​Streaming Must-Sees (and Must-Skips) in August 2023

'Only Murders in the Building,' an Elvis documentary and a couple of star-studded stinkers lead this month's edition of Tune In or Turn Off

Photo courtesy of Prime Video

BY Rachel HoPublished Aug 17, 2023

A quiet time in the movie world, summer blockbusters continue to spin in the cinemas while we await TIFF and the impending awards bait to flood our screens. In the meantime, the streaming world delivers some much-needed escapism for better and for worse.

Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez are back with the third season of their sleuthing show, while Michael Sheen and David Tennant reunite as our favourite angel and demon. Netflix balances offering us one of the best movies of the year so far with an exercise in generic drivel. Finally, the King of Rock 'n' Roll receives the documentary treatment (yet again), this time focusing on his extraordinary return in 1968. 

Be sure to read our past editions of Tune In or Turn Off here for more streaming hits and misses.

Turn Off: The Beanie Bubble
(Apple TV+)

We can all agree that this new genre of extended product placements is getting a bit out of hand. Even those of us who loved Beanie Babies as kids don't necessarily need to see a movie about it, especially when the story is a less-than-scintillating tale about corporate America. The most interesting storyline — the one based on the company's Lina Trivedi, who launched the internet's first business-to-consumer website — is relegated to a third subplot, making way for a story we've heard a thousand times over at this point.

Tune In: Good Omens, Season 2
(Prime Video)

Continuing a series beyond its original source material is always a tricky affair (hello, Game of Thrones), but Season 2 of Good Omens moves past Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's original story seamlessly, building a new narrative after the apocalypse's postponement in Season 1. Michael Sheen and David Tennant are as compelling as ever, and even with the distracting inclusion of minisodes as flashbacks in a few of the episodes, Season 2 will delightful fans of the series and book alike.

Turn Off: Heart of Stone

Gal Gadot and Jamie Dornan possess the sort of charm that works well in both comedy and action, but even they can't rise above the generic nonsense that is Heart of Stone. As with the majority of these Netflix movies with big movie stars, the film takes audiences around the world on what looks like a cheap green screen, despite being shot on location. Heart of Stone even includes a terrible, techy MacGuffin called, you guessed it, "The Heart." The movie is a waste of Gal Gadot, a waste of Jamie Dornan and, ultimately, a waste of time. 

Tune In: Only Murders in the Building, Season 3

There are few shows during our current streaming era that give me as much joy as Only Murders in the Building. Light entertainment that manages to intrigue and elicit actual laugh-out-loud moments, the show threatened to lose some steam going into its third season with a batch of A-list guest stars, including Meryl Streep and Paul Rudd. Thankfully, Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez return with a bang, bringing all the theatrics and musicality of Broadway along for the ride.

Tune In: Reinventing Elvis: The '68 Comeback

It's been 55 years since The '68 Comeback Special aired and, after Baz Luhrmann's ELVIS, interest in the singer and the famed special has been reinvigorated. Reinventing Elvis is a new documentary that goes behind the scenes of Elvis Presley's return to music, contextualizing the importance of the show to his then-flailing career after toiling away in Hollywood mediocrity for years, and emphasizing the roadblocks manager Tom Parker created. Informative for the uninitiated and a delightful revisit for fans new and old, Reinventing Elvis shows the King in all his black leather glory, sounding and looking better than ever before. 

Turn Off: Special Ops: Lioness

Taylor Sheridan's resume is pretty impressive: he penned Hell or High Water and Sicario, and is the man behind Yellowstone and the surprisingly enjoyable Tulsa King. But for all his creativity, his latest project, Special Ops: Lioness, is the epitome of bland television. Zoe Saldaña, playing a CIA officer, delivers a reliably great performance, and Morgan Freeman and Nicole Kidman add to star power, but the series falls flat in its clichéd attempts to glamorize military life. 

Tune In: They Cloned Tyrone

Juel Taylor's They Cloned Tyrone was quietly released amidst all the Barbenheimer rage this summer. Featuring stunning performances from John Boyega, Teyonah Parris and Jamie Foxx, the film offers a fresh and modern spin on the well-worn tropes of time loops and satirical send-ups. A celebration and tribute to Blaxpoitation films of the '70s, They Cloned Tyrone is one of this year's best so far. 

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