Best Movies to See in July: ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,’ ‘Lion King,’ Spider-Man

No summer doldrums this month — not when there’s a Sundance breakout drama, a new Pagan horror movie from the guy who gave you Hereditary and Quentin Tarantino’s valentine to old-school Sixties Tinseltown on the horizon. All that, plus you get a pair of strong music documentaries and none other than Beyoncé herself (in lion form, but still). Here’s what’s coming to a theater near you this July.

Crawl (July 12th)
Alexandre Aja’s disaster-horror flick boasts a premise ginned up in B-movie heaven: a father-daughter pair (Barry Pepper and Kaya Scodelario) ignore their Florida town’s evacuation order and attempt to weather a Category 5 hurricane in their home. It promptly fills with water — which then brings in a slew of hungry alligators, setting the scene for a toothy, bloody battle between humanity and the untamed wild. Why should sharks get to have all the fun? If this is half as good as the French filmmaker’s gloriously gory 2010 remake of Piranha, we’re in for a treat.

David Crosby: Remember My Name (July 19th)
Hippie-rock legend David Crosby has enough anecdotes, musings, and assorted insights to fill his own cinematic world. (Long live the Crosbyverse!). Documentarian A.J. Eaton culls the best of them for this doc, though the one-time Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young member isn’t kicking back and reminiscing about the good old days. Instead, we find him in repose, as a lifetime of self-destructive choices threatens to catch up with his declining health. None other than Cameron Crowe takes a producer credit.

The Farewell (July 12th)
Lulu Wang adapted her own episode of This American Life for her breakout feature, weaving a poignant drama from the materials of her family life. Billi (Awkwafina) is a millennial unsure about her parents’ decision not to inform her grandmother (Zhao Shuzhen) that the elderly woman is terminally ill. So she travels to China for one last reunion under the cover of a wedding. Grief, identity, East-West frictions, and the question of what we owe our loved ones swirl together into a self-assured personal expression from a significant new filmmaking voice.

The Lion King (July 19th)
Gather round, children: Once upon a time, Disney used pens and ink to tell a tale of royal unrest in a musical jungle. Smash cut ahead a couple decades, and computers now bring us the Shakespeare-scaled epic of Simba (voiced by Donald Glover), Nala (Beyoncé Knowles-Carter), Mufasa (Chiwetel Ejiofor), and Scar (James Earl Jones, reprising his role) in freshly photorealistic glory. With Billy Eichner, Seth Rogen, and John Oliver filling out the voice cast, one of the most beloved titles from the Mouse House’s library gets a complete rejuvenation. And this one has 100% more Beyoncé. Simba isn’t ready for this jelly.

Marianne and Leonard: Words of Love (July 5th)
The late, great Leonard Cohen met the love of his life, a beguiling Norwegian named Marianne Ihlen, while they were both living in an artists’ colony on the Greek island of Hydra. This documentary from Nick Broomfield (Kurt & Courtney) tracks the evolution of the tumultuous decades-spanning relationship between the famed musician and his muse. They eventually went their own way, yet they couldn’t extricate themselves from one another’s lives and persisted in their intense partnership until they died three months apart.

Midsommar (July 3rd)
Hereditary‘s Ari Aster is back (already?), and this time around, he sends a group of American tourists to Sweden. They think they’re attending a cultural festival taking place once every 90 years — an emotionally fraught, grieving young woman (Florence Pugh) keeps wondering whether the creepy villagers and their caged bear have stranger, more sinister plans. The colder you go into this movie, the better.

The Mountain (July 26th)
A motherless young man (Tye Sheridan) loses his father (Udo Kier). He joins a mercurial 1950s doctor (Jeff Goldblum) on his travels demonstrating a controversial lobotomy technique. Their journey takes them on a sightseeing tour through the dark soul of midcentury America, a land of bullying, egotistical men and quiet, serious women. Filmmaker Rick Alverson (Entertainment) brings his trademark mordant humor, hyper-controlled compositions, and habit for alienation to a story that unspools like a dense novel.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (July 26th)
Quentin Tarantino’s ninth picture puts his sui generis style to work creating an immersive, impossibly detailed Los Angeles of the Sixties, when skirts were short and hair was long. It’s here that washed-up actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) struggle to figure out how they fit into a rapidly changing industry, both men relics of an entirely different era nearly Their paths cross with that of a lively starlet named Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), blissfully unaware of the Manson Family forces gathering in the film’s margins. It’s a far-out salute to the movies Tarantino grew up watching and the city that’s sustained his fever dreams.

Spider-Man: Far From Home (July 2nd)
Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man goes to Europe in the second installment of the franchise’s umpteenth reboot, with Peter Parker (Tom Holland) as a normal kid on a class trip through London and Paris. He wants nothing more than to snap some photos and canoodle with Mary Jane (Zendaya); the villainous Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), however, has other plans for the Webslinger. Cue colossal CGI showdowns, Spidey on the Eiffel Tower, etc.

Stuber (July 12th)
Kumail Nanjiani is Stu, a regular guy making a few bucks as an Uber driver. (Now does the cryptic title make more sense? Yeah, we didn’t think so either.) Then a detective (Dave Bautista) gets in the car while tracking a maniacal terrorist, setting in motion a deadly all-night pursuit best described as “Collateral with jokes.” Though he’s technically the straight man, Bautista is delivering his deadpan punch lines with the same force as his actual punches if the trailer is to be believed. Dwayne Johnson who?

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