Pride month may be over, but celebrating queer entertainment is a year-round activity. And, in the summer, that means blockbusters and beachy reality TV.
This month’s watchlist includes a new Jordan Peele movie with a very strange cast and the next installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Thor series, as well as Billy Porter’s highly anticipated directorial debut, “Anything’s Possible.” There are also plenty of standout TV shows, including “Paper Girls,” Amazon’s female-centric answer to “Stranger Things.”
From July 14-24, you can also see selections from the LGBTQ Los Angeles OutFest film festival, which is now offering virtual screenings. The festival celebrates its 40th anniversary and has put together a lineup of new and legacy films to mark the occasion.
‘Moon, 66 questions’
Like her acclaimed shorts, Greek director Jacqueline Lentzou’s feature debut, “Moon, 66 Questions,” deals with the complexities of family relationships. Lentzou’s favorite leading lady, Sofia Kokkali, plays the aptly named Artemis, a young woman who returns to Athens to care for her estranged father, Paris (Lazaros Georgakopoulos), who has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. While acting as his nurse, Artemis discovers a secret about his father that explains his previous coldness, and the two begin to build a relationship based on mutual understanding.
“Moon, 66 Questions” opens in US theaters and is available on demand July 8.
“Thor: Love and Thunder”
Although the Marvel Cinematic Universe regularly plays with weird stories, the movies almost never deliver a flushed out and openly LGBTQ character. But fans are hoping the next installment in the Thor saga, ‘Thor: Love & Thunder,’ will change that via a love story involving Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, the new ruler of Asgard after the events of ‘Avengers: Endgame’. . In 2019, Thompson teased that his character’s first priority as king would be to find his queen. Based on the first images, some fans have feverishly speculated that the queen might be a beefed-up Natalie Portman, who plays Jane Foster, a longtime lover of Thor. But others – disappointed by the subtlety of queer characters like America Chavez – fear that the two goddesses sitting side by side on the thrones of Asgard are just the old gay bait and switch.
“Thor: Love and Thunder” opens in US theaters July 8.
“What We Do in the Shadows”
The funnier-than-fierce set of vampires from “What We Do in the Shadows” are back after the third season’s cliffhanger ending. When we last saw the pansexual crew of the Staten Island Vampires, it looked like their beloved mortal servant, Guillermo (Harvey Guillén), was finally going to have his happy ending – alongside his immortal overseer, Nandor (Kayvan Novak) . But, at the last minute, Lazlo (Matt Berry) double-crossed the coven, which means they’ll be back where they started in the new season, incompetently leading the local vampire chapter. With a rotating cast of guest stars, Natasia Demetriou and Mark Proksch return as Nadja and energy vampire Colin Robinson, who is reborn as a child after disintegrating at the end of season two.
“What We Do in the Shadows” season four premieres on Hulu on July 12.
“Summer Forever: The Hamptons”
From “Laguna Beach” to “Jersey Shore,” a destination docusoap about being young and afloat is a must-have for summer viewing. In “Forever Summer: Hamptons,” a new cast of characters try to have the best summer of their lives, this time in the Hamptons, New York City’s getaway for the city’s wealthy and weary. Besides a new destination, what sets the series apart is that two of the central cast members are gay, a rarity in American reality TV shows primarily about whites and wealthy people. Whether scripted or not, the two, along with their black castmates, deal with the problematic attitudes towards LGBTQ and non-white people that exist in the exclusive venue.
Season 1 of “Forever Summer: Hamptons” premieres on Amazon Prime Video on July 15.
‘Rap Sh! you
At just 23, non-binary writer and comedian Aida Osman has already made a splash behind the camera, working on shows like “Big Mouth” and “Betty.” Now she stars in Issa Rae’s new series, “Rap Sh!t,” about two estranged best friends who come together to form a rap duo. Shawna (Osman) and Mia (played by rapper KaMillion) navigate the complexities of a long-term friendship, while dealing with the frustrations of stepping into the male-dominated world of hip-hop and the music scene of Miami.
The first season of “Rap Sh!t” premieres on HBO Max on July 21.
“Everything is possible”
While there’s been no shortage of queer teen romances in the first half of the year, coming-of-age flick “Anything’s Possible” stands out for several reasons. For one thing, it’s the directorial debut of actor, dancer, and fashion icon Billy Porter. On the other hand, its heroine is the imperturbable high school trans girl Kelsa, played by Eva Reign. Kelsa experiences the highs and lows of first falling in love when she’s chased by a cisgender classmate, Khal (Abubakr Ali). The film also stars Renée Elise Goldsberry as Kelsa’s mother, who hands out much-needed reminders to her daughter – and the audience – such as “What’s unique about you doesn’t make you hard to love.”
“Anything’s Possible” premieres on Amazon Prime Video on July 22.
The cast of Jordan Peele’s new movie, “Nope,” is reason enough to get excited about the backcountry sci-fi horror, set in California’s arid interior. Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer lead the ensemble which also stars Steven Yeun, relative newcomer Brandon Perea, respected actor Michael Wincott and “Euphoria” star Barbie Ferreira, among others. The talented crew – who have a major queer factor, identifying with or having played characteristic LGBTQ roles – are well suited to the campy aesthetic of what appears to be an alien-western movie. However, with Peele, it’s impossible to know what twists might occur on the open range.
“Nope” opens in US theaters on July 22.
When the four “Paper Girls” heroines meet on their delivery routes the day after Halloween 1988, they find themselves with much more to contend with than a few troublemaking teens looking for tricks. The 12-year-old girls – Tiff (Camryn Jones), Erin (Riley Lai Nelet), Mac (Sofia Rosinsky) and KJ (Fina Strazza) – find themselves caught in the middle of a war between two time-traveling factions and loaded with save the world. As if that weren’t enough, they also have to come to terms with their future, which means coming to terms with everything from their sexuality to career choices. Although it’s been compared to “Stranger Things,” “Paper Girls” is based on a popular graphic novel series, written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Cliff Chiang, that predates Netflix’s Supernatural hit.
The first season of “Paper Girls” will premiere on Amazon Prime Video on July 29.
Legendary TV producers Darren Star (“Sex and the City”) and Jeffrey Richman (“Frasier”) put their own spin on a new series with a familiar premise: looking for love in New York City. “Uncoupled” stars Neil Patrick Harris as Michael, a mid-40s Manhattanite who is unwittingly pushed back into the city’s intimidating gay dating scene after being abandoned by his husband of 17 years. The vulnerable and restless main character is a different role for Harris, who often played the straight cad on screen, such as in “How I Met Your Mother” and “Gone Girl.” Still, the seasoned actor retains his signature spirit, playing with other teammates including Tisha Campbell, Marcia Gay Harden and Brooks Ashmanskas.
The first season of “Uncoupled” premieres on Netflix on July 29.
In case you missed it…
Alicia Vikander stars in director Olivier Assayas’ miniseries remake of his 1996 film “Irma Vep.” Adapting the role originally played by Maggie Cheung, the new version is about a disillusioned Hollywood star named Mira (Vikander), who signs on to make a remake of Louis Feuillade’s 1915 series of silent films “Les Vampires” for escape superhero movies. (“Irma Vep” is named after the femme fatale of “The Vampires,” Assayas’ source material.) Although Assayas’ protagonist was queer in the original, the series takes a much more nuanced approach to Mira’s sexuality, including giving her a strained relationship with her ex-lover, Laurie (Adria Arjona), who is also her ex-assistant.
“Irma Vep” is available on HBO Max.
“Only Murders in the Building”
Selena Gomez, Martin Short and Steve Martin are back for a second season of the series about neighbors who start a true-crime podcast to solve a murder in their apartment building. Since its debut, “Only Murders in the Building” has attracted a host of high profile guest stars and series regulars. And, this season, Cara Delevingne, a longtime friend of Gomez, is one of them. Delevingne plays Alice, a mysterious art curator who catches the eye of Mabel (Gomez), leading to a divisive on-screen romance.
The second season of “Only Murders in the Building” is available on Hulu.
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