New to stream or buy on DVD/Blu-ray: The Dry, Vivo, Mr Corman, Cruel Summer and more...
THE DRY (Cert 15, 112 mins, Sky Cinema, streaming from August 6 exclusively on NOW TV, Thriller/Drama)
Starring: Eric Bana, Genevieve O'Reilly, Keir O'Donnell, Bruce Spence, Julia Blake, BeBe Bettencourt, Martin Dingle-Wall, Rosanna Lockhart.
TWENTY years after he left town in a hurry to avoid angry accusations about his involvement in the drowning of classmate Ellie Deacon (BeBe Bettencourt), Australian Federal Police officer Aaron Falk (Eric Bana) returns to the drought-stricken farming community of Kiewarra, which hasn't seen rain for over 10 months.
Aaron arrives for the funeral of childhood best friend Luke Hadler (Martin Dingle-Wall), who reportedly killed his wife Karen (Rosanna Lockhart) and young son Billy then turned a shotgun on himself.
Luke's distraught parents, Gerry (Bruce Spence) and Barb (Julia Blake), are convinced their son is innocent.
At their tearful behest, Aaron reluctantly reviews the case with the help of inexperienced local sergeant Greg Raco (Keir O'Donnell).
Probing questions reopen old wounds for some of the townsfolk and spark passion between Aaron and former classmate Gretchen (Genevieve O'Reilly).
Adapted by director Robert Connolly and Harry Cripps from the best-selling novel by Jane Harper, The Dry is a slow-burning police procedural thriller that oscillates back and forth between two timelines beset by tragedy.
Cinematographer Stefan Duscio contrasts sun-scorched, rolling landscapes that stretch to a rippling horizon with the characters' suffocating, tightly wound emotions.
Bana delivers a quietly understated performance as a man haunted by a lie who cannot let sleeping dogs slumber if he is to make amends with his anguished past.
The book's coup de grace is conveniently distilled in the film's final act, which turns up the heat on prime suspects but keeps us at a gentle simmer.
VIVO (Cert U, 95 mins, streaming from August 6 exclusively on Netflix, Animation/Musical/Adventure/Comedy/Romance)
Featuring the voices of: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ynairaly Simo, Juan de Marcos Gonzalez, Gloria Estefan, Brian Tyree Henry, Nicole Byer, Michael Rooker.
ABANDONED kinkajou Vivo (voiced by Lin-Manuel Miranda) lives in bustling Havana with musician Andres (Juan de Marcos Gonzalez), who has trained the honey bear to perform tricks for tips from smitten tourists.
The bond between elderly man and cuddly creature is cruelly severed and little Vivo resolves to travel to Miami to attend the farewell concert of singer Marta Sandoval (Gloria Estefan), who was the love of Andres's life.
The enterprising kinkajou sneaks into the luggage of energetic youngster Gabi (Ynairaly Simo) and emerges from the flight in bright Florida sunshine.
Gabi deduces the stowaway's intentions and joins Vivo on a perilous road trip through the Florida Everglades, home to villainous python Lutador (Michael Rooker) and lovesick spoonbills Dancarino (Brian Tyree Henry) and Valentina (Nicole Byer).
Boasting 11 original songs composed by Hamilton creator Miranda, Vivo is a charming but lightweight computer-animated odyssey that lacks the emotional pyrotechnics of Sony Pictures Animation's other offering this year, The Mitchells Vs The Machines.
Screenwriter Quiara Alegria Hudes, who wrote the book for stage musical In The Heights, maintains a brisk pace, reflected in energetic song and dance sequences including the rumbustious ode to individuality, My Own Drum.
Narrative beats are familiar but Oscar-winning British cinematographer Roger Deakins, who serves as visual consultant, works his magic to enrich the subtly changing palettes of each vibrant location including a colour-saturated finale in night-time Miami.
Director Kirk DeMicco and co-director Brandon Jeffords are assured ringmasters of this circus, milking one or two tears between the physical humour.
MR CORMAN (10 episodes, starts streaming from August 6 exclusively on Apple TV+, Comedy/Drama/Romance)
JOSEPH Gordon-Levitt writes, directs and stars in an offbeat 10-part comedy, which debuts two episodes this week on Apple TV+ then unveils a new instalment every Friday.
Josh Corman (Gordon-Levitt) failed to realise grand musical ambitions. Now, he teaches fifth-grade students at a public school in the San Fernando Valley.
Crippled by student loans, anxiety and self-doubt, Josh is recently separated from his ex-fiancee Megan (Juno Temple) and he lives with high school buddy Victor (Arturo Castro) to make ends meet.
Josh's mother Ruth (Debra Winger) is a sounding board for her boy's woes, which all seem to indicate that he isn't a particularly nice person.
It's time for him to embrace adulthood and address his failings.
CRUEL SUMMER (10 episodes, streaming from August 6 exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, Thriller/Romance)
UNFOLDING over the course of three tumultuous years, Cruel Summer is a psychological thriller that alternates the point of view each episode to keep viewers on their toes and continually warp the truth.
In the summer of 1993, Kate Wallis (Olivia Holt) is one of the most popular girls at school, drawing envious glances hand-in-hand with her boyfriend Jamie Henson (Froy Gutierrez).
Meanwhile, classmate Jeanette Turner (Chiara Aurelia) is a socially awkward misfit, completely invisible to the in-crowd.
When Kate is abducted, the town seeks answers and Jeanette slowly reinvents herself to fill the void left by Kate.
In the space of two years, she goes from a nobody to the most despised person in America, fighting to clear her name and restore the faith of her father Greg (Michael Landes).
WHAT IF…? (10 episodes, streaming from August 11 exclusively on Disney+, Animation/Action/Adventure)
IN 2008, the Marvel Cinematic Universe began with Iron Man starring Robert Downey Jr and has rapidly expanded with carefully interlinked films and TV shows including a fourth phase (thus far) of WandaVision, The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, Loki and Black Widow.
Marvel Studios' first animated series enters the multiverse and reimagines key events from the series with unexpected twists and turns.
An enigmatic otherworldly entity called the Watcher (voiced by Jeffrey Wright) is a passive observer and narrator to new allegiances and fierce battles for survival directed by Bryan Andrews.
Vocal performances from actors who portrayed heroes in the flesh include Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Chris Hemsworth, Clark Gregg, Danai Gurira, Don Cheadle, Evangeline Lilly, Hayley Atwell, Jeremy Renner, Jon Favreau, Josh Brolin, Karen Gillan, Mark Ruffalo, Michael B Jordan, Michael Douglas, Michael Rooker, Natalie Portman, Paul Bettany, Paul Rudd, Samuel L Jackson, Sebastian Stan, Taika Waititi, Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston.
STARGIRL – SEASON 2 (13 episodes, streaming from August 11 exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, Fantasy/Drama/Adventure)
BREC Bassinger reprises her role as the eponymous superpowered teenager in a second outing of the fantasy drama torn from the pages of the DC Comics created by Geoff Johns and Lee Moder.
This series, Los Angeles high school student Courtney Whitmore (Bassinger) and her friends, Beth Chapel aka Doctor Mid-Nite II (Anjelika Washington), Rick Tyler aka Hourman II (Cameron Gellman) and Yolanda Montez aka Wildcat II (Yvette Monreal), continue to pursue truth as the latest incarnation of the Justice Society of America.
Courtney's stepfather Pat (Luke Wilson) fears that the teenager is spending too much time focusing on her responsibilities as Stargirl rather than having fun.
He intervenes to correct this imbalance.
Unfortunately, a corrupting dark entity known as Eclipso is gaining strength and attempts to undermine the gifted youngsters' loyalty to each other.
FLATBUSH MISDEMEANOURS (10 episodes, starts streaming from August 12 exclusively on NOW TV, Comedy)
STAND-up comedians Dan Perlman and Kevin Iso play fictionalised versions of themselves in an irreverent 10-part series, which begins on Sky Comedy this week and streams exclusively on NOW TV.
Dan and Kevin are best friends in Flatbush, Brooklyn, who have yet to make a mark on the world around them.
As they contend with a rising tide of gentrification in the neighbourhood, pesky hipsters and the thorny issue of mental health, the buddies discover the intense pleasure of small and sometimes petty victories.