Play Hard

Culture | August

What we're watching, reading and doing this month.

Written by High Life North
Published 07.08.2020

By Christopher Kingston

Just when you thought things might be returning to some form of normality, along comes another gut-punch and also signals that the bigger movies like Tenet and Mulan have been delayed yet again. Future movies such as the upcoming Tom Cruise sequel Top Gun Maverick and A Quiet Place 2 are being pushed back to 2021. 

However, some studios have relied heavily on streaming platforms such as Amazon and Apple TV among others to get their movies out. We’ve chosen a mix of smaller cinema releases and of course movies on demand for you to enjoy.   

A charming British film to lift your spirits during lockdown. Clarissa (played by Shannon Tarbet) is a 19-year old with a mission to fulfil her late mother’s dream of opening a bakery. Seeking the help of her mother’s best friend Isabella and her eccentric grandmother Mimi (Celia Imrie), three generations of women will need to overcome their grief, doubts and differences while keeping the memory of their beloved Sarah alive.

Love Sarah – 31 July – Jam Jar Cinema 

Alice (played by Gemma Arterton – Quantum of Solace) is a reclusive writer who lives a solitary life on the seaside cliffs of Southern England, while World War II rages across the channel. When she finds she has to adopt a young London evacuee named Frank (Lucas Bond), it’s not long before they realize that they have more in common than Alice had first assumed.

Summerland – 14 August – Jam Jar Cinema 

Shia LeBeouf stars in a film about a man named Zak (Zack Gottagen) who has Down’s Syndrome and runs away from a residential nursing home to pursue his dream of becoming a pro wrestler where he meets Tyler (LeBeouf), a small-time outlaw on the run. Together they form a friendship and go on an unlikely journey together in an updated version of the Mark Twain story. 

The Peanut Butter Falcon – out now – Netflix

Ivan is a 400lb silverback gorilla (voiced by Sam Rockwell) who shares a habitat in a suburban shopping mall with Stella (Angeline Jolie), an elephant, and Bob the dog (Danny DeVito). When a baby elephant named Ruby becomes separated from her family in the wild, Ivan begins questioning his life, where he comes from and where he wants to be in this heart-warming story about love and friendship.

The One and Only Ivan – Disney+ – 14 August

Maybelline, a church choir director, inherits her recently deceased son’s drag club and moves alone to San Francisco to save the club from bankruptcy. In this racy new environment, she begins to find a new meaning for her life, even becoming a mother-figure to the club’s performers. Starring Jacki Weaver and Lucy Liu.

Stage Mother – 21 August – Jam Jar Cinema 

It’s time to face the music in the long-awaited third Bill and Ted movie. Now enduring middle-aged life, William “Bill” S Preston Esq (Alex Winter) and Theodore “Ted” Logan, played by Keanu Reeves
set out on a new adventure when a visitor from the future warns them that only their song can save life as we know it. Along the way the pair work with their daughters, some old friends and a few music icons as they seek to set the world right by bringing harmony to the universe. Perfect nostalgia for anyone who enjoyed the original movies Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989) and Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991).

Bill and Ted Face the Music – 28 August

Set in the same universe as the X-Men, The New Mutants has been a long time coming. A group of mutants being held in a secret facility against their will discover they have amazing abilities and must fight to escape their past sins and save themselves.

The New Mutants – 28 August  

Based on a collection of short stories by Anais Nin, this six-part series is set in 1950’s Tangier. In an art-deco world of smoky nightclubs, we follow Lucy Savage (played by Juno Temple) with her husband to be, Lord Hugo Cavendish-Smythe (Hugh Skinner – Fleabag). Lucy meets Cherifa (Yumna Marwan) who introduces her to a world of intimate secrets and sexual possibilities.

Little Birds – Sky Atlantic – out now 

The third and final season of this post-apocalyptic series, set in Scandinavia, about a deadly virus which is spread by rainfall. Alba August and Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen play siblings Simone and Rasmus who leave the safety of shelter in hopes of finding some answers on how to save humanity. 

The Rain – Season 3 – Netflix – 5 August 

If you are a fan of reality TV, then Selling Sunset is guaranteed to have you binge-watching in no time. Following a number of realtors selling stunning properties in Los Angeles, the show also gives us a healthy dose of their personal lives and a glimpse into the lives of LA’s uber-rich.

Selling Sunset – Season 3 – Netflix – 7 August

Fancy a throwback? Superhero shows are everywhere now but If you have never seen Heroes, which made its debut in 2006, you are in for a treat. We follow a group of people with extraordinary abilities including Claire (Hayden Panettiere) an indestructible high school cheerleader and Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka), an office worker who finds he can manipulate space-time. The series tells the stories of their superhuman abilities and how they take effect as they work together to prevent a catastrophic future. 

Heroes – seasons 1 – 4 available on BBC iPlayer 

In this charming wildlife series, we follow an array of small animals embark on epic journeys across the American landscape, the nature series shows the journeys and survivals of some of the world’s smallest creatures.

Tiny Creatures – 7 August – Netflix 

Based on the DC Comics character of the same name, Lucifer Morningstar – the Devil himself – is bored and unhappy as the Lord of Hell and abandons his home for Los Angeles, where he runs a nightclub and becomes a consultant to the LAPD after becoming involved with a murder case.

Lucifer – season 5 – Netflix – 21 August

Ahead of the new series, BBC iPlayer is showing the first 3 series of the crime drama; The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm and Career of Evil, based on the detective novels written by J.K.Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. In the latest series, ‘Strike: Lethal White’ sees the return of Tom Burke (Cormoran Strike) and Holliday Grainger (Robin Ellacott), amongst a whole host of famous British faces. Strike and his partner Robin must unravel the mystery surrounding several potentially connected cases.

Strike – BBC iPlayer – new series coming soon 

Midnight Sun is the long-awaited companion novel to the first Twilight book, when the now-famous Edward Cullen first met Bella Swan. But this time, the story is told from the vampire’s point of view. We learn how Edward met Bella and we explore his mysterious past – a must-read for any Twilight fan.   

Regarded as one of the most inspirational writers on mental health, Matt Haig’s latest novel takes a look at the age-old question – if you could go back and undo your past regrets, would you? A heart-warming and touching look into all the choices we make in life.

As Fashion Editor of the UK Times, there’s no one better to have written this latest fashion-based thriller than Harriet Walker. When the editor of a glossy fashion magazine has to take her maternity leave, she hires a temporary replacement to keep things running. But what happens if her replacement doesn’t want to leave? A sharp and clever look into paranoia, past baggage and the complexities of womanhood.

Not only is Simon Mayo an accomplished radio DJ he is also an accomplished writer. In his second book for adults, he takes on a heart-racing thriller which follows journalist Famie Madden, as seven men and women across London are targets of coordinated attacks. As she investigates further, is she being warned of the next attack, or is she the next victim?


Salt Market Social is a new pop-up event, bringing together the best of the region’s street food stalls, craft beers and music all under one roof. Well-known North East food pop-ups will be rotated so that there will be a different offering at each Social. At the launch weekend, you will be able to sample local Fish Quay stars Lobo Rojo who will be providing Mexican flare with their take on tacos, Tynemouth’s Pan Asia will be presenting a mix of the finest Asian cuisine, while regional guests include Med Head who will dish up their much-loved stone-baked pizzas and loaded fries along with Hatch 76 with their array of duck themed wraps. If sweetness is your weakness, then La Petit Creperie will be on hand to sort you out. All stalls will provide vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. 

August Launch Weekend

Friday 14th – 5.00pm – 11.00pm
Saturday 15th – 12.00pm – 11.00pm
Sunday 16th – 12.00pm – 6.00pm

August Bank Holiday Weekend

Friday 28th – 5.00pm – 11.00pm
Saturday 29th – 12.00pm – 11.00pm
Sunday 30th – 12.00pm – 11.00pm
Monday 31st – 12.00pm – 8.00pm

Salt Market Social – Book Now

Outdoor Summer Sessions 

Hardwick Hall Hotel in County Durham has revealed plans to host a full Outdoor Summer Sessions programme on certain days between 21 August and 13 September.

What’s On:

Friday 21 August –  Two of the UK’s top tribute bands – Coldplay UK and The Jam’d.

Saturday 22 August – Heather Small, the voice of M People, will be live in concert along with DJs Norman Jay and Graeme Park

Sunday 23 August – ladies day in aid of the Angel Trust.

Monday 24 August – Ariana Grande tribute act

Thursday 27 August – Diva Mix (Little Mix tribute act)

Friday 28 August – Kroud Karaoke Night,

Saturday 29 August – George Michael tribute act Rob Lamberti will host Club Tropicana along with DJ Murray Mint.

Sunday 30 August – The Manor Born Garden Party with performances by Alison Limerick and DJs Jeremy Healy, Danny Rampling, Michael Johnson and Tony Hutchinson.

Monday 31 August – Disney turns up at the hotel for two special Bank Holiday Monday events with Fairytale, taking place at 11am and then again at 3pm.

Friday 4 September – Gabrielle live in concert.

Saturday 5 September – Angel Trust’s Drag Race Bingo.

Sunday 6 September – Proms in the Park afternoon tea.

Outdoor Summer Sessions – Book Now

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