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Best Netflix movies coming in August 2017

From "Bad Santa" to "The Matrix" to "Innerspace."
Bad Santa
Billy Bob Thornton just isn't having it in 2003's "Bad Santa." Credit: Miramax

‘Bad Santa’ (Aug. 1)
It’s a little early to be thinking about the holidays. On the other hand, it is horrifically, mind-numbingly hot out these days. Not that “Bad Santa” will help you there. It’s set in Phoenix, where it’s blindingly sunny even in December — an eternal hell for alkie safe-cracker and Yuletide hater Billy Bob Thornton. Last year’s belated sequel was a bit of a piece of crap — which is kind of funny, in a way — but it can’t tarnish the original, which oozes bad vibes but also, as in director Terry Zwigoff’s “Crumb” and “Ghost World,” has a real feel for society’s outsiders and the down and out. Whatever happened to that guy anyway?

The ‘Matrix’ trilogy (Aug. 1)
How well do the “Matrix” movies hold up? It’s almost 20 years old, this franchise, which changed the action movie until it was changed again by “The Bourne Identity.” We don’t imagine a critical about-face on the sequels, but the first one presumably still dazzles. Besides, we’re in the middle of a bona fide Keanu-ssaince, with the former Neo better than ever in films both big (the genius “John Wick” cycle) and small (he’s the best part of “The Neon Demon,” and he’s only in it for a combined three minutes, maybe).

‘The Founder’ (Aug. 2)
Say what you will about “Birdman”: It brought Michael Keaton back. He was always the slimiest of the A-listers, at his best when playing fun-bad, as in “Beetlejuice.” That magnetic capacity of evil is on full display in “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” And he’s downright hissable in this sneaky drama from last year, in which Keaton tears into the role of Ray Kroc, the duplicitous schemer who swindled the founders of McDonald’s out of their considerable fortune. It’s cheekily done in the style of a Great Man biopic, but instead of valorizing a true pioneer who overcame the odds, our hero is a monster who ruined America’s waistlines.

‘Sing’ (Aug. 3)
We admit we haven’t seen one of last year’s biggest hits. Nor do we want to. This is one to distract the kids, in which a troupe of talking animals voiced by famous people (Matthew McConaughey, ScarJo, Reese Witherspoon) enter a singing contest and croon famous songs. We only note this one’s arrival on Netflix as a public service.

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‘Gold’ (Aug. 16)
McConaughey shows up in the flesh in this rollicking docudrama, but he doesn’t look very him. He’s got a whopping bald patch, his teeth are piss-yellow and he can barely get his shirts over his beer gut. It’s a lot of work for a movie that never quite comes together, despite a corker of a true tall tale. McConaughey plays a down-and-out businessman who thinks he’s found gold deposits up for grabs in the jungles of Indonesia. How this goes hilariously awry — and robs Wall Street greed-monsters of billions — is the stuff of razor-sharp dark comedy. Except “Gold” never figures out its tone, waffling about, wasting a fine premise and some fine actors.

‘Funny Games’ (Aug. 1)
If you’ve been enjoying the bizarro new “Twin Peaks,” you’ve probably been enjoying Naomi Watts’ turn as Janey-E, the eternally flustered (though now randy) wife of zombie-man Dougie Jones (Kyle MacLachlan). If you need more Naomi, why not watch one of the most upsetting movies ever made? It’s actually a remake (of a film from 1997), but one made by the same director — Austrian sadist Michael Haneke (“Amour”), who even redid his original shot-for-shot, this time with American actors. Watts and another “Peaks” alum, Tim Roth, play a bougie couple whose summer vacay home is invaded by two young men (Michael Pitt and Brady Corbett), who proceed to torture them for two hours, sometimes turning to the camera and winking at the audience. You’ll never want to watch it again, but you should watch it once.

‘Jackie Brown' (Aug. 1)
More “Twin Peaks” connections! Quentin Tarantino’s follow-up to “Pulp Fiction” may have been a valentine to star Pam Grier, giving her the meaty role she always deserved. But QT threw two in for the price of one: Robert Forster, a character actor who in 1997 never quite was, also scored a terrific role, playing a bondsman who falls for Grier’s busted stewardess wit drug connections. He’s even better here as he is on “Peaks,” and he’s killing it as the quietly soulful Sheriff Frank Truman.

‘The Addams Family’ (Aug. 1)
Remember the “Addams Family” movies? Now that we have an even crazier family in the White House, maybe spend some detox time with a clan who are merely kooky, spooky and ooky. Bonus: There are fewer more dynamite mother-daughter teams than Anjelica Huston and Christina Ricci in goth mode.

‘Innerspace’ (Aug. 1)
Moviegoers of 1987 mysteriously ignored Joe Dante’s rollicking sci-fi comedy, though we can’t imagine why. Dennis Quaid plays a pilot shrunk down to microscopic size and accidentally injected into the body of a clumsy everyman (Martin Short). What, do you need a road map? Dante’s best known for “Gremlins,” and he directs this shape-shifting, surprising, goofy-yet-exciting ditty like a live-action cartoon. It’s the movie that will make you think Martin Short really could have been a movie star, had he had projects as sharp as this.

Full list of movies coming to Netflix in August:

Aug. 1
A Cinderella Story
Bad Santa
Cloud Atlas
Everyone's Hero
Funny Games (US)
Innerspace
Jackie Brown
Lord of War
Maz Jobrani: Immigrant
Nola Circus
Opening Night
Practical Magic
Sleepy Hollow
Small Soldiers
The Addams Family
The Astronaut's Wife
The Bomb
The Last Mimzy
The Matrix
The Matrix Reloaded
The Matrix Revolutions
The Number 23
The Truth About Alcohol
The Wedding Party
Tie The Knot
Who Gets the Dog?
Wild Wild West

Aug. 2
Jab We Met
The Founder

Aug. 3
Sing
The Invisible Guardian

Aug. 4
Icarus 

Aug. 5
Holes

Aug. 9
Black Site Delta

Aug. 10
Diary of an Exorcist - Zero

Aug. 11
Naked
White Gold

Aug. 13
Arthur and the Invisibles
Hot Property
Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo

Aug. 14
The Outcasts
Urban Hymn

Aug. 15
Barbeque
Brad Paisley's Comedy Rodeo
21
A New Economy
All These Sleepless Nights
Donald Cried
My Ex-Ex
The Sweet Life

Aug. 16
Gold

Aug. 18
I Am Sam
What Happened to Monday

Aug. 19
Hide and Seek

Aug. 20
Camera Store

Aug. 21
AWOL
Bad Rap
Beautiful Creatures
Gomorrah: Season 2
Unacknowledged

Aug. 22
Lynne Koplitz: Hormonal Beast
Sadie's Last Days on Earth

Aug. 23
Feel Rich

Aug. 25
Disjointed: Part 1
Death Note

Aug. 29
Bring It On: Worldwide #Cheersmack
Ryan Hamilton: Happy Face

 
 
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