August Picks: The Movies and TV You Can't Missby IMDb-Editors | last updated - 3 days ago
What are the IMDb editors watching in August?
Red Penguins | Available on VOD Tuesday, Aug. 4
Plot: Red Penguins tells a story of capitalism and opportunism run amok - complete with gangsters, strippers and live bears serving beer on a hockey rink in Moscow.
Our Take: The trailer for this documentary is a rollercoaster in itself — I felt like I was watching a compilation of Miracle, "The Americans," and Borat all at once, and I'm still in awe that the historical happenings that the film delves into are for real. Diehard hockey fan or not, this doc about the Pittsburgh Penguins' joint venture with the Soviet Union's Red Army hockey team promises to be a hoot. — Hannah
"Coroner" | Season 1 Premieres Wednesday, Aug. 5, on The CW
Plot: A newly appointed coroner investigates a string of mysterious deaths in Toronto.
Our Take: "Coroner" looks like a show you can watch while playing Animal Crossing, and that's not meant as a read. Who doesn't want a lite mystery-of-the-week these days? — Arno
"Hitmen" | Premieres Thursday, Aug. 6, on Peacock
Plot: Best friends Jamie and Fran are trying to make their way in the world with only each other to rely on. They also just happen to kill people for a living. Fueled by their antics and frivolous bickering, each job inevitably gets derailed, leading them into bizarre misadventures, full of oddball characters and unexpected dilemmas.
Our Take: If you’ve been wondering what Mel and Sue have been up to since they left the "The Great British Baking Show" you might be surprised to find out they’ve taken up killing people...okay, not actually, but I'm thrilled the comedy duo are back in this surreal and silly series about bumbling hitmen, and I’ll take any excuse to get some more Mel and Sue style comedy back in my life. — Vanessa
"Star Trek: Lower Decks" | Premieres Thursday, Aug. 6, on CBS All Access
Plot: "Lower Decks" follows the support crew of the U.S.S. Cerritos, examining the day-to-day lives of those at the low end of Starfleet's chain of command.
Our Take: I was skeptical when I heard about an animated (but still canonical!) "Star Trek" comedy coming to CBS All Access, but the first trailer has me sold. The depth of Easter eggs for longtime Trekkies in those two minutes is truly admirable, but the humor seems broad enough to beam up a few first-timers. The fact that "Rick and Morty" writer Mike McMahan is at the helm guarantees a mixture of smart quips, crude comedy, and clever sci-fi. I'll be tuning in on day one while staring down the long wait for "Star Trek: Discovery" Season 3 in October. — Marcus
Peninsula | In Theaters Friday, Aug. 21
Plot: Four years after the zombie outbreak in Train to Busan, the Korean peninsula is devastated. Jung Seok, a former soldier who has managed to escape overseas, is given a mission to go back and unexpectedly meets survivors.
Our Take: Train to Busan is easily the best zombie film I've seen in several years. Somehow it balanced a cool premise, terrifying thrills, big laughs, and heart-wrenching emotion. From the first looks, Peninsula seems like a sprawling, open world version of its predecessor. Bigger isn't always better, so I'm managing my expectations and keeping my fingers crossed that director Sang-ho Yeon can pull it off. — James
Work It | Premieres Friday, Aug. 7, on Netflix
Plot: When Quinn Ackerman’s admission to the college of her dreams depends on her performance at a dance competition, she forms a ragtag group of dancers to take on the best squad in school...now she just needs to learn how to dance.
Our Take: Although Work It looks like it systematically checks off every tropey box in a movie about scrappy underdogs going up against the cool/mean kids, that’s pretty much the movie I want in my life right now. Plus, there looks to be a Footloose inspired montage sequence where the cool girl teaches her rhythm-impaired friend how to dance and I am 100% ready for this moment. — Vanessa
She Dies Tomorrow | Premieres Friday, Aug. 7, on VOD
Plot: After waking up convinced that she is going to die tomorrow, Amy's carefully mended life begins to unravel. As her delusions of certain death become contagious to those around her, Amy and her friends' lives spiral out of control in a tantalizing descent into madness.
Our Take: As a director, Amy Seimetz is all about atmosphere and ambiguous narratives, and the simple fact that even rapturous reviews of She Dies Tomorrow have called it "exhausting," I am looking forward to the night where I give myself to this movie completely. I just need to remember that it's supposed to be a comedy, too. — Arno
"(Un)Well" | Premieres Wednesday, Aug. 12, on Netflix
Plot: This docu-series takes a deep dive into the lucrative wellness industry, which touts health and healing. But do these wellness trends live up to their promises?
Our Take: It seems our Instagram feeds are flooded with some new, transformative approach to wellness almost daily, and it can become tiresome to sift through all that information, toss out the bull, and hone in on what really works. In a world where social media and marketing can sell even the wackiest of products, treatments, and potions, I'm into the concept of a docu-series that breaks it down so we don't have to test things like bee venom therapy (really!) firsthand. — Hannah
The Secret Garden | In Theaters Friday, Aug. 14
Plot: An orphaned girl discovers a magical garden hidden at her strict uncle's estate.
Our Take: I'll be honest, I'm trying to work some whole-grain content into my kids' programming schedule, and The Secret Garden looks to tick a lot of boxes for me: It's based on a beloved novel (with multiple adaptations), some striking "natural" visuals, and the promise of enchantment and wonder. The big question is whether a VOD is in the cards, rather than the current (and optimistic) plan for a theatrical release. — James
"Project Power" | Premieres Friday, Aug. 14, on Netflix
Plot: On the streets of New Orleans, word begins to spread about a mysterious new pill that unlocks superpowers unique to each user. The catch: You don’t know what will happen until you take it.
Our Take: I’m a sucker for the "what if" premise, and this poses an interesting one: If there was a pill that could give you five minutes of pure power, would you take it? Wrap that all up in a mix of sci-fi, action, super-powered fight scenes and the fact that it's fronted by the charismatic team-up of Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and I’ll definitely be watching. Please keep the over-the-top genre action movies coming, Netflix. I am here for them. — Vanessa
Boys State | Premieres Friday, Aug. 14, on Apple TV+
Plot: A documentary that follows two participants in the annual program in which a thousand Texas high school seniors gather for an elaborate mock exercise: building their own state government.
Our Take: As a former student government agent, this Sundance-winning documentary is the reason I'm signing up for an Apple TV+ free trial finally. The trailer brings back so many triggering high school memories, it's a 100% guarantee that my yearbook will turn into a burn book as I watch. Might even crank call some old frenemies. — Arno
"Ted Lasso" | Premieres Friday, Aug. 14, on Apple TV+
Plot: Follows US American Football coach Ted Lasso heading to the UK to manage a struggling London soccer team in the top flight of English football.
Our Take: For whatever reason, the "American doofus" comedy subgenre has never been my thing. So Jason Sudeikis' Ted Lasso character—created for a 2013 NBC Sports ad campaign—seemed like another comedy that I was gonna let pass me by. But Apple TV+ has infused Sudeikis' character (created for a 2013 NBC Sports ad campaign) with some heart and put a framework around him that makes Lasso look as endearing as he is obnoxious. — James
"Glow Up" | Season 2 Premieres Friday, Aug. 14, on Netflix
Plot: In this competition show, aspiring makeup artists navigate a series of challenges to win a career-making opportunity in the beauty industry.
Our Take: Blend "Face Off" with "RuPaul's Drag Race" and you have an idea of what to expect with this reality competition series. Because it's from the UK, take comfort in knowing that the contestants are more into supporting one another and elevating their creativity than bringing the manufactured drama, plus they are as brightly colored as the participants on "The Big Flower Fight," another recent English pleasantry. — Arno
"Lovecraft Country" | Premieres Sunday, Aug. 16, on HBO
Plot: The ten-episode series follows Atticus Freeman as he journeys with his childhood friend Letitia and his uncle George on a road trip from Chicago across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father Montrose.
Our Take: As someone who is an admitted scaredy-cat, I try to avoid anything in the horror genre, but "Lovecraft Country's" intriguing premise of setting supernatural horror during the real-world horror of Jim Crow America was too compelling and important to pass up. I read the novel to prepare for the series, figuring that knowing the ins-and-outs would make watching less of a harrowing experience, but I’m not quite convinced it will work. (At least I'll know when to cover my eyes...) I’m still determined (and excited) to watch it, though most likely with the lights on. — Vanessa
Chemical Hearts | Premieres Friday, Aug. 21, on Prime Video
Plot: A high school transfer student finds a new passion when she begins to work on the school's newspaper.
Our Take: "Riverdale" was a guilty pleasure watch for me in its first few seasons, and there was something undeniably alluring about Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper, the well-coiffed good girl with a dark side. She's talented and fun to watch, and I've been rooting for her ever since, so I'll be ready with the rosé for this teen romance novel adaptation which Reinhart not only stars in, but also executive produced. — Hannah
"Cobra Kai" | Seasons 1 and 2 Available Friday, Aug. 28, on Netflix
Plot: Decades after their 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament bout, a middle-aged Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence find themselves martial-arts rivals again.
Our Take: With "Cobra Kai" making the jump from YouTube Premium to Netflix in August, I'm going to have to give this series a look. After all, The Karate Kid was a cultural touchstone of my generation. I'm also a firm believer in the idea that everyone is the main character of their own story, so the idea of casting a former villain in the protagonist role is a fun twist. — James
Matthias & Maxime | Premieres Friday, Aug. 28, on Mubi
Plot: Two childhood best friends are asked to share a kiss for the purposes of a student short film. Soon, a lingering doubt sets in, confronting both of them with their preferences, threatening the brotherhood of their social circle, and, eventually, changing their lives.
Our Take: This one time in Montréal, I attended a screening of Tom at the Farm that was only in French. As in: no subtitles. (I only speak toddler French.) That's how much I love Xavier Dolan, and I'm happy the writer-director has gone back to his native language after The Death & Life of John F. Donovan, his one misstep in a career that is spilling over with dramatic flourishes. Matthias & Maxime will be available to stream on Mubi; I recommend it if you've been searching for more indie and foreign film options on your pre-existing channels. — Arno
The New Mutants | In Theaters Friday, Aug. 28
Plot: Five young mutants, just discovering their abilities while held in a secret facility against their will, fight to escape their past sins and save themselves.
Our Take: Despite predictions that Comic-Con@Home 2020 would bring an announcement of another pushed-out release for The New Mutants, it appears Disney is still pushing for a late-August date. Whether or not the comic book flick actually hits theaters this summer, a new synopsis has fans excited about possible links to both 'X-Men' and Deadpool, despite Josh Boone’s former denials. The promise of a horror-infused addition to the franchise and some exciting casting (it’s Maisie Williams’ time to step out of the Stark shadow) has held my attention through the extensive waiting period. — Hannah