August is exceptionally slow for movie theaters this year, with only one major release. Streaming fares a little better, Disney+’s biggest franchises are coming out with new entries this month, and Netflix brings a couple of films driven by big names. Also, in a startling turn of events, Game of Thrones and the Predator are back.
“Bullet Train” looks like an incredible popcorn flick. An action comedy, the film stars Brad Pitt as one of five assassins who all find themselves on the same train with the same mission. The rest of the cast is a who’s who of big names, including Sandra Bullock, Joey King, Brian Tyree-Henry, Hiroyuki Sanada, Bad Bunny and more. From a director of Deadpool 2 and John Wick, the trailer shows jokes that are funny and action that is stylish. I’m totally bought in to catch this film when it releases on Aug. 5.
Cult of the Lamb is a charming indie title where players control a cute little lamb who runs a cult. Half wholesome town management sim, in which players build up their cult, their villagers and their town; half isometric action game, in which players wield demonic power to vanquish their enemies. Previews for the game have been overwhelmingly positive, and this may end up being one of the more talked about games of the year after its release on Aug. 11.
Rollerdrome is the latest title from Roll7, known for their skateboarding franchise OlliOlli. Taking that skateboarding DNA to a new arena, Rollerdrome is about a dystopian future where contenders fight to survive with only a pair of rollerskates and a pair of pistols. From the game’s announcement in June, my interest was immediately piqued. The art is cel-shaded, the action looks over the top and the player can do sick flips! The game releases on Aug. 16.
Saints Row is a reboot of the PS3/Xbox 360 era open world franchise that once cast players as the President of the United States who was also a superhero who fought aliens. This year’s reboot tones things down quite a bit but still tries to capture some of the wacky action vibes of its predecessor. Previews have been mostly positive, and those looking for a new open-world sandbox to play in will likely be very well fed when the game releases on Aug. 23.
Disney+ has a great month this year, with new series debuting from both Star Wars and Marvel, as well as the streaming debut of Pixar’s latest.
“Lightyear,” the sci-fi action film from the “Toy Story” universe that stars Chris Evans as the titular space ranger comes to the service on Aug. 3. The film received a fairly lukewarm financial reception during its theatrical run, but its a very fun adventure that takes on some surprisingly complex science to drive its plot.
“I Am Groot” is a series of five short films set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe starring the lovable tree voiced by Vin Diesel. The series will likely not feature any major plot developments relevant to the larger “Guardians of the Galaxy” series but will feature more of Baby Groot and also Rocket, with Bradley Cooper also returning to voice his long-time character. All five episodes will be streaming on Aug. 10.
“She-Hulk” is the latest in a growing line of MCU series, following “Ms. Marvel” last month. The series stars Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer Walters, the lawyer turned big green rage monster after a blood transfusion from her cousin: Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner. The series looks different from all of the previous Disney+ MCU shows, with a comedic tone, fourth wall breaks, and a courtroom setting. The series will doubtless be required viewing for the greater universe, with Abomination from “The Incredible Hulk”, Wong from “Doctor Strange” and even Daredevil confirmed to appear. The series premieres on Aug. 17.
“Andor” returns Disney+ viewers to the “Star Wars” universe once again, this time with a prequel to 2016’s “Rogue One.” Already confirmed for two seasons, the show will follow the path of Cassian Andor from citizen to rebel under the oppression of the Empire. The trailer showcases a surprisingly dark tone, and this series will hopefully end up standing out from the crowd after its premiere on Aug. 31
Netflix brings a series based on science fiction author Neil Gaiman’s popular “Sandman” comic series on Aug. 5. It follows Morpheus, the personification of dreams, as they escape from century-long confinement and set out to right the kingdom of the dreaming. I’m not entirely sure what that means, but the cast is full of big names, and the visuals look mind-bending and stylish. Everyone is chasing the next big fantasy franchise that will capture imaginations, and this could be it.
Netflix also brings “Day Shift,” an action comedy film starring Jamie Foxx as a blue-collar vampire hunter on Aug. 12. The film also features Snoop Dogg.
“Me Time” is another film coming to Netflix on Aug. 26, starring Kevin Hart as a stay-at-home dad who gets pulled into chaos after attending an old friend played by Mark Wahlberg’s birthday party.
HBO Max is premiering the first of several planned follow-ups to their enormously successful “Game of Thrones” with “House of the Dragon.” Set two hundred years before the original series and following the ancestors of Daenerys Targaryen, it certainly looks like more “Game of Thrones.” Early reactions have been very positive, and the series premieres on Aug. 21.
Hulu is debuting “Prey,” a new film in the “Predator” franchise on Aug. 5. Directed by Dan Trachtenberg, who directed “10 Cloverfield Lane,” “Prey” stars Amber Midthunder as a young Comanche warrior in 1719 who defends her tribe from a Predator. Reviews haven’t dropped at time of writing, but social media reactions after the film’s premiere were surprisingly positive, comparing the film very favorably to the original.