Wondering what to watch? This week could be one of the busiest weeks streaming wise for UK streaming platforms.
Never to be outdone, Disney+ has three brand new additions to their streaming schedule with the release of the long awaited Predator (John McTiernan, 1987) prequel Prey, while Pixar title Lightyear will also be getting a streaming debut. In addition, LEGO Star Wars: Summer Vacation will also be available to watch from Friday.
Meanwhile, Netflix has a number of original titles all being released on the platform imminently, starting with Carter, a South Korean action thriller film directed by Jung Byung-gil. Elsewhere, Jasmeet K. Reen’s Hindi-language black comedy drama Darlings is also being released this Friday, while Andrea Di Stefano’s 2019 action thriller The Informer will be streaming from Friday.
Read more: Everything new on Netflix in August
It features a brilliant performance from Joel Kinnaman (The Killing, For All Mankind) who plays an ex-convict working undercover who intentionally gets himself re-incarcerated in order to infiltrate the mob at a maximum security prison. Rosamund Pike and Ana de Armas all star.
After just one week as a limited theatrical release, Ron Howard’s Thirteen Lives will be streaming on Amazon’s Prime Video from Friday, while Sky’s Father of the Bride will also be making its debut this weekend.
Thirteen Lives (2022) – Prime Video (pick of the week)
Oscar-winning writer-director Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind) chronicles the infamous 2018 Tham Luang cave rescue in this excellent dramatisation of the events. The film stars Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell and Joel Edgerton as the trio at the centre of the rescue.
Read more: Everything new on Prime Video in August
The story revolves around 12 boys and the coach of a Thai football team who find themselves trapped in rising waters whilst exploring the Tham Luang cave complex in northern Thailand. Enclosed behind a maze of flooded tunnels, the group faces impossible odds, but rescuers soon discover that finding the boys is only the beginning of their ordeal.
Watch a trailer for Thirteen Lives
Howard and screenwriter Willian Nicholson deliver a concise and sobering account of what really went on behind the scenes. Elevated by Sayombhu Mukdeeprom’s impressively precise cinematography, Thirteen Lives does a fantastic job of laying out all the facts without ever being bogged down by the media circus surrounding the story at the time. Which goes a long way to explain why the infamous Elon Musk incident is nowhere to be seen within the narrative.
Also new on Prime Video via Freevee: Driven (2018), Every Last Secret (2022)
Prey (2022) – Disney+
Director, and sometimes popular podcaster, Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane) is finally back behind the camera in this ambitious sci-fi thriller which takes place 300 years in the past. Written by Patrick Aison, Prey is the fifth instalment in the hugely popular Predator film series and acts as a prequel to the first four movies.
Read more: Everything new on Disney+ in August
Prey stars American actor, and member of the Fort Peck Sioux Tribe, Amber Midthunder as a headstrong Comanche female warrior who hunts and is hunted by a skilled alien predator (played by Dane DiLiegro). Native actors Dakota Beavers, Stormee Kipp, Michelle Thrush, and Julian Black Antelope also star in one of the few films to have a cast list made up primarily of First Nations performers.
Watch: Director Dan Trachtenberg talks to Yahoo about the violence of Prey
After a series of lacklustre sequels, dubious crossovers and an ill-fated reboot in 2018, one has to admire the franchise for trying a completely new approach with this latest instalment. Trachtenberg’s highly ambitious premise not only puts the plight of native populations at the forefront of his sci-fi thriller, but it also delivers a genuinely thrilling, if often blood soaked origin story.
It is impressive stuff all around, but perhaps not for the faint hearted.
Lightyear (2022) – Disney+
Seeking to tell the origin story of Andy’s beloved Buzz Lightyear toy, Pixar’s latest addition to its Toy Story saga is a meta space adventure that pays homage to the space movie genre. Directed by Angus MacLane (Finding Dory), Lightyear is presented by Disney as the blockbuster film within a film the Toy Story characters would watch.
Read more: Everything new on Sky in August
MCU favourite Chris Evans (Captain America, Knives Out) lends his voice to this new interpretation of Buzz Lightyear, taking over from Tim Allen who played the voice of the toy for four consecutive films. Meanwhile Keke Palmer, Taika Waititi and The Wire’s Isiah Whitlock Jr. also star.
Watch: Angus MacLane talks to Yahoo about Lightyear
In true Pixar style, Lightyear delivers the right mixture of earnest and inclusive sentiment as well as some age appropriate gags. With some clever nods to classic space sagas like Alien and Interstellar, MacLane and co-writer Jason Headley have delivered a love letter to the genre all the while adding that unmistakable fuzzy feeling we’ve come to expect from Pixar’s ever expanding stable.
Aside from the obvious, and not so obvious, Easter eggs peppered throughout the film’s narrative, there is a beautifully touching idea about the importance of accepting one’s destiny which sits at the heart of this story.
Granted, not everything here works, least of all, the convoluted science which could leave some younger Pixar fans more than a little puzzled, but overall, the film does what is expected from it and Evans et al deliver some pretty strong performances.
Watch a trailer for Lightyear