This month in culture: July 2024

What should be on your radar this July

culture
Mia Goth and Halsey in MaXXXine
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The Bear, season three

Hulu, June 27

America loves a misanthropic, depressive chef. How else would we know the chef is a real artist? The Bear returns for its third season with the trailer promising lots of arguing, screw-ups, failures and everything else you’ve come to expect from the beloved show. We’re not sure why you would take a perfectly good beef-sandwich shop in Chicago and try to turn it into a Michelin-starred restaurant, but we hope Carmy and the gang give us some sort of good reason.

— Zack Christenson

Jeremy Allen White in The Bear

Wimbledon

ESPN and ABC, July 1

You…

The Bear, season three

Hulu, June 27

America loves a misanthropic, depressive chef. How else would we know the chef is a real artist? The Bear returns for its third season with the trailer promising lots of arguing, screw-ups, failures and everything else you’ve come to expect from the beloved show. We’re not sure why you would take a perfectly good beef-sandwich shop in Chicago and try to turn it into a Michelin-starred restaurant, but we hope Carmy and the gang give us some sort of good reason.

— Zack Christenson

Jeremy Allen White in The Bear

Wimbledon

ESPN and ABC, July 1

You know summer has arrived when the brilliant green grass of the All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club lights up your screens. Tennis is at an interesting inflection point in America. While US men’s tennis has been hoping for an elusive homegrown star, last year’s US Open attendance broke records with nearly a million people showing up over the three weeks. Now the movie Challengers has apparently added to the surge, with Google searches for tennis lessons skyrocketing by 245 percent. The greats of the last twenty-plus years are either retired or limping (literally) into the sunset, but a new crop of young stars is grabbing the spotlight, with greats like Carlos Alcaraz providing some of the craziest tennis we’ve seen in years.

— ZC

Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F

Netflix, July 3

The straight-to-streaming nostalgia fest continues with another Beverly Hills Cop sequel. Eddie Murphy’s Axel Foley teams up again with sidekicks Billy Rosewood and Taggart and a host of cameos from the previous films (including scene-stealer Bronson Pinchot as Serge) to crash some helicopters, trucks, cars and a whole bunch of other things that blow up big time. I’m a sucker for these throwback reboots of Eighties and Nineties franchises even though they tend to be a let-down (Bill and TedComing to America, etc.). I’ll watch anyway, because it’s there.

ZC 

MaXXXine

In theaters July 5

Ti West only planned to make a single film — his slasher X, about the cast and crew of a 1979 porn production who are attacked by an elderly couple on whose Texas farm they are shooting. However, West liked the character Pearl so much that he started writing a prequel, and shot Pearl: An X-traordinary Origin Story immediately afterward. Both released to great critical acclaim in 2022 (is one of my favorite films of the past twenty-five years) and a third film was quickly approved. Hitting cinemas July 5, MaXXXine follows X’s lead, Maxine, once again played by Mia Goth, as she pursues her dreams of Hollywood stardom while avoiding a mysterious killer, the Night Stalker. Expect Eighties style, gorgeous retro filmmaking and lots of over-the-top bloody violence. I’m pumped.

— Ross Anderson 

Murder Company

In theaters July 5

Right on the heels of D-Day’s eightieth anniversary comes this new World War Two romp starring Kelsey Grammer as an 82nd Airborne officer who leads a group of paratroopers working with the French resistance to take out a high-ranking Nazi official. The marketing materials for the film indicate it’s based on a true story, though there don’t seem to be any official records, so who knows? While we doubt this will be the next Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers, the cast and trailer make me think it’ll be worth a watch.

— ZC

Fly Me to the Moon

In theaters July 12

It finally happened. Someone made a movie about the Moon-landing-wasn’t-real conspiracy. Of course, there was Moonwalkers in 2015, Operation Avalanche in 2016 and numerous documentaries on the subject. But this time, it’s a romcom. Starring Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum, the film depicts a marketing maven brought in to fix NASA’s public image. The space agency is racing to put a man on the Moon; Tatum’s launch director Cole Davis is directed to stage a fake moon landing as PR back-up in case of disaster. ScarJo plays the “marketing maven” he works with; sparks apparently fly. To the Moon? We’ll see.

— Ella Johnson

All Hell, Los Campesinos!

July 19

Los Campesinos! would almost certainly hate to be plugged in the pages of The Spectator. The British seven-piece indie-pop group are vocally, achingly progressive — but they also make phenomenally good music that I listen to while I’m copy-editing this magazine, or running, or dwelling upon my many mistakes and anguishes. They specialize in “sleeper hits for weeping dipshits” — Gareth Paisey’s lyrics are beyond compare — and their seventh album All Hell will be their first in seven years. The first two tracks, “Feast of Tongues” and “A Psychic Wound,” show immense promise and more than a tinge of American emo influence. They put on a barnstorming live show too — after a jaunt through the US in June, they head back to the UK this month.

— Matt McDonald

Twisters

In theaters July 19

Yes, we love Glen Powell, even if it is true that he looks like a capybara. The thirty-five-year-old Texan has proven his appeal by playing a mini-Iceman in Top Gun: Maverick and a love-to-hate-him romantic interest in Anyone But You. His new film, Twisters, is an update to the 1996 cult classic and features Powell as a charming and arrogant storm chaser with the catchphrase “If you feel it, chase it!” Count me in. An original soundtrack, featuring “Ain’t No Love in Oklahoma” by Luke Combs (a certified banger),“Hell or High Water” by Bailey Zimmerman and other new songs by major country acts will drop on the same day as the film.

— Amber Duke

Snowpiercer, season four

AMC, July 21

How often do you see a post-apocalyptic drama with a happy ending? That’s what the third season of Snowpiercer, the adaptation of French graphic novel Le Transperceneige, appeared to be threatening when it last graced our screens in 2022. The thousand-carriage-long train carrying the remnants of human society had divided, one half continuing its journey around the globe, the other locating a thaw, and hope, in the Horn of Africa. But the final moments of the season finale teased trouble ahead: after a “Three Months Later” card, Jennifer Connelly’s Melanie Cavill spots mortar shells on the horizon. The show returns for a fourth and final season after a move from TNT to AMC. Will Sean Bean’s character Mr. Wilford survive? Given his track record…

— MM

Time Bandits

Apple TV+, July 24

Disney+ may have tried and failed to relaunch the seminal Eighties fantasy film Willow with a not-bad 2022 series; now Apple has its own crack at resurrecting Terry Gilliam’s equally beloved 1981 film Time Bandits and turning it into a TV series. The presence of the ubiquitous Taika Waititi as co-creator and director of the first two episodes is a concern, but Gilliam’s presence as executive producer suggests that it won’t be going too off-piste — and the casting of the always reliable Lisa Kudrow in the lead is an undeniable asset. Apple has been casting around to find the next breakout cult hit, after Slow Horses and Severance. This could well be it.

— Alexander Larman

Summer Olympics

NBC/Peacock, July 26

Who doesn’t love sitting in front of the television, on the couch, watching athletes in peak performance do absurd things like swim in synchrony to music? Paris will be taken over for two weeks in July and August as the world’s athletes and hordes of spectators descend on the land of wine and cheese. This may be one of the few times I’ll ever say I’m glad I’m not in Paris; as in all cases of Olympic host cities, it sounds like the costs and logistics are a nightmare. All the same, I’ll be happy to watch Team USA rack up a few medals.

— ZC

Deadpool & Wolverine in Deadpool & Wolverine

Deadpool & Wolverine

In theaters July 26

The industry will be watching to see whether this year’s only Marvel picture pulls audiences out of their superhero fatigue after a string of recent flops and disappointments. Do people really want another superhero mash-up? Well, let’s see what the commercial prospects are for the first R-rated blockbuster release from Walt Disney, in which Ryan Reynolds’s perma-wisecracking Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool, is united with Hugh Jackman’s ever-taciturn mutant Logan, aka Wolverine. Grace notes for those less interested in the quip-quip bang-bang that these projects demand include the most ingenious casting of the great Matthew Macfadyen as a character called Paradox — a “Time Variance Authority” agent, for those who care more than I do about these things — and the potentially intriguing presence of Emma Corrin as the villainous Cassandra Nova. Fun night out or derivative tosh? We’ll find out soon.

—AL

This article was originally published in The Spectator’s July 2024 World edition.