From horror-thrillers to coming-of-age stories, animated pics, and docs, there’s something for everyone to look forward to in August. The month starts off strong with “Mija,” hitting theaters August 5. Isabel Castro directs a timely and heartfelt story about Doris Muñoz and Jacks Haupt, daughters of undocumented immigrants who strive for success in the music industry.
Best known for her breakout role in “Parks and Recreation,” Aubrey Plaza shifts to more serious fare in “Emily the Criminal” (August 12), a thriller about a young woman who resorts to a credit fraud scheme as she struggles to make a living and pay off her student loans. Amandla Stenberg and “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” Oscar nominee Maria Bakalova bring humor to horror with Halina Reijn’s “Bodies Bodies Bodies” (August 5), in which a night of games among friends soon turns into a very real whodunnit.
“Summering” sees a group of young girls graduating middle school and facing the prospect of growing up, while, in Katie Aselton’s “Mack & Rita,” Diane Keaton embodies a 30-something “old soul” who unexpectedly transforms into an actual 65-year-old. Both films open August 12.
Lili Reinhart and Madelaine Petsch take a break from “Riverdale” to star in Wanuri Kahiu’s “Look Both Ways” and Sabrina Jaglom’s “Jane,” respectively. In both films, Reinhart and Petsch’s characters wrestle with their own inner demons as they navigate young adulthood. In “Look Both Ways” (August 17), as her college graduation nears, Natalie’s (Reinhart) reality branches off into two different paths — one in which she stays in her hometown, and the other in which she moves to Los Angeles. Meanwhile, “Jane’s” (August 26) titular character (Petsch) is a high school senior who begins to channel her own personal grief into a social media rampage.
These are the women-centric, women-directed, and women-written films set to debut in August. All descriptions are from press materials unless otherwise noted.
“Don’t Blame Karma!” – Directed by Elisa Miller; Written by Fernanda Eguiarte Hernández and Marcelo Tobar de Albornoz (Available on Netflix)
When her younger sister and high-school crush get engaged, Sara must find out whether her alleged bad luck is the real culprit behind her misfortunes.
“Wedding Season” – Written by Shiwani Srivastava (Available on Netflix)
Under parental pressure to find spouses, Asha and Ravi pretend to date during a summer of weddings – but their ruse goes awry when feelings turn real.
“Bodies Bodies Bodies” – Directed by Halina Reijn; Written by Sarah DeLappe (In Theaters)
When a group of rich 20-somethings plan a hurricane party at a remote family mansion, a party game goes awry in this fresh and funny look at backstabbing, fake friends, and one party gone very, very wrong.
“Mija” (Documentary) – Directed by Isabel Castro (In Theaters)
“Mija” features Doris Muñoz and Jacks Haupt, two daughters of undocumented immigrants from Mexico who are both navigating their careers in the music industry. Seeking to provide for their families while achieving their dreams, Doris and Jacks bond over the ever-present guilt of being the first American-born members of their undocumented families and the financial risks of pursuing their dreams. For them, the pressure of success is heightened due to their families’ hope for green cards and reunification.
“Luck” – Directed by Peggy Holmes; Written by Kiel Murray (Available on Apple TV+)
“Luck” centers around the story of Sam Greenfield, the unluckiest person in the world. When she discovers the never-before-seen Land of Luck, Sam must unite with the magical creatures there to turn her luck around. Stars such as Jane Fonda and Whoopi Goldberg lend their voices to this heartwarming new animated film.
“Memory Box” – Directed by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige; Written by Joana Hadjithomas, Gaëlle Macé, and Khalil Joreige (In Theaters)
“Memory Box” is an inventive multi-media, multi-generational drama that toggles between 1983 war-torn Beirut and present-day Montreal. A teenage girl, Maia (Manal Issa), intercepts a mysterious package addressed to her mother. Defying her grandmother’s protective instincts and determined to break through her mother’s secrecy and stoicism, she surreptitiously immerses herself in the box’s contents. Her mother’s scrapbooks, letters, and audio recordings from her own heady youth, vibrant with romantic euphoria, political happenings, and familial despair, fill the young girl’s imagination and spark her need to know more about her historical and emotional lineage. The story processes media of the past via modes of the present: emoji-filled texts, emails, and smartphone snapshots.
“Darlings” – Directed by Jasmeet K Reen; Written by Jasmeet K Reen and Parveez Sheikh (Available on Netflix)
In “Darlings,” Badru (Alia Bhatt) hopes her volatile husband will reform if he stops drinking. However, when his rage goes too far, she and her mom boldly, albeit clumsily, seek revenge. In this Hindi-Indian language black comedy-drama, a quirky mother-daughter pair find courage and love while navigating their familial struggles in Mumbai.
“Rosemary & Sage Race Against Thyme” – Written by Brielle Norton, Kristal Jimenez, Jared Campbell, John Felix, and Donnie Lester (In Theaters)
After the mysterious death of her partner, police officer Reba Rosemary (Sky Brady) teams up with FBI agent Samantha Sage (Jill Symes) to track down a group of terrorists known as THYME.
“Prey” (Available on Hulu)
A skilled Comanche warrior, Naru (Amber Midthunder), protects her tribe from a highly evolved alien predator that hunts humans for sport, fighting against the wilderness, dangerous colonizers, and this mysterious creature to keep her people safe.
“Stowaway” (Available on AMC+)
A tenacious party girl (Ruby Rose) fights to survive after three thieves commandeer her luxury yacht. Unable to escape and trapped on the yacht at high seas, the prey becomes the hunter as she turns the tables on the intruders and takes matters into her own hands.
“Girl Picture” – Directed by Alli Haapasalo; Written by Ilona Ahti and Daniela Hakulinen (In Theaters)
Best friends Mimmi (Aamu Milonoff) and Rönkkö (Eleonoora Kauhanen) have each other’s backs, always. They want to live adventurous lives, loaded with experiences and passion. Emma (Linnea Leino), on the contrary, has given her whole life to figure skating. Nothing gets between her and success. But when the girls meet, life opens new paths, and they all rocket in new directions. While Mimmi and Emma experience the earth-moving effects of first love, Rönkkö is on a quest to find pleasure.
“Emily the Criminal” (In Theaters)
Down on her luck and saddled with student debt, Emily (Aubrey Plaza) gets involved in a credit card scam that pulls her into the criminal underworld of Los Angeles, by acting as a dummy shopper and buying increasingly risky products with stolen credit cards, which ultimately leads to deadly consequences.
“Summering” (In Theaters)
As their last summer before middle school comes to a close, four best friends, Daisy (Lia Barnett), Lola (Sanai Victoria), Dina (Madalen Mills), and Mari (Eden Grace Redfield) face the uncertainties of growing up and embark on their biggest adventure yet.
“Le Temps Perdu” (Documentary) – Written and Directed by María Álvarez (In Theaters)
This immersive documentary follows a group of elderly literati who’ve met regularly for 20 years in a Buenos Aires café to read aloud and discuss Proust’s 3,000-page, seven-volume masterpiece, “In Search of Lost Time.”
“Mack & Rita” – Directed by Katie Aselton; Written by Madeline Walter and Paul Welsh (In Theaters)
After wandering into a regression pod during her best friend’s bachelorette party, a woman in her 30s (Elizabeth Lail) wakes up as a 65-year-old (Diane Keaton), which is nothing like she imagined. Having always felt like an old soul, Mack’s world is turned upside down when she literally transforms into the older woman she identified with inside.
“13: The Musical” – Directed by Tamra Davis (Available on Netflix)
After his parents’ divorce, Evan Goldman (Eli Golden) moves from NYC to small-town Indiana. As his 13th birthday nears, he must master the complex social circles of his new school and win friends by turning his Bar Mitzvah into the coolest party ever.
“Look Both Ways” – Directed by Wanuri Kahiu; Written by April Prosser (Available on Netflix)
On the eve of her college graduation, Natalie’s (Lili Reinhart) life diverges into parallel realities: one in which she becomes pregnant and remains in her hometown, and another in which she does not and moves to Los Angeles. In both journeys, Natalie experiences life-changing love, pursues her dream career as an artist, and rediscovers herself.
“Glorious” – Directed by Rebekah McKendry (Available on Shudder)
Spiraling out after a bad breakup, Wes (Ryan Kwanten) ends up at a remote rest stop miles away from civilization. His situation worsens after he finds himself locked inside the bathroom with a mysterious figure (J.K. Simmons) speaking to him from an adjacent stall. As Wes tries to escape, he finds himself an unwilling player in a situation bigger and more terrible than he could possibly imagine.
“The Legend of Molly Johnson” – Written and Directed by Leah Purcell (In Theaters and Available on VOD)
In 1893 on an isolated property, a heavily pregnant woman named Molly Johnson (Leah Purcell) and her children struggle to survive the harsh Australian landscape. Her husband is gone, droving sheep in the high country. Molly finds herself confronted by a shackled Aboriginal fugitive named Yadaka (Rob Collins). As an unlikely bond begins to form between them, secrets unravel about her true identity. Meanwhile, realizing Molly’s husband is missing, new town lawman Nate Clintoff (Sam Reid) becomes suspicious and sends his constable to investigate. The deadly encounter between Molly, Yadaka, and the constable results in a tragic chain of events with Molly becoming a symbol of feminism and anti-racism.
“Get Away if You Can” – Written and Directed by Dominique Braun and Terrence Martin (In Theaters and Available on VOD)
Hopeful that an open-ocean sail might relight the spark of their passion, a troubled married couple (filmmakers Dominique Braun and Terrence Martin) hit a breaking point when one’s refusal to explore a foreboding deserted island sends them on a deep internal journey that will require drastic decisions in order to survive.
“The Runner” – Directed by Michelle Danner (In Theaters; Available on VOD August 23)
Privileged teenager Aiden (Edouard Philipponnat) has one last chance to get his life back on track. His lucrative side hustle dealing drugs to his classmates and his own personal addiction have forced his distraught mother to turn him over to the police. If he acts as a confidential informant and sets up a major drug kingpin, the cops promise to reward his cooperation. As the sting operation is set in motion, Aiden falters, threatening to jeopardize the deal with the police and his very life.
“The Invitation” – Directed by Jessica M. Thompson; Written by Blair Butler (In Theaters)
After the death of her mother and having no other known relatives, Evie (Nathalie Emmanuel) takes a DNA test — and discovers a long-lost cousin she never knew she had. Invited by her newfound family to a lavish wedding in the English countryside, she’s at first seduced by the sexy aristocrat host but is soon thrust into a nightmare of survival as she uncovers twisted secrets in her family’s history and the unsettling intentions behind their sinful generosity.
“Jane” – Directed by Sabrina Jaglom; Written by Sabrina Jaglom and Rishi Rajani (In Theaters)
When Olivia (Madelaine Petsch) is deferred from her dream college she begins to spiral. To regain control, she embarks on a social media war against those in her way, but as things escalate, she is forced to embrace her darkest impulses to get ahead.
“Breaking” – Directed by Abi Damaris Corbin; Written by Abi Damaris Corbin and Kwame Kwei-Armah (In Theaters)
When Marine Veteran Brian Brown-Easley (John Boyega) is denied support from Veteran’s Affairs — financially desperate and running out of options — he takes a bank and several of its employees hostage, setting the stage for a tense confrontation with the police. Based on the true story.