These days when you think of streaming services, what comes to mind? It doesn't matter if you're talking about Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, CBS All Access or countless others, it seems that the product that's hammered home in commercials are the original series that you can binge-watch.
But as these services have grown, what seems to have been forgotten — or at least pushed far into the background — is the fact that they also serve as the basis of a humongous library of film titles. These are movies that are not only spread out over a variety of types (Science-Fiction, Action, War, Horror, Comedy, brilliant, stupid, etc.), but many different decades as well. It's actually a great thing to tap in to, because it gives you the opportunity to not only revisit old favorites, but discover new ones as well. Or you could even find yourself sitting there saying, "Holy crap, I forgot about that one!"
In the case of Netflix, each month there are a lot of movies that come and go, and what we've done is provided a guide to nine of the films that will be hitting the service beginning on August 1st. Actually, that's not exactly true. To be perfectly honest, what you'll find is a guide to seven films (and this is a diverse group to be sure), one trilogy that started off amazingly — changing the course of moviemaking in the process — and kind of went off track a bit as it went on; and an original television series that is pretty much guaranteed to kick ass and serves as proof that Marvel not only rules the big screen, but the small one as well.
So after a long day when you just want to come home and cuddle up with your loved one, or enjoy a bit you time, just log on to Netflix and check out these films.
Bad Santa (2003)
'Tisn't the season just yet, but it doesn't matter: this dark, politically incorrect comedy is welcome any time! Here's what Google says about this one: "The crotchety Willie T. Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton) and his partner (Tony Cox) reunite once a year for a holiday con. Posing as a mall Santa and his elf, they rip off shopping outlets on Christmas Eve. This year, however, Willie is falling apart. He's depressed and alcoholic, and his erratic behavior draws the suspicion of mall security (Bernie Mac). But when befriending a small boy brings out his kinder side, Willie begins to wonder if there is still some hope for him." Ah, maybe a little, but if he gets too much hope, this stuff stops being funny, and noboby wants that. Spawned the 2016 sequel Bad Santa 2. Netflix premiere: August 1st.
The 1980s were a great time for sci-fi fans, largely because Steven Spielberg's Amblin' Entertainment got behind quite a number of them, including this one. A scientifically miniaturized marine (Dennis Quaid) unexpectedly finds himself floating around the body of a hypochondriac (Martin Short), and trying to outwit saboteurs who want the device that shrank him. It's a lot funnier than it sounds, Short performing all sorts of physical schtick as Quaid takes control of his nervous system. Netflix premiere: August 1st.
Jackie Brown (1997)
An oldie but a goodie from director Quentin Tarantino, whose camera is as wild and unpredictable as any of his characters. Describes Google, "When flight attendant Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) is busted smuggling money for her arms dealer boss, Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson), agent Ray Nicolette (Michael Keaton) and detective Mark Dargus (Michael Bowen) want her help to bring down Robbie. Facing jail time for her silence or death for her cooperation, Brown decides instead to double-cross both parties and make off with the smuggled money. Meanwhile, she enlists the help of bondsman Max Cherry (Robert Forster), a man who loves her." Netflix premiere: August 1st.
The Matrix Trilogy (1999-2003)
Did you know that we’re the victims of artificial intelligence, and everything we experience is actually a virtual reality known as The Matrix? We have one hope: John Wick...actually, Neo, also played by Mr. Wick himself, Keanu Reeves. Neo is the person who will allow humanity to reclaim its place in the world. Helping him to achieve this are Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), who are aware of the truth of this world and are willing to train Neo to meet his destiny. Added bonus, the superpowers they have within the Matrix. The 1999 original is awesome, the sequels—The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions (both 2003)—not as much, but it's very cool to be able to binge the entire saga. Netflix premiere: August 1st.
Although we're mostly going for fun with the choices here, this one is a bit more serious. An original "thriller/documentary" for Netflix, in it filmmaker Bryan Fogel sets out to uncover the truth about doping in sports. As he does so, a chance meeting with a Russian scientist transforms his story from a personal experiment into a geopolitical thriller. Dirty urine, unexplained death and Olympic gold are all part of the exposure of the biggest scandal in sports history. This one we're really looking forward to. Netflix premiere: August 4th.
The Astronaut's Wife (1999)
Charlize Theron is an amazing chameleon of an actress. For proof of that, look no further than her current movie on the big screen, Atomic Blonde, and then compare it to her role in this film. In it, astronaut Spencer Armacost (Johnny Depp) returns to Earth after a mission that nearly cost him his life, and decides to take a desk job in order to see his beautiful wife, Jillian (Charlize Theron), more often. Gradually, Jillian notices that Spencer's personality seems to have changed, but her concerns fade when she discovers that she's pregnant. As Jillian grows closer to becoming a mother, her suspicions about Spencer return. Daddy don't seem to be who he's pretending to be — kind of sounds like a Lifetime movie, but it's not at all. Netflix premiere: August 1st.
Wild Wild West (1999)
Inspired by the classic series from the 1960s, this is pretty far from great art, but there's moments of true fun to be found here. When President Ulysses S. Grant (Kevin Kline) learns that diabolical inventor Dr. Arliss Loveless (Kenneth Branagh) is planning to assassinate him, he orders Civil War hero James West (Will Smith) and U.S. Marshal Artemus Gordon (also Kline) to arrest him. West's trigger-happy personality doesn't always mesh well with that of the thoughtful Gordon, but they manage to work together. And with the help of a mysterious stranger (Salma Hayek), West and Gordon close in on Loveless. A western with sci-fi elements. Netflix premiere: August 1st.
Practical Magic (1998)
Okay, that's enough Netflix testosterone. Let's let the ladies have their moment in the spotlight. Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gillian Owens (Nicole Kidman), born into a magical family, have mostly avoided witchcraft themselves. But when Gillian's vicious boyfriend, Jimmy Angelov (Goran Visnjic), dies unexpectedly, the Owens sisters give themselves a crash course in hard magic. With policeman Gary Hallet (Aidan Quinn) growing suspicious, the girls struggle to resurrect Angelov -- and unwittingly inject his corpse with an evil spirit that threatens to end their family line. Sandra and Nicole are reason enough to tune in. Netflix premiere: August 1st.
Marvel's The Defenders (2017)
This is Netflix's version of The Avengers unites a variety of heroes that have been introduced in their own shows on the streaming service. This eight-episode, limited series brings together Charlie Cox's Daredevil, Mike Colter's Luke Cage, Krysten Ritter's Jessica Jones and Finn Jones' Iron Fist in an adventure that sees them going up against The Hand and Sigourney Weaver's Alexandra. Look for an appearance by The Punisher. Available as of August 18th.