Summer is upon us, and so begins the yearly onslaught of movie releases vying for legions of theater-going crowds and Academy approval — at least, that’s what likely would have happened had theaters not been effectively shut down amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences addressed the circumstances in an unprecedented manner, granting a temporary rule allowing films that did not premiere in movie theaters to be eligible for awards. The decision could vastly expand the field of eligible movies, hurting the chances of blockbuster giants banking on commercial success as a qualifier. However, if you are one of countless Americans currently enrolled in a monthly subscription for a streaming service, the shift away from the big screen is a massive win.
Many popular releases previously scheduled to release in theaters have opted instead to debut online. So, without further ado, here are the nominees for the best films releasing this summer available on streaming services…
The Lovebirds, Netflix
Release date: May 22
Featuring Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani, “The Lovebirds” is a romantic comedy featuring a murder mystery and a relationship-altering adventure. As the pair hopes to win the audience over with a dark, chaotic and humorous dynamic, director Michael Showalter will look to follow up the success of his last venture, “The Big Sick.”
Release date: June 5
“Shirley,” a 2020 Sundance Film Festival favorite, is set to hit Hulu and other streaming platforms in early June. Director Josephine Decker teams up with Elisabeth Moss (Shirley Decker) to depict the psychological torture — be it inflicted or endured — by young mystery writer Shirley Jackson who employs a creative process that is most unusual. If the 97% positive critic reviews featured on Rotten Tomatoes are any indication, “Shirley” is a must-stream.
Artemis Fowl, Disney+
Release date: June 12
“Artemis Fowl” is a long-awaited film adaptation of its literary counterpart bearing the same name. In case you haven’t read the books, the movie is set to follow a 12-year-old criminal mastermind through a world of dangerous fairies. Fantasy-lovers and casual moviegoers alike should find enjoyment in director Kenneth Branagh’s take on the bestselling series.
Da 5 Bloods, Netflix
Release date: June 12
Critically acclaimed director Spike Lee will follow up the success of “BlacKkKlansmen” with his latest project “Da 5 Bloods.” Boasting an all-star African American cast of Delroy Lindo, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis and Isiah Whitlock Jr., the film follows a group of Vietnam War veterans as they venture back to the country years later to seek the remains of their fallen squad captain, with a slight diversion in search of buried treasure.
Wasp Network, Netflix
Release date: June 19
“Wasp Network” is a story of five Cuban politicians imprisoned in the United States in the 1990’s written and directed by Olivier Assayas. Ana de Armas, Penélope Cruz and Wagner Moura lead the cast of this drama based on espionage and murder.
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, Netflix
Release date: June 26
On a less serious note, Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams have joined a band —and they are competing on the national stage at the world’s largest songwriting competition. Did I mention the pair is representing the country of Iceland? Director David Dobkins tells the tale of the band Fire Saga when this musical-comedy hits streaming services in late June.
Release date: July 3
History buffs and theater lovers alike, this is the one you have been waiting for. In 2016, a production of the theatrical feat “Hamilton” was recorded with the original principal cast. It may never make it to the big screen but will finally be made available for your on-demand viewing pleasure — just in case the soundtrack was not a viable method of reliving the live drama.
The Old Guard, Netflix
Release date: July 10
It’s time for a superhero movie, and unsurprisingly, “The Old Guard” looks to be an action-packed one at that. Fitting, considering the film follows a black ops squad — who can also be described as immortal mercenaries — tasked with protecting the world. Viewers can look forward to historical flashbacks as this century-old pack fights for their freedom. The film stars Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, Marwan Kenzari and Matthias Schoenaerts.
Radioactive, Amazon Prime Video
Release date: July 24
“Radioactive” is a biopic of scientist Marie Curie’s life full of groundbreaking achievements. Curie was the first female scientist to win the Nobel Prize. Don’t miss this depiction of an inspiring, true story.
An American Pickle, HBO Max
Release date: Aug. 6
Seth Rogen is a pickle. Yes, you read that right, and no, I did not mean to say Seth Rogen is in a pickle — although one could easily make that argument. Rogen stars as Herschel Greenbaum, a 1920’s immigrant who falls into a vat of pickles and is brined for 100 years. As you may have expected, movie magic enables Greenbaum to preserve flawlessly, setting up a fascinating encounter with his computer-coder great-grandson, also played by Rogen.