The weather and the box office are heating up — after seeing Barbie and Oppenheimer, maybe you’d like to stay home this weekend and watch a movie? There are new movie options: Netflix’s They Cloned Tyrone is a ton of fun, as is Shin Kamen Rider (newly on Prime), but those will be around on those platforms for some time. What about those movies that will be leaving streaming services at the end of July?
That’s what we’re here for. Each month, we gather select options from what’s leaving the major streaming services for you to choose from in your movie-watching time. This month, we’ve got thrillers of the action and crime varieties, big franchise movies, indie fare, and some good old-fashioned nostalgia.
Movies to watch on Netflix
Genre: Spy action thriller
Run time: 2h 23m
Director: Sam Mendes
Cast: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Naomie Harris
Skyfall marks the defining moment not only for Daniel Craig’s rugged incarnation of James Bond, but also for Dame Judi Dench’s M, the connecting tissue between Pierce Brosnan’s and Craig’s tenures.
The film opens with Bond having been betrayed. Surviving a near-fatal wound from a gunshot ordered by M, 007 finds himself adrift in the world, unable to reconcile his newfound distrust for his longtime commander and his nascent discomfort with his role as a glorified wetworker for Britain. When a terrorist bombing on MI6’s headquarters and the loss of a classified NOC list of undercover MI6 agents threatens the safety of the organization — and M’s own life — Bond reemerges to track down the culprits responsible and bring them to justice.
Skyfall might be the best Bond film of Craig’s run due in no small part to the film’s cast, which includes pitch-perfect supporting performances from Naomie Harris and Ben Whishaw. Then there’s Javier Bardem as a sadistic and eccentric agent saboteur with a penchant for Joker-like theatrics. Roger Deakins’ cinematography is exquisite, especially during the film’s nighttime sequences. Thomas Newman’s pulse-pounding score is terrific, as is Adele’s mournful title track, which easily ranks as one of the most memorable Bond themes in recent memory.
All of this is window dressing compared to what really makes Skyfall stand apart: a willingness to probe the psychology of a man whose reputation as an effortlessly suave ladies’ man and steadfast weapon in the service of queen and country is contrasted by an internal restless search for meaning and moral clarity. —Toussaint Egan
Skyfall leaves Netflix July 31.
Genre: Vampire action
Run time: 2h 1m
Director: Len Wiseman
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Michael Sheen
Kate Beckinsale stars in Len Wiseman’s horror-thriller as Selene, an elite vampire warrior working at the behest of an ancient order of immortals pitted in a centuries-old conflict against the Lycans, also known as werewolves. When Selene crosses paths with Michael Corvin (Scott Speedman), a human being targeted by the Lycans for some mysterious purpose, she inadvertently uncovers a conspiracy that will rock the foundations of both the vampire and Lycan worlds, forcing her to question her allegiances and choose whether the truth is worth fighting for.
A stylish, gothic action film that rivals 1998’s Blade in its leatherbound aestheticization of supernatural horror with a surprisingly rich mythology that spawned three sequels and one prequel, Underworld is a time capsule of early-aughts franchise filmmaking prior to the era-defining phenomenon of the MCU. —TE
Underworld leaves Netflix July 31.
Movies to watch on Max
Run time: 1h 24m
Director: Steven Knight
Cast: Tom Hardy, Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson
Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) is a construction foreman in England. The night before a massive job, he learns that a woman who he had an affair with is about to go into labor with their child. Locke decides to drive to London to be with her, leaving his wife and children waiting at home.
The 85-minute film takes place almost entirely on the drive from Birmingham to London, with Hardy the only actor to appear on screen. The rest of the cast, including Olivia Colman and a young Tom Holland, appear in voice roles over the car’s speakerphone, as Locke juggles his professional and personal responsibilities on the road.
Directed by Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders, 2019’s Serenity), Locke is an impressive technical feat and an economical thriller to the bone, deftly showing off the skills of both its star and director. —Pete Volk
Locke leaves Max July 31.
Movies to watch on Hulu
Shrek and Shrek 2
Year: 2001; 2004
Genre: Fantasy comedy
Run time: 1h 30m; 1h 33m
Directors: Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson; Adamson, Kelly Asbury, Conrad Vernon
Cast: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz
There is no denying the sheer impact the Shrek series has had on 21st-century pop culture. The first movie was an oddball, a deeply cynical and totally obvious “fuck you” to the Disney empire that DreamWorks didn’t even really have faith in, and yet it singlehandedly shifted the tone in Western animation into edgy comedies. And hey, it’s actually deeply funny! The original feels like a very directed jab at Disney, but the second movie, which chooses the glitz and glamour of Hollywood as its target and thus doesn’t seem as… personal, really shines.
Also, no one needs an excuse to watch the “I Need a Hero” scene. —Petrana Radulovic
Shrek and Shrek 2 leave Hulu July 31.
Movies to watch on Prime
Genre: Action comedy
Run time: 1h 35m
Director: Yugo Sakamoto
Cast: Mone Akitani, Yukina Fukushima, Masayuki Ino
Don’t let the silly title fool you: Baby Assassins was one of the most fun movies to come out in 2022. This action-comedy from Japan follows two young girls who work as professional killers, but are tasked by their agency with getting real jobs to better immerse themselves in society. Part slice-of-life comedy, part martial arts drama, Baby Assassins features great performances from its two leads and fantastic action from Kensuke Sonomura, who has a history of designing great action in video games and movies and has a slick new movie coming out soon.
Baby Assassins 2 Babies, the sequel, is due out in Japan in March 2023. Since the original is leaving Prime, now’s your best chance to catch up before the new one. Director Yugo Sakamoto also made a mockumentary about researching this movie, Legendary Hit-man Kunioka, in which he follows and interviews a hitman while writing the movie. It has not yet been made available to watch legally in the states, but I can’t wait for the day it is. —PV
Baby Assassins leave Prime Video July 30.
Genre: Action thriller
Run time: 2h 4m
Director: Jeong Byeong-gil
Cast: Kim Ok-vin, Shin Ha-kyun, Kim Seo-hyung
Did you enjoy the motorcycle sword fight scene in John Wick: Chapter 3, or the opera house scene in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation where Rebecca Ferguson aims a sniper rifle in a gorgeous flowing dress? If so, you owe a big, hearty thank you to Jeong Byeong-gil for directing the movie that both of those films not-so-subtly pay homage to.
The Villainess centers on the story of Sook-hee (Kim Ok-vin), a highly skilled assassin who is enlisted as an agent of South Korea’s intelligence agency after surviving an assault on a heavily fortified gang hideout. When Sook-hee discovers that Joong-sang (Shin Ha-kyun), her long-thought-to-be-dead mentor and lover, is in fact alive, she embarks on a vengeful path of violence and revenge in search of answers.
Loosely inspired by Luc Besson’s La Femme Nikita, Jung’s film is an excellent action thriller with intense fight sequences, creative and nimble cinematography, and a byzantine plot of revenge and thwarted hope. From the film’s exhilarating first-person opening sequence to its blistering and brutal finale, The Villainess proves itself more than worthy of its title. —TE
The Villainess leave Prime Video July 30.