The new releases on HBO and HBO Max in July are all about second chances and returns to form. Two movies -- Freaky and The Hunt -- that had opening theatrical weekends right around the time the world shut down have an opportunity for new life on streaming. In The White Lotus and No Sudden Move, we get Mike White's first series since Enlightened and Steven Soderbergh's return to his genre of choice.
But the show people are probably looking forward to most is the reboot of Gossip Girl, which gets updated for today's audiences and times. Imagine if Chuck Bass was on Instagram, and that's about the vibe.
Our list of suggestions for the best shows and movies on HBO and HBO Max in July is below.
No Sudden Move
July 1 on HBO Max
Director Steven Soderbergh's third film for HBO in as many years takes him away from sports (2019's High Flying Bird) and cruise ships (2020's Let Them All Talk) and back toward his niche of energetic crime thrillers with No Sudden Move. Set in 1955 Detroit, the film follows a group of small-time crooks whose latest heist goes wrong, sending them on a mission to find out who set them up. In classic Soderbergh fashion, it features an outstanding cast that includes Benicio Del Toro, Don Cheadle, David Harbour, Kieran Culkin, and more.
July 8 on HBO Max
The CW's Gossip Girl was so influential on many of today's YA series that it's gone full circle and is influencing itself via reboot. Some 10 years after the show shook up the way we look at private school kids, Gossip Girl (2007) executive producer Joshua Safran returns to Manhattan to follow a new batch of school-aged wealthy socialites who are under the watchful eye of the anonymous Gossip Girl, but through the lens of 2021. That means a more diverse cast, more social issues, and Gossip Girl moving over to Insta.
July 8 on HBO, HBO Max
Damon Lindelof's The Hunt was controversial before anyone really watched it, drawing the ire of the right and Donald Trump during his most tweetiest, and, based on its violent content, encountering release delays following the 2019 mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso. At a time when the country was eating itself alive through political division, people simply didn't want to watch a movie about elites hunting humans for sport, and by the time the film finally hit theaters in March 2020, the world began its COVID lockdown and The Hunt faded into the background. All this is to say that maybe now is finally the right time to watch The Hunt, a bloody, scathing takedown of wealth and power told through the eyes of a woman (Betty Gilpin) who turns the tables on her captors and pursuers. It's still going to be controversial, but it might go down a little easier.
The White Lotus
July 11 at 9/8c on HBO, HBO Max
Mike White returns to HBO for his first television series since the groundbreaking Enlightened, and he's bringing the iconic sea turtle back with him in this social satire set in an exclusive Hawaiian resort. The White Lotus, a limited series, follows both the vacationers and the resort employees as things go inevitably wrong, and the cast (Connie Britton, Steve Zahn, Murray Bartlett, Sydney Sweeney, Molly Shannon, and more) alone makes this a highlight of the month.
100 Foot Wave
July 18 at 10/9c on HBO, HBO Max
Harnessing the unknown power of nature adds a certain mystique to surfing, and that sense of spirituality that traverses serenity and humility translates extremely well to film. Unless you're talking about the riding the waves of the fishing village of Nazarzé, Portugal, which are liquid monsters erupting out of the ocean and instill only fear. So of course surfers want to risk their lives to ride them. The six-part docuseries 100 Foot Wave follows big-wave rider Garrett McNamara as he does the unthinkable and encourages other surfers to follow in his wake.
July 24 on HBO, HBO Max
There are no new ideas, just amalgamations of old ones, and Freaky is a wonderful example of how recycling ideas into something new can work well. Freaky takes the high school body swap premise established in movies like Freaky Friday, Vice Versa, and Like Father, Like Son and smashes it into a horror movie when a high schooler (Kathryn Newton) on the periphery of cool changes meat suits with a serial killer (Vince Vaughn). The result is an all-out blast of horror, humor, and heart.