to see some quality work in this production.
I can’t say that I’m really that familiar with Collin Schiffli’s (Elias the Ant, Animals, All Creatures Here Below) work, but if Die in a Gunfight is as good as the trailer indicates, he’s hit a homerun directing this one.
Die in a Gunfight is scheduled to be released in theaters as well as digital on-demand.
5 - Space Jam: A New Legacy (7/16)

Production/Distribution: Warner Bros., Warner Animation Group, SpringHill Entertainment, Aero Mock-Ups, Proximity, Warner Bros. Animation, HBO Max, Karo Premiere, Kinomania, Warner Bros. Pictures Germany, Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Singapore
Director: Malcolm D. Lee           
Writers: Juel Taylor, Tony Rettenmaier, Keenan Coogler, Terence Nance, Jesse Gordon, Celeste Ballard, Timothy Harris, Steve Rudnick, Herschel Weingrod, Leo Benvenuti
Actors: Anna Sofie Christensen, Bob Bergen, Bryan Scamman, Cassandra Starr, Cedric Joe, Ceyair J Wright, Charles Barkley, Chiney Ogwumike, Daria Johns, Derrick Gilbert, Don Cheadle, Eric Bauza, Erin Flannery, Flanagan John, Fred Tatasciore, Gabriel Iglesias, Gerald 'Slink' Johnson, Greice Santo, Harper Leigh Alexander, Harrison White, J. Michael Tatum, Jalyn Hall, Jared Sullinger, Jeff Bergman, Jess Harnell, Jim Cummings, Julyah Rose, Kath Soucie, Katie McCabe, Khris Davis, LeBron James, Lil Pump, Martin Klebba, Nicole Kornet, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Peter Cornell, Rob Paulsen, Rocio Vidal, Shawn Bradley, Skyler Bible, Sonequa Martin, Stephen Kankole, Tacko Fall, Tress MacNeille, Whitney Coleman, Xosha Roquemore, Zendaya
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: PG
Length: 120 minutes
Moviefone Blurb: When LeBron and his young son Dom are trapped in a digital space by a rogue A.I., LeBron must get them home safe by leading Bugs, Lola Bunny and the whole gang of notoriously undisciplined Looney Tunes to victory over the A.I.’s digitized champions on the court: a powered-up roster of professional basketball stars as you’ve never seen them before. It’s Tunes versus Goons in the highest-stakes challenge of his life, that will redefine LeBron’s bond with his son and shine a light on the power of being yourself. The ready-for-action Tunes destroy convention, supercharge their unique talents and surprise even “King” James by playing the game their own way.
OK IMDb, you fell asleep at the wheel here. I had to use Moviefone’s blurb for Space Jam: A New Legacy, because IMDb’s didn’t describe the movie at all. I mean seriously. “NBA superstar LeBron James teams up with Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Looney Tunes for this long-awaited sequel.” That doesn’t tell me about what happens in this movie at all. I digress…
Of course, the only basketball player that could follow in the shoes of the original movie legends would be LeBron James (The LeBrons, Trainwreck, Smallfoot). I’m excited to see that he’s also a producer for this project. King James seems to be bitten by the Hollywood bug, as he’s slated to be producing several more big projects coming up.
Do you really need more of a reason to watch this new Space Jam (1996) aside from LeBron and the Looney Toons characters? I can give you at least 4.
The first two are easy. Don Cheadle (The Guard, Miles Ahead, Don't Look Deeper) is playing the antagonist that sets up the high stakes basketball challenge, and Sonequa Martin-Green (The Walking Dead, Star Trek: Discovery, Invincible) is playing LeBron’s on-screen wife.
Rolling in at third, I am absolutely blown away by the graphics I saw in the trailer. Not only am I giddy that they’re going to give us some old-school 2D Looney Toons action, but the 3D animation bringing the toons into ‘reality’ is stunning. The animation in the first Space Jam was cutting edge for the time, and not too shabby then – but this leaves that in the dust.
What’s my 4th reason? Simple. The story is appealing. The first Space Jam story was a little silly. This sequel has a bit more heart to it and has more risk involved. I am very thankful that this wasn’t going to be a rinse and repeat with new players inserted.
I’m excited that Space Jam: A New Legacy will be released on HBO Max at the same time it hits theaters.
4 - Jungle Cruise (7/30)

Production/Distribution: Davis Entertainment, Flynn Picture Company, Seven Bucks Productions, TSG Entertainment, Walt Disney Pictures, Zaftig Films, Blitz Film & Video Distribution, Blitz, Forum Hungary, Kinomania, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Argentina, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Germany, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Sony Pictures Releasing, Disney+
Director:  Jaume Collet-Serra
Writers: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa, Josh Goldstein, Michael Green, John Norville
Actors: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramírez, Andy Nyman, Annika Pampel, Chris Ward, Dani Rovira, David Lengel, Emily Marie Palmer, Flanagan John, Ilana Guralnik, Jack Whitehall, James William Ballard, Jesse Plemons, Kalanikauleleiaiwi Jardine, Keith Arthur Bolden, Mark Ashworth, Michael H. Cole, Paul Giamatti, Pedro Lopez, Peter Luis Zimmerman, Quim Gutiérrez, Quintin Tyler Price, Raphael Alejandro, Romualdo Castillo, Ryan Dinning, Sharon M. Bell, Shawn McBride, Simone Lockhart, Sulem Calderon, Veronica Falcón
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: PG-13
Length: 127 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Based on Disneyland's theme park ride where a small riverboat takes a group of travelers through a jungle filled with dangerous animals and reptiles but with a supernatural element.
Now we’re getting down to brass tacks, as the old saying goes. All of the movies from here on out could have easily been in my #1 position, had this been any other month. It was really a matter of splitting hairs to determine what their order would be. Half of the top 4 we’ve been waiting what seems like forever for, and the other half are new and exciting.
Jungle Cruise falls into the ‘waiting forever for’ category. It was originally set for an October 2019 release, but then Disney bumped it to July of 2020. Of course, the pandemic futzed with those plans so now we have a new release date this month – and this one is sticking. (Knock on wood.) I’ve been dying to watch this movie since I saw the first trailer.
Dwayne Johnson (Moana, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Young Rock) is in it. Done deal. I have so much admiration for that man, but also everything he touches film-wise tends to turn gold at the box-office whether it’s good or not. Jungle Cruise lands in the fun category for this movie-adaptation of the Disney ride. I don’t think we’re going to care if it’s “good” or not. It’s going to be entertaining.
I haven’t forgotten his co-star, Emily Blunt (The Girl on the Train, A Quiet Place, Mary Poppins Returns), though. The updated trailer where The Rock pretends to not remember her name is funny – but there’s no mistaking that she commands her own attention on the screen and will be a good match to give Johnson’s character a run for his money – literally.
Jungle Cruise is set to premiere on Disney+ simultaneously with its theater release. Premium has been mentioned, however, so this is likely another of the high-priced rentals rather than a general-subscriber release.
3 - Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins (7/23)

Production/Distribution: Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Skydance Media, Hasbro, Di Bonaventura Pictures, Paramount Pictures Germany, Paramount Pictures International, United International Pictures, Universal Pictures International, Paramount+
Director: Robert Schwentke
Writers: Evan Spiliotopoulos, Joe Shrapnel, Anna Waterhouse
Actors: Henry Golding, Andrew Koji, Samara Weaving, Calum Dench, Haruka Abe, Iko Uwais, Peter Mensah, Samuel Finzi, Simon Chin, Steven Allerick, Takehiro Hira, Úrsula Corberó
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Rated: PG-13
Length: 121 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A G.I. Joe spin-off centered around the character of Snake Eyes.
Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins is another film that was a bit delayed due to the pandemic, however, it hadn’t gotten a lot of publicity before its original delay so it feels like a ‘brand new’ movie to me.
The previous attempts at bringing the animated world of G.I. Joe (1985-1986) to life were decent, but left a lot of room to be desired. I loved them from a nostalgia factor level as well as just simply being a fan of some of the cast members. With this new reboot attempt, Snake Eyes has the potential to breathe a whole new life into this franchise. If the trailers are a good indicator, I have a feeling it’s going to be successful.
I absolutely adored the cartoon series, so this IP will always have a special place in my heart. That’s really the only reason I need to give this movie a shot. I can understand that the modern audience, however, might not be so easily swayed – especially after the previous films didn’t perform as well at the box office.
The action looks seriously on point. The fight scenes highlighted in the trailers are badass –and the story going along with it looks really compelling. I was a watcher of the cartoons and not a reader of the comics, so I’m afraid I’m not sure how much follows the written page.
There’s one hell of a cast here. Notable are Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians, A Simple Favor, The Gentlemen) and Andrew Koji (Finding Akira, Peaky Blinders, Warrior) in the roles of Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow respectively. I’m also jazzed that Samara Weaving (Ready or Not, Guns Akimbo, Bill & Ted Face the Music) will be playing Scarlett. She’s more than a scream queen. We’ve seen her kick some serious ass on screen, too.
I’m just giddy about Snake Eyes in general. It will be released to theaters only, at first. However, since this is a Paramount property, look for it on Paramount+ after 45 days, if not sooner.
2 - The Tomorrow War (7/2)

Production/Distribution: Skydance Media, Lit Entertainment Group, New Republic Pictures, Phantom Four Films, Amazon Studios, Paramount Pictures International, United International Pictures, Universal Pictures International, Amazon Prime Video
Director: Chris McKay
Writer: Zach Dean
Actors: Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski, J.K. Simmons, Betty Gilpin, Edwin Hodge, Eric Graise, Felisha Terrell, Gary Weeks, Gissette Valentin, Jasmine Mathews, Keith Powers, Kiley Casciano, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Melissa Saint-Amand, Mike Mitchell, Rose Bianco, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Sam Richardson, Seychelle Gabriel, Shane Berengue
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Rated: PG-13
Length: 140 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A family man is drafted to fight in a future war where the fate of humanity relies on his ability to confront the past.
Chris Pratt (Passengers, The Kid, Onward) in an action, sci-fi movie? Sign me up! Do you really need more reasons to watch? Okay… well fine. I’ll give you a few.
Yvonne Strahovski (All I See Is You, The Predator, The Handmaid's Tale) and J.K. Simmons (Spider Man: Far from Home, 21 Bridges, Invincible) look awesome in The Tomorrow War, too. I do have to say, though, that Sam Richardson (Promising Young Woman, Superintelligence, Werewolves Within) stole the trailers for me. I am loving the comedic element he was providing, and can’t wait to see more of his work in the movie.
The special effects look amazing from the creatures to the high-tech gadgetry. I was loving the zap-into-the-future graphics, too. There’s a good blend of genres here with a refreshingly new story to pair with it.
The Tomorrow War drops on Amazon Prime Video exclusively, and you can bet I’ll be watching it on day 1.
1 - Black Widow (7/9)

Production/Distribution: Marvel Studios, Blitz Film & Video Distribution, Blitz, Cinecolor Films Perú, Disney Studios, Forum Hungary, Kinomania, Walt Disney Studios Japan, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Argentina, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Disney+
Director: Cate Shortland
Writers: Jac Schaeffer, Ned Benson, Eric Pearson, Stan Lee, Don Heck, Don Rico
Actors: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Ahmed Bakare, Ever Anderson, Jade Ma, Liran Nathan, Martin Razpopov, Michelle Lee, Nanna Blondell, O.T. Fagbenle, Olivier Richters, Rachel Weisz, Ray Winstone, Robert Downey Jr., Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Simona Brown-Zivkovska, Violet McGraw, William Hurt, Yolanda Lynes
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Rated: PG-13
Length: 133 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A film about Natasha Romanoff in her quests between the films Civil War and Infinity War.
Black Widow is the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and kicks off Phase 4 of the story arcs. There really isn’t any better reason to watch this movie. I can rattle off a stellar list of cast and reasons – but it still points back to what I’ve already said.
Scarlett Johansson (We Bought a Zoo, Chef, Marriage Story) is certainly not the only notable cast member, but considering she’s the title character, I’m choosing to focus on her. Johansson is crazy-versatile as an actress, but from the moment I saw her appear in Iron Man 2 (2010) she was the epitome of Black Widow to me. (I think she looks better with red hair over the blonde, but I’m biased.) I am super excited to see her in the role again – and I hope they can find a way to bring us even more stories in the future.
I am curious what the production team has settled on in place of the customary Stan Lee (Bad Days, Madness in the Method, Big Hero 6: The Series) cameo. There are rumors circulating, but we won’t know until the film hits the screen for sure.
The pandemic was not kind to Black Widow. We were supposed to have it in theaters in May 2020, but alas, COVID struck and delayed the film until now. It feels like we’ve been waiting forever and a year.
Black Widow will be released in theaters and Disney+ Premier Access. I haven’t been to a theater since the pandemic started – but now that I and my family are fully vaccinated, we may just splurge for tickets to see this one on the big screen for our very first post-pandemic movie outing.
Movies to Look Out For
According to: Selina
 Batman: The Long Halloween Part Two .20
Joe Bell .19
The Call .18
The Comeback Trail .17
Die in a Gunfight .16
No Sudden Move .15
Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway .14
Blood Red Sky .13
The Green Knight .12
How it Ends .11
Snake Eyes .10
Jungle Cruise .9
The Forever Purge .8
The Tomorrow War .7
Old .6
Fear Street Part One 1994, Part Two 1978, Part Three 1666 .5
Gunpowder Milkshake .4
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions .3
Space Jam: A New Legacy .2
Black Widow .1

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