Coming Soon: August 21st, 2020

Welcome, one and all, to this week’s very special edition of Back Lot 605’s Coming Soon column! Why is this week’s article so special? Well, in addition to the usual streaming and VOD debuts (as well as a local film festival!), this is the first major weekend for nationwide theatrical releases since mid-March. (And if you are choosing to attend a local theater this weekend, we strongly ask that you research your theater’s COVID-19 regulations, including mask usage, social distancing, and so forth… and that you practice said rules for the safety of yourself, your fellow attendees, and the theater staff.) With that said, here’s what’s coming soon for the week of August 21st, 2020:

Opening in Theaters


Ever since early May, Solstice Studios, a brand-new movie distributor, has been adamant that their very first movie, Unhinged, would also be The First New Movie in theaters when the major theater chains reopened. Well, after several delays, that time has finally come, as big angry Russell Crowe and his big angry pickup will lead the charge of new releases this week. Directed by Derrick Borte (who previously made the Jim Gaffigan Collateral riff American Dreamer), the movie follows Rachel (Caren Pistorius), a devoted wife and mother who unluckily honks at Crowe’s character (credited only as “The Man”) at an intersection, setting him off on a rampage that puts her and her family – including her son (Gabriel Bateman) and her husband (Jimmi Simpson!!!) – in danger. (Opens Friday, August 21st in theaters nationwide.)

Cut Throat City

Next up, we have the latest movie directed by The RZA… and from what I can tell, there are no men with iron fists to be found here. 🙂 Instead, this is a crime drama set in 2005 New Orleans, in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Shameik Moore, Denzel Whitaker, Keean Johnson, and Demetrius Shipp Jr. star as four lifelong friends are left homeless and jobless, without any assistance from FEMA. So, they attempt to pull off a massive heist to settle the score. The stacked cast also includes T.I., Wesley Snipes, Terrence Howard, Eiza Gonzalez, and Ethan Hawke. (Opens Friday, August 21st in theaters nationwide.)

Words on Bathroom Walls

Next, we have the first of two teen rom-drams coming out this week. Who said this genre was dead? 🙂 Charlie Plummer stars as Adam, a paranoid schizophrenic teenager who has to switch schools after being expelled, due to a lab accident. There, he ends up meeting his soulmate (Taylor Russell), who sees him for who he really is! Aww…. 🙂 The movie also stars Molly Parker, Walton Goggins, AnnaSophia Robb and Andy Garcia; it is directed by Thor Fruedenthal (the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid; Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters). (Opens Friday, August 21st in theaters nationwide.)

Inception: 10th Anniversary

The final major theatrical release this week is actually a 10th anniversary theatrical re-release of Christopher Nolan’s 2010 blockbuster Inception, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Tom Hardy. Originally set to be released on the original July 17th release date for Nolan’s new movie Tenet (which is apparently tonally closest to Inception in the Nolan filmography), this re-release will contain a special extended sneak peek at Tenet… and if rumor has it, this may also contain new trailers for Warner’s two big remaining 2020 releases: Wonder Woman 1984 (currently due October 2nd), and Denis Villeneuve’s new take on Dune (due December 18th). (Opens Friday, August 21st in theaters nationwide.)

New Streaming and VOD Premieres

Random Acts of Violence

Leading off the streaming/VOD pack this week is a new horror film directed by… wait for it… Jay Baruchel! (This will be his second feature film as director, following 2017’s Goon 2: Last of the Enforcers.) It follows a comic book creator and his friends as they road-trip from Toronto to New York Comic-Con, only to find that a crazed fan is copying his comic book for a series of slasher killings. Starring Jesse Williams, Jordana Brewster, Niamh Wilson, and Jay Baruchel himself. For more details on this movie, be sure to read our very own advance review, which is already live on this very site! (Premieres Thursday, August 20th on Shudder.)

The One and Only Ivan

Next, we have another Disney+ original: a live-action/CGI-animal hybrid based on the children’s book of the same name. (Of special note is that this movie was originally supposed to be a full-fledged 20th Century Fox theatrical release… and prior to COVID-19, this movie was slated to open in theaters last Friday, August 14th.) Sam Rockwell is the voice of Ivan, a gorilla who was captured when he was young and put in ringmaster Bryan Cranston’s circus… but now wants to escape! Angelina Jolie, Danny DeVito, and Helen Mirren are also in this movie; they voice an elephant, a dog, and a poodle, respectively. Directed by Thea Sharrock (Me Before You).(Premieres Friday, August 21st on Disney+.)


Ethan Hawke IS Nikolai Tesla, in this brand-new biopic that covers Tesla’s role in the electricity wars. Now, you may be asking yourself, “Wait, didn’t I just see Nicolas Hoult play Tesla in The Current War last fall?”… and also, “Didn’t I see all of this covered in The Current War?!?” Yes, you have! But this movie is definitely not your typical historical biopic… and I highly encourage you to watch the trailer below, because you’ll see that the movie revels in technological anachronisms, as its period characters trot out laptops, iPhones, and all sorts of other modern conveniences. Also starring Kyle Maclachlan, Eve Hewson and Jim Gaffigan; directed by Michael Almereyda (Marjorie Prime, Experimenter). (Premieres Friday, August 21st on VOD.)

Chemical Hearts

And now, as promised, here’s the second teen rom-dram of the weekend. But will you be able to tell this and Words on Bathroom Walls apart? 🙂 In this movie, a romantic dreamer and a mysterious transfer student are brought together when they’re selected to co-edit the school paper… and sparks fly! Starring Lili Reinhart and Austin Abrams; directed by Richard Tanne, who previously gave us the Obama first date movie Southside with You. (Premieres Friday, August 21st on VOD.)

The Sleepover

Finally, we have Netflix’s latest family comedy, in which two kids find out that their mom (Malin Akerman) is a thief who’s in Witness Protection. But, when she’s kidnapped to do One Last Job, the kids use her snazzy burglar tech try to rescue her. Also starring Joe Mangianello and Ken Marino; directed by Trish Sie (Pitch Perfect 3). (Premieres Friday, July 21st on Netflix.)

Dancing Spider Film Festival!

This weekend, we want to alert you to a special event that’s happening just across the eastern border of South Dakota! The Dancing Spider Film Festival in Luverne, MN returns this Friday and Saturday (August 21st-22nd) for its fifth year! We should note that this year’s festival is being held at the Take 16 Brewing Company, as the festival has had to move from its longtime previous home, the Verne Drive-In. But, Take 16 will still be screening these movies outside, to keep the outdoor film festival vibe going! (Plus: There will be beer!) Admission is just $5; for more information, including what movies will be showing each night, visit the festival’s Facebook page or official web site.

Moonlight Movies: Superman: The Movie!

Cue the John Williams theme! This week’s Moonlight Movie in Sioux Falls’ Fawick Park is 1978’s Superman: The Movie, starring Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman, and Marlon Brando. The movie begins at dusk; for more information, visit the Downtown Sioux Falls web site.

New This Week to Blu-ray and 4K

  • The Outpost (2020)
  • Military Wives (2020) (DVD only)
  • Flash Gordon (1980) (Arrow Video’s very first 4K disc!)
  • Pitch Black (2000) (Arrow Video release; 4K edition out on 9/1)

Older Movies New to Streaming


  • 1BR (2019) (premieres Sunday, August 23rd)


  • Daffodils (2020) (premieres Thursday, August 20th)
  • Unacknowledged (2017) (premieres Thursday, August 20th)
  • The Roads Not Taken (2020) (premieres Monday, August 24th)

Amazon Prime:

  • No additional Amazon Prime movies this week. Sorry!


  • The Evil (1978) (premieres Monday, August 24th)
  • Mortuary (1983) (premieres Monday, August 24th)
  • One Dark Night (1982) (premieres Monday, August 24th)
  • 30 Miles from Nowhere (2018) (premieres Monday, August 24th)


  • Beauty and the Beast (2017) (premieres Friday, August 21st)


  • Queen & Slim (2019) (premieres Saturday, August 22nd)

HBO Max (includes everything from the above HBO/HBO GO section):

  • No additional HBO Max movies this week. Sorry!

The Criterion Channel:

  • Thursday, August 20th: Bacurau (2019)
  • Thursday, August 20th: Three by Robert Siodmak – Phantom Lady (1944), The Killers (1946), Criss Cross (1949)
  • Friday, August 21st: Double Feature: Art of Darkness – The American Friend (1977), Mr. Klein (1976)
  • Saturday, August 22nd: Saturday Matinee – The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953)
  • Sunday, August 23rd: Bad Vacations – Bonjour tristesse (1958), La collectionneuse (1967), The Deep (1977), House (1977), Long Weekend (1978), The Green Ray (1986), The Comfort of Strangers (1990), The Sheltering Sky (1990), Funny Games (1997), Fat Girl (2001), La Cienaga (2001), Unrelated (2007), Sightseers (2012)
  • Monday, August 24th: John McEnroe in the Realm of Perfection (2018)
  • Tuesday, August 25th: Short + Feature: Poetry in Motion – The Lonedale Operator (1911), And When I Die, I Won’t Stay Dead (2015)
  • Wednesday, August 26th: Sun Don’t Shine (2012)

The Shameless Plugs

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About the Author
Derrick Veurink has been consuming anything and everything movie-related since he was 5, and is an encyclopedic fount of random movie information. He is an avid physical media supporter, and sees nearly every major theatrical release. (Yes, even "Playmobil: The Movie".)
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