It’s now September which means we have three things to look forward to: sweater weather, Spooky Season, and Demi Adejuyigbe’s annual Sept. 21 video in which he dances to Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September.” There are also some good new movies heading to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, and HBO Max.
This month, we’ve got a healthy mix of classic cinema and feel-good popcorn flicks on the roster. Read on for our 13 favorite movies heading to streaming services in September.
Attack the Block
The directorial debut of Ant-Man co-writer Joe Cornish is a fun take on an alien invasion movie, following a group of teenage hooligans as they protect their council estate from extraterrestrial creatures. Not only is it a blast, blending comedy, action, and sci-fi horror with a distinct authentic voice, it’s also the feature debut of one John Boyega. At just 19, Boyega’s raw charisma is already on full display as the brash, brave teen ringleader, Moses. (Doctor Who and/or Broadchurch fans will also recognize a familiar face in Jodie Whittaker, playing a nurse who teams up with Moses and his friends.)
Attack the Block is streaming on Showtime.
Amazon Prime, you’re trying to seduce me. Mike Nichols’ film about post-graduate malaise is a classic, with such iconic imagery that The Bachelorette is borrowing it to promote its latest star. (She’s old, get it?) Yes, Benjamin’s (Dustin Hoffman) problems seem pretty privileged and trivial — hanging out by the pool all day and hooking up with Anne Bancroft all night doesn’t sound too bad — but that’s kind of the point. Nichols won an Oscar for his light-handed satire, and The Graduate is on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 best American movies (though it dropped from #7 to #17 in the 2007 update.)
The Graduate is streaming on Amazon Prime.
The Hunger Games
All four films (the third novel is split between two movies) that adapted the massively successful YA book series, helped launch Jennifer Lawrence into superstardom, and let Elizabeth Banks and Stanley Tucci ham it up in ridiculous costumes is now streaming for free on the ad-supported streaming service Tubi. With a prequel novel out now and a movie adaptation on the horizon, now’s the perfect time to revisit the franchise.
When COVID-19 threw the film release calendar up in the air, Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan was one of the big-budget films delayed over and over again. Finally, though, Disney is releasing it on Disney Plus — but if you want to watch it you’ll have to pay a one-time $29.99 fee (or wait until it hits the streaming service without a paywall in December.)
Is Mulan worth the wait? Ehh, maybe. In her review for Polygon, Karen Han compared it to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, writing, “Mulan handily clears the bar set by live-action duds like The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, but it still fails to recapture the magic of the movie it’s adapting. It forgoes the strongest ideas in the animated film (the songs and the humble origins of heroism) in order to try to tell a more conventional story. In the animated film, the emperor says of Mulan: ‘You don’t meet a girl like that every dynasty.’ She’s an unfollowable act. So is the 1998 movie.”
Mulan is streaming on Disney Plus with Premier Access.
Miss Congeniality, The Lake House, and Two Weeks Notice
It’s a Sandra Bullock triple feature over at HBO Max this month, with three of the rom-com queen’s most endearing roles. Her turn as an undercover FBI agent investigating a terrorist threat against the Miss United States pageant is, of course, iconic. Then watch her reunite with Speed costar Keanu Reeves in their underrated time-bending romance, The Lake House. Finish up with Two Weeks Notice, where she butts heads with the British rom-com king, Hugh Grant. All three show off Sandy’s down-to-earth charm.
Miss Congeniality, The Lake House, and Two Weeks Notice are streaming on HBO Max.
Trolls World Tour
The sequel to 2016’s Trolls is a delightful expansion of the colorful, soft world, upping the ante with a more complex story and even more earworms. From our review:
[Trolls] took the plasticky Troll dolls, familiar to audiences since the 1960s, turned them into invitingly soft creatures, and built a world around them out of scrapbook-like materials. Its ultimate message about finding happiness within oneself is facile, but directors Mike Mitchell and Walt Dohrn tell their story with such verve and weird humor that the corny moral doesn’t much matter. Its sequel, Trolls World Tour, has a slightly deeper message. It also ups the sheer amount of stuff happening on screen at any given time, aiming to pull off a similar trick, even though the story it’s dealing with is more complex.
Yojimbo and A Fistful of Dollars
Chanbara (samurai films) and American westerns are closely related, with each genre influencing the other and evolving together. For a clear example of that relationship, see Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo and the spaghetti Western remake that kickstarted Clint Eastwood’s career, A Fistful of Dollars. Yojimbo stars frequent Kurosawa collaborator Toshiro Mifune as a nameless ronin who pits two rival gangs against each other in order to restore peace to their small village. The plot of A Fistful of Dollars is nearly identical, with Eastwood starring as the man with no name. Both are classics, and make a fascinating double feature.
Yojimbo and A Fistful of Dollars are streaming on Criterion Channel.