“She-Hulk”, “House of the Dragon” and Brad Pitt against Bad Bunny in “Bullet Train”

bullet-train-copy – Credit: Sony Pictures

This August is a big month for returning favorites, on TV and in movies. The month brings new seasons of last year’s favorites, including Reservation dogs and Industry. In IMAX theaters, nostalgic moviegoers can have the chance to catch ET: the extra-terrestrial again. Even the biggest debut of this month, a game of thrones prequel, is kind of a throwback.

But, even outside of the dragons and bloodshed promised by a return to Westeros, there’s plenty to look forward to this month. Here are some of the most promising offerings, starting with a clever murder mystery.

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Body Body Body (Theaters, August 5)

A group of friends and acquaintances decide to wait out a hurricane at a mansion and decide to play a murder-themed game to pass the time. What could go wrong? A lot, in fact! Amandla Stenberg (The hate you give), Pete Davidson and Lee Pace star in this darkly comedic thriller directed by Dutch filmmaker Halina Reijn.

High-speed train (Theaters, August 5)

Body Body Body isn’t the only film featuring murder and mayhem in an enclosed space opening this week. David Leitch (Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2) directs this action-thriller starring Brad Pitt as an American assassin in Japan tasked with retrieving a briefcase from a train. No problem, right? That’s when the train is filled with other highly skilled assassins (played by everyone from Brian Tyree Henry to Zazie Beetz and yes, Bad Bunny).

I love my father (Cinema August 5, VOD August 12)

A road trip is a proven way for parents to bond with their children. But a road trip based on a lie? It might not go so well. In this festival favorite, Patton Oswalt plays Chuck, a father who tries to communicate with his son (James Morosini, who also writes and directs) by catfishing him, posing as an attractive young woman. When the lie gets out of control, he then agrees to lead his son to meet the non-existent woman of his dreams.

Chance (Cinema/Apple TV+, August 5)

Ambitious animation house Skydance Animation debuts this story of an unlucky woman named Sam (Eva Noblezada) whose life improves after she finds a lucky penny – until she throws it away accidentally in the toilet. Simon Pegg stars as a talking cat and Jane Fonda voices a dragon, replacing Emma Thompson who left the project due to the involvement of former Pixar chief John Lasseter. Watch with a 7-day free trial on Apple TV here.

Prey (Hulu, August 5)

The last movie of Predator the series rolls back time. Mid-Thunder Amber (Legion) plays Naru, a Comanche warrior who finds herself facing an interplanetary enemy. It’s clever editing and the presence of Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane) as a director makes it even more promising. Watch with a free Hulu trial here.

Resurrection (Theaters / VOD August 5)

In Andrew Semans’ film, Rebecca Hall plays Margaret, a highly skilled executive and single mother who begins to crumble after meeting David (Tim Roth), a man from her past. Who he is and what he means to her is just one of many shockers in a film that thrilled Sundance audiences when it premiered at the festival earlier this year.

Thirteen Lives (Prime Video, August 5)

Ron Howard’s latest recounts the extraordinary efforts to rescue a football team trapped in Thailand’s Tham Luang Nang Non cave for 18 days after a flood. Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell and Joel Edgerton star as a trio of real-life heroes tasked with finding a solution to a seemingly unsolvable problem. Watch with a 30-day free trial on Amazon Prime Video here.

The sand man (Netflix, August 5)

After years of false starts dating back to the early 1990s, Neil Gaiman’s revered comic book series has been adapted into a TV series starring Tom Sturridge (Velvet circular saw) as Morpheus, the mythological king of dreams who escapes more than a century of captivity and sets out to restore order to his kingdom. Working with David S. Goyer and Allan Heinberg, both accustomed to turning comics into movies and television, Gaiman himself is deeply involved in the series, which should help reassure longtime fans worried about a unfaithful adaptation. Watch on Netflix here.

Criminal Emily (Theaters, August 12)

Another Sundance hit, John Patton Ford’s directorial debut, this crime drama stars Aubrey Plaza as Emily, a woman desperate for her seemingly insurmountable debts. However, she thinks she has found a way out after working with Youcef (Theo Rossi), a thief who puts her to work.

A league apart (Prime Video, August 12)

Some movies don’t seem to work as TV series, but A league apart is not one. As good as Penny Marshall’s film about a women’s professional baseball league formed during World War II, it also suggests that there were many more stories that could be told about this world. Developed by Will Graham and star Abbi Jacobsen, this ongoing series about the experiences of a team stars Chanté Adams, D’Arcy Carden and Nick Offerman. Watch with a 30-day free trial on Amazon Prime Video here.

She-Hulk: Lawyer (Disney+, August 17)

It’s hard enough to be a superhero but try to be a superhero while working someday. That’s one of the problems faced by Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany), a lawyer specializing in superhuman cases who shares some powers with her cousin Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo, who is due to appear). Jennifer Gao, a veteran of rick and morty serves as the series’ creator, so expect a different take on the MCU and its residents. Watch on Disney+ here.

The undeclared war (Peacock, August 18)

Set in the year 2024, this British drama depicts a war between the UK and Russia that takes a different form: crippling cyberattacks. Hannah Khalique-Brown stars as Saara, an intern destined to play a key role in the conflict, with veterans like Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance and Adrian Lester rounding out the cast. Watch on Peacock here.

bad sisters (Apple TV+, August 19)

Apple didn’t reveal much about bad sisters, presented as a dark comedy about five sisters deeply affected by the death of their parents years before. But we do know it stars Anne-Marie Duff, Eva Birthistle, Sarah Greene and Eve Hewson and its creator, Sharon Horgan, whose name alone suggests it’ll be worth a look. Watch with a 7-day free trial on Apple TV here.

Dragon House (HBO, August 21)

It has been three years since game of thrones was winding down, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t more stories to be told in George RR Martin’s land of Westeros. This series takes place 200 years before the events of game of thrones, an era that finds the Iron Throne occupied by King Viserys I (Paddy Considine). But don’t expect the peace to last. Matt Smith, Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke co-star. Watch on HBO Max here.

Welcome to Wrexham (FX, August 23)

What would happen if two Hollywood stars teamed up to buy a struggling Welsh football club? It sounds like the premise of a high profile comedy, but it really happened in 2020 when Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds bought Wrexham AFC This series documents the couple’s attempts to turn the club’s fortunes around. Watch with a free trial of FX on Hulu here.

Little demon (FX/Hulu, August 25)

In a new animated series produced by Community and At Rick and Morty Dan Harmon, Aubrey Plaza voices a woman trying to live an ordinary life despite raising Satan’s daughter. Produced by Danny DeVito’s Jersey Films, it features DeVito as Satan and his own daughter Lucy DeVito as Hell. Watch with a free trial of FX on Hulu here.

Mike (Hulu, August 25)

Mike Tyson’s life doesn’t lend itself to any kind of traditional sports biopic, so don’t expect much improvement from this unsanctioned look at the former champion’s life. Trevante Rhodes (Moonlight) plays the adult Tyson in a limited series that charts his rise and fall. Watch with a free Hulu trial here.

The patient (FX/Hulu, August 30)

Created and written by Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg (Americans), this limited series deceives the relationship between a psychiatrist (Steve Carell) and a serial killer (Domhnall Gleeson). The twist: the shrink is held against his will as part of the killer’s quest to free himself from his demons. Watch with a free trial of FX on Hulu here.

Three thousand years of nostalgia (Theaters, August 31)

For his first film since Mad Max: Fury Road, director George Miller turned to a short story by AS Byatt about an encounter between a scholar (Tilda Swinton) and a jinn (Idris Elba) who offers him three wishes and a lots of stories.

Andor (Disney+, August 31)

The 2016 movie Star Wars: Rogue One offered a grittier look at the star wars universe via a story filled with espionage, terrorists, and a formidable body count. Set five years before this film, Andor returns from the seedier side of the galaxy far, far away via a series featuring RogueOne Diego Luna as a thief involved in intergalactic politics. Stellan Skarsgard and Genevieve O’Reilly co-star and Snape onCo-writer Tony Gilroy serves as showrunner. Watch on Disney+ here.

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Raymond I. Langston