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Every month, subscription streaming services add a new batch of movies and TV shows to their libraries. Here are the titles we think are most interesting for Aug., broken down by service and release date. Streaming services occasionally change schedules without giving notice.
A scene from “Disenchantment.” Netflix
TV New to Netflix
‘Disenchantment’ Starts streaming: Aug. 17
Matt Groening, the creator of “The Simpsons” and “Futurama,” brings his unique comic sensibility to the high fantasy genre with “Disenchantment,” an animated sitcom about a drunken princess named Bean in the kingdom of Dreamland. Abbi Jacobson voices the heroine while Nat Faxon plays her elf pal and Eric Andre is a demon whose job is to torment these two. A supporting cast of Groening regulars — including John DiMaggio, Billy West, Maurice LaMarche and Tress MacNeille — help create a show that should feel pleasantly familiar to fans of his earlier work.
‘Magic for Humans’ Starts streaming: Aug. 17
The wondrous “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” has proved that television viewers have an appetite for mind-bending tricks and illusions. Now the veteran TV host Justin Willman gets in on the act with his new series, “Magic for Humans,” which makes use of his and his friends’ close-up magic skills in “man on the street” segments but also throws in some big, eye-popping stunts — all peppered with wry jokes.
‘The Innocents’ Starts streaming: Aug. 24
The Australian actor Guy Pearce has a key role in this science-fiction romance, playing a mysterious professor who may be able to help a shape-shifting 16-year-old understand and control her new powers. Sorcha Groundsell plays the heroine, June, who runs away from home with her boyfriend, Harry (Percelle Ascott), only to find her “happily every after” plans derailed by her emerging abilities. Over the course of its eight episodes, “The Innocents” will dig into June’s family secrets while following a teenage love story that keeps threatening to become a tragedy.
‘The Good Place’ Season 2 Starts streaming: Aug. 28
This brilliant afterlife comedy blew up its premise at the end of the first season, when our recently deceased characters learned that the Good Place was not quite all they had understood it to be. Eleanor (Kristen Bell) and her fellow test subjects try to make sense of it all as they navigate the divine justice system. It’s absurd, but it’s also the best combo of ethical quandaries and bad food puns you can get in one sitcom. Heaven!
‘Ozark’ Season 2 Starts streaming: Aug. 31
The first season of the “Ozark” didn’t arrive with a lot of buzz, but it eventually found a following, as Netflix subscribers got pulled into the twisty story of a Missouri money launderer named Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman), who has no shortage of clients. In Season 2, Byrde and his co-conspirator wife, Wendy (Laura Linney), will continue to be troubled by past mistakes and new associations, all while trying to raise two teenagers in a seemingly bucolic lakeside community.
Also of interest: “The Originals” Season 5 (Aug. 9), “The 100” Season 5 (Aug. 15) and “Great News” Season 1 (Aug. 23).
Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes and Gwen Stefani as Jean Harlow “The Aviator.” Miramax Films
Movies New to Netflix
‘The Aviator’ Starts streaming: Aug. 1
There was a stretch of the 2000s when every movie made by Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio felt like a blatant Oscar bid. Along the way, the two of them delivered this biopic about the eccentric Hollywood tycoon Howard Hughes, which some critics dismissed as simply more impersonal award bait. In retrospect, however, “The Aviator” is one of their most entertaining collaborations: a slick look back at the industrious bustle of mid-20th century America and at the follies of a single-minded genius.
‘Clerks’ Starts streaming: Aug. 1
In this, Kevin Smith’s debut film a retail clerk named Dante (Brian O’Halloran) is stuck working on his day off, and he is very whiny about it. Not that there’s a lot of work to do. Most of Dante’s time is spent chatting with a fellow clerk from the neighboring video store, or closing up shop so he can play hockey on the roof, attend a wake or hook up with prospective dates. The movie isn’t much to look at – it was made for a meager $27,575 — but the banter is hilarious, especially the riff about the independent contractors who were killed when the Death Star was destroyed. —
‘The Informant!’ Starts streaming: Aug. 1
Steven Soderbergh turns this real-life story of corporate malfeasance into an uproarious farce. An oddball employee named Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon, unforgettable) tells his bosses there’s a mole within the company who’s about to blow some ugly secrets. When the F.B.I. shows up, Mark offers to blow the whistle and be their informant, but his motives are complicated, and his ever-growing tower of inconsistencies, exaggerations and outright lies becomes a wonder to behold. Damon turns in one of his best comic performances, and a squad of noted comedians does straight time in bit parts.
‘Million Dollar Baby’Starts streaming: Aug. 1
Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) is an odd figure on the professional-boxing scene — a scrappy woman determined to earn some respect. In Maggie’s corner — at first a bit reluctantly — are her aging manager, Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood), and his partner Eddie Dupris (Morgan Freeman). The ring scenes have extraordinary power (and are very educational if you want to learn how to snap a broken nose back into place). But this isn’t really a film about boxing. It’s about people refusing to let go of what makes them feel alive.
‘Flavors of Youth’ Starts streaming: Aug. 4
The producers of the popular Japanese animated romantic drama “Your Name” are partly behind this lush anthology film, a collaboration with a Chinese studio. Telling three stories set in three different Chinese cities, “Flavors of Youth” is unified by a common theme: how romantic connections and a passion for life can sustain people even in times of personal crisis. That subject may seem a little hazy for a feature-length cartoon, but “Your Name” was similarly esoteric, and it has nevertheless resonated with audiences around the world.
‘No Country for Old Men’ Starts streaming: Aug. 11
This tautest of thrillers from the Coen Brothers won an Academy Award for best picture for a reason: It is a tense and patient masterpiece. In the film, a Texas man (Josh Brolin) stumbles upon a grisly murder scene and takes off with a bag of loot. Hot on his trail is a psychopath (Javier Bardem) and a poor old sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) who’s tired of all the senseless violence.
‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’ Starts streaming: Aug. 17
Based on the beloved 2014 novel by Jenny Han, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” stars Lana Condor as a teenager named Lara Jean Song Covey, whose life is turned upside down when all the lovestruck letters she has secretly written to her various crushes end up getting sent. While she tries to explain herself to the guys, Jean also begins to realize that her fantasies could become real if she stopped keeping her feelings to herself. Netflix has had success recently with romantic comedies, high school stories and movies and TV series with racially diverse casts. This film — with its Asian-American heroine — ticks all three of those boxes and could be the service’s next “The Kissing Booth”-level hit.
Also of interest: “Batman Begins” (Aug. 1), “Constantine” (Aug. 1), “The Golden Compass” (Aug. 1), “Gran Torino” (Aug. 1), “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (Aug. 1), “Silverado” (Aug. 1), “Steel Magnolias” (Aug. 1), “Stripes” (Aug. 1), “Like Father” (Aug. 3) and “Hostiles” (Aug. 15).
JR De Guzman in “The Comedy Lineup.” Jackson Davis/Netflix
New Netflix Original Comedy Specials
‘The Comedy Lineup’ Part 2Starts streaming: Aug. 31
The first half of this old-school take on the standup special — with lots of young comics, doing tight 15-minute sets — offered an eclectic batch of performers and perspectives, from classic “Did you ever notice … ?” observational humor to fiery political comedy. Part 2 will continue in the same vein, with a roster that includes Janelle James, Aisling Bea, Emma Willmann, Josh Johnson, Kate Willett, Matteo Lane and Max Silvestri.
Also of interest: “Demetri Martin: The Overthinker” (Aug. 10) and “Bert Kreischer: Secret Time” (Aug. 24).
Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly in “High Noon.” United Artists
New to Amazon Prime Video
‘High Noon’ Starts streaming: Aug. 1
Gary Cooper won an Oscar for his role in this seminal Western as Will Kane, a local sheriff who plans to leave law enforcement behind once he marries a pacifist Quaker (Grace Kelly). But on the day of their wedding, an outlaw and his gang arrive on the noon train, seeking revenge. Kane asks the townspeople for help, but they turn their backs, leaving him to face the gunfire by himself. The film’s screenwriter, Carl Foreman, was himself blacklisted and forced to flee the United States shortly after the film’s debut — it was almost as if he knew what was coming.
‘Out of Time’Starts streaming: Aug. 1
Denzel Washington has given so many outstanding performances over the years that some of them have gotten lost in the shuffle — like his riveting turn in director Carl Franklin’s sun-dappled neo-noir from 2003, ”Out of Time.” In the film, Washington plays a small-town Florida police chief, working a case in which all the clues point to him as the prime suspect. He races to redirect suspicion as multiple outside law enforcement agencies roll into town.
‘Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer’ Starts streaming: Aug. 1
In 2012, the Russian punk collective Pussy Riot entered a Moscow cathedral and unleashed a musical protest against what they said was improper support by the Russian Orthodox Church for the election of President Vladimir Putin. This performance lasted less than a minute, but three members of the group were arrested for it and sentenced to two years imprisonment in a remote penal colony. This documentary, which includes extensive trial footage, shines a light on Russia’s oppressive political and judicial systems, asking how much art and activism can change things.
‘Teen Wolf’ Starts streaming: Aug. 1
Fans of the MTV series (or of werewolves in general) should enjoy this light romp starring Michael J. Fox as an almost-typical teenager going through some … changes. There’s no biting involved. His sense of smell just becomes more acute, his voice grows growl-y and howl-y, and his hands and face start sprouting lots of hair. He’s suddenly a much better basketball player, too. His dad tries to explain: This is just what happens to the men in the family when they uh, hit puberty. Thanks, Dad.
‘Agatha Christie’s Ordeal by Innocence’ Season 1Starts streaming: Aug. 10
After Ed Westwick was accused of rape last year, his role in this excellent three-part series was seamlessly recast and reshot, with Christian Cooke replacing him as one of the five adopted children of a murdered philanthropist (Anna Chancellor). Everyone in the family had a motive for the killing, but the chief suspect (Anthony Boyle, now on Broadway in “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”) turns out to have an alibi. Let the armchair detecting begin!
‘Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan’ Season 1Starts streaming: Aug. 31
The origin story of spy guy Jack Ryan, the hero of many a Tom Clancy novel and their numerous screen adaptations, has been told before (specifically with Ben Affleck in “The Sum of All Fears” and with Chris Pine in “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit”). But this is a superior version. Instead of playing Ryan as a bland Boy Scout, the likable John Krasinski imbues the character with quiet authority and makes him … well, likable. He’s now an easy man to root for.
Also of interest: “American Gigolo” (Aug. 1), “The Blair Witch Project” (Aug. 1), “The Elephant Man” (Aug. 1), “Freedom Writers” (Aug. 1), “Get Shorty” (Aug. 1), “Hoosiers” (Aug. 1), “The Hurt Locker” (Aug. 1), “In & Out” (Aug. 1), “Jacob’s Ladder” (Aug. 1), “Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child” (Aug. 1), “Joe” (Aug. 1), “King Corn” (Aug. 1), “No Way Out” (Aug. 1), “Stir of Echoes” (Aug. 1), “The Usual Suspects” (Aug. 1), “Watchmen” (Aug. 1), “Blood Ties” (Aug. 8), “Bleed for This” (Aug. 10), “Gringo” (Aug. 17), “Disobedience” (Aug. 25) and “Mother!” (Aug. 26).
The title character of “Babe.” Universal Pictures
New to Hulu
‘Babe’ Starts streaming: Aug. 1
A misfit pig learns to herd sheep like his adoptive Border collie parents in this fluffy family movie, written with the “Mad Max” director, George Miller. “Charlotte’s Web” vibes aside, “Babe” is a cute film about finding your place in the world. Or in Babe’s case, in a farm.
‘The Elephant Man’Starts streaming: Aug. 1
John Hurt gives one of his most deeply moving performances, playing a gentle man with profound facial disfigurement who is trapped in the hellish life of a Victorian sideshow freak. The man is rescued by a kindly physician (Anthony Hopkins) who puts him on display for two new kinds of audiences, first his fellow doctors, then the curious snobs of London high society. This dark fairy tale from David Lynch was nominated for eight Oscars, and its contemplation of voyeurism — including our own — is still unsettling.
‘Jackie Brown’ Starts streaming: Aug. 1
This isn’t your typical Quentin Tarantino film. In some ways, it’s a better character study than many of his more blood-splattery staples. Based on a novel by Elmore Leonard, “Jackie Brown” stars Pam Grier as an airline stewardess who gets mixed up in a smuggling operation gone wrong and Robert Forster as a bondsman who could be falling in love with her. The film follows Grier’s titular character through a complex hustle to outwit both a criminal (Samuel L. Jackson) and his right-hand man (Robert De Niro) while trying to turn a nice profit. Naturally, it’s all set to an incredible soundtrack.
‘Shaun of the Dead’ Starts streaming: Aug. 1
This bloody clever rom-zom-com from Edgar Wright stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as two London slackers — Shaun and Ed — who slowly realize that there’s been a zombie apocalypse, and that their town is being taken over by the undead. Roused to action, they set out to save as many of their loved ones as possible before they all become zombified. Unfortunately, they’re sometimes too late. Don’t forget to kill Phillip!
‘Minding the Gap’ Starts streaming: Aug. 17
The documentarian Bing Liu won an award for breakthrough filmmaking at Sundance for this group portrait of his Rockford, Ill., skateboarding buddies. Filmed over the course of several years, the picture plays like a combination of “Dogtown and Z Boys” and Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood,” with Liu showing us that his friends have turned to skateboarding as an escape from various family traumas. The director’s quiet observation reveals the cycles of abuse that plague these lost youths — and realize that breaking them remains elusive.
‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’ Starts streaming: Aug. 23
A beautiful documentary about an octogenarian chef making some of the best sushi in the world in a three star Michelin restaurant located in a Tokyo subway station. David Gelb, the creator of Netflix’s “Chef’s Table,” directed this film, which sometimes feels like a prequel to that series — both are full of classical music and slow-motion cinematography.
Also of interest: “American Gigolo” (Aug. 1), “Black Hawk Down” (Aug. 1), “Get Shorty” (Aug. 1), “High Noon” (Aug. 1), “Hoosiers” (Aug. 1), “The Hunt for Red October” (Aug. 1), “The Hurricane” (Aug. 1), “The Hurt Locker” (Aug. 1), “In & Out” (Aug. 1), “Jacob’s Ladder” (Aug. 1), “Joe” (Aug. 1), “No Way Out” (Aug. 1), “Out of Time” (Aug. 1), “Point Break” (Aug. 1), “Pretty Woman” (Aug. 1), “The Rock” (Aug. 1), “Stir of Echoes” (Aug. 1), “Teen Wolf” (Aug. 1), “The Usual Suspects” (Aug. 1), “Blood Ties” (Aug. 8), “Borg vs. McEnroe” (Aug. 10), “Role Models” (Aug. 16), “Mother!” (Aug. 26) and “The Terminator” (Aug. 31).
Frances McDormand in “Fargo.” Michael Tackett/Gramercy Pictures
New to HBO
‘Fargo’Starts streaming: Aug. 1
If you love the FX series of the same name, I sure hope you’ve seen the Coen brothers’ original from 1996. In that feature film, a North Dakota car salesman (William H. Macy) hires two criminals (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare) to kidnap his wife in order to squeeze some ransom money from his father-in-law. And it just might work if one of the best, most dogged cops in movie history, the very pregnant Marge (Frances McDormand), gets her way. This film is as darkly funny as they come.
‘Heaven Can Wait’ Starts streaming: Aug. 1
Warren Beatty plays Joe, a quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams, who is accidentally taken from his body too early by an angel and must find another body to occupy until the whole mess is sorted out. This is a delightfully silly ’70s comedy, featuring a reunion between a big-haired Beatty and his “McCabe and Mrs. Miller” co-star Julie Christie, who plays Beatty’s environmental-activist love interest. Beatty directed “Heaven Can Wait” with the screenwriter and actor Buck Henry, who also appears as the movie’s overeager angel.
‘Shine’ Starts streaming: Aug. 1
This is the film that turned Geoffrey Rush, then 44, into a worldwide star and the first actor ever to win an Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA, SAG Award and Critics’ Choice Award for a single role. Rush totally committed to this portrayal of the mentally troubled musician David Helfgott, taking piano lessons so that a hand double wouldn’t be required for the filming, transcribing hours of interview tapes to develop a feeling for Helfgott’s rapid-fire babbling and editing the scripted dialogue to reflect it. Helfgott’s voice and music pour out of Rush, and we drink them up.
‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’Starts streaming: Aug. 4
The three billboards are blunt: “Raped while dying.” “And still no arrests.” “How come, Chief Willoughby?” They are an attempt by a grieving mother (an Oscar-winning Frances McDormand) to provoke some police action in the rape and murder of her teenage daughter. This film by the writer and director Martin McDonagh is meant to provoke us as well. If McDormand’s character can’t get justice, is vigilante justice all right? And if a local cop (Sam Rockwell, who also won an Oscar) undergoes an awakening about his racist past, can he be forgiven? Does moral high ground ever actually exist?
‘Insecure’ Season 3 Premiere Starts streaming: Aug. 12 (new episodes every Sunday)
Issa Rae proved she could take the short vignettes from her funny, frank web series “Awkward Black Girl” and assemble them into a full and satisfying premium-cable sitcom, complete with plot twists and unexpected pathos. “Insecure” was hailed as one of the brightest new shows of 2016, with Rae and her cast and crew telling stories about a young woman balancing romance, friendships and a career in Los Angeles. Season 3 should be just as keenly attuned to the ways in which young adulthood has changed in the age of social media.
‘Darkest Hour’ Starts streaming: Aug. 18
Gary Oldman’s jowly Winston Churchill is both bulldog and underdog, filled with bluster and self-doubt in equal measure. Only recently installed as Britain’s Prime Minister, Churchill is faced with a difficult decision: Several members of Parliament are pressuring him to come to terms with the Nazis — to capitulate. But where would that lead? And what would Churchill tell the British people? We know how this story worked out in the end, but Churchill’s historical uncertainty — and Oldman’s remarkable performance — make it freshly compelling.
Also of interest: “The Blind Side” (Aug. 1), “The Fugitive” (Aug. 1), “It’s Complicated” (Aug. 1), “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” (Aug. 1), “The Terminal” (Aug. 1), “The Verdict” (Aug. 1), “Animals” Season 2 premiere (Aug. 3), “Random Acts of Flyness” Season 1 premiere (Aug. 3) and “Esme & Roy” Season 1 (Aug. 18).
Monica Castillo, Gilbert Cruz and Noel Murray contributed reporting.
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