What's Streaming? Best New Releases Coming Your Way This Month
With new streaming services launching seemingly every other day, it’s almost impossible to keep track of all the new movies and TV shows popping up each month. With that in mind, we’ll be running down the top new streaming picks debuting each and every month to help you avoid those endless late-night sessions of mindless scrolling.
It’s the middle of summer, and while we all should be taking advantage of the season and spending as much time as we can outdoors, there are so many exciting new movies and shows available right at your fingertips this month. Whether you’re logging onto your tablet from a lakeside country house or just need to escape the brutal August heat for a while, there’s a huge slate of great new content to keep you busy this month.
This month’s highlights include James Gunn’s over-the-top supervillain team-up The Suicide Squad (arriving on HBO Max and in theatres on August 5), Taika Waititi’s Reservation Dogs, a wildly comic and heartfelt new series about a group of troubled Indigenous teens in small town Oklahoma (FX, August 9), and Only Murders in the Building (Hulu, August 31), a dark comedy starring Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez as a trio of strangers who come together to investigate a murder in their building (by making a podcast about it).
This month’s streaming picks are available via Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max/Crave, Amazon Prime Video, FX, Shudder, and video-on-demand.
Amazon Prime Video
Val Kilmer was one of the most exciting young actors in the ‘80s and ‘90s, appearing in blockbusters like Top Gun and The Doors while simultaneously cultivating a reputation as of the most difficult and generally out-there actors of his generation. Kilmer was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2015, and was outfitted with a tracheotomy which has made verbalizing very difficult. This new documentary is made-up of home videos Kilmer shot throughout his life and career, edited from over 800 hours of raw footage. Written by Val and narrated by his son Jack, the doc promises a candid behind-the-scenes look at Kilmer’s life and career, along with his cancer diagnosis and its debilitating side effects. Val premieres on Amazon Prime Video on August 6.
This one won’t be for everyone, but if you’re an adventurous viewer, strap in. The latest from French filmmaker Leos Carax (Holy Motors) Annette is a deliriously strange rock opera starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard, co-written by the boundary-pushing art-rock band Sparks (themselves the subject of the new Edgar Wright documentary on their decades-long career). The film revolves around a provocative stand-up comedian (Driver) and his opera singer wife (Cotillard), whose lives are turned upside down following the arrival of their first child. With comparisons to the 1974 cult classic Phantom of the Paradise, Annette is sure to cause as much of a stir when it debuts on Amazon Prime Video as it did when it opened the Cannes Film Festival earlier this summer. At the very least, you’ll want to tune in to watch Driver’s buzzed-about musical number, which he performs into Cotillard during an oral sex scene (don’t watch this one with the in-laws at the cottage). Annette premieres on Amazon Prime Video on August 20.
Marvel Studios’ “What If…?”
After dozens of movies and TV shows based in the ever-expanding MCU, Marvel Studios is ready to have some fun with the upcoming What If…? series. The first animated show set in the MCU, What If…? is based on the long-running Marvel comics series that featured new and off-beat alternate takes on classic Marvel moments. The series asked the hard-hitting questions many of us debated as kids, such as “What if Wolverine had killed the Hulk?” or “What if Loki had found the hammer of Thor?” Featuring voice talent by the actual actors who portrayed the characters in the films including the late Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, and Seth Green as Howard the Duck (!), What If…? looks like a fun and wildly irreverent new vision of the Marvel mythos. Marvel Studios’ “What If…?” debuts on Disney+ on August 11, with new episodes dropping every Wednesday.
Reservation Dogs Season One
Show creators Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows) and Sterlin Harjo (Mekko) join forces for Reservation Dogs, an upcoming series following the lives of four Indigenous teenagers in rural Oklahoma. The four teens (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai as Bear, Devery Jacobs as Elora Danan, Paulina Alexis as Willie Jack, and Lane Factor as Cheese) spend their days running petty crimes, dealing with local gangs (who rock both red and blue because they can’t decide on a unifying gang color), and starving off boredom in their bleak small town. Featuring an all Indigenous cast, Reservation Dogs looks like a hilarious slice-of-life take on Indigenous teens trying to balance their daily lives with their cultural heritage, with a hefty dose of freestyle rapping and youthful hijinks to boot. The first two episodes of Reservation Dogs debut on FX on August 9, with new episodes airing each Monday.
HBO / HBO Max / Crave
The Suicide Squad
2016’s Suicide Squad may have been a disaster, but if the early reviews are anything to go by, this new version is a vastly superior sequel in every way. Helmed by James Gunn (of Guardians of the Galaxy fame), The Suicide Squad features a huge ensemble cast including Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Idris Elba as Bloodsport, John Cena as Peacemaker, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, and Sylvester Stallone as the instantly memeable King Shark. They make up a group of unstable convicts known as Task Force X, who are deployed to smash up a secret Nazi-era laboratory that’s been conducting human experiments. (There’s also a giant alien starfish known as Starro thrown into the mix for good measure.) Co-starring Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, and Peter Capaldi, The Suicide Squad looks like the sort of ultra-violent and outrageous comic book movie that DC has never had the stomach to release (until now). The Suicide Squad blasts its way onto HBO Max and theatres on August 5.
Hugh Jackman plays “a private investigator of the mind” in Reminiscence, an upcoming sci-fi thriller premiering this month. The feature directorial debut from Lisa Joy (the co-creator, writer, director, and executive producer of Westworld), Reminiscence takes place in a near future dystopia where a solitary veteran named Nick Bannister (Jackman) helps people relive their most precious memories for a price. He soon gets caught up with the mysterious Mae (Rebecca Ferguson), who appears to be involved in the memories of one of his clients, leading Nick down a rabbit hole to learn the truth before it’s too late. With nods to classic film noir and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, this looks like one of the most promising and intriguing films of the summer. Reminiscence arrives in theatres and on HBO Max on August 20.
Nine Perfect Strangers
It’s Big Little Lies reunion with Nine Perfect Strangers, a new drama series once again based on a novel by Liane Moriarty, written and produced by David E. Kelley, and starring Nicole Kidman. Kidman plays Masha, the leader of a California wellness retreat where a collection of strangers (Melissa McCarthy, Michael Shannon, Bobby Cannavale, Regina Hall, Samara Weaving, Melvin Gregg, Luke Evans, Asher Keddie and Grace Van Patten) show up to improve their lives, and (one assumes) get caught up in some kind of mystery. The elusive first trailer doesn’t reveal much, but with a cast like that can you imagine not watching this? Nine Perfect Strangers debuts on Hulu on August 18.
What happens on vacation should stay on vacation, but that golden rule gets put to the test with the upcoming comedy Vacation Friends. Lil Rel Howery (Get Out) stars as Marcus, a straight-laced owner of a construction company who heads to Mexico with fiancé Emily (Insecure‘s Yvonne Orji) for a much-needed break. At the resort, they encounter Ron (Suicide Squad‘s John Cena) and Kyla (Search Party’s Meredith Hagner),a rambunctious couple who rope Marcus and Emily into a week-long party. The fun should end there, but when Ron and Kayla show up at Marcus’ and Emily’s wedding uninvited, things really get crazy. Directed and co-written by Silicon Valley’s Clay Tarver, this R-rated raunchy comedy is just what we need during the hazy days of summer. Vacation Friends debuts on Hulu on August 27.
Only Murders in the Building Season One
Following their 2018 joint stand-up special, An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life, comedy legends Steve Martin and Martin Short are teaming back up for the upcoming new comedy series, Only Murders in the Building. The comic titans star alongside Selena Gomez as a trio of true crime fanatics who get mixed up in a real-life murder in their own building. When faced with a murder close to home, the trio of strangers do what any real true crime fan would do – start a podcast about it! With guest appearances from the likes of Jane Lynch, Nathan Lane, and Sting (!), Only Murders in the Building looks like a pitch-perfect black comedy about our insatiable hunger for true crime (thanks a lot, Serial). The first episode of Only Murders in the Building Season One debuts on Hulu on August 31.
Fresh off blowing our collective minds in Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, John David Washington is back with Beckett, a new thriller premiering on Netflix this month. Washington plays Beckett, an American tourist who gets embroiled in a massive conspiracy and has to fight to save his name (and his life) while desperately trying to reach the U.S. embassy in Athens. The stacked cast also includes Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina), Robert Holbrook (Gone Girl), and Vicky Krieps (Hanna). While these Netflix action thrillers are often a mixed bag, we’ll watch John David Washington in just about anything, so this one’s already circled on the calendar. Beckett lands on Netflix on August 13.
The Chair Season One
Netflix has revealed very little about this upcoming show so far, but based on the sheer star power attached, The Chair is likely to be the surprise smash of the summer. Described simply as a “half hour dramedy centered around the Chair of an English department at a major university,” The Chair stars Sandra Oh (Killing Eve) and Mark Duplass (Transparent) and features Amanda Peet (The Whole Nine Yards) as writer/showrunner/executive producer. If that wasn’t enough to launch The Chair to the top of your summer watch list, the show also features David Benioff and D.B. Weiss as executive producers, the duo responsible for bringing Game of Thrones to the screen. The Chair Season One debuts on Netflix on August 20.
Slasher: Flesh and Blood
The horror anthology series Slasher is back with Slasher: Flesh and Blood, a new 8-episode series debuting on Shudder this month. The new season focuses on a rich but highly dysfunctional family who come together for a family reunion on a secluded island, only to discover that a masked killer is hunting them down one by one. Starring legendary Canadian horror director David Cronenberg (The Fly, Videodrome) as the family patriarch, the new season brings back a number of cast members from previous seasons in new roles (including Paula Brancati, Jefferson Brown, and Christopher Jacot), alongside new members Rachael Crawford, Jeananne Goosen, and Alex Ozerov. Like a mashup of Succession and Friday the 13th, Slasher: Flesh and Blood should hit that horror sweet spot as we inch ever closer to Halloween. The first two episodes of Slasher: Flesh and Blood debut on Shudder on August 12, with new episodes arriving weekly.
Video On Demand
This one isn’t technically a streaming premiere, but if you missed the latest Fast and the Furious entry in theatres (how dare you), F9 is now available to rent on your video on demand service of choice for just under $20. The latest entry in the seemingly never-ending franchise includes some of the wildest stunts Dom and the crew have ever performed, from setting off in flying cars to somehow journeying into space. It’s big, loud, and dumb, and the perfect way to cut loose with a case of Corona. Do it for your #family. F9 is available to rent on VOD now.
What Was Streaming Last Month?
Traditionally, July is when the mega franchise releases invade your local multiplex, but this year is a little different – while you can still head to the theaters to catch the likes of F9, many of this summer’s biggest hits will also be available directly via streaming services from the safety and comfort of your home.
If you’re looking for something a little more off the beaten path, plenty of great new titles hit streaming last month, including a new season of the absurd comedy sketch show I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson (Netflix, July 6), Steven Soderbergh’s star-studded heist film No Sudden Move (HBO Max, July 2), and many more.
Last month’s streaming picks are available via Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max/Crave, Amazon Prime Video, and Shudder.
Amazon Prime Video
The Tomorrow War
Originally slated to premiere in theaters, this massive sci-fi epic is now set to beam directly into your home via Amazon Prime Video. Chris Pratt stars alongside J. K. Simmons, Betty Gilpin, and Sam Richardson (also starring in the second season of Netflix’s I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson this month) in this tale of a group of present-day soldiers sent off into the future to battle an alien invading force. Directed by Chris McKay (The Lego Batman Movie), The Tomorrow War looks like a throwback to an era when blockbuster sci-fi action films like Independence Day ruled the box office. “Welcome to Earth!” The Tomorrow War debuts on Amazon Prime Video on July 2.
Delayed for over a year due to the pandemic, the latest Marvel blockbuster is finally out this month and you won’t even need to leave your couch to see it. The film stars Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow, the secretive member of The Avengers who finally gets her due with her own feature film. Set after the events of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, the action-packed espionage thriller features a stacked cast including Florence Pugh, David Harbour, William Hurt, and Rachel Weisz. Directed by Cate Shortland, Black Widow officially kicks off the fourth phase of the MCU, making this one a must-see for all the legions of Marvel zombies out there. Black Widow is available as a Disney+ “Premium Access” purchase as of Friday, July 9th.
Admittedly, a movie based on a Disney theme park ride may not scream of “cinema,” but Jungle Cruise looks like the perfect summer blockbuster. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars as “Skipper” Frank Wolff, a steamboat captain tasked with taking a scientist (Emily Blunt) and her brother (Jack Whitehall) on an expedition to find the fabled Tree of Life. Along the way, they’ll have to outsmart and outmanoeuver deadly animals, mother nature, and a rival team led by the great Jesse Plemons as a “deranged and ambitious German aristocrat.” Jungle Cruise seems to know exactly what kind of movie it is, and should be an excellent way to kill a hot July afternoon. Jungle Cruise sails onto Disney+ as a “Premium Access” add-on as of July 30.
HBO / HBO Max / Crave
No Sudden Move
Director Steven Soderbergh reinvented the heist film for a new generation with his Ocean’s trilogy, and he has one big score up his sleeve with No Sudden Move. His latest centers on a group of criminals who are brought together for a job, and are forced to work as a team to figure out who’s at fault when things go very badly. Featuring a staggeringly great ensemble cast including Don Cheadle, Benicio del Toro, David Harbour, Jon Hamm, Amy Seimetz, Brendan Fraser, Kieran Culkin, Julia Fox, and Ray Liotta, this is the blockbuster for those who prefer a bit more brains with their brawn. No Sudden Moves arrives on HBO Max on July 2.
Space Jam: A New Legacy
A quarter of a century (!) after the release of Space Jam comes the long-awaited sequel, the aptly-titled Space Jam: A New Legacy. While the original film had NBA star Michael Jordan kibitzing with the animated likes of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, the sequel features Lebron James in a team-up with the classic Looney Tunes characters to free his son from the clutches of the “Warner 3000 Server-Verse,” a virtual space run by an evil A.I. (played by Don Cheadle, also starring in No False Move this month). It all sounds pretty preposterous, but Space Jam: A New Legacy looks like one of the few new blockbuster releases that both parents and their kids might actually enjoy together, which is no mean feat. Space Jam: A New Legacy dribbles its way onto HBO Max on July 16.
Summer of Soul
Questlove, drummer for the Roots, DJ, author, and vinyl collector par excellence has made his first foray into feature film directing with Summer of Soul, a remarkable documentary on the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. Held the same year as Woodstock, the free outdoor festival in Harlem featured an incredible lineup of Black artists including Stevie Wonder, Sly and the Family Stone, Mahalia Jackson, Nina Simone, and The Staple Singers, among many others. And while Woodstock became a generational touchstone, the Harlem Cultural Festival has remained largely unknown — until now. Unearthing rare live footage that had sat unseen for decades, Questlove incorporates moving new interviews with the performers and fans while placing the mammoth concert series in a revealing historical and social context. Turn this one up LOUD. Summer of Soul premieres on Hulu on July 2.
Fear Street: The Trilogy
The teen slasher horror genre is about to undergo a massive resurgence with the arrival of the upcoming Fear Street trilogy of films. Based on the beloved ‘90s YA books by R.L. Stine, Netflix is releasing each of the three films on a weekly basis throughout the month, starting with Fear Street: 1994 on July 2. Each installment is set in a different era, with the 1994 film leaning into the Scream teen horror boom of the ‘90s, while the second entry takes place at a ‘70s summer camp, a tip of the hat to the iconic Friday the 13th franchise. And while teen horror sometimes gets a bad rap, director Leigh Janiak didn’t hold anything back for this trilogy, earning the films an R-rating for “strong bloody violence.” Bring it on! Fear Street Part One: 1994 lands on Netflix on July 2, with the subsequent films debuting on July 9 and 16.
I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson Season 2
The first season of Netflix’s I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson remains one of the funniest and most absurd sketch comedy shows in years, with endlessly quotable lines (“a great steering wheel that doesn’t fly off when you’re driving”) and some of the cringiest moments this side of Curb Your Enthusiasm. We don’t know much about the upcoming season yet, but with guest stars including Bob Odenkirk, Julia Butters, Paul Walter Hauser, Tim Heidecker, and Robinson’s frequent co-star Sam Richardson (also starring in The Tomorrow War this month), this new season might be just as memorable as the night that the skeletons came to life. I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson Season 2 debuts on Netflix on July 6.
Masters of the Universe: Revelation Season One
By the power of…Kevin Smith? The creator of Clerks and Mallrats may seem like an unusual choice to helm a He-Man reboot, but with his encyclopedic pop-culture knowledge and knack for crafting memorable dialogue, this might just work. Smith serves as showrunner and executive producer for the new Netflix series, which comes a full four decades after the ‘80s He-Man series wrapped-up. With a vivid animation style and a great cast of voice actors (including Mark Hamill as Skeletor!) Masters of the Universe: Revelation is a dream come true for middle-aged geeks everywhere. Masters of the Universe: Revelation Season One debuts on Netflix on July 23.
“The call is coming from inside the house!” Modern genre fans will get a kick out of the cast for The Call, the new horror film starring Lin Shaye (of The Conjuring films) and Tobin Bell (Saw), and produced by Jeffrey Reddick, who created the Final Destination franchise. Set in 1987, the plot revolves around a group of small-town friends who have to spend their night in a home with a creepy couple following a tragic accident. All they need to do to escape is to make a single call, but the couple has other plans for the stranded group of friends. Needless to say, things go very wrong from there. Pair this with one of the new Fear Street entries for a killer Friday night double-feature that will have you second guessing just what decade we’re living in. The Call hits Shudder on July 15.