Published on 19 Aug 1919
Universal is shaking off the damage from pulling “The Hunt” from release, but it can take comfort in the surprise showing of R-rated comedy “Good Boys.” Not only is it the first original film to reach number one since “Us” in March another Universal title, but it also shows the depth of the studio’s lower-budget slate.
“Good Boys” pushed a Universal franchise, “Hobbs & Shaw,” from the top spot, and created the rare case when a non-Disney studio held the top two spots. The week also came with four new wide releases: Two were sequels “The Angry Birds Movie 2” and Meters Down: Uncaged”, both of which failed to do more than mediocre business. “Blinded By the Light” and “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” both targeted older audiences and struggled to gain attention, though the former &mdash a Bruce Springsteen-inspired crowd pleaser &mdash seemed to show initial word-of-mouth appeal.
A stronger than expected Saturday, which boosted the totals of most films from initial estimates, pushed initial weekend totals to a little under $120 million. However, this weekend still reflects an estimated $10 million shortfall against last year. The year-over-year gap stands at 7.5%, or over $600 million.
“Good Boys,” like the three other biggest non-franchise domestic successes this year “Us,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “Rocket Man” is R-rated. Studios dodge this rating for most top budget, mass-audience  blockbusters it’s possible that the rating helps set these films apart.
R-rated comedies featuring underage boys is a theatrical tradition that goes back to “Porky’s” in 1981. Universal’s own 1999 “American Pie” became a franchise in its own right. Here, “Good Boys” includes spying on a sexy neighbor, viewing internet porn in preparation for a kissing party, and other similar exploits the difference here is that the kids are pre-teens.
Produced for $20 million, it’s the directorial debut of “The Office” veteran writer Gene Stupnitzky. With a $21 million opening, it falls in the range of mid-level success like “Bridesmaids,” “Old School,” “There’s Something About Mary,” and, yes, “Porky’s.” Throw in the recent dearth of comedies and even though $21 million isn’t huge an opening, and it’s a low #1 even for mid-August, it remains impressive.
Last year, “Crazy Rich Asians” opened to $26.5 million and grossed $174 million domestic, a multiple of over six times. That’s tough to duplicate, but it does show that a comedy with good word of mouth with little competition can ride a wave at this time of year.
“The Upside” in January was the last comedy to place #1. And while Jordan Peele’s “Us” was original, the success of “Get Out” gave it a strong presell. For “Good Boys,” it was the rare case when an original concept seemed to push it to success.
Entertainment Studios/screenshot from YouTube
Two years ago, the British-produced shark thriller Meters Down” saw modest success on a $5 million budget, with a surprising $44 million domestic total from an $11 million opening. The sequel opened to $9 million, which is better than expected. “Uncaged” doubled the budget, but given likely decent foreign pre-sales, it should be at least a minor success.
The shark movie grossed slightly less “The Angry Birds Movie 2.” The animated sequel opened last Tuesday, with a six-day total of $16.2 million, way down from the nearly $40 million earned by the 2016 original. This one had a smaller budget $65 million this time, but it needed a much better initial result. However, foreign holds promise the earlier effort grossed $244 million overseas.
George Kraychyk / CBS Films
Second-week players saw last week’s best opener “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” fall 52% &mdash not bad for horror, and it likely felt some competition from “Good Boys.” The $25 million-budgeted film is already at $40 million.
Paramount’s more expensive “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” fell about the same, but is only at $34 million so far. Dog-centered “The Art of Dancing in the Rain” Disney, a Fox holdover dropped 45% and managed to hold on in the top 10.
Standout among all holdovers is “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Quentin Tarantino’s film dropped only 35%. Even more impressive, it did so while losing 40% of its theaters, and the per-theater average slightly increased. Now at $114 million, it has a real shot at $130-140 million.
The Top  Ten
1. Good Boys Universal NEW – Cinemascore: B+ Metacritic: 60  Est. budget: $20 million
$21,000,000 in 3,204 theaters PTA: $6,554,000 Cumulative: $21,000,000
2. Hobbs & Shaw Universal Week 3 Last weekend #1
$14,140,000 -44% in 3,757 theaters -587 PTA: $3,764 Cumulative: $133,742,000
3. The Lion King Disney Week 5 Last weekend #3
$11,900,000 -41% in 3,560 theaters -660 PTA: $3,343 Cumulative: $496,108,000
4. The Angry Birds Movie 2 Sony NEW – Cinemascore: B+ Metacritic: 60  Est. budget: $65 million
$10,500,000 in 3,869 theaters PTA: $2,714 Cumulative: $16,237,000
5. Scary Tales to Tell in the Dark Lionsgate Week 2 Last weekend #2
$10,500,000 -52% in 3,135 theaters no change PTA: $3,206 Cumulative: $40,217,000
6. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged Entertainment Studios NEW – Cinemascore: C+ Metacritic: 43  Est. budget: $12 million
$9,000,000 in 2,853 theaters PTA: $3,155 Cumulative: $9,000,000
7. Dora and the Lost City of Gold Paramount Week 2 Last weekend #4
$8,500,000 -51% in 3,735 theaters no change PTA: $2,276 Cumulative: $33,910,000
8. Once Upon a Time In Hollywood Sony Week 4 Last weekend #5
$7,600,000 -35% in 2,504 theaters -1,003 PTA: $3,035 Cumulative: $114,348,000
9. Blinded By the Light Warner Bros. NEW – Cinemascore: A- Metacritic: 71  Est. budget: $15 million acquisition cost
$4,450,000 in 2,307 theaters PTA: $1,929 Cumulative: $4,450,000
10. The Art of Racing in the Rain Disney Week 2 Last weekend #6
$4,403,000 -46% in 2,765 theaters no change PTA: $1,929 Cumulative: $16,881,000
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Published on 17 Aug 1919
Cinematographer Robert Richardson, best known for his Oscar-winning work with Martin Scorsese and Oliver Stone, has signed on to shoot “Venom 2,” marking the first time he’ll photograph a superhero movie. He most recently filmed “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” directed by frequent collaborator Quentin Tarantino.
Sony announced earlier this month that it had hired motion-capture master Andy Serkis to direct the follow-up to the critically panned box office smash “Venom.” The films’ eponymous character was first introduced as one of Spider-Man’s enemies. Tom Hardy is reprising his lead role as journalist Eddie Brock, whose body becomes host to an alien parasite that endows him with superhuman abilities.
Richardson’s agent, Devin Mann of Iconic Talent, confirmed to IndieWire the veteran cinematographer had signed on to “Venom 2.” Richardson and Serkis previously worked together on Serkis’ directorial debut, the 2017 biographical drama “Breathe.”
Richardson’s work spans nearly four decades and across a variety of genres: He earned his first Oscar nomination for photographing Stone’s 1987 Vietnam War drama “Platoon,” and won for the first time with Stone’s 1991 political thriller “JFK.”
He won his two other Oscars for Scorsese collaborations “The Aviator,” the 2004 Howard Hughes biopic, and “Hugo,” the 2011 3D movie about an orphan who lives in the walls of a Paris train station.
Though Richardson has never done a superhero movie, he’s recently expressed interest in adding his visual perspective to the genre. The cinematographer was going to shoot “The Batman” back when Ben Affleck was set to direct, but he was among the moving pieces that left the project, now helmed by Matt Reeves with Greig Fraser as DP and set for a 2021 release
“Venom” grossed $856 million at the global box office on a $100 million budget. While the movie was a financial success and loved by audiences, it was a critical flop, and IndieWire’s own Michael Nordine wrote that the film is “as much a body-horror thriller as it is a comic-book movie, … akin to a buddy comedy in which one of the buddies has to prevent the other from wantonly biting people's heads off. If that sounds ridiculous, it is.”
Some possible reasons? Creative differences between Hardy and director Ruben Fleischer Hardy wanted funny, Fleischer wanted serious, down-to-the-wire editing, and fan backlash, Deadline reported.
Serkis seems amenable to Hardy’s creative vision for the sequel. “Venom” scribe Kelly Marcel is writing the sequel and is working with Hardy on the script. “So it’s very much centered around their take,” Serkis said, Gamespot reported.
Published on 16 Aug 1919
Ken Mok‘s Godfrey has added Iliza Shlesinger, to the cast. She will star alongside Cleopatra Coleman and Nick Thune in the indie romantic comedy. The film is currently in production in Vancouver, Canada.
Written and directed by Mok, the film follows the titular character Thune who is dealing with his dark past in a profound way: he’s decided to be anyone but himself. Coleman plays Sara, a smart insightful writer who tries to unravel the mystery of Godfrey while uncovering her own true identity. Shlesinger will play the role of Kelly, Sara's fast-talking, deal slinging literary agent.
“We have such a great cast for this film says Mok.” “Cleo and Nick are not only gifted comedically – they are incredibly talented musicians as well. And this film features all of their skills. Now to have Iliza join this cast with her comedic energy and attitude – it’s really a dream come true.”
Mok will produce under his 10X10 Entertainment banner alongside Project Z Entertainment's Tim Marlowe and Geneva Wasserman, and Goldstar's Jason Bourque. Jennifer Sanderson, Roy Choi, and Helie Lee will serve as executive producers.
Shlesinger is repped by WME and Avalon Management. Thune is repped by CAA and 3Arts. Coleman is repped by CAA and Grandview.Courtesy of Under The Stairs Entertainment’
The feminist coming-of-age horror Student Body has set their cast which includes Christian Camargo See, The Hurt Locker, Twilight, Montse Hernandez Lowriders, Jane the Virgin, Cheyenne Haynes Camping, Anthony Keyvan Alexa & Katie, Major Crimes, Harley Quinn Smith Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot and Austin Zajur Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, Fist Fight.
Student Body marks the directorial debut of Lee Ann Kurr, who also wrote the film. The story follows high school student Jane Shipley Hernandez as she seeks to mend her splintering relationship with childhood best friend Merritt Haynes, and fit in with her rebellious peers Ellis Keyvan, Nadia Smith and French Zajur. When Jane's math teacher Mr. Aunspach Camargo oversteps his bounds, an apathetic high school administration forces Jane and Merritt to take matters into their own hands, driving their relationship into further turmoil and inciting deadly consequences.
Rachel Liu and Under The Stairs Entertainment's Sandra Leviton are producing. Hyperbolic Media has joined to co-finance and executive produce. The film is currently in production.
Camargo is repped by Innovative Artists, Brillstein Entertainment Partners, and Piekoff Mahan. Hernandez is repped by CESD Talent Agency and Silver Lining Entertainment. Haynes is repped by Coast to Coast and Curtis Talent Management. Keyvan is repped by Coast to Coast and Protege Entertainment. Smith is repped by Abrams Artists and Brillstein Entertainment Partners. Zajur is repped by CESD Talent Agency and Bercy Talent Management.
Published on 14 Aug 1919
The two shared how they lost roles in 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,' Hobbs & Shaw' and 'Toy Story 4' in a bit for 'The Late Late Show.'
Josh Gad and James Corden jokingly claimed they were fired from the movies Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Hobbs & Shaw and Toy Story 4 on Monday's Late Late Show.
The pre-recorded clip opened with Corden listing everything that he and Gad have in common, saying that they are incredible actors, insanely charming and sex symbols. "Yet with everything we've got in common, we've never actually made a movie together," he said. "Biggie and Tupac never collaborated. We weren't going to let that happen with Olaf and Peter Rabbit."
Gad then joked that he and Corden were originally cast in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. "He needed two hot guys for the lead," he said of the parts that eventually went to Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Clips were then shown of the pair filming a scene for Tarantino's film, but Corden struggled to light his cigarette. Gad tried to help him before someone yelled, "cut," and the two actors blamed the issue on their "fleshy thumbs."
The host broke out into a coughing fit when they tried to film the scene again. "He may be allergic to cigarettes," said Gad as he requested water for his co-star. "We should've probably checked that out beforehand."
After Corden lit the wrong end of the cigarette in another take, he made the artistic decision to smoke an e-cigarette.
"It turns out they did not have e-cigarettes in the 1960s," Gad later said about why they were fired from the project. Corden added, "The studio thought that having two beloved, highly recognizable actors like Josh and I leading the movie would be distracting."
While they did not end up starring in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the two revealed that they were contacted to star as the titular characters in Hobbs & Shaw. Corden starred in the scenes as Dwayne Johnson's character Hobbs and Gad took on Jason Statham's role as Shaw.
The scene opened with the two men wearing bald caps as they frantically tried to get into a car. They both struggled to open the car doors and became distracted once Gad successfully opened his door.
They shot the scene again, though became equally as distracted when they got into the car and realized that they didn't know how to turn it on. "I'm scared," said Gad as the car's windshield wipers turned on after they pressed a number of buttons.
The third take of the scene showed the actors struggling to put on their seatbelts. Once Gad got his on, he had to talk Corden through how to effectively put on his seatbelt. The director eventually told the actors to not worry about the seatbelts, though they questioned "what kind of message" that would send to the viewers. "I can't be a part of a franchise that forgets a seatbelt," said Gad before the director told them they were fired.
Back in the interview setting, Gad revealed that they were fired from Hobbs & Shaw before lunch. "That's showbiz for you," said Corden. "One minute you're the cock of the walk. The next minute you're being escorted off the set with a backpack full of stolen iPhone chargers."
The actors said that they had given up hope of starring in a summer blockbuster until they were offered roles in Toy Story 4.
A clip showed the two arriving to set. While Gad was dressed up in a Buzz Lightyear costume, Corden took on the role of Woody. They confidently walked on set and declared themselves as the new faces of Disney before the harsh reality set in that they were hired to twirl signs promoting the movie.
"At first we were disappointed, but then honestly we really leaned into the roles," said Corden. "We kind of made the characters our own."
Gad later pulled a string on the back of Corden's costume and the host said, "There's a snake in my boot." Gad also got into character when he declared, "To infinity and beyond."
The men credited the success of Toy Story 4 with their promotional tactics.
"It's our summer," they enthusiastically said before they put on Angry Birds 2 hats and grabbed promotional signs to twirl.
Watch the full bit below.
Source: Hollywood Reporter
Published on 10 Aug 1919
flix may get most of the attention, but it's hardly a one-stop shop for cinephiles who are looking to stream essential classic and contemporary films. Each of the prominent streaming platforms &mdash and there are more of them all the time &mdash caters to its own niche of film obsessives.
From chilling horror fare on Shudder, to the boundless wonders of the Criterion Channel, and esoteric but unmissable festival hits on Film Movement Plus and OVID.tv, IndieWire's monthly guide will highlight the best of what's coming to every major streaming site, with an eye towards exclusive titles that may help readers decide which of these services is right for them.
Here’s the best of the best for August 2019.AMAZON PRIME
There are some big new movies coming to Amazon Prime this month “Mission: Impossible &mdash Fallout” and of course “A Simple Favor,” the biggest movie of them all, but most of these recent Hollywood titles will also be available to stream on Hulu and/or Netflix. The list is a lot smaller if you just look at the platform’s new exclusives, which include Amazon theatrical releases like Ritesh Batra’s sweet but somnambulant “Photograph,” and little else. But Prime loyalists will be rewarded at the end of the month, as one of the best studio blockbusters of the 21st century stomps home just before Labor Day.
It's still hard to believe that &mdash in the year of our lord 2014, and at the of the franchise era &mdash Gareth Edwards actually got away with making a massive summer blockbuster that was shot with symphonic grace, that left so much to the imagination, and that unambiguously flattened its dull human characters into the background in order to illustrate how their species was beginning to lose its grip over the world. A majestic cinematic experience that couldn't have been more out of place in such a product-driven Hollywood environment, “Godzilla“ was one of the decade's only studio tentpoles that felt like it was guided by a real artistic ethos. Needless to say, the movie underperformed, and its two sequels including “Skull Island“ are both hot garbage. But we'll always have Edwards' chonky take on the King of Monsters to remember what might have been.THE CRITERION CHANNEL
Every month, the Criterion Channel’s lineup seems to grow more impressive, and the absurd embarrassment of riches the service is offering up this August continues that trend in dramatic fashion. Where do you even begin? You could start with the 11-film series about immigrant stories, which ranges from Elia Kazan’s “America America” to Aki Kaurismäki’s sublime “Le Havre.” No interest in cringing through Ulrich Seidl’s “Paradise Trilogy”? No problem, just click on over to three delights from golden age romanticist Frank Borzage “A Farewell to Arms,” “Man’s Castle,” “No Greater Glory”. Looking for something a little more scandalous? Sink in to any of the 12 movies that comprise the Pre-Code Barbara Stanwyck series, which is highlighted by “illicit” treasures like Frank Capra’s “Forbidden” and Archie Mayo’s, um, “Illicit.”
We’ve only just scratched the surface. The Criterion Channel is also serving up three by André Techiné you can’t miss “Rendez-vous”, five by Athina Rachel Tsangari “Attenberg”, a slew of British Hitchcock, a tribute to the late Jonas Mekas featuring a video homage by Jem Cohen, and &mdash of course &mdash the Jackie Chan masterpieces “Police Story” and “Police Story 2.” There’s plenty more, but August only has so many days.
“Aguirre, the Wrath of God” 1972
Oh, right, the Criterion Channel is also adding 16 Werner Herzog films this month, from “Even Dwarfs Started Small” to 1999’s “My Best Fiend.” And while highlighting a single title from this treasure trove is beyond futile, there's never a bad time to extoll the virtues of “Aguirre, the Wrath of God,“ which isn't only one of the most deliriously visceral movies ever made about madness and all of its attendant foibles, but also doubles as a perfect gateway drug to the fetid wonders of 1970s German cinema.
Hypnotic from its opening shots of Spanish conquistadors descending into a South American jungle, and fueled by the bug-eyed fever of Klaus Kinski's immortal lead performance, Herzog's masterpiece turns a search for El Dorado into a feverish portrait of power and insanity and the power of insanity. You truly haven't lived until you've watched Kinski stand on a sinking raft, clutch a small monkey in his hands, and deliver a deranged monologue about marrying his own daughter in order to take over the world.
Available to stream August 4.FILM MOVEMENT PLUS
Film Movement Plus is the streaming complement to Film Movement, which began in 2002 as a mail-order DVD-of-the-month club with a special focus on arthouse and foreign cinema. The company's online venture is a natural outgrowth of that brand, offering subscribers access to more than 250 recent festival favorites and a scattering of older treasures for just $5.99 per month.
Perfect for cinephiles whose tastes are a bit off the beaten path, Film Movement Plus' August lineup is fronted by a strong grab bag of topical premieres that have absolutely nothing in common with each other. On August 13, the platform is marking Alfred Hitchcock’s birthday with “Jamaica Inn,” “The 39 Steps,” and “The Man Who Knew Too Much.” Later that week, Film Movement is honoring World Humanitarian Day with Rungano Nyoni’s BAFTA-winning “I Am Not a Witch.” But the brunt of the goods are bundled in a nine-film package timed to the start of the Venice Film Festival, as the service is streaming past Lido hits like Derek Jarman’s “Edward II” and Kitano Takeshi’s explosive “Hana-bi.”
“Full Moon in Paris“ 1984
The fourth film in Éric Rohmer's “Comedy and Proverbs“ cycle, “Full Moon in Paris“ is based on a proverb that the filmmaker invented himself: “The one who has two wives loses his soul, the one who has two houses loses his mind.” It certainly sounds true enough. While perhaps not quite as profound a masterpiece as the movies that Rohmer made just before and after it “Pauline at the Beach“ and “The Green Ray,“ respectively, this sly and probing slice-of-life story follows a young design intern named Louise who can't decide if she's more herself with her boyfriend or on her own.
Played with troubled capriciousness by Pascale Ogier &mdash who died at the age of 25, mere weeks after winning Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival for her performance &mdash Louise is a vintage Rohmer heroine, torn and vibrant and suffering under the weight of everything she's always wanted. Her funny, eminently human character provides the fluttering heartbeat of this funny, eminently human film.
Available to stream August 23.HULU
Hulu ekes out another victory of Amazon this month, as the platform’s batch of new exclusives include a handful of 2019’s best films watch out for Olivier Assayas’ “Non-Fiction” and Harmony Korine’s “The Beach Bum”, festival commodities like “AWOL” and “Dogman,” and &mdash the cherry on top &mdash the immortal Johnny Depp vehicle “Mortdecai.” He’s got a funny mustache! But the most vital of all the new movies on Hulu is a subversive documentary that might just inspire you to pledge allegiance to the Dark Lord.
“Hail Satan?“ 2019
Penny Lane's funny, damning, and provocative documentary about The Satanic Temple and its leader, Lucien Greaves explores how a group of atheistic rabble rousers banded together to challenge the role of organized religion in our ostensibly secular country. At a time when evangelical groups are effectively attempting to retcon America into a Christian nation &mdash a time when they're eager to support godless men like Donald Trump so long as he pledges to advance their otherwise inflexible doctrine &mdash there's an urgent need for a sociopolitical counter-myth, and “Hail Satan?“ finds one taking shape in all sorts of cheeky and volatile ways.
Lane has an unmatched ability to strike the right balance between anger and absurdism. By following along as Greaves and his cohorts expose the hypocrisy of organized religion, her film keys in on the idea that blasphemy can be an invaluable expression of personal indepedence.
Available to stream August 22.KANOPY
Kanopy hit a bit of a snag earlier this summer, as the too popular streaming service &mdash which taps into America's library and university systems in order to provide totally free no fees, no commercials access to essential classic and contemporary cinema &mdash was ditched by the massive New York Public Library system. You might not always be the one footing the bill, but nothing in this world is ever really free.
But while New Yorkers are out of luck, and the rest of the country might be streaming on borrowed time, Kanopy is continuing to offer an excellent service to those who have access to it. Its August lineup kicks off with “Monrovia, Indiana,” the latest documentary epic from Frederick Wiseman the most Kanopy-friendly of all filmmakers. Other notable additions include the controversial Sundance thriller “Holiday” &mdash which comes with the most explicit of warnings for those triggered by sexual assault &mdash and Michel Hazanavicius’ you-have-to-see-it-before-you-can-hate-it Godard biopic, “Godard Mon Amour.”
It's ironic that David Fincher's first digital feature was also his first period piece, the director stepping into the future while looking over his shoulder. On the other hand, he's always been quick to point out that the format change was motivated less by aesthetics than workflow, and “Zodiac“ is nothing if not a movie about workflow &mdash its ebbs and ties, its stagnant waters. An epic portrait of process and obsession, this is the kind of movie that could only be made by someone who likes to shoot 100 takes at a time, and made at a time when they actually could.
Life is what happens when you're looking for answers, and “Zodiac“ makes a meal of that search, following Robert Graysmith's quest for the eponymous San Francisco serial killer and implicating us a bit more in the manhunt every step of the way. Of course, it helps that each of the unnervingly sedate murder sequences tap right into our deepest fears, and that the late Harris Savides shoots them like blood-spattered postcards, and that John Carroll Lynch delivers what might be &mdash pound for pound &mdash the most impactful supporting performance of the 21st century “I am not the Zodiac. And if I were, I certainly wouldn't tell you“.
Arresting, confounding, and endlessly re-watchable “okay but this is the time I'm gonna figure it out,“ you say to no one in particular as the opening credits unspool on TBS, “Zodiac“ is the quintessential film about trying to follow the plot in a world that's made up of loose ends.
Available to stream August 1.
This post continues on the next page.MAGNOLIA SELECTS
An elegant and well-stocked streaming service that offers subscribers unlimited access to movies from the Magnolia Pictures library for just $4.99/month, Magnolia Selects offers a library that’s already filled with genre hits like Assassins” and “I Saw the Devil,” essential documentaries like “Man on Wire” and “No End in Sight,” and epochal dramas like “Force Majeure” and “The Double.”
The platform’s August slate is another strong reminder of just how many good movies Magnolia has released during its existence. New additions include Jeremy Saulnier’s hard-to-find “Murder Party,” Olivier Assayas’ ass-kicking “Boarding Gate,” and the surprisingly affecting comedy tour doc, “Conan O’Brien: Can’t Stop.”
It's hard not to think about the end of the world these days. Of course, the ever-morbid and fatalistic Lars von Trier hasn't been waiting around for the rest of us to catch up his apocalyptic 2011 drama “Melancholia“ &mdash which IndieWire recently crowned as one of the best films of this decade &mdash got the jump on oblivion, as the impish provocateur tried to make peace with it on his own terms.
The film stars Kirsten Dunst as a newlywed who welcomes the coming doom as a kind of catharsis, her despair growing so powerful and complete that it seems capable of pulling entire planets out of their orbits. “Melancholia“ may not make you feel any better about things no one should turn to von Trier's work for comfort, but few movies have more powerfully grappled with the weight of depression, and the relief that comes from accepting that it's real.
Available to stream August 11.MUBI
The internet's most exciting and unpredictable indie and arthouse streamer is back with another strong month, as MUBI's August lineup runs the gamut from the Romanian New Wave to a couplet from Straub-Huillet and &mdash why not &mdash Steven Soderbergh’s “The Limey.”
In celebration of this year’s Locarno Film Festival, MUBi is streaming four standouts from last year’s edition, including Andrea Bussman’s remarkable “Fausto” and Tarık Aktaş Best Emerging Director-winning “Dead Horse Nebula.” The platform’s ongoing exploration of auteurism continues with close-up looks at the careers of Corneliu Porumboiu “Police Adjective” and “When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism”, Phillippe Garrel “Frontier of Dawn” and “A Burning Hot Summer” and Peter Strickland, whose first two features offer a look inside the seams of his new killer dress comedy, “In Fabric.”
“The Duke of Burgundy” 2014
One of the only films in recent memory to include a “perfume by“ credit in the opening titles, Peter Strickland's giallo-inflected delight remains the best and most sensual movie ever made about the sadomasochistic relationship between two lesbian entomologists. “The Duke of Burgundy“ ranked high on our list of the 100 Best Movies of the 2010s, and here's what IndieWire's Jude Dry wrote to mark the occasion:
Available to stream August 17.NETFLIX
Leaning into the dog days of summer, when everything is languid and everyone is just waiting for Labor Day, Netflix's August movie slate is light on excitement and heavy on familiar pleasures &mdash the kind of stuff that you've probably seen a million times before, and can only watch while lying down across the entire couch.
Major new additions are few and far between, with the breakout Sundance documentary “American Factory“ being the streaming giant's biggest exclusive release of the month. That essential new film is joined by a hodgepodge of cable standards that ranges from Nancy Meyers' most beloved rom-com to Quentin Tarantino's most human story “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood“ might borrow a few tricks from the likes of “Inglourious Basterds,“ but its tender side harkens all the way back to the touching story of “Jackie Brown.“
“Jackie Brown“ 1997
There are a number of reasons why “Jackie Brown“ never seems to get the respect that it deserves not that QT's devoted acolytes don't enjoy the feeling of getting to keep one of his movies for themselves, but one of them is that &mdash even in the wake of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,“ it's still the subtlest, most comfortably human thing he's ever made. There's also the fact that Elmore Leonard's hard-boiled source material that keeps this crime saga of bail bondsmen, surfer girls, and low-rent drug dealers from getting too high on its own supply. And that this achingly half-realized love story features the best performances that Pam Grier and Robert Forster have given in their long and illustrious careers.
And, of course, it all builds to the most touching ending that Tarantino has ever written, as the film's hard-luck heroine &mdash an emotionally grounded flight attendant who gets caught between the cops and robbers &mdash pays a bittersweet farewell to a lifetime of bullshit. If “Jackie Brown“ is a blindspot in your Tarantino viewing, now is the perfect time to make things right.
Available to stream August 1.OVID.tv
OVID.tv bills itself as an “unprecedented collaborative effort of eight of the most noteworthy independent film distributors in the United States,” and that unique advantage has allowed it to burst out of the gate as a valuable and inexpensive way for dedicated cinephiles to track down exciting contemporary films that may have only played on the festival circuit. Five months in &mdash and now boasting more than 500 films, the majority of which aren't available on any other streaming platform &mdash this most esoteric of services is continuing to showcase the virtues of its unique approach.
OVID's characteristically diverse and obscure August lineup is one of its most robust slates to date. Documentaries are as well-represented as always, with the service adding vital non-fiction work from all over the world standouts include Petra Costa’s elegiac “Elena,” and Tatiana Huezo’s “The Tiniest Place,” which explores a small El Salvadorian mountain town as it tries to rebuild in the wake of a civil war. And with Ingmar Bergman enjoying a high tide of recognition thanks to “Midsommar,” a Criterion Collection box set, and Mia Hansen-Løve’s forthcoming “Bergman Island,” it’s a great tome to check out “Trespassing Bergman,” in which the likes of Lars von Trier and Martin Scorsese wax poetic about the late master’s legacy.
But the most exciting new titles on OVID might be on the fiction side of the fence, as “Special Treatment” &mdash in which Isabelle Huppert plays a sex worker whose life parallels that of her psychiatrist &mdash finally sees the light of day, and a semi-animated classic reminds us that photorealism has nothing on the grim power of the imagination.
Arguably the best screen adaptation of “Alice in Wonderland“ and certainly the creepiest, Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter notwithstanding, Jan &Scaronvankmajer's debut feature was intended to play like an impure dream, and boy does it ever. As dark as Tim Burton's version was garish, and as drunk on the dangerous beauty of stop-motion animation as Burton's was on the plastic weightlessness of CGI animation, this eerie dive into the human unconscious is beautiful and nightmare-inducing all at once. The staccato visuals are plenty deviant, but the scariest thing about &Scaronvankmajer's film might be Alice herself Kristýna Kohoutová, who doesn't necessarily learn all of the right lessons from her time with the White Rabbit.
Available to stream August 13.SHUDDER
The world's best and only premium streaming service exclusively for genre fare usually opts for quality over quantity, but its August lineup has the goods and plenty of them. The month kicks off with Brian De Palma’s singular John Lithgow vehicle “Raising Cain” and the entirety of the “A Nightmare on Elm Street” series. When you’re done with those, both “Slumber Party Massacre” films will be waiting to be watched, with Jim Wynorski’s beloved “Chopping Mall” arriving the next week. There’s even a new season of “NOS4A2,” which the internet insists is a real show.
“The Love Witch” 2016
A spellbinding homage to old pulp paperbacks and the Technicolor melodramas of the 1960s, Anna Biller's “The Love Witch“ is a throwback that's told with a degree of perverse conviction and studied expertise that would make Quentin Tarantino blush. Shot in velvety 35mm and seen through the lens of a playfully violent female gaze, the film follows a beautiful, narcissistic young sorceress named Elaine Samantha Robinson, unforgettable in a demented breakthrough performance as she blows into a coastal Californian town in desperate search of a replacement for her recently murdered husband.
Sex, death, Satanic rituals, God-level costume design, and cinema's greatest tampon joke ensue, as Biller spins an archly funny &mdash but also hyper-sincere &mdash story about the true price of the patriarchy. There hasn't been anything quite like it in decades.
Available to stream August 26.