Another week of 2020, another week largely without movie theaters. Fortunately, it is a huge week for new movies making their way to streaming. While it may be from the comfort of home and not at a theater near you, there is no shortage of options when it comes to finding something to watch this weekend.
We have a brand new comedy from Seth Rogen, the latest from director David Ayer and an update to a classic tale. There is also a horror flick focused on killer crocodiles, a new documentary on Disney+ and a few recent acclaimed titles that are finally arriving on streaming services. Here at this week’s streaming selections.
An American Pickle – HBO Max
It feels a bit like a broken record at this point in 2020, but here we have another big movie that was previously destined for the big screen making a debut on streaming instead. HBO Max scooped up the rights to An American Pickle, the latest starring Seth Rogen in not one but two roles. It also is the feature directorial debut of Brandon Trost, who has worked with Rogen in the past behind the camera. The movie was adapted by Simon Rich from his 2013 New Yorker novella Sell Out. It centers on Herschel Greenbaum, a struggling laborer who immigrates to America in 1919 and dreams of building a better life for his family. That changes one fateful day at his factory job when Herschell falls into a vat of pickles and is brined for 100 years. It perfectly preserves him and when he awakes in present-day New York to find that he hasn’t aged a day. He soon learns that his only surviving relative is his great-grandson Ben Greenbaum, a mild-mannered computer coder. An American Pickle is streaming on HBO Max now.
The Tax Collector – Digital
Director David Ayer is back with his latest, The Tax Collector, which is available on digital platforms starting August 7. Ayer is taking a break from big budget superhero movies, such as Suicide Squad, with a small scale crime thriller. Ayer is reuniting with Shia LaBeouf, with the two previously collaborating on Fury. It focuses on a pair of enforcers for a crime lord who face an uncertain future when an old rival unexpectedly reappears. Of note; LaBeouf actually got his entire chest tattooed for real for this role. So, even if this movie doesn’t wind up standing the test of time, the actor will have a big, permanent souvenir to carry with him for the rest of his life.
Waiting for the Barbarians – Digital
Waiting for the Barbarians, which arrives on digital platforms on August 7, has a lot going for it on paper. It stars Johnny Depp, Robert Pattinson and Mark Rylance in a historical drama directed by Ciro Guerra. It tells the story of the Magistrate of an isolated frontier settlement on the border of an unnamed empire who is looking forward to an easy retirement. That is, until the arrival of Colonel Joll, who is tasked with reporting on the activities of the ‘barbarians’ and on the security situation on the border. Joll conducts a series of ruthless interrogations, which leads the Magistrate to question his loyalty to the empire.
The Secret Garden – Digital
Here, we have an update to a tried and true classic with The Secret Garden, which hits digital platforms on August 7. It tells the tale of Mary Lennox whose parents suddenly die. She is then sent to live with her uncle, Archibald Craven, at his remote country estate. While exploring the property, she discovers a hidden magical garden. Colin Firth, Julie Walters and Dixie Egerickx star. Marc Munden is in the director’s chair.
Howard – Disney+
The latest Disney+ original movie, which debuts on August 7, focuses on the legendary Howard Ashman. Simply titled Howard, it is directed by Don Hahn. It tells the untold story of Ashman, the brilliant lyricist behind Disney classics such as Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid. Spanning his childhood in Baltimore, to his formative years in New York, and his untimely death from AIDS, it takes an in-depth look at the man’s journey to become the lyricist behind some of the most beloved and well-known classic family classics ever made.
Out Stealing Horses – Digital
Available digitally starting August 7, Out Stealing Horses is a new drama from filmmaker Hans Petter Moland. It sees a man retire in favor of a solitary life in the Norwegian woods after the death of his wife, only for the past to resurface. Stellan Skarsgard, Danica Curcic, Tobias Santelmann and Jon Ranes star.
How to Fake a War – Digital
How to Fake a War comes from documentarian Rudolph Herzog, who is taking a stab at narrative comedy with his latest. The movie takes place as an outbreak of peace threatens rock star Harry Hope’s charity concert. The musician dispatches his PR consultant to create a fake war story to save the concert. SNL alum Jay Pharoh stars alongside Lily Newmark, Katherine Parkinson and Daryl McCormack. The movie is available on digital platforms on August 7.
Made in Italy – Digital
James D’Arcy is a well-known actor for his roles in Agent Carter, Dunkirk and more, but he has stepped behind the camera for Made in Italy. Starring Liam Neeson in the lead role, it centers on a London artist and his estranged son who are looking to mend their relationship as they work together to fix up a house in Italy that is in disrepair. It is streaming via digital retailers on August 7.
Black Water: Abyss – Digital
Director Andrew Traucki is back with a sequel to 2007’s Black Water in the form of Black Water: Abyss. While it is difficult to imagine anything topping last year’s Crawl in this department, the movie takes place deep in the forests of Australia and focuses on a group of friends who are exploring a remote cave system when a tropical storm hits. As rising floodwaters trap them deep below the surface, something even deadlier emerges from the darkness in the form of killer crocodiles. It is available through digital retailers on August 7.
She Dies Tomorrow – Digital}
The latest from writer/director Amy Seimetz, She Dies Tomorrow, has been met with a warm reception from critics thus far. Available digitally August 7, the movie lovers may know Seimetz from her work on-screen in projects like Alien: Covenant and Pet Sematary. The movie centers on a woman who has a strong conviction that she will die tomorrow, which spreads like a contagion through a town. Kate Lyn Sheil, Jane Adams, Michelle Rodriguez and Olivia Taylor Dudley star.
Promare – Digital
For lovers of anime, Promare has made its way to digital platforms. Directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi, it takes place thirty years after the appearance of Burnish, a race of flame-wielding mutant beings, who destroyed half of the world with fire. When a new group of aggressive mutants appears, a battle begins. The movie has been met with widespread acclaim from both critics and audiences alike.
We Summon the Darkness – Netflix
We Summon the Darkness made its debut digitally earlier this year. Now, it will make its way to a much wider audience on Netflix starting August 8. The horror flick focuses on a trio of best friends who cross paths with sadistic killers after they travel to a secluded country home to party. Alexandra Daddario, Johnny Knoxville and Maddy Hasson star in the latest from director Marc Meyers.
Dora and the Lost City of Gold – Hulu
Dora the Explorer made her way to the world of live-action last year with Dora and the Lost City of Gold. The movie was met with solid reviews, but it sort of came and went with a relative whimper. It will now have a second shot at life as director James Bobin’s adaptation of the hit Nickelodeon series has landed on Hulu. With Isabella Moner in the lead role, the movie centers on Dora, who has spent most of her life exploring the jungle. Now, she is being sent to a typical high school. Accompanied by a ragtag group of teens and her trusty monkey pal Boots, Dora embarks on a quest to save her parents while trying to solve the mystery behind a lost Incan civilization. Eva Longoria, Michael Pena and Danny Trejo also star.
The Peanut Butter Falcon – Hulu
Shia LaBeouf starred in not one but two acclaimed indie movies in 2019. One of them, The Peanut Butter Falcon, has made its way to Hulu for those who didn’t have the chance to check it out in theaters. Directed by Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, it centers on a man who has Down syndrome, played by Zack Gottsagen, who runs away from a residential nursing home to pursue his dream of becoming a pro wrestler. Along the way, he befriends an outlaw who becomes his coach and ally. Dakota Johnson, Thomas Haden Church, Jon Bernthal and Bruce Dern also star.
Richard Jewell – HBO
Clint Eastwood has been shockingly prolific in recent years, especially for a man who recently turned 90. Eastwood has, as of late, taken a shine to biopics. In the case of Richard Jewell, which arrives on HBO on August 8, the filmmaker took a look at a real-life Atlanta bomb scare in 1996. The movie takes place during the Summer Olympics in Atlanta when security guard Richard Jewell, played by Paul Walter Hauser, discovered a suspicious backpack under a bench in Centennial Park. He helps evacuate the area until the bomb inside the bag explodes. praised as a hero, his life begins to unravel when the FBI names him the prime suspect in the bombing. The movie didn’t fare particularly well at the box office last year, with controversy erupting regarding the portrayal of Olivia Wilde’s character. Kathy Bates did earn an Oscar nomination for her performance. Sam Rockwell and Jon Hamm also star.