6 Movies to See in Theaters This July

By  · Published on July 1st, 2016

Comedy! Action! Horror! Drama! July’s new releases offer something for every movie fan.

Everyone knows July is the best month of the year, partly because it’s my birthday month, but mostly because it’s smack dab in the middle of the summer. It’s a time to get off your ass and head outdoors to enjoy the beauty of nature and the warm sunshine, but that still leaves plenty of time for the movies.

This month’s releases include some guaranteed blockbusters and more than a few intriguing indies. Also worth noting in case you haven’t seen it yet, the terrifically creative and warm Swiss Army Man is expanding its reach across the country.

Keep reading to see which new releases I think are most worth your time this month at your local movie house.

Lights Out

Release Date: July 22nd

Director: David F. Sandberg

Writers: Eric Heisserer

Cast: Teresa Palmer, Billy Burke, Maria Bello

Why is it a must-see? The trailer above gives away more of the backstory than it needs to, but the atmosphere and scares promised look highly entertaining. This is Sandberg’s feature debut while Heisserer’s filmography is a mixed, but promising, bag of titles like Hours, The Thing reboot, and Final Destination 5. Even if the film doesn’t live up to its horrific promise it’s never a bad thing seeing Bello and Palmer on the big screen.

Star Trek Beyond

Release Date: July 22nd

Director: Justin Lin

Writers: Simon Pegg, Doug Jung

Cast: John Cho, Simon Pegg, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba

Why is it a must-see? J.J. Abrams’ last Star Trek film received a deserved amount of criticism for certain script issues, but that didn’t stop it or its predecessor from being entertaining pieces of action/sci-fi. Pegg’s screenplay promises even more entertainment in the form of additional personality and humor, and with Lin newly situated in the director’s chair the action should continue to come both fast and furious. (I’m not sorry.)

Our Kind of Traitor

Release Date: July 1st

Director: Susanna White

Writers: Hossein Amini

Cast: Ewan McGregor, Naomie Harris, Stellan Skarsgård

Why is it a must-see? The list of recent adaptations based on John le Carré novels include The Night Manager, A Most Wanted Man, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, so of course we’re excited about the latest. This is White’s first serious feature, but her television work includes episodes of Boardwalk Empire, Generation Kill, Billions, and more, and Amini is the writer of Drive and the under-appreciated Killshot. Even if the behind the scenes talent doesn’t grab you though the onscreen actors definitely should. See it and support literary thrillers that don’t involve teenage protagonists.

Captain Fantastic

Release Date: July 8th

Director/writer: Matt Ross

Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Frank Langella, George Mackay

Why is it a must-see? I saw this one back at Sundance, but six months later it remains one the year’s warmest films. It’s pro-family without being preachy, optimistic without being cheesy, and it finally gives viewers the opportunity to see Mortensen’s historically shy penis. It’s a very funny movie too with humor born out of characters and their interactions with the world around them. Mortensen is especially memorable and balances his character’s love and responsibility for his children in comforting and affecting ways meaning even when you question his choices you don’t doubt the love behind them.


Release Date: July 15th

Director: Paul Feig

Writers: Katie Dippold & Paul Feig

Cast: Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig, Chris Hemsworth

Why is it a must-see? I’d like everyone to see Feig’s Ghostbusters reboot so it’ll be a big hit and cause all of the little man-babies to chafe their junk as they cry into their saggy diapers, but more than that I want the damn movie to be great because I love laughing. There’s a good chance that will be the case given the talents behind and in front of the camera – Feig’s and McCarthy’s Spy was one of last year’s best comedies – and despite some underwhelming early trailers that highlight the homage elements over new material. I’m optimistic because this team has earned that optimism. Plus it opens on my birthday, and that has to be a good sign right?

Jason Bourne

Release Date: July 29th

Director: Paul Greengrass

Writers: Paul Greengrass & Christopher Rouse

Cast: Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones, Vincent Cassel

Why is it a must-see? Is there any other action franchise consisting of at least three films that has yet to deliver anything but gold? Most have a quality dip somewhere along the line, but the Bourne series has yet to do so… and I don’t expect that to change here. Damon and Greengrass know this character and how to make him come alive onscreen alongside truly thrilling action sequences. Rouse is new to the screenwriting game, but as editor of all three Greengrass-directed Bourne films he knows the material just as well. Sure Bourne’s story arc was complete at the end of Ultimatum, but I’ll happily take the start of a whole new trilogy with this team doing what they do best.

Also out this July: Bad Moms, The BFG, Ice Age: Collision Course, The Legend of Tarzan, Nerve, The Purge: Election Year, The Secret Life of Pets

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.