July movie guide: Barbie and Oppenheimer face-off

July is one of the biggest months for movies in 2023, with the simultaneous releases of two flicks at opposing ends of the genre spectrum; Barbie and Oppenheimer.

But before audiences decide which of these long-anticipated movies to watch first, there are a number of local and international flicks to see.

If you’re looking to get off the couch and make a few trips to the cinema this month, you’ll have your pick of action, comedy and horror to choose from.

Here are 10 new films to look out for in July.

The New Boy

Release date: July 6

Director Warwick Thornton’s Cannes-selected film is inspired by his own experience of growing up as an Aboriginal boy in a Christian boarding school, and stars Cate Blanchett, Deborah Mailman, Wayne Blair and newcomer Aswan Reid.

After a battle with police, a young Aboriginal orphan boy (Reid) arrives at a remote monastery run by a renegade nun, Sister Eileen (Blanchett).

The new boy soon becomes an established, unique presence at the monastery, but he possesses unusual powers, and as Sister Eileen’s religious zeal intensifies, things begin to unravel.

Cate Blanchett stars with new talent Aswan Reid. Photo: Instagram/Dirty Films

His presence disturbs the delicately balanced world in this story of spiritual struggle and the cost of survival.

While many of the cast are well-established stars, Reid has made waves with his performance.

Thornton said Reid was a “miracle” find, and will undoubtedly become a star in “the new golden age of Australia cinema”.

Joy Ride

Release date: July 6

Directed by Adele Lim, the co-screenwriter of Crazy Rich Asians, Joy Ride is the hilarious and unapologetically explicit story of four unlikely friends who embark on a once-in-a-lifetime international adventure, featuring a host of rising Asian-American stars.

Audrey (Ashley Park) embarks on a madcap adventure while on a business trip to Asia and quest to find her birth mother.

She enlists the aid of Lolo (Sherry Cola), her irreverent childhood best friend/hot mess; Kat (Stephanie Hsu), her college friend-turned-Chinese soap star; and Deadeye (Sabrina Wu), Lolo’s eccentric cousin.

Oscar-nominated Hsu said the project is kind, disgusting, and full of heart.

Insidious: The Red Door

Release date: July 6

The fifth and final instalment of the horror franchise will see the original cast return to wrap up the Lambert family’s terrifying saga. This includes Patrick Wilson (who will also be making his directorial debut), Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, and Andrew Astor.

To put their demons to rest once and for all, Josh (Wilson) and college-aged son Dalton (Simpkins) must go deeper into the malevolent parallel dimension, The Further, than ever before, facing their family’s dark past and a host of new terrors that lurk behind the red door.

Ty Simpkins is in for a hell of a time. Photo: Sony Pictures.

While this film is billed as a conclusion to the Insidious story, a spin-off titled Thread: An Insidious Tale was reported to be in the works in 2022.

Other People’s Children

Release date: July 6

This French film by award-winning writer/director Rebecca Zlotowski is said to be inspired by her own experience as a stepmother and struggles to have a child.

The romantic drama follows 40-year-old Parisian high school teacher Rachel (Virginie Efira), whose outlook on life is upended when she starts a passionate relationship with recently single Ali (Roschdy Zem), who has a daughter.

Rachel commences not only a relationship with him, but also his four-year-old daughter, Leila, and gradually allows herself to be drawn into their world.

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

Release date: July 8 

The seventh instalment of Tom Cruise’s iconic franchise will see his  Ethan Hunt character embark on a dangerous mission with his team to track down a terrifying new weapon before it falls into the wrong hands and threatens all of humanity

With dark forces from his past closing in and a mysterious, all-powerful enemy, Ethan is forced to consider that nothing can matter more than his mission – not even the lives of those he cares about most.

The film claims to feature one of the most dangerous stunts of Cruise’s career; a motorcycle being ridden off a cliff, before a parachute is deployed to land safely.

In true adrenaline-junkie Cruise fashion, the now-60-year-old actor performed the stunt himself – multiple times.

Source: YouTube/Paramount Pictures

Dead Reckoning sees the return of actors Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, and Rebecca Ferguson, along with newcomers to the franchise Indira Varma, Rob Delaney and Marvel stars Hayley Atwell and Pom Klementieff.


Release date: July 13

Filmed in Australia, this musical drama is one for the opera-lovers, as it’s a modern-day adaptation of the 1875 French opera of the same name.

The film follows the journey of its titular character (played by Melissa Barrera) as she flees her home in Mexico and attempts an illegal crossing into America following her mother’s murder.

Her plans are derailed by a violent volunteer border guard, but Carmen escapes with the aid of the guard’s comrade, Aidan (Paul Mescal), an ex-marine with PTSD.


Release date: July 20

Greta Gerwig’s live-action interpretation of an iconic American toy is one of the most hotly-anticipated films of the year.

The comedy adventure features an all-star cast including Margot Robbie in the lead role, alongside Ryan Gosling, America Ferrera, Helen Mirren, Will Ferrell, Simu Liu, Ncuti Gatwa, and more.

The recently-released trailer appears to show Barbie embarking on a journey of self-discovery, venturing from the Barbie world to the human world.

Ken tags along for the ride, while Ferrell’s character appears hell-bent on putting Barbie back in her box.

Source: YouTube/Warner Bros. Pictures

Gosling, whose casting as Ken initially received some backlash, has been key in fuelling excitement, claiming the script is the best he has ever read.

The movie also looks to reject the recent cinematic trend of dreary-realism, committing so much to the classic Barbie aesthetic it reportedly caused a worldwide shortage of a pink paint.


Release date: July 20

Going head-to-head with Barbie is another much-anticipated film  that couldn’t be more different.

Written and directed by Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer is a biographical thriller centred around J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy), often considered the father of the atomic bomb.

Murphy appears alongside Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr and Florence Pugh.

The film’s theatrical release is a big win for Nolan, who has been very outspoken about his opposition to the trend towards direct-to-streaming releases.

Oppenheimer marks Nolan’s first R-rated film in about 20 years, and the director says the “horror” like movie has left viewers “devastated” and unable to speak.

Talk To Me

Release date: July 27

This Australian supernatural horror film stars Sophie Wilde, Miranda Bird and some relatively fresh faces, and marks the directorial debut of Adelaide-born twins Danny and Michael Philippou.

This Australian production shows some things – like severed body parts – are better left alone. Photo: IMDB/A24

Based on a concept by Bluey producer Daley Pearson, the film follows a group of friends who become hooked on a new thrill after discovering how to conjure spirits using an embalmed hand.

But one of them goes too far and opens the door to the spirit world, forcing the group to choose who to trust: The dead, or the living.


Release date: July 27

During the last desperate days of World War II, a solitary gold prospector (Jorma Tommila) crosses paths with Nazis on a scorched-earth retreat in northern Finland.

When the Nazis steal his gold, they quickly discover they haven’t just messed with an ordinary miner.

While there is no direct translation for the Finnish word ‘sisu’, this ex-commando will embody what the word means: a white-knuckled form of courage and unimaginable determination in the face of overwhelming odds.

In this award-winning gore-fest, the one-man death squad will go to outrageous lengths to get his gold back – even if it means killing every last Nazi in his path.

Finnish Jalmari Helander was heavily inspired by Westerns, and aspired to a retro ’80s, ’90s feel.

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