More theaters are beginning to open and movies such as Unhinged are starting to debut in theaters. We are getting to the point where, hopefully, the industry will begin to safely normalize. But we still have a long way to go before we are truly back to normal. Fortunately, there is no shortage of options for those who are still sticking to watching movies at home.
This week sees the arrival of Disney’s latest, which was originally intended as a theatrical release. We also have a new biopic on Nikola Tesla, an animated Superman flick and a documentary about one of the biggest video games of all time. Plus, a couple of new horror movies and some new arrivals on Netflix are here to fill the void. Here are this week’s streaming selections.
The One and Only Ivan – Disney+
The latest Disney+ original is one that was intended as a theatrical release. Instead, the adaptation of Katherine Applegate’s bestselling book, The One and Only Ivan, is hitting the streaming service on August 21. The movie centers on Ivan, a 400-pound silverback gorilla who shares a communal habitat in a mall with Stella the elephant, Bob the dog, and various other animals. He hardly remembers the jungle where he was captured. However, when a baby elephant named Ruby arrives, it touches something deep within him. Ruby was recently separated from her family in the wild, which causes him to question things. Thea Sharrock directs. Bryan Cranston leads the A-list cast, which also includes Angelina Jolie, Sam Rockwell, Danny DeVito, Ron Funches and Helen Mirren.
Tesla – Digital
Ethan Hawke is starring as the iconic Nikola Tesla in a new biopic, Tesla. The movie focuses on the brilliant visionary as he fights an uphill battle to bring his revolutionary electrical system to fruition. Meanwhile, he faces other challenges with his new system for worldwide wireless energy. The movie tracks his uneasy interactions with his fellow inventor Thomas Edison and his patron George Westinghouse, while Tesla’s sidewinding courtship of financial titan J.P. Morgan, whose daughter Anne takes a more than casual interest in the inventor, is also part of the equation. Kyle MacLachlan, Eve Hewson and Jim Gaffigan also star. The movie arrives on demand on August 21.
The Sleepover – Netflix
Netflix’s latest original movie, The Sleepover, arrives on August 21. It takes place during a fun weekend sleepover as two siblings, along with their best friends, discover that their seemingly normal mom Margot (Malin Akerman) is actually a former high-end thief in the witness protection program. When both their mom and dad (Ken Marino) are kidnapped, forced to pull one last job with Margot’s ex (Joe Manganiello), the siblings must team up to rescue their parents. Trish Sie directs.
Random Acts of Violence – Shudder
The latest from director Jay Baruchel, Random Acts of Violence, is hitting Shudder on August 20. The movie focuses on comic book creator Todd Walkley (Jesse Williams), his wife Kathy (Jordana Brewster), assistant Aurora (Niamh Wilson) and best friend, Hard Calibre Comics owner Ezra (Jay Baruchel). They embark on a road trip from Toronto to a comic con and bad things start to happen. Namely, people start getting killed. It quickly becomes obvious that a crazed fan is using Todd’s “Slasherman” comic as inspiration for the killings. As the body count rises, and Todd’s friends and family become victims themselves, he will be forced to take artistic responsibility.
The Vanished – Digital
The Vanished is the latest from filmmaker Peter Facinelli. It centers on a family whose vacation takes a terrifying turn when a couple discovers their daughter has disappeared without a trace. Stopping at nothing to find her, their search for the truth leads to a shocking revelation. Thomas Jane, Anne Heche and Jason Patric star. The movie is available digitally starting August 21.
Clownface – Digital
Clownface brings the slasher goods this week. Available now digitally, the movie sees a deranged serial killer known as Clownface who looks to terrorise the residents of a small town. It comes from writer/director Alex Bourne, with a cast that includes Philip John Bailey, Hannah Douglas and Richard Buck.
Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies – Digital
Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies, is available now via digital retailers. As promised in the title, this is positioned as the definitive look at nudity in movies through the ages, dating back to the early silent era through now. Directed by Danny Wolf, the documentary has been met with widespread acclaim, currently boasting a 90 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Superman: Man of Tomorrow – Digital
The latest DC animated feature from Warner Bros., Superman: Man of Tomorrow, is set to arrive on August 23. The movie takes a look at Clark Kent’s early days at the Daily Planet as an intern. He takes learning-on-the-job to new extremes when Lobo and Parasite set their sights on Metropolis. Chris Palmer directs, with Darren Criss leading the cast as the Man of Steel. Zachary Quinto, Alexandra Daddario, Brett Dalton and Ryan Hurst also star.
The Pale Door – Digital
Director Aaron B. Koontz is blending horror and western for his latest, The Pale Door. The movie centers on the Dalton gang. They are seeking shelter in a seemingly empty ghost town after a train robbery goes sideways on them. Their wounded leader is in need of help and they are surprised to stumble upon a welcoming brothel in the town. However, the beautiful women who greet them turn out to be a coven of witches with very sinister plans. Devin Druid, Zachary Knighton, Noah Segan, Stan Shaw, Pat Healy, Bill Sage and Melora Walters star.
Pretending I’m Superman – Digital
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was a monumentally important game for both the world of video games and skateboarding. With the remastered edition of the first two games just around the corner, Pretending I’m Superman is arguably coming out at the perfect time. The documentary tells the story behind the game and features never-before-seen footage and interviews with legendary skater Tony Hawk, as well as industry stars Steve Caballero, Rodney Mullen, Chad Muska, and Eric Koston. Ludvig Gur directs the doc, which takes audiences through an intimate journey, chronicling the meteoric rise of skateboarding’s most famous name. The movie is available digitally now.
Chemical Hearts – Amazon Prime Video
Chemical Hearts is the latest Amazon Original movie. It follows seventeen-year-old Henry Page (Austin Abrams), who has never been in love. He fancies himself a romantic, but the kind of once-in-a-lifetime love he’s been hoping for simply hasn’t happened yet. Then, on the first day of senior year, he meets a transfer student named Grace (Lili Reinhart). When Grace and Henry are chosen to co-edit the school paper, he is quickly drawn to the mysterious newcomer. As he learns the heartbreaking secret that has changed her life, he finds himself falling in love with her. Richard Tanne directs the adaptation of Krystal Sutherland’s book. The movie is available exclusively on Amazon Prime Video starting August 21.
The Barge People – Digital
For horror lovers, we have The Barge People, which is available on digital platforms now. Directed by Charlie Steeds, the creature feature centers on a group of friends who head off on what is supposed to be a relaxing weekend away on the canals of the British countryside. They are, however, unprepared for the flesh-eating mutants lurking in the water who are waiting to feed. Kate Davies-Speak, Mark McKirdy, Makenna Guyler and newcomer Matt Swales star.
John Was Trying to Contact Aliens – Netflix
For fans of extraterrestrial happenings, Netflix is bringing a new documentary, John Was Trying to Contact Aliens, our way on August 20. It focuses on John Shepherd, who spent 30 years trying to contact extraterrestrials by broadcasting music millions of miles into space. After giving up the search, he makes a different connection on Earth. Matthew Killip directs.
Open 24 Hours – Digital
Writer/director Padraig Reynolds is bringing the horror goods this week with Open 24 Hours, which is available on digital platforms now. In the movie, after setting her serial killer boyfriend on fire, a paranoid delusional woman gets a job at an all-night gas station. Vanessa Grasse, Brendan Fletcher and Emily Tennant star. The movie is available now via digital retailers.
The Legion – Amazon Prime Video
The Legion is arriving on Amazon Prime Video August 22. The action/adventure flick comes from director Jose Magan and stars the likes of Mickey Rourke and Bai Ling. It takes place during the invasion of Parthia and sees two Roman legions that have been brought to a standstill in the snowy mountains of Armenia. They are slowly dying in the icy conditions. The rest of the Roman army is two weeks away, and the region swarms with Parthian patrols. Their only hope for survival is Noreno, a half-Roman soldier who is tasked with the impossible mission of crossing the deadly terrain to save the two legions.
Irresistible – Amazon Prime Video
Jon Stewart has returned with his latest directorial effort, Irresistible. Originally, this was supposed to be a theatrical release but, given the current situation, Focus Features opted to go with a premium VOD offering. Now, it is available to a much wider audience due to its arrival on Amazon Prime Video. Steve Carell, Rose Byrne, Chris Cooper, Topher Grace, Natasha Lyonne, Mackenzie Davis, CJ Wilson and Will Sasso star in the politically charged comedy. It centers on Democrat political consultant (Carell) who helps a retired Marine colonel (Cooper) run for mayor in a small Wisconsin town.
Queen & Slim – HBO
Queen & Slim seemed destined for awards season last year. Instead, the movie had a somewhat quiet run in theaters resulting in a relatively small amount of buzz. But now, with the movie arriving on HBO on August 22, it will get another shake. The movie sees a couple’s first date take an unexpected turn when a cop pulls them over for a minor traffic violation. The situation escalates, resulting in the office being shot in an act of self-defense. Now, branded as cop killers in the media, the two feel that they have no choice but to go on the run and evade the law. When a video of the incident goes viral, the outlaws soon gain notoriety. Daniel Kaluuya, Chloe Sevigny, Jodie Turner-Smith, Bokeem Woodbine, Flea, Sturgill Simpson and Indya Moore star. Melina Matsoukas directs.