Seriously Good Film and TV for the Summer

Our film critic picks three movies to catch as we head into the warm summer months.

Scene from The Underground Railroad
Kyle Kaplan / Amazon Studios

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Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse (Amazon Prime, April 30)

Michael B. Jordan
(Amazon Studios)

Tom Clancy has been gone for seven years, but the prolific author of taut action novels keeps on giving. Movie audiences first met John Clark, a cynical mercenary, as a supporting character in Clear and Present Danger (played by Willem Dafoe) and then The Sum of All Fears (Liev Schreiber). Taking a sharp turn from previous casting, for this, Clark’s origin story, the lead is played by the cool and athletic Creed star Michael B. Jordan, the perfect choice for the role. The script from Oscar-nominated Taylor Sheridan (Yellowstone) should be a slam-bang affair.

The Underground Railroad (Amazon Prime, May 14)

Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel left readers dumbstruck with its mystical, imaginary tale of a young slave (here played by South African actress Thuso Mbedu) escaping the pre-Civil War South on a literal Underground Railroad — complete with subway trains, tracks, and conductors. Now the book unfolds in a 10-episode series directed by Oscar-winner Barry Jenkins (Moonlight). Lushly photographed by Jenkins’ Oscar-nominated Moonlight cinematographer James Laxton and scored by two-time Oscar nominee Nicholas Britell, the series promises to be a feast for the eyes and ears.

Cruella (Theaters, May 28)

Emma Stone as Cruella

I’ve been less than enthused by Disney’s latter-day project to construct backstories for its classic villains — Sleeping Beauty’s Maleficent was just fine as a congenitally bad apple, in my opinion. Still, there’s reason to look forward to the Mouse Factory’s newest bad guy reboot. For one thing, Emma Stone brings a distinctive Joaquin Phoenix/Joker vibe to the role. But even better, the film is directed by indie film legend Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya; Lars & the Real Girl) and co-written by Tony McNamara (Oscar nominated for The Favourite) and Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada). This may be as edgy as the Disney brand will ever get.

For biweekly video reviews of the latest films, go to or check out Bill Newcott’s website,

This article is featured in the May/June 2021 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

Featured image: Amazon Studios; Kyle Kaplan / Amazon Studios; Disney 

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