If I'm being honest, July doesn't have much to offer in terms of its upcoming DVD and streaming releases. You'd be better served catching up on other movies from previous months (June's suggestions), heading to the theaters for a new release, or binge watching a show or two. Either way, here's a look at the new titles available this month.
Free Fire - 2 and a half stars out of 4 - (Read my rapid review here)
I haven't been too kind to directly Ben Wheatley in the past, but the unique filmmaker puts his stylish eye to good use in the shoot em up action comedy, Free Fire. Set during the late 70s in Boston, two parties meet inside of an abandoned warehouse to take part in a massive arms deal. Yet, when tensions begin to rise for a multitude of reasons, the weapons get put to good use in an epic shoot out. Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, Brie Larson and Sharlto Copley lead a strong cast that produce stellar performances in a script that's heavy on both action and humor. And just as the non-stop gunfire begins to grow tiresome, Wheatley wraps up his film in an unexpected fashion. There's nothing groundbreaking at work in Free Fire, but it's a sure-fire good time. (July 18th)
Kong: Skull Island - 2 stars out of 4 - (Read my rapid review here)
The latest Kong reboot offers a ludicrous script with phenomenal visual effects. Unlike the recent return to the Godzilla saga, Jordan Vogt-Roberts delivers plenty of the title monster and a whole lot more. As a team of scientists are escorted by the military towards an uncharted island in the Pacific following the close of the Vietnam war, they discover that monsters exist all over the mysterious island. Samuel L. Jackson does what he does best, providing genuine comic relief at the hands of an absurd storyline, but the military presence in the film does stand as an intriguing element. But beyond all of the muck and playful craziness that lurks throughout Kong, the films manages to entertain adequately enough. (July 18th)
Gifted - 2 stars out of 4 - (Read my rapid review here)
Chris Evans trades his Captain America outfit and shield for a more sentimental flavor in Marc Webb's Gifted. Evans stars as the primary caretaker of his brilliant and spirited 7 year-old niece. He hopes to raise the girl in a simple and sociable atmosphere, but things get complicated when his mother (and her grandmother) arrives and a custody battle ensues. Youngster McKenna Grace delivers an exceptional performance, and co-star Octavia Spencer continues her string of exceptional work in this moving film. Yet, as you engage in this custody battle throughout Gifted, the resolution feels cheaply written and nonsensical, forcing the movie to end on a bit of a sour note. (July 25th)
Honorable Mention: Two lesser known films I haven't seen but are on my radar include the based on a true-story adventure, The Lost City of Z (7/11), and the British dramedy, Their Finest (7/11). Franchise blockbuster The Fate of the Furious (7/11) also arrives this month, and so does the WWII true drama, The Zookeeper's Wife (7/4), starring Jessica Chastain. A pair of options for the whole family include The Boss Baby (7/25) and Smurfs: The Lost Village (7/11), while Terrence Malick's SXSW Opening Night film, Song to Song (7/4), and ScarJo's sci-fi entry, Ghost in the Shell (7/25), round out July's new options.