Greetings, Polygon readers!
August is finally here, which means the fall season of new movies and television is just starting to ramp up. Before we can partake in all the wonderful new releases this month has in store for us, let’s run through our monthly roundup of the best movies arriving on streaming.
Our roundup includes Miloš Forman’s masterful period biopic Amadeus (which was a heavy influence on Christopher Nolan’s own blockbuster biopic, Oppenheimer), Robert Aldrich’s classic war drama The Dirty Dozen, and Jim Jarmusch’s fantasy vampire romance Only Lovers Left Alive. Plus, the first five Fast and Furious movies are available to stream on Netflix!
Let’s dive in and see what this month has in store.
New on Netflix
Coming to America
Run time: 1h 56m
Director: John Landis
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones
Eddie Murphy stars as Akeem Joffer, the crown prince of the fictional African country of Zamunda who, tired of his mother and father’s meddling in his love life, journeys to New York with his personal aide Semmi (Arsenio Hall) to search for a wife. Directed by John Landis and based on a story by Murphy, Coming to America is packed with endlessly quotable performances by Samuel L. Jackson, James Earl Jones, Louie Anderson, John Amos, and Murphy and Arsenio in multiple roles. The movie is an absolute riot front to back and an enduring classic for good reason: It’s one of Murphy’s finest and funniest films. —Toussaint Egan
Coming to America is streaming on Netflix.
The Fast and Furious movies
Year: 2001 (The Fast and the Furious); 2003 (2 Fast 2 Furious); 2006 (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift); 2009 (Fast & Furious); 2011 (Fast Five)
Genre: Family action
Run time: 1h 46m (The Fast and the Furious); 1h 47m (2 Fast 2 Furious); 1h 44m (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift); 1h 47m (Fast & Furious); 2h 10m (Fast Five)
Director: Rob Cohen (The Fast and the Furious); John Singleton (2 Fast 2 Furious); Justin Lin (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, Fast Five)
Cast: Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, Ludacris
Forget a quarter mile at a time: The Fast and Furious franchise is coming to Netflix nearly all at once. The first five movies in the franchise are now on Netflix, just in time for you to do a whole franchise rewatch with the recent release of Fast X.
We have a few different Fast and Furious watch orders for you if you embark on that particular journey, complete with a surprise addition — the origin of Sung Kang’s Han, first found in Justin Lin’s coming-of-age classic Better Luck Tomorrow.
That one’s not on Netflix, but The Fast and The Furious through Fast Five are. That means arguably the two best movies in the franchise — Tokyo Drift and Fast Five, naturally — are now on Netflix. Wave the flags and start your engines. —Pete Volk
The first five Fast and Furious movies are streaming on Netflix.
New on Max
The Dirty Dozen
Genre: War movie
Run time: 2h 30m
Director: Robert Aldrich
Cast: Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, Ernest Borgnine
There are so many great things to say about The Dirty Dozen — the fantastic ensemble cast, the gripping set-pieces, the use of humor to defuse the tension — but for a modern audience, I’ll say this. What if The Suicide Squad, but an all-time great movie?
James Gunn listed the classic war movie as a key inspiration for his adaptation of the comics, but it’s all over the source material as well. Stop me if this sounds familiar: The U.S. government forces a bunch of convicts, many of whom are sentenced to death, to carry out a suicide mission for them. If they refuse or attempt to escape, they will all be executed.
One of the great things about The Dirty Dozen is despite the very serious setup, it’s a breezy time filled with one of the best casts ever assembled (in addition to the principals, we have Donald Sutherland, Jim Brown, John Cassavetes, Telly Savalas... the list goes on). One of the key action scenes is a delightfully playful training exercise where the Dirty Dozen are put up against a pompous colonel’s regiment. It’s one of the highlights of the movie, only to be surpassed by the showstopping finale. —PV
The Dirty Dozen is streaming on Prime.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Genre: Supernatural horror
Run time: 1h 31m
Director: Wes Craven
Cast: Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund
The sensation that launched a franchise, Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street lives on as a horror masterpiece decades later. Teenager Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) and her friends become the targets of Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), a deceased serial killer now haunting (and hunting) people in their dreams. As Nancy’s friends start dying in their sleep one by one, she tries desperately to stay awake to survive. A timeless slasher that might also keep you from sleeping, Elm Street and Krueger have staying power for a reason. —PV
A Nightmare on Elm Street is streaming on Prime.
New on Hulu
Only Lovers Left Alive
Genre: Fantasy comedy-drama
Run time: 2h 3m
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Cast: Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska
One of the few non-Marvel projects Tom Hiddleston’s made time for since rising to fame in the Thor series (Loki season 2 is just a few months away), Jim Jarmusch’s vampire flick is another movie that defines cool. Adam (Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton) are two bloodsucking ex-lovers who reconnect after years apart. Adam is in Detroit. Eve is Tangier, Morocco. As they draw closer together, Jarmusch sinks his teeth into every form of culture, from lavish clothes to pristine soundtrack curation. It’s style as substance, through the worldview of two supernatural beings who’ve been around for centuries. Don’t expect too much plot — this is all about luxuriating in the picture, and sucking down every ounce of blood Jarmusch has drawn from his obsessions. —Matt Patches
Only Lovers Left Alive is streaming on Hulu.
New on Prime Video
Genre: Biographical drama
Run time: 2h 40m
Director: Miloš Forman
Cast: F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge
Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer has seen a whirlwind of commercial and critical success since it opened in theaters last month. Nolan’s biopic on the life and career of the father of the atomic bomb was influenced not only by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin’s 2005 biography American Prometheus, but also, surprisingly enough, by this 1984 drama based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Robert Downey Jr., who plays Lewis Strauss, has said his portrayal of Oppenheimer’s political nemesis was inspired by none other than F. Murray Abraham’s turn as the devious Antonio Salieri in Miloš Forman’s film.
Amadeus is nothing short of a masterpiece, an enthralling drama of artistic jealousy, thwarted faith, and professional aspiration at the height of classical musical composition. Told through the testimony of Salieri, the film depicts Mozart as a buffoonish, womanizing reprobate who is otherwise an exceptionally gifted composer. Forman’s film brilliantly dispels the aura of faux-sophistication that often envelops classical music while losing none of its appeal and vitality, juxtaposing Mozart’s most iconic compositions with the base and conniving plots of his hateful rival. As exquisitely performed as it is edited, it’s no wonder Amadeus would inspire Christopher Nolan in crafting his own masterpiece. —TE