Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Stream These: August 2023 Movies on Netflix, Prime and Hulu

This month’s highlights on the streamers include powerful documentaries, a Woody Harrelson star vehicle, an LGBTQ presidential comedy and Gal Gadot on an impossible mission.

ON NETFLIX

Available Now

Poisoned: The Dirty Truth About Your Food

“I ate a salad, and now I have long-term health effects from it.” This is one of the blunt testimonials in director Stephanie Soechtig’s rabble-rousing documentary, which looks like it plays like a real-life horror film whose villains have infiltrated just about everything we eat—even the “healthy” stuff. Adapting the best-selling nonfiction expose Poisoned: The True Story of the Deadly E. Coli Outbreak That Changed the Way Americans Eat, Soechtig’s film is an indictment of lax federal regulations that have led to widespread foodborne illness in the United States, despite a concerted, and successful, media campaign that insists on the unimpeachable safety of America’s food supply. Interviews with experts, activists and victims frame a powerful and impactful narrative.

Starts Aug. 11

Heart of Stone

A wonder woman by another name, Gal Gadot stars in this espionage vehicle as Rachel Stone, an all-business intelligence agent for a peacekeeping organization known as the Charter. In the movie’s argot, she’s tasked with protecting a nebulous plot Macguffin known as “The Heart,” which is essentially an excuse to send Gadot careening from snowy peak to exploding building and everything in between. “Heart of Stone” is basically “Mission: Impossible,” from its story to its creative team (it’s developed by the company that produced “Mission: Impossible: Fallout”), and looks to carry over the franchise’s focus group-tested combination of intricate SFX wizardry and cheeky smarts. Tom Harper directs the film from a script by Greg Rucka and Allison Schroeder (the latter earned an Oscar nomination for “Hidden Figures”), and it costars Jamie Dornan and Sophie Okonedo.

ON AMAZON PRIME

Starts Aug. 11

Red, White & Royal Blue

Playwright Matthew Lopez, whose credits include such acclaimed dramas as “The Whipping Man” and “The Inheritance,” seems an unlikely match for this, his directorial movie debut: a romantic comedy set in a fanciful parallel world where the only scandal-worthy news in the U.S. and the U.K. involves a clandestine affair between the son of the president of the United States (Taylor Zakhar Perez) and a prince in the British monarchy (Nicholas Galitzine). “Red, White & Royal Blue” is based on a 2019 novel, but the script has the salty punch of pretty good streaming television, which should fit right in among Prime’s notable late-summer salvos. Uma Thurman co-stars as the president, with Stephen Fry as “King James III.”

Starts Aug. 25

Wayne Shorter: Zero Gravity

Completed in 2017 but finally released this year, just months after the death of its subject at age 89, “Wayne Shorter: Zero Gravity” is an apt description for the saxophone giant’s soaring, boundless sound. Producer-director Dorsay Alavi, whose working relationship with Shorter goes back to her work on his 1996 video for “High Life,” delves into Shorter’s incredible life and art, from his inauguration into Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers to his pioneering albums as a bandleader on Blue Note Records, to his embrace of fusion with Weather Report and his late-career mentorship of young jazz talent. The movie’s interviews—from Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock and Joni Mitchell to Jeff Garlin, Renee Fleming and Neil deGrasse Tyson—are a testament to Shorter’s transcendent career.

Starts Aug. 29

Champions

A sports comedy with a big heart, “Champions” stars Woody Harrelson as a disgraced assistant coach for a minor-league basketball team in Iowa, whose ambitions to lead an NBA franchise are derailed when he shoves his head coach, gets drunk and collides with a police car. In lieu of a jail sentence, he accepts 90 days of community service coaching a team of basketball players with developmental disabilities (known as The Friends). This being an underdog movie, Harrelson’s initially frustrated protagonist eventually leads the team to astonishing success while growing as a person. Ernie Hudson and Cheech Marin costar in what appears to be a genuine feel-good movie from a director—Bobby Farrelly, in his solo debut—whose filmography with his brother has typically leaned into raunchier fare (“There’s Something About Mary,” “Kingpin,” “Dumb & Dumber”).

NEW ON HULU

Starts Aug. 4

Supercell

A strong cast powers this straightforward actioner for fans of “Twister” and “Storm Chasers.” Aiming to follow in his famous storm-chasing parents’ blustery and turbulent footsteps, Roy (Skeet Ulrich) enters into the dangerous profession and encounters a storm of titanic proportions. I can’t really vouch for this one: “Supercell” doesn’t give off a vibe of quality cinema, and the dialogue in its trailer sounds like it could have been written (or at least “enhanced”) by ChatGPT. But expect the CGI, at the very least, to impress, and enjoy the supporting performances from Alec Baldwin and particularly Anne Heche, who died in a car accident last year; “Supercell” is one of her last few completed projects.


For more of Boca magazine’s arts and entertainment coverage, click here.

John Thomason
John Thomason
As the A&E editor of bocamag.com, I offer reviews, previews, interviews, news reports and musings on all things arty and entertainment-y in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

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