Entertainment August movie guide: The best and then some – in cinemas and streaming

August movie guide: The best and then some – in cinemas and streaming

jennifer hudson as aretha franklin
Jennifer Hudson pays a stunning tribute to the Queen of Soul in Respect, in cinemas this August. Photo: MGM Studios
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We’re still a few months away from the classic big-budget blockbusters (think the latest from Bond, Top Gun and Mission: Impossible franchises) but there is a catalogue of cinema and streaming releases to keep our hearts racing, and our minds sharp.

With restrictions easing in most states, heading to a cinema complex for the big-screen surround-sound experience is always Plan A.

Next best option is subscribing to any one of the streaming services, pay up to $35 (Black Widow, Jungle Cruise on Disney+) and watch the movie at home.

If you love a solid biopic – think Rocketman (Elton John), Bohemian Rhapsody (Freddie Mercury) or the Oscar-winning portrayal of Judy Garland by Renee Zellweger in Judy, you’re in for a treat.

Respect, the story of legendary US singer-songwriter Aretha Franklin, played by Jennifer Hudson will open in Australian cinemas on August 19.

In a recent MGM “behind-the-scenes” featurette ahead of the film’s release, Hudson, 39, says it was “destiny” to play the Queen of Soul.

Director Liesl Tommy says there were a “handful of people on planet Earth” that were given the gift of Aretha’s voice, “so when we’re thinking about who is going to play her, it better be another person who has one of the greatest voices of all time”.

Hudson – a gifted R&B soul singer in her own right – knew and sang with Aretha, and is credited with singing every song, every take on camera, live in the film.

“It was destiny in a way,” she said.

August movie guide

The Misfits – July 29

Pierce Brosnan, 68, still has what it takes to make an action thriller. He’s played Bond, a jewel thief (and, I’m not going to mention what he did in Mamma Mia!), this low-budget gold heist movie from the makers of Cliffhanger and Die Hard 2 is a classic Saturday afternoon must-see. Take the teenagers, they’ll love it.

Shiva Baby – July 29

Shiva Baby is the intense story of NYU student Danielle (played by actor and online comic Rachel Sennott) who attends a shiva (Jewish funeral) and to her horror spots her sugar daddy (who pays her for regular sex) in the lounge room full of grieving relatives. Only problem is, he’s married. The movie “takes the comfortingly shticky middle-class Jewish American setting – the shiva, with its sea of yarmulkes, patter of yentas … and bagel-and-lox buffet – and … injects it with a shot of creeping comic unease via the central character’s crisis”, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Love it. And with a budget of $US200,000, go see it.

The Suicide Squad – August 5

Everyone’s favourite psycho Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and her team of supervillains, including Bloodsport, Peacemaker and King Shark, are back. Armed with high-tech weapons, they head into the jungle on an island somewhere for a search-and-destroy mission.

The Ice Road – August 12

Don’t worry, Liam Neeson isn’t off finding his daughter again in another Taken instalment. This time he’s rescuing trapped diamond miners in Canada. Stunning action scenes with a huge truck smash on … an ice road … in the trailer are enough to get this one over the line.

Free Guy – August 12

Starring Ryan Reynolds from Deadpool and The Hitman’s Bodyguard fame, or infamy, Reynolds, is well, living inside a video game in this sci-fi action comedy. You’ll see his deadpan humour and self-deprecating acting style repeated, and critics are applauding Reynolds for the “creation of a universe that is both hilarious and “bitingly satirical”. Jacqueline Coley from Rotten Tomatoes considers Free Guy the best video game movie ever made.

The Cave – August 19

Based on true events, The Cave tells the story of the 2018 mission to rescue a group of Thai boys from a local soccer team who get trapped inside the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai Province in northern Thailand. Although the film was released at festivals across the globe in 2019, it will premiere on the big screen at Palace Cinemas.

Reminiscence – August 19

Every few years, we expect a decent action thriller from Hugh Jackman (X-Men, Logan, Wolverine) and again, without disappointment, the Greatest Showman star says he was allowed to “own” this role playing a scientist who wants to travel back in time to find his true love. From the makers of Westworld, the storyline is set in a post-global-climate-change destruction city, so don’t head to the cinema without coffee and popcorn.

Stillwater – August 26

Loosely based on the story of American Amanda Knox who was convicted and then acquitted of killing fellow exchange student in an Italian apartment in 2007. From the director of Spotlight, Matt Damon plays an Oklahoman oil rig worker who travels to France to get his daughter (Zombieland‘s Abigail Breslin) out of jail. Mixed reviews, but worth getting on the Damon bandwagon.

jungle cruise
Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt’s Jungle Cruise can be viewed on Disney+. Photo: AAP

Latest-release movies drop on streaming services

If heading out to the cinema isn’t an option, download the Disney+ app and, with a subscription, you can access entertainment from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic and Star, to watch the latest releases.

Although Black Widow and Dwayne Johnson’s Jungle Cruise are still in cinemas, you can watch the two-hour-plus features in your home movie room for $34.99.

Mark Wahlberg’s sci-fi thriller Infinite will premiere on August 11 when Paramount+ launches in Australia. Ten says the new streaming service will be home to up to 10,000 TV and movie titles.

Netflix and HBO (Space Jam) are increasingly dropping cinema releases.

Business Insider Australia reported a three-fold increase in cinema releases going straight to streaming and digital-rental platforms.

CinemaScore’s Harold Mintz told Insider: “The pandemic forced it, but it was bound to happen eventually … most movies are played out [in theatres] after three weeks so it just makes sense.”

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