Though a lot of movie theaters are back to full function, the safer option for entertainment remains streaming, and fans who choose to stay home and take advantage are constantly rewarded with tons of new content. At the start of each month, most streamers—Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Disney+, and HBO Max—do a little shuffle, adding new movies and taking some away. io9 is here to help you narrow down your decision-making.
Welcome to The Nerd’s Watch, our monthly column where we curate the most interesting sci-fi, fantasy, and horror movies (and television shows) coming to the biggest streaming services. There is lots of new content to be had for August 2021, so let’s get to it.
Beowulf - Though this was part of Robert Zemeckis’ “Let’s make performance capture a thing” phase, Beowulf is a star-studded, highly entertaining retelling of the well-known epic poem.
The Losers - If you said “Oh, here’s a comic book adaptation starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans, and Idris Elba in a story about a ragtag group of assassins” in 2021, people would go nuts. But The Losers, which is exactly that, was about 11 years ahead of its time.
Magnolia - Most of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia is about as grounded and dramatic as films get. Very un-io9. But then, frogs rain from the sky and a film about family, loss, and coincidence in the San Fernando Valley becomes something more. Truly a masterpiece.
The Net - Joy is watching this Sandra Bullock thriller in which ordering a pizza on the internet is treated like someone cured a disease. Truly a product of that time in the 1990s right before the internet took off. We have a nice Retro Review of it too.
Team America: World Police - Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s marionette epic about a team of elite soldiers is packed with songs inspired by Rent and Pearl Harbor, and, of course, montages. If you’ve never seen this movie, and don’t offend easily, you have to see it.
Vivo - Lin-Manuel Miranda stars in and produced this animated film about a cute animal who goes on a vast journey to deliver a special song. Zoe Saldana also provides a voice in this film that was supposed to go to theaters, but Netflix scooped it up. It should be pretty good.
The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf — I’m the one person at io9 who doesn’t know anything about The Witcher but I take it people are probably excited about this brand new anime? Will coins be tossed? You tell me.
Aliens - One of the greatest sequels ever just celebrated its 35th anniversary and we wrote all about it.
Anaconda - Like Deep Blue Sea above, this is one of those movies that doesn’t need much to sell it. Ice Cube. Jennifer Lopez. Big ass killer snake. Need more? James Wan referenced it when we were on the set of Conjuring 2. Read the story here.
Attack the Block - One of the best sci-fi films in recent memory (according to the website you’re currently reading) is coming to streaming. A sequel is finally in the works too so revisit this gem and get ready for more alien killing. (Also on Hulu)
Elektra - Almost two decades before the first Marvel Studios film with a woman in the starring role, Marvel made a movie with a woman in the starring role. No, Elektra starring Jennifer Garner isn’t part of the MCU. Yes, it’s a spinoff of Ben Affleck’s Daredevil. Yes, the character got recast for the Netflix shows, but this film is still a part of history no matter what.
Hook - Steven Spielberg’s Peter Pan sequel is one of those very divisive films from the 1990s. Some people hate it, other people love it, and we kind of agree. There’s a lot to love and a lot to question. Time for a rewatch. Oh, and remember the time we interviewed Rufio? That was awesome.
Jaws, Jaws 2, Jaws 3, Jaws: The Revenge - In 1975, a killer shark came to movie theaters and changed the entire industry. Then three sequels followed, none of which come even close to the perfection of the original but hey, now you can enjoy a full-on Jaws marathon.
Knowing - Nicolas Cage stars in this twisty-turny film about a young child who writes down numbers that line up with tragedies across history, and begins to predict the future.
Predator, Predator 2 - Not feeling a killer shark marathon? How about a killer alien? The first two Predator movies, both of which are good albeit different, are coming to Amazon, so you can cheer for Arnold Schwarzenegger for a bit, then Danny Glover for a bit after that.
Slither - Before he brought us the Guardians of the Galaxy or The Suicide Squad, James Gunn was an up-and-coming filmmaker with a twisted sense of humor. It comes across perfectly in this gross, funny horror movie about killer slugs.
Evangelion: 3.0+1.01 Thrice Upon a Time - Already a hit in Japan, Hideaki Anno’s fourth and final film in the Rebuild of Evangelion series will finally be available to Neon Genesis Evangelion fans stateside.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula - Francis Ford Coppola put togethera stunning cast—Gary Oldman as Count Dracula, Winona Ryder as Mina Harker, Anthony Hopkins as Professor Abraham Van Helsing, and Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker—for this gothic retelling of the Dracula story which continues to gain fans today.
The Final Girls - If you’re in the mood for a horror movie that’s sort of in the mold of Scream, in that it’s self-aware and clever but also kinda scary and cool, may we recommend this underrated 2015 gem?
First Knight - Did you really make a King Arthur movie in the past 50 years if Sean Connery wasn’t King Arthur? Probably not, and this one goes full 1990s with Julia Ormond and Richard Gere too!
The Grudge - The 2004 remake about an unspeakable evil that made moaning and clicking forever terrifying.
I Know What You Did Last Summer - The quintessential 1990s hot people cast (Hewitt, Gellar, Phillipe, Prinze) got together for this Scream knockoff about a man that a bunch of kids think they mistakenly killed. But they are sorely mistaken. There’s an Amazon TV series coming soon, by the way.
Mad Max - The film that started it all. The first in George Miller’s post-apocalyptic saga starring Mel Gibson, featuring lots of leather and cars.
My Bloody Valentine - Not to be mistaken with the inferior remake from a few decades later, this is the 1981 original slasher film that didn’t quite hit Halloween or Friday the 13th status but is still pretty great.
Watchmen - Before the HBO TV show or Zack Snyder tackled more traditional superheroes, he adapted the legendary, subversive Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons comic with surprisingly solid results.
Love and Monsters - One of 2020's unseen gems, this Dylan O’Brien adventure film features lots of love and monsters, as advertised, and has many fans in the people who caught it last year. And now it’s streaming, destined for even more.
Chaos Walking - Hopefully you didn’t go to a theater to see this Daisy Ridley-Tom Holland misfire of a sci-fi action film, because if you didn’t, you’ll get to watch it on Hulu soon. It’s not not worth watching for free, is the best thing we can say. Read our review here.
What If...? - WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki and now, What If...? Marvel Studios’ latest Disney+ show debuts August 11 with new episodes each Wednesday. The animated show takes classic stories from the films and changes one or two things to see what would happen. Also, it ties into the multiverse that’s slowly building.
Eragon - Disney+ continues to benefit from the company’s acquisition of Fox by adding this would-be fantasy franchise-starter based on the popular novel series by Christopher Paolini. It’s filled with magic and dragons and all that.
Disney Gallery: Star Wars: The Mandalorian - Wait, didn’t this already happen? Yes, after Mandalorian season two finished, there was a full Disney Gallery episode about it. But one thing was not mentioned, and that was the surprising reveal of Luke Skywalker coming to save Grogu (née Baby Yoda). Now, a whole new episode has been created to explore that and only that.
Cruella - If you missed it in theaters, and didn’t pay $30 for it with Premier Access, this live-action Disney prequel to 101 Dalmatians will soon be part of the full service. And it’s absolutely worth watching. Divisive, but much better than you’re expecting.
The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl - Last year, a Netflix film called We Can Be Heroes was super popular for about 35 seconds. It was a sequel to this movie, written and directed by Robert Rodriguez, sort of in the mold of Spy Kids, but with more superheroes.
Constantine - As the years move on, this Keanu Reeves DC adaptation continues to gain fans who didn’t quite get on board with the bold, dark adaptation from director Francis Lawrence when it was originally released in 2005.
Freejack - In the far away future of *checks notes* 2009, Mick Jagger, Anthony Hopkins, and Emilio Estevez star in this sci-fi thriller about people from the future stealing people from the past to use their bodies.
Last Action Hero - At the time of its release, many joked about this Arnold Schwarzenegger film where he plays an movie action star come to life. But the meta-cleverness of its premise was certainly ahead of its time and today it enjoys much more reverence.
Popeye - Robert Altman, Robin Williams, Shelley Duvall, and a whole lot of spinach. A classic.
Red - Though director Robert Schwentke didn’t quite hit a home run with his latest film, Snake Eyes, this star-studded comic book adaptation about secret against who are “Retired” and “Extremely Dangerous” is actually pretty decent.
Scary Movie - Spoof comedies have been going on for decades, from the Zucker Brothers and Mel Brooks, to Abbott and Costello and beyond. But for the 2000s, Scary Movie set the bar for offensive, super dumb comedies based on popular movies. The franchise itself is all over the map but this first film is strong.
Spawn - Eleven years before Christopher Nolan changed the game with The Dark Night, Todd McFarlane’s classic Image Comics character got his own dark comic adaptation. Spawn isn’t a particularly good comic book movie but it’s not awful either. A worthy stream.
Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo - I haven’t seen this particular Teen Titans film but the ones I’ve have seen have been great so I’m guessing this one is worth a shot.
The Suicide Squad - James Gunn’s brand new DC team up movie is hitting theaters and HBO Max on the same day. It’s really funny and gory and if you’ve seen the trailers, you know exactly what to expect.
Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III- Take a trip to Isla Nublar with the first three films in the Jurassic Park franchise. Universal films, on the Warner Bros. service. Streaming is weird. But hey, you’ve got one masterpiece, one mostly disappointing sequel, and one very bad sequel. What could go wrong?
Godzilla vs. Kong - Did you miss Godzilla vs. Kong when it was on Max earlier this year or in theaters? Well, now it’s back, available to all.
Reminiscence - August’s second big theatrical/HBO Max release is this Lisa Joy (Westworld) sci-fi film starring Hugh Jackman as a man who can let you relive your memories. It all goes wrong when he meets up with a mysterious character played by Rebecca Ferguson.
San Andreas - The Rock saves his family during the destruction of the West Coast of the United States in this big, dumb, sort of fun action film. Maybe try Jungle Cruise instead?
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