It’s time to say bye to July – and say hello to the coolest cartoon pooches since Scooby-Doo.
This weekend, Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart voice the canine sidekicks of Superman and Batman respectively in a star-studded animated superhero film. “The Office” alum BJ Novak writes, directs and stars in a comedic murder mystery, while Rebecca Hall plays an overprotective mom whose life comes undone in a jaw-dropping horror film. And Juliette Binoche is a truck driver trying to save her sibling in an action thriller opposite Morgan Freeman.
Here’s a guide to new movies that will satisfy every cinematic taste, plus some noteworthy theatrical films making their streaming and on-demand debuts:
‘Vengeance’:How Ashton Kutcher drew on ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ to play a Texas baddie
If you adore clever, well-written satire: BJ Novak’s ‘Vengeance’
Sending up true-crime podcasts and taking on the culture war, this intriguing gem of a dark whodunit features Novak as Ben, a New York City journalist who heads to West Texas to investigate the death of a woman he once hooked up with. The victim’s Whataburger-loving family takes him in as one of their own and seeks justice, and along the way so does Ben. And Ashton Kutcher fans, take note: He has one of his best roles ever as an arcane music producer.
Where to watch: In theaters
If you have superhero-loving children: Dwayne Johnson’s ‘DC League of Super-Pets’
While we all wait for the Pet Avengers to hit the Marvel universe, the World’s Finest Fidos are the next best thing. When his best friend Superman (John Krasinski) and the Justice League are nabbed by evil guinea pig Lulu (Kate McKinnon), Krypto the Super-Dog (Johnson) enlists the aid of a pack of shelter animals – led by his new hound buddy Ace (Hart) – to save the day. Come for the critters, stay for Keanu Reeves as, yes, Batman.
Where to watch: In theaters
‘DC League of Super-Pets’:Dwayne Johnson talks kryptonite biscuits and why he already lost the presidency
If you dig unnerving horror flicks: ‘Resurrection’
It’s best not to know too much about writer/director Andrew Semans’ deliciously unhinged psychological thriller other than it gets truly bonkers. Rebecca Hall dazzles as a biotech businesswoman and single mom living a well-organized life until she spots a man (Tim Roth) who’s connected to a traumatic past she left behind. That backstory and why he’s returned are a slow-burn reveal, leading to a wild, did-I-just-see-that ending.
Where to watch: In theaters (and on demand Aug. 5)
If you’re skeptical of online influencers: ‘Not Okay’
Zoey Deutch stars in the engaging modern satire as a wannabe social-media queen who – to impress a co-worker (Dylan O’Brien) and get major likes – pretends to go to Paris on a writer’s retreat. However, she posts “selfies” at the same time a terrorist attack occurs, leading to bigger lies, a friendship with a school-shooting survivor (Mia Isaac) and a hard time keeping the truth from coming out.
Where to watch: Hulu
If you’re a big ol’ sap: ‘Purple Hearts’
Cassie (Sofia Carson) is a diabetic California waitress and struggling musician who doesn’t date soldiers. Luke (Nicholas Galitzine) is a Marine with a troubled past about to be deployed to Iraq. This predictable romance finds the two opposites entering into a marriage for extra government benefits rather than love, but Luke’s injuries in the line of duty force them into an actual relationship and dealing with their life issues.
Where to watch: Netflix
If you’re a ‘Stranger Things’ fan: ‘Honor Society’
There’s a definite Gen Z “Election” vibe to the teen comedy, which stars Angourie Rice as an ambitious high school senior dead set on going to Harvard – which means sabotaging her classmate competition. However, her plan goes awry when she starts growing closer to them, especially her nerdy new chemistry partner (“Stranger” mainstay Gaten Matarazzo), and the film manages to slightly freshen up a well-tread genre.
Where to watch: Paramount+
If you’re a Juliette Binoche completist: ‘Paradise Highway’
You can’t say the French Oscar winner doesn’t change things up, playing a Canadian truck driver who takes on shady delivery jobs to help her incarcerated brother (Frank Grillo). The latest job, which involves human trafficking and a young girl, goes violently sideways, and she has to save herself – as well as her bro and the kid – from bad dudes while a retired lawman (Freeman) is also on her tail.
Where to watch: In theaters and on Apple TV, Vudu, Google Play
If you’re into chillers with an LGBTQ bent: ‘Hypochondriac’
The horror film stars Zach Villa as Will, a gay potter who keeps the darkness of his childhood secret from his loving boyfriend. After getting strange messages from his bipolar mom after 10 years of silence, Will begins to feel pains in his arms and other strange symptoms that make him fear his own mental health in a tale full of freaky visuals and “Donnie Darko”-style weirdness.
Where to watch: In theaters (and on demand Aug. 4)
Also on streaming
- The Finnish body-horror satire “Hatching,” about a 12-year-old girl who fosters a mysterious bird egg that turns gigantic and hatches something truly odd, is available on Hulu Friday.
- The Jane Austen-esque romantic comedy “Mr. Malcolm’s List,” starring Zawe Ashton as a woman who plots revenge with an old friend (Freida Pinto) after being publicly spurned by London’s most eligible bachelor (Ṣọpẹ́ Dirìsù), is now streaming on Apple TV and other on-demand platforms.