Pride Month may be over, but celebrating queer entertainment is year-round activity. And, in summer, that means blockbusters and beachy reality television.
This month’s watchlist includes a new Jordan Peele film with a very queer cast and the next installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Thor series, along with Billy Porter’s highly anticipated directorial debut, “Anything’s Possible.” There’s also plenty of standout television, including “Paper Girls,” Amazon’s female-centric answer to “Stranger Things.”
From July 14-24, you can also catch selections from the LGBTQ Los Angeles film festival OutFest, which now has virtual screenings. The festival is celebrating its 40th year and has put together a lineup of new and legacy films to mark the occasion.
‘Moon, 66 Questions’
Like her acclaimed short films, Greek director Jacqueline Lentzou’s feature debut, “Moon, 66 Questions,” deals with the complexity of familial relationships. Lentzou’s favorite leading lady, Sofia Kokkali, stars as 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 her father that explains his previous coldness, and the two begin building a relationship built on mutual understanding.
“Moon, 66 Questions” opens in U.S. theaters and is available on-demand July 8.
‘Thor: Love and Thunder’
Although the Marvel Cinematic Universe regularly toys with queer storylines, the films almost never deliver a flushed out, overtly LGBTQ character. But fans hope that 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 following the events of “Avengers: Endgame.” Back in 2019, Thompson teased that her character’s first priority as king would be to find her queen. Based on the first look images, some fans have feverishly speculated that queen could be a beefed-up Natalie Portman, who plays Jane Foster, a long-time love interest of Thor. But others — disillusioned by the subtlety of queer characters like America Chavez — fear that the two goddesses sitting side-by-side on the thrones of Asgard may just be the old gay bait and switch.
“Thor: Love and Thunder” opens in U.S. theaters July 8.
‘What We Do in the Shadows’
The more-funny-than-ferocious vampire ensemble of “What We Do in the Shadows” is back after the third season’s cliffhanger ending. When we last saw the pansexual crew of Staten Island vampires, it seemed like their adoring mortal servant, Guillermo (Harvey Guillén), was finally going to get his happy ending — by the side of his immortal overseer, Nandor (Kayvan Novak). But, at the last minute, Lazlo (Matt Berry) double-crossed the coven, meaning they’ll be back where they started in the new season, incompetently running the local vampire chapter. Along with a rotating cast of guest stars, leads Natasia Demetriou and Mark Proksch return as Nadja and the energy vampire Colin Robinson, who was reborn as an infant after disintegrating at the end of season two.
“What We Do in the Shadows” season four premieres on Hulu July 12.
‘Forever Summer: Hamptons’
From “Laguna Beach” to “Jersey Shore,” a destination docusoap about being young and afloat is a tried and true staple of summer viewing. In “Forever Summer: Hamptons,” a new cast of characters is trying to have the best summer of their lives, this time in the Hamptons, New York’s getaway for the wealthy and city-weary. Other than a fresh destination, what sets the show apart is that two of the central cast members are queer, a rarity in American reality shows primarily about the white and wealthy. Whether scripted or not, the two, along with their Black castmates, deal with the problematic attitudes toward LGBTQ and non-white people that exist in the exclusive locale.
“Forever Summer: Hamptons” season one premieres on Amazon Prime Video July 15.
At just 23 years old, the nonbinary writer and comedian Aida Osman has already made a big splash behind the camera, working on shows like “Big Mouth” and “Betty.” Now, she’s starring in the new Issa Rae series, “Rap Sh!t,” about two estranged best friends who reunite to form a rap duo. Shawna (Osman) and Mia (played by the rapper KaMillion) navigate the complexities of a long-term friendship, while also dealing with the frustrations of breaking into the male-dominated world of hip-hop and the Miami music scene.
“Rap Sh!t” season one premieres on HBO Max July 21.
While there’s been no shortage of queer teen romances in the first half of the year, the coming-of-age film “Anything’s Possible” stands out for a few reasons. For one, it’s the directorial debut of actor, dancer and fashion icon Billy Porter. For another, its heroine is the unflappable trans high school senior Kelsa, played by Eva Reign. Kelsa discovers the highs and lows of falling in love for the first time when she’s pursued by a cisgender male classmate, Khal (Abubakr Ali). The film also stars Renée Elise Goldsberry as Kelsa’s mother, who doles out much-needed reminders to her daughter — and the audience — such as, “What is unique about you does not make you hard to love.”
“Anything’s Possible” premieres on Amazon Prime Video July 22.
The cast of Jordan Peele’s new film, “Nope,” is reason enough to be excited about the backcountry sci-fi horror, set in arid inland California. Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer lead the ensemble that also stars Steven Yeun, relative newcomer Brandon Perea, respected character actor Michael Wincott and “Euphoria” star Barbie Ferreira, among others. The talented crew — which has a major queer factor, either identifying as or having played hallmark LGBTQ roles — is well-suited to the campy aesthetic of what appears to be an alien-meets-western film. Though, with Peele, it’s impossible to know what twists and turns might be out there on the open range.
“Nope” opens in U.S. theaters July 22.
When the four heroines of “Paper Girls” meet on their delivery routes the morning after Halloween 1988, they end up with much more to contend with than a few teenage troublemakers 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 tasked with saving the world. As if that wasn’t enough, they also have to come face-to-face with their future selves, 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, which predates Netflix’s supernatural coming-of-age hit.
“Paper Girls” season one premieres on Amazon Prime Video July 29.
Legendary TV producers Darren Star (“Sex and the City”) and Jeffrey Richman (“Frasier”) bring their signature polish to 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 unwillingly thrust back into the city’s intimidating gay dating scene after being dropped by his husband of 17 years. The vulnerable, flailing lead character is a different role for Harris, who has often played the straight cad on screen, like in “How I Met Your Mother” and “Gone Girl.” Still, the seasoned actor retains his signature wit, playing off fellow castmates including Tisha Campbell, Marcia Gay Harden and, Brooks Ashmanskas.
“Uncoupled” season one premieres on Netflix 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 do a remake of Louis Feuillade’s 1915 silent-film series “Les Vampires” to escape superhero movies. (“Irma Vep” takes its name from the femme fatale of “Les 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 fraught 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 launch a true crime podcast in order to solve a murder in their building. Since debuting, “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 that attracts the eye of Mabel (Gomez), leading to some divisive onscreen romance.
“Only Murders in the Building” season two is available on Hulu.