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All The Cool Stuff Coming To Netflix In July

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The season’s hot weather ensures that “Netflix and chill” will always be the right answer.  The big question, though, is deciding what to watch.  Several franchises show up among this month’s Netflix offerings.  There’s “Terminator 2,” the Austin Powers series, and the first three Karate Kid movies.  However, watching the “Twilight” series is not recommended unless there’s a Rifftrax accompaniment (e.g. “‘Twilight: Breaking Dawn’…because ‘Bad’ and ‘Wind’ were already taken.”).

If the heat hasn’t weakened your yen to try something new, there are some juicy offerings.  Barack and Michelle Obama shepherd a new take on the “Schoolhouse Rock” format for the civics-starved.  Catch new seasons of Tim Robinson’s off-the-wall sketch series or Mindy Kaling’s teen rom-com.  Or, if you need plenty of gunfire in your cinema diet, watch three generations of kick-ass women (including Karen Gillan and Michelle Yeoh) bring the hurt to an army of angry mobsters.

Whether you feel like taking a nostalgia trip with Kevin Smith’s continuation of “Masters of the Universe” or putting on your Earper hat for one last time, get ready for some summer TV fun.

Wynonna Earp

Now Available

Audible–Senior Amaree McKenstry plays football for the Maryland School for the Deaf.  Contrary to what hearing people may think, being deaf doesn’t exempt him McKenstry from such personal challenges as figuring out next steps in his life or dealing with the suicide of a friend.  

Fear Street Trilogy–Inspired by the titular R.L. Stine novel series, this new tale follows a group of teenage friends investigating the reasons behind the cycles of bloody murders taking place in their hometown of Shadyside.  Could the dilapidated condition of the town be traced to a curse placed centuries ago by witch Sarah Fier?  Having non-traditional horror protagonists (e.g. a central lesbian couple) adds spice to this mix of gore, humor, and references to classic horror films. 

Generation 56K–This Italian romantic comedy/drama begins in the present day.  30-something Daniel and Matilda meet by chance and reconnect via the Internet.  Back in the late 1990s, teens Daniel, Matilda, Luca, and Sandro lived on the small southern Italian island of Procida when Internet access via 56K modem became available.  Teenaged Daniel and Matilda never went beyond friendship.  Now that they’re older, could their relationship become deeper?

Midnight Run–Martin Brest (“Beverly Hills Cop”)’s classic buddy action/comedy starred Robert De Niro in his first comic role and Charles Grodin as a hilarious neurotic.  Ex-cop turned skip-tracer Jack Walsh (De Niro) captures bail-jumper Jonathan “Duke” Mardukas (Grodin), an accountant who embezzled millions of dollars from the Vegas mob.  However, because Mardukas has an intense fear of flying, Walsh must meet a deadline to get Duke back to Los Angeles by taking land-bound transportation.  Unfortunately, mob boss Jimmy Serrano sends hit teams after Duke while very cheesed off FBI agent Alonzo Mosely (Yaphet Kotto) has a really personal score to settle with Jack.   

Snowpiercer–Bong Joon-ho’s science fiction adventure nearly fell victim to Harvey Weinstein’s cinematic butchery.  A near-future Earth has been plunged into a new Ice Age thanks to a global warming remediation effort gone south.  The remnants of humanity may survive aboard a high-speed train created by wealthy industrialist Wilford.  However, class differences still keep the wealthy in front car luxury while the poor and downtrodden live in the cramped rear cars.  Conditions are ripe for an uprising.  Elected leader Curtis (Chris Evans) might succeed this time if he can free prisoner and junkie Namgoong (Kang-ho Song).  This train engineer knows how to open the locked doors between sections of the train.  But what will the surviving rebels find when they finally face Wilford himself?

Sword Of Trust–Lynn Shelton’s quietly acerbic comedy begins when lefty lesbian Cynthia (Jillian Bell) discovers she’s inherited a dusty sword.  With her partner Mary (Michaela Watkins), Cynthia tries to sell the unwanted blade to small-time pawnshop dealer Mel (Marc Maron).  But when Mel learns Cynthia’s grandfather claims the sword provides solid proof the South won the Civil War, he believes he can flog the sword for big bucks.  However, it turns out such Confederacy-loving buyers are also a) crazy, b) violent, and/or c) happen to be heavily armed.

July 4

We The People

We The People–Remember “Schoolhouse Rock,” the series which used catchy songs and animation to teach math, grammar, and civics to kids?  Now executive producers Barack and Michelle Obama present a new series using the “Schoolhouse Rock” format to introduce a new generation of kids to American civics.  Each episode uses a different animation style to present such subjects as the electoral system and taxes.  Singers heard in the episodes will include Janelle Monae, Brandi Carlile, and Lin-Manuel Miranda.  Even poet Amanda Gorman will make an appearance.

July 6

I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson Season 2–It’s the return of this critically-acclaimed off-the-wall sketch comedy series.  If you can laugh at these sample sketches from S1, this weird show will be for you:

 

*Robinson, dressed in “Edge of Tomorrow” action gear, steps through a Christmas time portal into Ebenezer Scrooge’s bedroom to help him fight undead space skeletons

 

*Robinson plays the host of a reality-show baby-judging competition dealing with an unruly crowd loudly cursing out unfavorable toddlers

 

*When Robinson’s “In Memoriam” segment devalues a dead star, he gets payback from a revenge-seeking Will Forte.

July 7

Cat People

Cat People–This new docuseries from Glen Zipper (“Dogs”) offers portraits of unique cats and the people who love them.  Get ready to meet a surfing cat, a drum-playing cat, and the Instagram-famous cats of the Greek island of Syros.  

Dogs Season 2–Glen Zipper’s docuseries once again travels around the globe to bring stories of the unconditional love between humans and canines.  Among the stories featured this season will be one on Butler University mascot Butler Blue, who provided emotional support for handler human Michael Kaltenmark during his kidney transplant process.

July 8

Elize Matsunaga: Once Upon A Crime–The crime that shocked Brazil in 2012 gets the docuseries treatment.  Former nurse Elize Matsunaga shot to public infamy for her method of murdering her husband, rich food businessman Marcos Kitano Matsunaga.  Not only did the former nurse fatally shoot her husband, she dismembered his corpse and tried to dispose of his body parts.  Was it a crime of passion or an act of deliberate cold-blooded murder?  Viewers can decide for themselves.

July 9

Atypical Season 4–It’s the final season of this comedy/drama about autistic teenager Sam Gardner and the members of his family.  Sam’s taken a big step in his quest for independence and love by moving out into his own place with best friend Zahid.  Doug and Elsa, Sam’s parents, may have reconciled but they still need to work on their relationship.  Sister Casey faces a big decision regarding her plans to move to California for college.

How I Became A Superhero–The Parisians in this adaptation of Gerald Bronner’s novel don’t think much of the integration of superheroes into French everyday life.  More than a few superheroes will go to extreme lengths to achieve fame.  Now a new street drug will make the superhero problem worse.  It gives ordinary mortals super abilities sans super responsibilities.  Meanwhile, super-villainess Naja is hunting and stealing power from people with abilities.  Police detectives Gary Moreau and Cecile Schaltzmann are trying to stem both problems, but they may very well need superpowered help to do so.  

Gunpowder Milkshake

Private Network: Who Killed Manuel Buendia?–In May 1984, renowned Mexican newspaper columnist Manuel Buendia was shot to death outside his office.  Buendia had turned his journalistic skills into a combat weapon directed against far-right groups, shady businessmen, drug traffickers, corrupt government officials, and CIA operations in Mexico.  Unsurprisingly, the journalist’s assassination officially remains unsolved.  This documentary looks back at Buendia’s life and features testimony from his peers and confidantes.  

July 14

Gunpowder Milkshake–The summer movie season would not be complete without an action film where 10,000 bullets are flying around.  This one has plenty of guns and kick-ass women.  Assassin Sam (Karen Gillan) arouses the wrath of a crime syndicate led by Nathan (Paul Giamatti) when she goes off-mission to save the life of 8-year-old Emily.  To fight back and (maybe) win, she’ll need help from Scarlet (Lena Headey) aka the assassin mother who abandoned her and The Librarians (Carla Gugino, Michelle Yeoh, and Angela Bassett).

Heist–The ordinary perpetrators of three big heists recount how they pulled off their thefts in this docuseries.  Of course, the series also shows how these thieves were caught.  The subjects are: a 21-year-old woman who steals millions in Vegas casino cash; an aspiring father who steals a fortune from the Miami airport and watches TV shows to learn how to remain uncaught; and a Kentucky father who steals a fortune in Pappy Van Winkle bourbon from local distilleries.  

July 15

Beastars Season 2–The anime adaptation of Paru Itagaki’s fantasy manga returns with a new season.  At Cherryton Academy, anthropomorphic herbivores and carnivores live in harmony.  One such carnivore is the tall, timid and quiet grey wolf Legoshi.  He’s happy to work behind the scenes as a stagehand for the school drama club.  However, when Tem the alpaca is murdered and devoured, distrust starts brewing between the herbivores and carnivores.  As the new season begins, Legoshi has confessed his feelings for dwarf rabbit Haru, but his determination to protect her means he needs to become stronger.  Since eating meat is not an option for him, the young wolf prepares for harder training under the panda Gohin’s tutelage.  Meanwhile, Tem’s killer is still on the loose, but it’s suspected the perp is connected to the drama club.

Never Have I Ever

Never Have I Ever Season 2–The teen rom-com co-created by Mindy Kaling is back with new headaches for first generation Indian-American teen Devi Vishwakumar.  All Devi wanted was to shed her nerdy image and become popular at Sherman Oaks High.  But her pursuit of that dream led to unraveling of old relationships and friction with her widowed mother Nalini.  In the new season, Devi deals (or not) with accidentally creating a love triangle.  In addition, the arrival of confident new Indian student Aneesa means Devi faces a serious competitor for both classmates’ attention and the boys she’s trying to choose between.  And did we mention Nalini might get a new love interest in the form of rival dermatologist Dr. Chris Jackson (played by Common)?

July 16

Deep–This Thai thriller asks: if you were offered large sums of money to not sleep, would you say yes?  The lure of a handsome payday for taking part in a German company’s neuroscience experiment ensnares four insomniac medical students.  They’re guinea pigs for testing out a new drug called Deep.  All they have to do is just go about their daily routines and stay awake.  As the students unfortunately learn, if they sleep, they may die.

July 20

Milkwater–Straight millennial Milo (Molly Bernard, “Younger”) is content with a life of hanging out with her lesbian best friend and her gay roommates.   But when the members of her alterna-family start getting into relationships, what’s the abandoned Milo going to do?  Enter older gay Roger, who has dreams of fatherhood.  Milo’s offer of being Roger’s surrogate is great, but does she have an agenda? 

Milkwater

July 21

The Movies That Made Us Season 2–Get ready for another deep dive into more classic high-profile Hollywood movies from your childhood.  Not only will viewers learn how the films were made, but their legacy will also be discussed.  Up for examination this season are “Forrest Gump,” “Jurassic Park,” “Back To The Future,” and “Pretty Woman.”  

July 22

Cousins–This acclaimed New Zealand film is being brought to a wider audience courtesy of Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY distributors.  This adaptation of Patricia Grace’s novel follows Maori cousins Makareta, Mata, and Missy through three different time periods in their lives.  Along the way, the viewer will be immersed in Maori culture as well as the injustices whites have inflicted over the years on the Maoris.

Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop–This anime film is created in celebration of animation studio Victor Entertainment’s 10th anniversary.  The film’s screenplay comes from writer Dai Sato (“Cowboy BeBop,” “Samurai Champloo”).  High school student Cherry royally sucks at communicating with others.  So he prefers to constantly keep his headphones on and write haiku.  Smile has become a popular video star despite wearing a mask to hide the braces on her large teeth.  When the two teens accidentally meet at a shopping mall, a romance in music, videos, and songs soon follows.

July 23

Masters of the Universe: Revelation–Kevin Smith helms this continuation of the 1980s animated fantasy series.  In the wake of a ferocious final battle between He-Man and Skeletor (Mark Hamill), Eternia has become fractured and the Guardians of Grayskull have been scattered.  Worse, He-Man’s mighty weapon the Sword of Power has gone missing.  Teela (Sarah Michelle Gellar) races against time to solve the mystery of the sword’s disappearance before the Universe is doomed.  Her journey will unearth the long buried secrets of Castle Grayskull. 

July 26

Wynonna Earp Season 4–It’s the final season of this much-loved LGBTQ+ friendly cult supernatural TV show.  The titular descendant of Wyatt Earp has finally broken the Earp family curse.  However, her beloved gun Peacemaker has been lost, and there’s a new enemy waiting in the wings.  Meanwhile, will Wynonna’s sister Waverly finally tie the knot with her beloved Officer Nicole Haught?  Can Wynonna happily ride off into the sunset with Doc Holliday? 

July 28

Fantastic Fungi

Fantastic Fungi–Get ready to have your mind blown by an amazing trip through the world beneath your feet.  Eye-popping photography shows the visual majesty of the fungal kingdom.  In addition, the viewer will learn how fungi have played a role in everything from creating gorgonzola cheese to possibly helping early humans develop speech.  Narration by Brie Larson adds to the fun.

 

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Peter Wong

Peter Wong

I've been reviewing films for quite a few years now, principally for the online publication Beyond Chron. My search for unique cinematic experiences and genre dips have taken me everywhere from old S.F. Chinatown movie theaters showing first-run Jackie Chan movies to the chilly slopes of Park City. Movies having cat pron instantly ping my radar.

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