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Best new movies and shows on Netflix: August 2015

It's August. There's essentially nothing happening and it's hot as hell out there. So when you're not hitting the beach, or enjoying a lazy park day in the shade, why not escape the heat with some Netflix These are the highlights of what's headed to the service over the month:

"The Hurt Locker"

This Oscar-winning war drama is without question one
Photo Credit: Summit Entertainment

This Oscar-winning war drama is without question one of the best pictures ever made about male camaraderie amid the high pressures of front-line combat. That it was made by Kathryn Bigelow, who became the first woman to ever win the Academy Award for Director, only shows how shortsighted and retrograde Hollywood usually is when it comes to giving female filmmakers a chance. August 1

"Alex of Venice"

The directorial debut of Chris Messina (
Photo Credit: Electric City Entertainment

The directorial debut of Chris Messina ("The Mindy Project" and what seems like every other independent film of the last decade) is the sort of small-scale human drama that often isn't discovered until Netflix these days. It stars the wonderful Mary Elizabeth Winstead as an attorney going through a personal crisis. August 15

"White God"

An extraordinary feat of filmmaking, winner of a
Photo Credit: Proton Cinema

An extraordinary feat of filmmaking, winner of a top prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, this Hungarian movie concerns a canine led uprising against the humans. It's compelling stuff rendered all the more amazing when you realize it was made with real dogs. August 27

"Dr. Who: Season 8"

Peter Capaldi takes over as the twelfth doctor
Photo Credit: BBC Worldwide

Peter Capaldi takes over as the twelfth doctor and we don't know enough about Dr. Who to say anything more specific than that. He's great, the show has been beloved for decades and it's soon to be available for binge watching with Season 9 en route in September. August 8

"Lord of War"

Faithful readers of this monthly Netflix column know
Photo Credit: Lions Gate Home Entertainment

Faithful readers of this monthly Netflix column know we have a soft spot for Nicolas Cage in all of his forms, from Oscar winning ("Leaving Las Vegas"), to populist ("The Rock") to utterly insane ("Vampire's Kiss") and paycheck-grabby (just about everything he's made in recent years). This picture, in which he plays an arms dealer, is one of the more legitimate films Cage has made over the last 10 years. August 17

"Pariah"

This is a wonderful coming-of-age picture that also
Photo Credit: Focus Features

This is a wonderful coming-of-age picture that also slipped under the radar upon its release in 2011, about an African American teenager living in the city who comes out as gay and faces the prejudice of her mother. Star Adepero Oduye is, quite simply, stunningly great. August 16

"Reading Rainbow, Volume 1"

Your favorite childhood show returns, complete with LeVar
Photo Credit: Great Plains National Television Library

Your favorite childhood show returns, complete with LeVar Burton, and our culture is frankly better for it. A message about the value and importance of reading seems more important than ever in the smartphone age. August 1

"Two Days, One Night"

Marion Cotillard's Sandra must spend the weekend convincing
Photo Credit: Les Films du Fleuve

Marion Cotillard's Sandra must spend the weekend convincing her co-workers to help make sure she keeps her job in a vote on Monday in this spare, visceral economic parable from the critically acclaimed Dardenne brothers. Cotillard earned an Oscar nomination and this is one of the most praised movies of 2014. August 8

"For a Good Time, Call..."

This is a funny and hugely underrated comedy
Photo Credit: AdScott Pictures

This is a funny and hugely underrated comedy from Ari Graynor and Lauren Miller about two NYC friends who start a phone sex business. It's ribald, sweet and really a movie that more people should make a point of checking out. August 12

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