From action-packed thrillers, like ‘The Old Guard,’ to historical biopics, here are the titles we’re excited to learn are streaming this July.
Greta Gerwig’s ‘Little Women’ provides a fresh take on Louisa May Alcott’s popular series of the same name. Starring Ladybird’s Saoirse Ronan along with Timothée Chalamet and Florence Pugh, it follows the four March sisters as they navigate what ambition and success means for each of them. With heavy feminist undertones and almost half the film being flashbacks, it certainly deviates from linear storytelling and classic readings of the time-honoured story, but its noteworthy performances from a star-studded ensemble make this a must-watch.
Available July 9 on Netflix
Australian series ‘Stateless’ also employs non-linear storytelling and visual motifs to paint compelling backgrounds for each of it’s four leads. Co-created by Cate Blanchett, Tony Ayres and Elise McCredie, the show is set primarily in an Australian immigration detention centre. The six-part series is loosely inspired by the true story of Cornelia Rau who, in 2004, was illegally detained by immigration authorities. ‘Stateless’ uses a Rau-esque character Sofie (Yvonne Strahovski), Afghan refugee Ameer (Fayssal Bazzi), newly employed guard Cam (Jai Courtney) and centre manager Clare (Asher Keddie) to explore the flaws of the Australian immigration system. The show is riddled with twists and turns, uncovering how Sofie wound up in the centre with a false identity.
Available July 8 on Netflix
Here’s one for Japanese horror fanatics — and particular, those who loved ‘The Grudge’. ‘Ju-On: Origins’ is a new Japanese language horror series that’s a prequel of the cult classic series. Set in the 1980s, the story follows a paranormal researcher named Odajima Yasuo and his obsession with a haunted house — and the curse that’s believed to befall its visitors when they approach it. With minimal use of jump scares, it’s said to be a refreshing welcome to the horror series genre.
Watch on Netflix
The Old Guard
‘The Old Guard,’ directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, tries to tackle the advantages and potential downside of being able to live forever — an age-old human obsession. Based on the original graphic novel by Greg Rucka, this newest addition to the Netflix roster is about a group of four mercenaries who are seemingly immortal. When these never-ageing warriors are given a new assignment, they find a young US Marine named Nile (Kiki Layne) who also possesses their mysterious abilities.
Led by immortal warrior Andy (Charlize Theron), the group must track down and eliminate enemies that want to exploit their abilities for commercial gain. With Rucka writing the screenplay himself, the film promises to be an action-packed thriller that stays true to its literary inspiration.
Available July 10 on Netflix
‘Warrior Nun,’ based on the graphic novel series by Ben Dunn, is the latest entry in the fantasy genre on Netflix. Season one follows Ava Silva, a 19-year-old quadriplegic orphan, who is resurrected by a secret organisation called the Order of the Cruciform Sword. Comprised of demon hunting nuns, they have chosen her as their latest Halo Bearer and have reversed the spinal damage she has had since she was seven. Destined to be the next Warrior Nun, Ava must learn how to control her new found superpowers. With unexpected plot twists and oodles of tongue-in-cheek humour, you can expect a few laughs from this offbeat show.
Watch on Netflix
‘Pennyworth,’ directed by Danny Cannon (‘Gotham,’ the ‘CSI’ franchise) and written by Bruno Heller (‘Gotham,’ ‘The Mentalist’), is the latest DC origin story for a beloved Batman character. It follows Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon) as he tries to set up a security company after his stint in the Special Air Service. He is approached by billionaire Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge) with an offer to work with him to uncover the mastermind behind the London based Raven Society, an underground rebel group involved in a major fraud. While the show is indeed based on characters created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, Pennyworth is truly a standalone action thriller that doesn’t rely as much on its Batman connections and can be enjoyed by any audience.
Watch on Warner TV (Astro Ch 712 HD / UnifiTV Ch 451)
Based on the detective novels by Erle Stanley Gardner, ‘Perry Mason’ follows the titular character played by Matthew Rhys as a private investigator living pay cheque to pay cheque. He is hired by his mentor EB Jonathan (John Lithgow) to investigate the kidnapping and murder of a one year old in Los Angeles, but soon uncovers a greater conspiracy involving the police and a cult-like church called the Radiant Assembly of God.
Watch on HBO GO
Room 104 debuted in 2017 as an anthology series by the Duplass brothers (‘The Morning Show’). Each episode revolves around guests checking into the same room in a motel, albeit at different periods of time over several years. The show, with its lack of serialisation, was able to explore various different genres including dark sci-fi, psychological thriller and an episode told purely through interpretive dance. The final season of the series, season four, is set to premier late July and will feature original scripts and scores by Mark Duplass as well as the series’ first animated episode. With a new cast for every story, the last season will feature a variety of guest stars, including Dave Bautista (‘Guardians of the Galaxy’), Melissa Fumero (‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’) and Kevin McKidd (‘Trainspotting,’ ‘Grey’s Anatomy’) among several others.
Available July 25 at 11am on HBO GO
Released in 2019, ‘Just Mercy’ is based on the 1987 true story of Walter McMillian and his wrongful conviction for the murder of an 18-year-old girl. Starring Jamie Foxx as McMillian and Michael B. Jordan as human rights attorney Bryan Stevenson, the film follows the efforts of the Equal Justice Initiative and the fight to overturn McMillian’s Death Penalty sentence. Set in Alabama, it is a powerful exploration of the systemic racism present in the American criminal justice system and how it affects people to this day.
Watch on Amazon Prime
I Am Not Your Negro
The documentary and docu-series genre is one that very few people have tried to creatively reimagine. While directors like Iván Osnovikov and Bettina Perut (‘Los Reyes’) may have recently tried to go the ‘no talking heads, no interview’ route, Raoul Peck (‘The Young Karl Marx,’ ‘Lamumba’) tries a different approach. Relying on late novelist James Baldwin’s unfinished memoir ‘Remember This House’ for a majority of the script, Peck has Samuel L Jackson narrate over historic Civil Rights events instead.
However, ‘I Am Not Your Negro’ isn’t about Baldwin in particular but about his take on race relations in the 1970s. Interspersed with archival footage of the author himself, the film sheds light on the work done by Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Medgar Evers and the aftermath of their assassinations. This raw look at the Civil Rights struggle joins ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ as one of the two film adaptations of Baldwin’s work.
Watch on Amazon Prime
‘Radioactive,’ starring Rosamund Pike and Sam Riley, is the one of the latest films to shine the spotlight on a leading female scientist whose work shook the world. If you’ve been
lazy reluctant to catch this release in theatres, you can also stream it via Amazon Prime.
The film charts how legendary French-Polish physicist Marie Curie conducted research on radiation (a relatively unknown concept at the time) and her discovery of radium and polonium. Directed by Marjane Satrapi, it looks at how Curie had to fight to gain recognition for her work by her male peers. She remains the only person to have received two Nobel Prizes in two different fields of science. As far as historical biopics go, it has been described as more theatrical than audiences are used to seeing, but a fascinating, if polarising, watch.
Watch on Amazon Prime
This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong.