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11 great movies leaving Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon at the end of July 2021

Everybody needs to be kung fu fighting ASAP

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Stephen Chow kicks ass. Sony Pictures Classics.

The end of the month means a fresh new crop of interesting films coming to platforms like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime Video — but it also means scrambling to say goodbye to all the great movies you forgot about or always meant to get around to but didn’t. You’re looking for the good stuff and you don’t have a lot of time. We get it; we got you covered.

We’ve combed through the wave of outgoing streaming releases to bring these platforms have to offer during this long holiday weekend. Here there are, 15 of the best movies leaving the major streaming platforms by August 1.


500 Days of Summer

Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Zooey Deschanel has a reputation for playing Manic Pixie Dream Girls, and while (500) Days of Summer seems to paint her as a quirky, love interest there to fill the main character’s heart with love, it actually does the opposite. Directed by Marc Webb (The Amazing Spider-Man) and written by Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber (The Spectacular Now), the film completely dismantles the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope, repeatedly reminding Tom, the male lead (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), that just because a pretty girl likes the same stuff he does and does some quirky things doesn’t mean that she’s his soulmate. The film explores the 500 days Tom knows Summer, jumping back and forth between various points of time, as his feelings for her change from complete adoration to contempt to finally accepting that she isn’t his dream girl but that doesn’t mean she isn’t a person of her own. Like the narrator promises, it’s not a love story, but a story about love. —Petrana Radulovic

500 Days of Summer leaves Hulu on July 31.

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Malcolm McDowell as Alex in A Clockwork Orange stands in a darkened milk bar full of naked female mannequins, with fictional drug names all over the walls Photo: Warner Bros.

Grim, sometimes grotesque, and certainly not for the faint of heart, Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ famous novel is still mesmerizing cinema. Malcolm McDowell stars in a career-best performance as Alex, a bored youth-ganger who commits rape and assault for fun, until he’s selected for an experiment that leaves him unable to stomach any form of violence. It’s a stylish, visually shocking film, icy-cold in the manner of so many Kubrick movies, but it’s also a wry and bitterly entertaining thinkpiece about the place of free will in society. —Tasha Robinson

A Clockwork Orange leaves Netflix and HBO Max on July 31.

Clue

Five cast members in Clue gawp at the camera in response to the latest murder Photo: Paramount Pictures

As we wrote back in 2020, “Jonathan Lynn’s dark comedy Clue, inspired by the mystery-solving board game, is easily one of the best whodunits of the 20th century. Lynn and co-writer John Landis (director of The Blues Brothers and An American Werewolf in London) fool the audience with subtle tricks and twists, as six guests are invited to a New England mansion to get to the bottom of a nasty blackmail conspiracy.” Packed with terrific comedic performances courtesy of a cast including Tim Curry, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Lesley Ann Warren and four hilarious alternate endings, Clue is one of the great comedic cult classics of the ’80s. —Toussaint Egan

Clue leaves Amazon Prime Video on July 30.

Footloose

Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer star in Footloose, Herbert Ross’ classic 1984 classic of teenage rebellion, music, and love. When rowdy teenager Ren McCormack (Bacon) moves with his family from Chicago to the sleepy midwestern town of Bomont, he struggles to fit in and adjust to the culture shock — especially when he learns that the town has voted to strictly prohibit all forms of rock music and dancing. Vying for the affections of his beautiful classmate Ariel (Singer), Ren must stand up to the oppressive powers that be in order to revitalize the town’s spirit and bring life, levity, and rockin’ tunes back to the town. —TE

Footloose leaves Hulu on July 31.

Gamer

Gerard Butler stars as Kable, whose movements are controlled as a character in a simulated game in Gamer. Photo: Lionsgate

300 star Gerard Butler stars as death row inmate-turned-modern day gladiator John “Kable” Tillman in Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor’s 2009 dystopian action film Gamer. Set in the year 2034, the film follows Kable pitted against other mind-controlled death row convicts in an online shooter-style arena where he must survive 30 consecutive battles in order to regain his freedom. When Ken Castle, the surreptitious creator over the gladiatorial death sport schemes to assassinate Kable, he and his teenager control Simon must join forces with a resistance group working to shut the game down for good. Although panned when it first released, the film in subsequent years has earned its reappraisal as a savvy and biting satire of online life. —TE

Gamer leaves Hulu on July 31.

Hardcore Henry

Ilya Naishuller’s 2015 sci-fi action movie Hardcore Henry is for every person who’s every played a AAA-budget video game and thought, “Wow — this looks just like a movie!” Inspired by first-person shooters, Hardcore Henry is filmed entirely from the perspective of its mute protagonist, traveling breathlessly from one action set-piece to the next on a journey to rescue his girlfriend. With supporting performances by Sharlto Copley and Tim Roth, the movie was a box office bomb when it initially landed in theaters, despite being a competent (albeit occasionally crass) action thriller with couple of genuinely entertaining sequences. Just don’t go into this expecting anything resembling a satisfying plot, as the film perfectly replicates the feel of watching a Let’s Play of a bargain bin PS3 action shooter. —TE

Hardcore Henry leaves Netflix on July 31.

I Saw The Devil

South Korean revenge thrillers have a reputation for being brutal and gory, but Kim Jee-woon’s I Saw The Devil is a whole other beast entirely. The film follows Kim Soo-hyun (Lee Byung-hun), a special agent of the National Intelligence Service, who embarks on a twisted mission of retribution and revenge when his fiance Joo-yeon is kidnapped and murdered by Jang Kyung-chul (Choi Min-sik), a vicious psychopath and serial killer. The movie unravels as a cat and mouse game of sadistic psychological brutality, as Soo-hyun stalks and hunts Kyung-chul’s every step, attacking him until he’s on the brink of death before pulling back in order to prolong his suffering. Filled with bracing violence, thrilling chase scenes, and a chilling climax that brings the question of what justifies revenge into stark relief, I Saw The Devil is a pulse-pounding experience. —TE

I Saw The Devil leaves Hulu on July 31.

Jacob’s Ladder

Jacob’s Ladder is probably best known to folks who haven’t seen it as the film that single-handedly inspired the creation of the survival horror series Silent Hill. Tim Robbins stars Jacob Singer, a former American infantryman who works as a postal clerk after surviving a tour in Vietnam. After awakening on the subway after a bad dream, Jacob begins to experience disturbing visions of shapeshifting apparitions stalking him around the city. As he searches for answers, Jacob suspects that he and his comrades were experimented on by a clandestine government operation using an intense psychotropic drug known as the Ladder. Jacob’s Ladder is an unnerving psychological horror thriller filled with chilling imagery, unnerving performances, and nightmarish climax. —TE

Jacob’s Ladder leaves HBO Max on July 31.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)

Jiro Ono and his team. Magnolia Pictures

What separates a novice from a master? David Gelb’s 2011 documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a fascinating window into the life and storied career of Jiro Ono, one of Japan’s most illustrious sushi chef masters. Featuring testimony of several of Ono’s colleagues and following him in his day-to-day routine of preparing his meals, Jiro Dreams of Sushi is an illuminating and mouth-watering peak into a rarified echelon of culinary perfection. —TE

Jiro Dreams of Sushi leaves Hulu on July 31.

Kung Fu Hustle

Chiu Chi-ling showing off the Hung Ga Iron Fist technique in Kung Fu Hustle. Sony Pictures Classics

There’s just the thinnest thread of plot holding Kung Fu Hustle together, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most exhilaratingly fun films ever made. Set in a crowded apartment complex known as Pig Sty Alley, Kung Fu Hustle is mostly just an excuse to construct the most outrageous fight scenes possible. Just when it seems like the Kung Fu mastery the characters wield can’t get any more colorful, another Kung Fu master is revealed to take things to the next level.

Kung Fu Hustle leaves HBO Max on July 31.

Ran

Lord Hidetora Ichimonji walks dejectedly from his burning estate Photo: The Criterion Collection

Akira Kurosawa’s action drama Ran (the Japanese word for “chaos”) is considered by many to be one of the greatest films ever produced by inarguably the most iconic and critically acclaimed Japanese director in the history of cinema. Inspired by William Shakespeare’s King Lear and the apocryphal legends of the 16th-century daimyo Mōri Motonari, the 1985 epic stars the legendary Tatsuya Nakadai (Harakiri, The Sword of Doom) as an elderly warlord in Medieval Japan who, upon his retirement, bequeaths his kingdom to the care of his three sons. Order quickly descends into chaos however, as Nakadai’s Lord Ichimonji is forced to watch helplessly as the harmonious accomplishments of his reign quickly spiral into a cacophonous din of horror and bloodshed. Heralded as Kurosawa’s last great masterpiece, Ran is an absolute must-watch classic. —TE

Ran leaves Amazon Prime Video on July 30.

Spartacus

Photo: Criterion Channel

Put in 2021 terms, Spartacus is the late 1950s equivalent of Stanley Kubrick directing a Marvel movie. Sword-and-sandal epics were the biggest thing in Hollywood after Ben-Hur’s sweep of the Oscars (at 11 wins, it’s still tied for the top spot with Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King) and the furthest thing from Kubrick’s promising early body of work. It’s also wildly different from everything that would come after: A grand tale of the enslaved man Spartacus whose stubborn pride earns him a place in the gladiatorial arena, where he eventually leads a rebellion and becomes a hero. Spartacus is both incredibly influential — numerous gladiator-themed films premiered in its wake, and Ridley Scott’s Gladiator is a close cousin, 40 years removed — and also the film that gave Kubrick license to effectively do the kind of movies he would later be known for. But the film’s director is far from the only reason Spartacus is a historic movie moment: For one, it’s stacked to the brim with performances from greats like Kirk Douglas, Jean Simmons, and Laurence Olivier. But it’s also written by Dalton Trumbo, who at the time was one of the Hollywood Ten blacklisted from the industry in the fallout from Joe McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee’s communist witch hunt — and Spartacus’ success helped end one of the darkest periods in the film industry. —Joshua Rivera

Spartacus leaves Criterion Channel on July 31.