Wondering what to watch? Yet another heatwave is accompanied by a wealth of streaming releases both new and classic, following on from a busy week with the standout Predator sequel, Prey (available on Disney+) making waves online.
This week sees a slew of even more genre fun, lead by — of all things — an animated feature film reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A sequel to a TV series of the same, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie simply oozes style, with frenetic and anime-inspired action that quite honestly ranks among some of the best choreography and set piece design of the year so far.
Read more: Everything new on Sky in August
Of grander scale and louder noise is the Michael Mann crime epic Heat, a film Nolan himself seems to have taken detailed notes on; landing on Disney+ this weekend.
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Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie (2022) - Netflix (pick of the week)
Hear me out. A feature film sequel, to a TV reboot series, starring the famous heroes in a half shell, Andy Suriano and Ant Ward’s Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reinvigorated the iconic characters created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird through the incorporation of a slick, anime-influenced visual style.
Living in the sewers of New York City, four mutant turtle brothers in their early teens Raphael, Donatello, Leonardo and Michelangelo, learn to tap into their latent ninja powers and how to work together as a cohesive unit as they navigate the modern world and beyond.
Read more: Everything new on Netflix in August
Retracing and then redefining familiar elements for older fans while giving a fresh take for a new audience, it channelled the emphatic style of Hiroyuki Imaishi in its dynamic layouts and action sequences. The series was a surprise hit, shaking off skepticism about yet another reboot through sheer force of will.
Such high energy can be seen in the very designs of the characters; they're all utterly distinct in physical build and the way that they move, rather than the more simple colour palette switch of old. For all that visual exuberance though, it approaches familiar elements with a light touch, often as charming and easy-going as it is exciting and astonishingly good-looking.
Continuing where the series left of, the film is still accessible in the same way the show was, which deigned to tell self-contained stories in its bisected 20-minute episodes. Directed by Ward and Suriano in their feature directorial debuts, the film follows Leonardo as he is forced to lead his brothers to save the world from the classic franchise supervillain the Krang, under warning from a time travelling ally of the group, Casey Jones.
Radical then, radical now.
Memento (2000) - Netflix
The film that put Christopher Nolan on the map remains one of his finest. His proclivity for playing around with temporal structure in his films and intricate jigsaw-puzzle narrative is here hitched to an incredibly personal story of self-destruction, anchored by a lead performance that is both tragic and whipsmart.
Read more: Everything new on Prime Video in August
Taking visual and narrative cues from film noir, the fragmented story — told both forwards and backwards at the same time, before its opposing ends reveal shocking truths about the other — is about Leonard Shelby (Guy Pierce) a victim of an event that leaves him with anterograde amnesia, meaning that he cannot make any new memories. He can, however, recall details of life before his accident, even if Leonard cannot remember what happened fifteen minutes ago, including where he’s going, or why.
This complicates his mission: tracking down the man who raped and murdered his wife. As a solution, Leonard’s memories are recorded through a complex system of notes, Polaroid pictures, and tattoos on his body. His life only seems to exist in the abstract, making its revelations feel even more shocking as what seems like another person’s life comes back to haunt him.
It’s a story of small scale, with just a handful of main actors, but with high ambition — and, ironically, it’s among Nolan’s most memorable.
Also on Netflix: Day Shift (2022), Carter (2022)
Heat (1995) - Disney+
It seems to be Robert De Niro season on Disney+, as the streamer adds a trio of some of the actor’s greatest ever cinematic performances with Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy, Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America, and finally, Michael Mann’s Heat.
This long-beloved action cinema classic is still being replicated today by even the most tenured filmmakers. The aforementioned Christopher Nolan replicated the tone of its loud, furious gunfights in both The Dark Knight and Inception, while Michael Bay takes a shot at it in his recent film Ambulance in the tenderness that exists between its two macho, loner protagonists.
Read more: Everything new on Disney+ in August
The Los Angeles-set crime drama follows Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino), a detective whose work-life balance has veered unhealthily towards the former, as he restlessly pursues the equally obsessive master thief, Neil McCauley (DeNiro). It’s perhaps the platonic ideal of Mann’s career long interest: in broken, blue collar professionals who have honed their craft to perfection at the cost of their contentment.
For all the film’s fame for finally bringing these two powerhouses into a scene together (The Godfather Part II doesn’t count), there’s a surprisingly scarce amount of time between them, as McCauley mostly eludes pursuit as he leads his crew on various daring heists throughout the city.
But in each event traces of them remain, and a mutual respect and appreciation grows - leading to some of the best cops and robbers chemistry ever put on celluloid.
Also new on Disney+: The King of Comedy (1982), Once Upon A Time in America (1984)
Watch: Robert De Niro pays tribute to Christian Bale