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August streaming picks: Ron Howard's cave rescue drama, an explosive Woodstock doc

A roundup of some must-see TV series and films premiering on subscription streaming platforms in August: “Thirteen Lives” “Apollo 13” director Ron Howard brings his methodical, nail-biting style to another real-life story that captivated the world.
Colin Farrell as John Volanthen (left to right), Paul Gleeson as Jason Mallison and Thira 'Aum' Chutikul as Commander Kiet appear in a still from the film “Thirteen Lives.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO *MANDATORY CREDIT*

A roundup of some must-see TV series and films premiering on subscription streaming platforms in August:

“Thirteen Lives”

“Apollo 13” director Ron Howard brings his methodical, nail-biting style to another real-life story that captivated the world. When a Thai boys' soccer team ended up trapped in an underground cave during the summer of 2018, it was up to a team of British rescuers, working with locals and experts from around the world, to attempt an  excavation effort. Viggo Mortensen and Colin Farrell play the Brits with a subdued presence that allows the claustrophobic underwater cinematography to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. For another take on the story, check out the acclaimed documentary “The Rescue,” on Disney Plus. (Aug. 5, Prime Video)


“Trainwreck: Woodstock ’99”

They billed it as a tribute to the legendary Woodstock ’69 music festival, but what transpired on one July weekend in 1999 was far from “peace and love.” A three-part documentary series leans on the memories of musicians, staff and promoters who participated in the massive rock music spectacle that spiralled into rage and destruction. Their stories are told against a ticking clock that moves from Korn’s Friday night show to the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ closing performance when concertgoers set the grounds ablaze. (Netflix, Aug. 3)


“House of the Dragon”

HBO hopes to ride the monstrous success that was “Game of Thrones” with a new fantasy TV series set 200 years before that storyline. Centred on the House Targaryen, the lineage of Daenerys Targaryen, the so-called Mother of Dragons, the series draws on material from George R.R. Martin’s book “Fire & Blood.” Much about the series has been shrouded in secrecy since it began production in early 2021, but early trailers suggest there are many battles waged over succession plans and more dragons than ever. “House of the Dragon” stars Paddy Considine, Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Emma D’Arcy and Rhys Ifans. (Crave, Aug. 21, episodes weekly)


“Five Days at Memorial”

Staff at the intensive care unit of a New Orleans hospital are faced with unimaginable challenges when hurricane Katrina slams New Orleans and leaves their facilities hanging in the balance. As the waters rise, the power drops out and patients pour in, forcing doctors and nurses to make crucial decisions that could cost lives. Based on a true story that unspools like a disaster thriller, the eight-episode limited series stars Vera Farmiga and Cherry Jones, who won two Emmys for guest roles on “Succession” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.” (Aug. 12, Apple TV Plus, episodes weekly)



Rising comic Mohammed Amer plays Mo, a Palestinian refugee living in Houston who’s been on the path to U.S. citizenship for years. But after he suddenly finds himself out of a job, Mo faces the prospects of his own uncertain future and his family’s buried past. Uniquely told as a comedy situated between two cultures and three languages -- his girlfriend is of Mexican descent – the series mixes life’s dramatic elements with a hearty dose of humour. “Mo” is co-created by Amer and Ramy Youssef, who won a Golden Globe for his own show “Ramy.” (Netflix, Aug. 24)


"The Bear" - A chef returns home to run his family's sandwich shop in one of this summer's must-see dramas that's been applauded by critics. (Disney Plus, Aug. 3, episodes weekly)

"Lightyear" - Buzz Lightyear's pre-"Toy Story" origins are chronicled in a feature-film adventure. (Disney Plus, Aug. 3)

"Belfast" - Kenneth Branagh's semi-autobiographical story of growing up in Northern Ireland during the late 1960s won the People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival and an Oscar for best original screenplay. (Crave, Aug. 12)

“A League of Their Own” - A new episodic take on the Hollywood baseball comedy that tackles racism, homophobia and sexism off the field. (Prime Video, Aug. 12)

"The Princess" - The life of Princess Diana is examined in a feature-length documentary timed for the 25th anniversary of her death. (Crave, Aug. 13)

"She-Hulk: Attorney at Law" - A young woman juggles her legal aspirations and her superhuman powers. Starring Regina-born Tatiana Maslany. (Disney Plus, Aug. 17, episodes weekly)

"Mike" - The tangled legacy of boxer Mike Tyson is the focus of an eight-episode, unauthorized docuseries from the creators of "I, Tonya." (Disney Plus, Aug. 25, episodes weekly)

RETURNING SHOWS: Netflix releases a new season of dating reality series and viral sensation “Indian Matchmaking” on Aug. 10 before heading south for the spinoff “Queer Eye: Brazil” on Aug. 24. Also on the service, the final season of Canadian-shot horror series “Locke & Key” wraps on Aug. 10, while a new round of comedy “Never Have I Ever” is out Aug. 12. At Crave, the second season of stock market trader drama "Industry" returns with weekly episodes on Aug. 1, while the "RuPaul's Drag Race" franchise works the runway with a new "Secret Celebrity Drag Race" edition starting Aug. 12 and the debut season of "Drag Race Philippines" on Aug. 17.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 1, 2022.

David Friend, The Canadian Press