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July’s must-see queer movies and shows

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Pride Month may be over, but celebrating gay entertainment is a year-round activity. And in the summer, that means blockbusters and beachy reality television.

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, 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 answer to “Stranger Things.”

From July 14-24, you can also watch selections from the OutFest LGBTQ film festival in Los Angeles, which now has virtual screenings† The festival is celebrating its 40th year and has put together a lineup of new and older films to celebrate the occasion.

‘Moon, 66 Questions’

Like her acclaimed short films, Greek director Jacqueline Lentzou’s feature debut, Moon, 66 Questions, deals with the complexities of family relationships. Lentzou’s favorite lead actress, 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 to build a relationship based on mutual understanding.

“Moon, 66 Questions” hits US theaters and will be available on demand July 8.

Thor: Love and Thunder

While the Marvel Cinematic Universe regularly plays with queer storylines, the films almost never deliver an elated, overtly LGBTQ character. But fans are hoping that the next installment in the Thor saga, “Thor: Love & Thunder,” will change that via a love story about Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, the new ruler of Asgard after the events of “Avengers: Endgame.” In 2019, Thompson teased that her character’s first priority would be as king to find her queen† Based on the first look images, some fans have feverishly speculated that Queen could be an enhanced Natalie Portman, who plays Jane Foster, an old 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” hits 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 its third season cliffhanger. When we last saw Staten Island’s pansexual crew of vampires, it seemed as if their adoring mortal servant, Guillermo (Harvey Guillén), was finally going to meet his happy end—at the side of his immortal overseer, Nandor (Kayvan Novak). But at the last minute, Lazlo (Matt Berry) cheated on the coven, meaning they’ll be back where they started in the new season, incompetently leading the local vampire chapter. Joining a rotating cast of guest stars, Natasia Demetriou and Mark Proksch return as Nadja and the energy vampire Colin Robinson, who was reborn as a baby after falling apart at the end of season two.

“What We Do in the Shadows” season four will premiere 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 watching. 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’s haven for the rich and weary cities. Aside from a new destination, the show is distinguished by the fact that two of the central cast members are strange, a rarity in American reality shows that are mainly about whites and the rich. 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 environment.

Season 1 of “Forever Summer: Hamptons” premieres July 15 on Amazon Prime Video.

‘Rap Sh!t’

At just 23 years old, non-binary writer and comedian Aida Osman has already made a big leap behind the camera working on shows like “Big Mouth” and “Betty”. Now she stars 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 Miami’s music scene.

“Rap Sh!t” Season One premieres July 21 on HBO Max.

‘Everything is possible’

While there was no shortage of gay teen novels in the first half of the year, the coming-of-age movie “Anything’s Possible” stands out for a few reasons. First, it’s the directorial debut of actor, dancer and fashion icon Billy Porter. For another, his heroine is the imperturbable trans high school senior Kelsa, played by Eva Reign. Kelsa first discovers the highs and lows of falling in love when she is chased by a cisgender male classmate, Khal (Abubakr Ali). In the film, Renée Elise Goldsberry also stars as Kelsa’s mother, who provides her daughter — and the audience — with much-needed memories, 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.

‘No’

The cast of Jordan Peele’s new movie, “Nope,” is reason enough to rave about the backcountry sci-fi horror, set in the arid interior of California. Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer lead the ensemble which includes Steven Yeun, relative newcomer Brandon Perea, respected actor Michael Wincott and “Euphoria” star Barbie Ferreira. The talented crew — who have a significant queer factor, either identifying as or having played signature LGBTQ roles — fits in well with the campy aesthetic of what appears to be an alien-meets-western film. With Peele, however, it’s impossible to know what twists and turns might be on the open range.

“Nope” hits theaters on July 22.

‘Paper Girls’

When the four “Paper Girls” heroines meet on their delivery routes the morning after Halloween 1988, they have a lot more to contend with than a couple of 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 in the middle of a war between two time-traveling factions and are 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 accepting everything from their sexuality to career choices. Though it has 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 the supernatural coming-of-age hit of Netflix.

Season 1 of “Paper Girls” will premiere on Amazon Prime Video on July 29.

‘Uncoupled’

Legendary TV producers Darren Star (“Sex and the City”) and Jeffrey Richman (“Frasier”) bring their signature shine to a new series with a familiar premise: looking for love in New York City. In “Uncoupled,” Neil Patrick Harris plays Michael, a 1940s Manhattan man who is reluctantly thrown back into the city’s intimidating gay dating scene after being ripped off by his husband for 17 years. The vulnerable, swinging lead character is another role for Harris, who has often played the straight on-screen cad, such as in “How I Met Your Mother” and “Gone Girl.” Still, the seasoned actor retains his signature humor, playing fellow castmates including Tisha Campbell, Marcia Gay Harden and Brooks Ashmanskas.

The first season of Uncoupled will premiere on Netflix on July 29.

In case you missed it…

‘Irma Vep’

Alicia Vikander stars in director Olivier Assayas’ miniseries remake of his 1996 film ‘Irma Vep’. The new version, which adapts the role originally played by Maggie Cheung, centers on a disillusioned Hollywood star named Mira (Vikander ), who signs up for 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.) While Assayas’ main character was queer in the original, the series takes a much more nuanced approach to Mira’s sexuality, through her 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 launching a true crime podcast to solve a murder in their building. Since its debut, “Only Murders in the Building” has attracted a host of high-profile guest stars and regulars of the series. And this season, Cara Delevingne, an old friend of Gomez, is one of them. Delevingne plays Alice, a mysterious art curator who catches the attention of Mabel (Gomez), leading to some divisive romance on screen

Season two of ‘Only Murders in the Building’ is available on Hulu.

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