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The 7 Best Movies Coming to Netflix in August 2017

From explosive new documentaries to bonafide Wachowski classics, Netflix is offering plenty to stream throughout the dog days of summer.

“All These Sleepless Nights”

Dozens of movies are hitting Netflix during the dog days of summer (click here for a complete list), but the sheer variety of new titles can be daunting. Movies are long, time is short, and indecision is brutal, so — in the hopes of helping you out — here are the seven best films that are coming to Netflix in August.

7. “Practical Magic” (1998)

Okay, so “Practical Magic” isn’t a “good movie” in the traditional sense…or in any other sense, for that matter. But it’s a perfect Netflix movie, which is another beast entirely. An incredible time capsule — and bottomless gif resource — from an ancient epoch that historians refer to as “1998,” this essential relic tells the story of sisters Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gillian (Nicole Kidman) Owens, twin witches who are effectively cursed to remain single forever.

Did I mention that it was directed by Griffin Dunne? Did I mention that it was nominated for a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for including a Faith Hill song on the soundtrack? Did I mention that it features a scene in which Dianne Wiest and Stockard Channing use their secret powers to blend alcoholic drinks in order to lubricate a singalong set to Harry Nilsson’s “Put the Lime in the Coconut”? “Practical Magic” was kind of a blip when it first opened, but it would shake our culture to its skeleton if it came out today. A remake feels inevitable, but in the meantime, the original makes for perfect streaming on a lazy August afternoon. Better yet, add it to your queue and swing back once Halloween rolls around.

Begins streaming August 1st.

6. “The Bomb” (2016)

“the bomb” was one of the most exciting, unclassifiable experiences on the festival circuit last year, but the sheer magnitude of the project made it unclear where it might live once it had finished traveling the world, or if it would be possible for the public to see it. Fortunately, the answers to those questions turned out to be “everywhere” and “very.” Here’s IndieWire’s Steve Greene on the 59-minute film into which this enormous piece of experimental art has been newly reshaped:

Directed by Kevin Ford, Smriti Keshari, and Eric Schlosser, this experimental, sensory history of the nuclear bomb is a staggering look at the world’s most destructive weapon and the lessons of almost eight decades that some still choose to ignore. Threading together modern-day news footage, Cold War era safety videos and grainy archival peeks into the construction process, “the bomb” looks at nuclear weapons in their myriad historic forms. Foregoing the usual talking head interviews or explanatory narration, the one piece of connective tissue throughout the film, besides the subject itself, is the film’s score, from Los Angeles electronic minimalist outfit The Acid. Throughout a harrowing parade of images and fleeting moments of whimsy, the droning, pulsating music underneath brings an alternating sense of dread and power.

Begins streaming August 1st.

5. “Cloud Atlas” (2012)

It’s easy to make fun of “Cloud Atlas,” and not just because one of the six characters that Tom Hanks plays is pretty much a live-action Jar Jar Binks. Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis’ cosmically ambitious sci-fi epic is — in its own delirious way — one of the most earnest movies ever made. Adapted from David Mitchell’s novel of the same name, and now something of an obvious precursor to the Wachowskis’ Netflix series “Sense 8,” this symphonic story of spiritual connection spans from 1849 to 2321 in a go-for-broke attempt to crystallize the effects that one life can have on countless others.

Controversially casting individual actors in multiple roles (with many of the film’s most famous stars disguising themselves as different races and genders), “Cloud Atlas” fearlessly envisions our world as a place where bodies are temporary, but love is eternal. It’s a lot to swallow, but our collective cynicism only makes the movie more valuable, and more important to have on hand.

Begins streaming August 1st.

4. “Donald Cried” (2016)

Kris Avedisian flew under the radar when “Donald Cried” made the rounds last year — his self-directed turn as the most deeply committed man-child since “Clifford” may have been just a bit too raw and cringe-inducing for any major traction — but it’s only a matter of time before people discover one of the most fearless performances in recent memory. Here’s IndieWire’s Eric Kohn on a future dark comedy classic:

The obnoxious man-child is a common trope in American comedies, but few recent examples can match the hilariously unsettling presence of Donald Treebeck, the obnoxious central figure played by writer-director Kris Avedisian in his effective black comedy “Donald Cried.” While the story technically unfolds from the perspective of his old teen pal Peter (Jesse Wakeman), who returns to their Rhode Island suburbs from his Wall Street career after his grandmother dies, Donald welcomes his reluctant friend back to their world and won’t leave him alone. Avedisian gives Danny McBride a run for his money in this pitch-perfect embodiment of a wannabe charmer all too eager to remain the center of attention. Hardly reinventing the wheel, “Donald Cried” nevertheless spins it faster than usual, taking cues from its memorably irritating protagonist. Beneath its entertainment value, the movie also hints at the tragedy of aimless adulthood.

Begins streaming August 15th.

3. “The Matrix” (1999)

At this point, “The Matrix” has effectively become immune to any sort of qualitative criticism; there’s no use arguing that it’s “good” or “bad” or somewhere in between, it simply is. Less a movie than a cornerstone of contemporary pop culture (for better or worse), the Wachowskis’ absurdly influential orgy of mind-blowing action and high school philosophy arrived at the tail end of the 20th century in order to help define the 21st. Its aesthetic impact on the current breed of blockbusters is self-evident, but its more profound contributions have been largely off-screen, as the film brought futurism to the masses in a way that’s only possible to trace through its most unfortunate side effects (e.g. the diseased misogyny of “red pill” thinking).

Of course, “No can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.” Now that it’s on Netflix, it couldn’t be easier to do just that.

Begins streaming August 1st.

2. “Jackie Brown” (1997)

Every hardcore Tarantino fan’s favorite Tarantino film, “Jackie Brown” is more than just an homage to blaxploitation or the best Elmore Leonard adaptation ever made (sorry, “Out of Sight”), it’s also something of a tribute to all of the crime writer’s work and the scuzzy but soulful ethos that bound it together. To this day, “Jackie Brown” remains a major outlier for QT. For one thing, it’s based on pre-existing material. For another, it’s got a bonafide sex scene. Last but not least, it’s about recognizably human characters who have genuine depth, who have real lives that feel as though they continue beyond the confines of a movie screen (no disrespect to the cartoonish avatars who populate Tarantino’s later, more solipsistic work — they serve their purpose to perfection).

Pam Grier is spectacular in the title role of a flight attendant with a drug smuggling side hustle. Robert Forster is heartbreaking as lovelorn bondsman Max Cherry. Hell, even Robert De Niro is phenomenal, the iconic actor beautifully playing against his legend by inhabiting the film’s most pathetic and disposable character. For anyone put off by the blockbuster scale of Tarantino’s recent work, “Jackie Brown” is a rock-solid reminder of his genius for elevating fevered pastiche into singular pathos. And the soundtrack owns.

Begins streaming August 1st.

1. “All These Sleepless Nights” (2016)

It would be reductive and unfair to say that Michal Marczak’s “All These Sleepless Nights” is the film that Terrence Malick has been trying to make for the last 10 years, but it certainly feels that way while you’re watching it. A mesmeric, free-floating odyssey that wends its way through a hazy year in the molten lives of two Polish twentysomethings, this unclassifiable wonder obscures the divide between fiction and documentary until the distinction is ultimately irrelevant.

Unfolding like a plotless reality show that was shot by Emmanuel Lubezki, this lucid dream of a movie paints an unmoored portrait of a city in the throes of an orgastic reawakening. From the opening images of fireworks exploding over downtown Warsaw, to the stunning final glimpse of Marczak’s main subject — Krzysztof Baginski (playing himself, as everyone does), who looks and moves like a young Baryshnikov — twirling between an endless row of stopped cars during the middle of a massive traffic jam, the film is high on the spirit of liberation. More than just a hypnotically hyper-real distillation of what it means to be young, “All These Sleepless Nights” is a haunted vision of what it means to have been young.

Begins streaming August 15th.

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