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The Best Movies, TV, Books and Music for August

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Welcome to Culture HoundInsideHook’s deep dive into the month’s most important cultural happenings, pop and otherwise.

Director George Miller briefly foregoes his Mad Max legacy to present a rather fantastical and dark variation on the djinn/genie with three wishes tale. Starring Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton, the film looks visually bonkers.

More new movies coming to the small screen and big: Bullet Train (8/5, theaters); Prey (8/5, Hulu); Emily the Criminal (8/12, theater); Beast (8/19, theater); Spin Me Round (8/19, theaters/AMC+)

Technically a new show, the latest walking dead spinoff will thankfully ditch the slow and convoluted plotlines of the main series and present six single episodes that take place at different times and locations — including several during the initial zombie breakout, which is always the most fun. (8/14, AMC)

More returning TV series: Industry (8/1, HBO); Booking Dogs (8/3, Hulu); Mike Judge’s Beavis & Butthead (8/5, Paramount+); Kevin Can F**k Himself (8/22, AMC); Archer (8/24, FXX); See (8/26, AppleTV+)

Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds buy a Welsh football squad that’s seen better days — and hilarity probably ensues, but the initial trailer also promises some touching moments and maybe a bit of real-life Ted Lasso. (8/24, FX)

More new documentaries and specials: My Life as a Rolling Stone (8/7, EPIX); Hard Knocks (8/9, HBO); Children of the Underground (8/12, FX); Dark Side of Comedy (8/16, Vice); The End is Nye (8/25, Peacock);

This Game Of Thrones prequel — which takes place hundreds of years prior to GoT and centers around a civil war within the Targaryens family — will hopefully make up for the terrible way the original Thrones series ended. Also, there are apparently 17 dragons in the new show, which is promising. (8/21, HBO)

More new series: The Sandman (8/5, Netflix); This Fool (8/12, Hulu); She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (8/17, Disney+); The Undeclared War (8/18, Peacock); The Patient (8/30, Hulu)

Heat 2 book

The cover of “Heat 2”

William Morrow/Amazon

Filmmaker Michael Mann teams up with author Meg Gardiner to return to arguably his best work — albeit in book form. This sequel and prequel to the legendary De Niro-Pacino-Kilmer crime film also moves some of the action to South America and Southeast Asia. (8/9)

Based on the first few singles (particularly “Won’t Stand Down” or “Kill or Be Killed”) the veteran British trio sounds like its leaning in on the heavy side with its ninth record Will of the People — which is great, though even their experimental, electronic and melodic detours sound positively bombastic in arenas, where you’ll find the band early next year (or you could pay $500 for tix to their brief fall theater tour, but uh, don’ t). (8/26)

More new music: The Interrupters (8/5); Danger Mouse & Black Thought (8/12); Hot Chip (8/19); The Mountain Goats (8/19); Blondie (box set, 8/26)