What to Watch

9 great movies new to streaming to watch in August 2022

August is here, can you believe it? Wow! This month’s crop of new movies being added to streaming includes such beloved favorites as Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, Alex Garland’s cerebral sci-fi debut Ex Machina, Jim Jarmusch’s Ghost Dog, and much more.

Here are the nine of the best movies new to streaming platforms in August 2022.


Constantine

Satan lights a cigarette for Constantine

Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

This pre-DC Universe DC movie is a supernatural neo-noir, with pre-John Wick Keanu Reeves as a very dour John Constantine. Made very much in the style of an old detective thriller (but with supernatural elements), Constantine is a campy fun time with a great cast (Reeves is joined by Rachel Weisz, Tilda Swinton, and Peter Stormare, among others) and more than a few silly visual gags. —Pete Volk

Constantine is available to stream on Netflix.

Ex Machina

Alicia Vikander as Ava staring through a pane of glass at her own reflection in Ex Machina.

Image: A24

Domhnall Gleeson stars in Alex Garland’s directorial debut Ex Machina as Caleb, a young programmer who wins the chance to spend a week with Nathan (Oscar Isaac), an elusive tech CEO, at his luxurious and isolated compound. Upon arrival, Caleb agrees to become the key participant of Nathan’s latest venture: a Turing test to gauge the intelligence of Ava (Alicia Vikander), an advanced humanoid robot. A sleek, slow-burn sci-fi thriller that probes at the intersection of consciousness, gender, and power, Ex Machina is a remarkable film and easily ranks as one of the most noteworthy sci-fi films of 2010s. —Toussaint Egan

Ex Machina is available to stream on HBO Max.

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

Forest Whitaker as Ghost Dog aiming a silenced pistol in Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai.

Image: Lionsgate Films

This terrific crime drama from Jim Jarmusch follows a hitman (Forest Whitaker) nicknamed “Ghost Dog” who sees himself as a modern-day samurai and lives by the code in Hagakure (also known as The Book of the Samurai). While living in a modern American setting, he doesn’t use modern technology (he communicates through pigeons) and is mysterious even to those he works with. When Ghost Dog is hired to kill a gangster but leaves an innocent bystander alive, a hit is put out on his life instead.

Whitaker is terrific in the leading role, and Jarmusch’s script and direction are pitch-perfect. But Ghost Dog really soars because of the score — the first movie soundtrack to be produced by the RZA. –PV

Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai is available to stream on HBO Max.

Locke

Tom Hardy as Ivan Locke staring blankly in deep thought in Locke (2013).

Image: Lionsgate Home Entertainment

A contained thriller set entirely in a car, Locke follows construction foreman Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) as he drives from Birmingham to London the night before a big project. Locke, who is married with kids, learns the woman he is having an affair with is about to have their child. As he drives across the country to join her, he juggles conversations on the phone with business associates and family members. A master class of a performance by Hardy, who is the only actor shown on screen, Locke is an impressive feat of economical filmmaking by director Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders). —PV

Locke is available to stream on HBO Max.

Man on Fire

Creasy walking away from a car engulfed in flames beneath a highway underpass in Man on Fire.

Image: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

I can’t speak highly enough about Man on Fire. The 2004 film starring Denzel Washington as a former CIA agent turned bodyguard for a 9-year-old girl in Mexico City found Tony Scott at the peak of his abilities, delivering a brutal, explosive, and emotional action thriller about a man’s quest for redemption and his surrogate love for his charge. With a blistering scoring by Harry Gregson-Williams and Lisa Gerrard, intense action and violence, and an achingly beautiful denouement, Man on Fire is an utterly electrifying watch. —TE

Man on Fire is available to stream on Hulu.

Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man Trilogy

Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man looking at his hands with his mask off

Image: Sony Pictures

Three of the best Marvel movies ever made make their way to Netflix and Hulu. Yes, I said three.

With Sam Raimi’s latest Marvel movie out and new Spider-Man movies appearing left and right, we’ve talked quite a bit at Polygon about our love of his original trilogy of Spider-Man movies. With excellent use of Raimi’s horror background, a great cast with terrific villainous performances, and a strong moral center, it’s hard to beat.

I’ll happily join the masses in praising the first two movies, which are both excellent, but I’d like to take a moment to praise the third entry. It’s messy, sure, but in a really fascinating way (if you can get past the third act or all the Topher Grace as Venom stuff). In Spider-Man 3, the successes of the first two movies get to Peter’s head, leaving him as an inadequate Spidey and, most importantly, a very shitty boyfriend to Mary-Jane. Much of this movie is about what it means to be a present partner, something Peter fails terribly at. If you’re one of the many people who thinks this movie is simply a blight on the franchise, I encourage you to give it another go. And hey, even if you still don’t like it, the other two movies are now right there for you to boot up on Netflix at any time. —PV

Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy is available to stream on Netflix and Hulu.

Thief

James Caan in Thief.

Image: Warner Home Video

The late, great James Caan (The Godfather) stars in Michael Mann’s 1981 neo-noir heist thriller Thief as Frank, an ex-con and professional safecracker looking to go straight and start a family. Unfortunately for him, Frank is denied his share of his latest heist, forcing him to accept an assignment from the Mob in order to break even. With a beautiful synth score by Tangerine Dream, dazzling nighttime cinematography by Donald Thorin, and an iconic and emotionally nuanced performance by Caan, Thief is a stone-cold stunner and a gem in the crown of one of the finest directors working today. End of blurb. —TE

Thief is available to stream on Prime Video.

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