Brow Beat

The Best Movies and TV Shows Coming to Netflix in August

The Hurt Locker
The Hurt Locker is just one of the great movies coming to Netflix in August.

Photo by Courtesy of Summit Entertainment - © 2008 Summit Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Every month, a number of movies and TV series leave Netflix streaming, sometimes only temporarily, usually because licensing deals have expired. Several new titles arrive in their place. So what’s coming this month, and which of these new arrivals should you watch? Below, we’ve chosen the best new movies and TV shows coming to Netflix Instant streaming in August 2015. Plan your weekend marathons accordingly.

The Hurt Locker
Aug. 1

A few months ago, American Sniper became the biggest movie of 2014, racking up more than $350 million in the United States. Back in 2008, The Hurt Locker did almost everything that American Sniper did (the suspense, the paranoia, the main character’s adrenaline addiction), except it did it first, it did it better, and it did it more honestly. And yet hardly a fifth as many Americans saw it—even after it won Best Picture! So while it may seem crazy to still have to recommend this classic Kathryn Bigelow movie in 2015, I know some of you out there still haven’t seen it. Maybe if we all decided to call it American Badass Bomb Defuser Guy? —Forrest Wickman, senior editor

Casting By
Aug. 1

“Documentary about an unheralded but creatively significant behind-the-scenes filmmaking job” is a genre that rarely disappoints. No Subtitles Necessaryabout the decades-long friendship of Hungarian-refugees-turned-legendary-cinematographers Laszlo Kovacs and Vilmos Zsigmond, is a noteworthy example of the form, as is the editing documentary The Cutting Edge. This made-for-HBO doc explores the contribution of casting directors to the careers of directors like Martin Scorsese, Norman Jewison, Woody Allen, and Clint Eastwood, all of whom are interviewed here, along with a raft of the casting directors themselves. (Nearly all of them are women—the job, which requires a high level of attunement to the filmmaker’s and the actors’ talents and needs, has traditionally gone to females, and perhaps for that reason took a long time to be considered worthy of an onscreen credit.) “I was like a kid in a candy store,” reminisces casting legend Marion Dougherty about her days discovering offbeat stars like Robert Duvall, Richard Dreyfuss, and Gene Hackman after the collapse of the studio system in the late ’50s and early ’60s. That’s how you’ll feel watching a young Dustin Hoffman’s screen test for The Graduate in Casting By. —Dana Stevens, movie critic

Flex Is Kings
Arriving: Aug. 1

This documentary profiles young men from East New York who practice “flexing,” a style of movement that tells stories through bodily contortions. Flex Is Kings isn’t groundbreaking—the dance-contest storyline is a cinematic mainstay—but unlike, say, the tired Step Up franchise, it has a cast of characters you actually care about. The best part, though, is how much time the film takes to let us witness the dancers honing their unique styles. —Aisha Harris, staff writer

Bride and Prejudice
Aug. 1

It’s Pride and Prejudice, Bollywood-style—which means lavish song-and-dance numbers and plenty of ’em. Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha trades Regency dresses for saris and class divides for cultural ones in this decidedly unstuffy take on Jane Austen’s classic. Bollywood darling and world’s most beautiful woman Aishwarya Rai is charming in the Elizabeth Bennet role, with Martin Henderson tagging along as her arrogant American love interest. Is it a little cheesy? Sure. Bride and Prejudice isn’t slick like the Emma-inspired Aisha, or as celebrated as Kandukondain Kandukondain, the Tamil adaptation of Sense and Sensibility. But it’s lively, flamboyant, and unabashedly fun. There’s even an appearance from Ashanti. —Marissa Visci, culture intern

Reading Rainbow, Season 1
Aug. 1

How did Reading Rainbow find such startlingly charismatic children to review books at the end of every episode? Wouldn’t every TV titles sequence be better with ’80s computer-graphic hot air balloons and planets flying out of the pages of books? These are some of the thoughts you might have while watching the first volume of Reading Rainbow—which features field trips to wax sculpture museums and rowdy playground dance numbers and is generally a nostalgia bomb for anyone who grew up imagining LeVar Burton’s voice in your head every time you opened a book. Burton was the perfect children’s show host: peppy but not creepy, managing to project kidlike enthusiasm with just a touch of knowing remove. Now that the Kickstarter-funded Reading Rainbow app has juiced the show’s concept with flashy graphics and sound effects, that simple, lo-fi first season of Reading Rainbow seems like even more of a classic. —Laura Bennett, senior editor

Welcome To Me
Arriving: Aug. 6

Kristen Wiig continues to flex her dramatic muscles in this sharp-edged, sobering comedy from Shira Piven. Wiig plays Alice Klieg, a woman with borderline personality disorder, an obsession with Oprah, and a penchant for buying lotto tickets. One day, Klieg wins the $86 million jackpot, and she uses the money to create an elaborate, entirely self-centered talk show on cable TV. What follows is a startling, slightly meta character study in which Klieg negotiates her neuroses in public. Piven’s touch is light but unsentimental, Wiig’s performance is perversely entertaining, and the movie’s determination not to fall into farce yields a tempered, triumphant portrait of depression. —Sharan Shetty, staff writer

Doctor Who Season 8
Aug. 8

Doctor Who’s greatest power—the secret of the BBC show’s half-century lifespan—is its ability to reinvent itself. Every time a new actor is cast as the lead—a change justified by the Doctor’s ability to “regenerate”—the show gets rebuilt around him. (It’s always been a him so far, though that won’t last forever.) It’s a useful check on the accumulation of continuity baggage, and it lets new viewers start on an equal footing with veterans. Season 8 introduces the grizzled Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor: irascible, superior, both ruthless and penitent. Some of the episodes demonstrate the show’s ability to parachute into foreign genres—a heist movie, a romantic comedy, a Robin Hood adventure. Others are the passionately moral, humanistic adventure stories that are Doctor Who’s bread and butter. Together they’re the ideal antidote to pointlessly gritty sci-fi and superheroics. —Gabriel Roth, senior editor

Two Days, One Night
Arriving: Aug. 11

The employees of a small Belgian solar-panel manufacturer in the Dardenne brothers’ Two Days, One Night have been given a stark choice: If they want the 1,000-euro bonuses they’ve previously been promised, they must vote to eliminate the position of their co-worked Sandra, who’s recently returned from a medical leave related to her depression. Over the course of a weekend, Sandra—played by the incredible Marion Cotillard, who was nominated for an Oscar for the role—must fight through her anxiety and her shame to ask each of her co-workers to please save her job. The synopsis may sound grim, and there are moments in this gritty drama that are difficult to watch. But it’s a magnificent portrait of human dignity in the face of economic indignity, and a film that every person concerned with the role of work in human lives should see. —Dan Kois, culture editor

For a Good Time Call …
Arriving: Aug. 12

For a Good Time Call … is the perfect summer streaming movie. Yes, it came out in theaters (to mixed reviews) in 2012, but it’s the kind of sleeper gem that, as Dana Stevens wrote in her review, you have no business enjoying as much as you will. Co-written by star Lauren Miller (who happens to be Seth Rogen’s wife), it’s about two women who hate each other, live together (due to the kind of circumstances that always arise in movies like this), create their own phone sex line, and become best friends. The raunchy female friendship movie that time forgot, For a Good Time Call … is a more natural female counterpart to Judd Apatow’s bromances than the Apatow-produced Bridesmaids or Trainwreck. For a good time, all you need is this movie. —Miriam Krule, assistant editor

Aug. 16

Dee Rees’ Pariah is a quietly beautiful film about a young lesbian’s coming of age in Brooklyn. The main character Alike, played by the wonderful Adepero Oduye, yearns for her first sexual experience; her straight-laced parents (Charles Parnell and Kim Wayans) struggle between their love for their daughter and their mistrust of the sexuality they see her exhibiting. Shot by the great cinematographer Bradford YoungPariah explores both its Fort Greene neighborhood and the close of Alike’s childhood with curiosity, warmth, and empathy. It’s a wonderful movie that few saw when it first came out in 2011; don’t miss it now. —Dan Kois, culture editor

Aug. 27

Nearly 20 years after his delightfully eccentric adaptation of Interview With the Vampire, Neil Jordan returned to bloodsucker lore with this melancholy tale of two female vampires (Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton) on the run from a vengeful supernatural authority. One of the women takes over a dilapidated seaside hotel and turns it into a brothel, as flashbacks reveal their tragic history, stretching from the Napoleonic Wars to the present. Vampire conceit aside, the movie works as a visually transporting gothic period tale. Pair it with one of these other underrated movies from director Jordan (who also made The Crying Game): Ondine, with Colin Farrell as a fisherman who catches a mysterious woman in his net, or In Dreams, his WTF serial killer movie with Annette Bening and Robert Downey Jr. —Jeffrey Bloomer, associate editor 

White God
Aug. 27

I’ve been recommending this movie with the same nine-word pitch ever since I first fell in love with it in January. I see no reason to change it up now: White God is Rise of the Planet of the Apes with dogs. What more do you need to know? OK, fine. It’s probably good to know that the movie is more arthouse than that might sound: It uses allegory to smuggle in messages about everything from immigration debates to female adolescence to the industrialized abuse of farm animals. But what’s most wonderful about the movie is how it blends all that with Spielbergian wonder, Corman-esque exploitation, and … dogs. —Forrest Wickman, senior editor

Also arriving:

Aug. 1

Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein
Back in Time/Cong Cong Na Nian
Beneath the Helmet
Breakup Buddies/Xin Hau Lu Fang

The Code Season 1
Dancing on the Edge Season 1
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Season 2
Dear Frankie
Dogs on the Inside
Electric Slide
Enemy at the Gates
The Golden Era/Huang Jin Shi Dai

The Living
Lost and Love/Shi Gu

Masha and the Bear Season 1
The Mind of a Chef Season 3
November Rule
Odd Squad Season 1
Pants on Fire
Reading Rainbow: Volume 1
Russell Brand: End the Drugs War 
Russell Brand: From Addiction to Recovery 
Somewhere Only We Know/You yi ge di fang zhi you wo men zhi dao 
Sorority Row 
Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns 

Utopia Season 1
Vexed Seasons 1­ & 2
Wing Commander

Aug. 3

Chronic­Con, Episode 420: A New Dope

Aug. 4

Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead

Aug. 5


Aug. 6

Kill Me Three Times
My Amityville Horror
The Look of Love

Aug. 7

Club de Cuervos Season 1
HitRECord on TV Season 1
Motivation 2 The Chris Cole Story
Project Mc2

Transporter: The Series Season 2

Aug. 11

Fred: The Movie
Fred 2: Night of the Living Fred
Fred 3: Camp Fred

Aug. 12

Leap Year
The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death

Aug. 14

Demetri Martin: Live (At The Time)
Ever After High Way too Wonderland 
Season 3
Ship of Theseus

Aug. 15

Alex of Venice

Aug. 16

Being Flynn
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Aug. 17

Lord of War

Aug. 19

Jerk Theory
Real Husbands of Hollywood
 Season 3

Aug. 20

30 for 30: Angry Sky
As Cool As I Am
Strange Empire 
Season 1

Aug. 21

Grantham & Rose

Aug. 23

Girl Meets World Season 1

August 27

White God

Aug. 28

Inspector Gadget Season 2
Narcos Season 1
Once Upon a Time Season 4
Revenge Season 4

Aug. 29


Aug. 30

Muffin Top: A Love Story