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What to Watch: September Streaming Guide

Disney’s live-action “Mulan” remake will debut on Disney+ September 4. (Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures)

This guide was originally written for CLTure.org.

Another month, another streaming guide. 

If you’ve already binged your way through all our picks from August, do not fear – we’ve got you covered with another slate of movies, shows and documentaries ready to keep you entertained. From time travel to Texas barbecue, there’s bound to be something for everyone this month.

Here are all the best new watches hitting Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+ and Hulu this month. 

* = Original streaming content

MOVIES

Back to the Future” Trilogy – Sept. 1 (Netflix)

The way 2020 is going, it sure would be nice to have a time machine to go back and change history, but the closest you can get to a blast from the past is this trilogy from the ‘80s. Starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd as the iconic Marty McFly and Dr. Emmett Brown, the “Back to the Future” movies make up one of the most fun, inventive and satisfying trilogies around, so why not settle in for a marathon?

The Impossible” – Sept. 1 (Hulu)

Before Tom Holland’s Spidey Senses started tingling, he got his big break in this 2012 drama following a family in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Check out the pint-sized actor, as well as Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts, in this deeply emotional story of family and resilience in the face of tragedy.

Glory” – Sept. 1 (Netflix)

A story about Black people fighting for a country that doesn’t love them back is as relevant now as it was when “Glory” first released back in 1989, as well as during the time the film is set in the American Civil War. Denzel Washington stars as Robert Gould Shaw, the leader of the U.S. Civil War’s first all-black volunteer company, but he’s got two battles on his hands – one against the Confederates, and another against the racists soldiers fighting alongside him. Washington took home his first Oscar winning Best Supporting Actor for his role, and the film won another two Academy Awards.

Mulan” – Sept. 4 (Disney+)

Add “Mulan” to the list of theatrical releases struck down by the coronavirus. After an initial release date scheduled for March 27, the live-action remake finally got bumped to Disney’s streaming service, but with a catch – Disney+ users will have to pay an additional $29.99 to watch the film. If you’re watching solo, 30 bucks seems steep on top of already paying for a subscription, but if you’re a family of five, then it sure beats ticket prices at the theater. This iteration of the Disney classic trades in musical numbers for more hardcore action sequences and thrilling stunts, so at least you know you’ll be getting something new if you choose to pay up.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things”* – Sept. 4 (Netflix)

Based on Iain Reid’s acclaimed novel, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” may be the creepiest – and best – thing you watch this month. Written and directed by Charlie Kaufman (“Being John Malkovich”), this horror thriller follows a young woman who discovers things may not be as they seem after traveling home with her new boyfriend to meet his parents. Starring Jesse Plemmons, Jessie Buckley, Toni Collette and David Thewlis, this one is set to be a highlight on Netflix’s fall slate.

The Devil All the Time”* – Sept. 16 (Netflix)

Speaking of star-studded Netflix Originals, here’s another. I mean, Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson, Bill Skarsgård, Sebastian Stan, Eliza Scanlen and Jason Clarke… and that’s not even all of them. It’s another thriller, this time set in the backwoods of a small town in Ohio as sinister characters close in around Holland’s character, Arvin Russell. Expect plenty of suspense with this one.

The Invisible Man” – Sept. 19 (HBO Max)

Back in February “The Invisible Man” cemented itself as one of the best movies of the year, and it hasn’t let go of that title, yet. Even if new releases were coming out right and left, Leigh Whannell’s horror-thriller would still be up there – it’s just that good. Elisabeth Moss delivers one of the year’s best performances as a woman desperate to escape the abuse and gaslighting of her seemingly deceased husband. But only she knows the truth – or at least she thinks she does – that he’s not really dead, and he’s using invisible technology to drive her insane.

Enola Holmes”* – Sept. 23 (Netflix)

Netflix has found a star in “Stranger Things” lead Millie Bobby Brown, and now the service is giving her a chance to break out on her own in “Enola Holmes.” It’s the story of Sherlock Holmes’ lesser-known teen sister who is an accomplished detective in her own right, and this time she’s off investigating the disappearance of her mother. Also featuring Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin and Helena Bonham Carter as the rest of the Holmes family, this Netflix Original looks to be packed with action, adventure, mystery and a good bit of comedy, too. 

“Just Mercy” – Sept. 26 (HBO Max)

This movie should be required viewing for everyone in America, now more than ever. Based on Bryan Stevenson’s award winning book of the same name, “Just Mercy” tells the true story of Walter McMillian, a death row inmate in Alabama who has been wrongly convicted. In 1989, Stevenson founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit that provides legal representation to prisoners who may have been wrongly convicted, and McMillian was one of Stevenson’s first success stories. This heartbreaking film exposes the systemic injustice ingrained in America’s legal and prison systems, and does so in a way that will leaves viewers equally hopeful and infuriated.

SHOWS

Chef’s Table: BBQ”* – Sept. 2 (Netflix)

While you’re still stuck at home, why not get inspired to start up the grill? This spin off of the Netflix foodie favorite is all about the meat. The renowned chefs and barbecue pitmasters on this season range from an 85-year-old Texan grandmother to an Australian chef who gets all of his ingredients straight from the Outback. One thing’s for sure, this docu-series will leave your mouth watering.

Raised By Wolves”* – Sept. 3 (HBO Max)

“Raised By Wolves” is the latest original series to hit HBO, and the futuristic show has the stamp of approval of none other than the sci-fi genius himself, Ridley Scott. The director behind hits like “Alien,” “Blade Runner” and “The Martian” will serve as a producer for the series, which follows two androids tasked with raising a new generation of humans on a new planet after the Earth has been destroyed. If the trailer is any indication, though, it seems like the androids’ intentions may not be as sincere as they make it out to sound.

Away”* – Sept. 4 (Netflix)

There must be something about September and outer space, because here’s another new science fiction series. This time it’s on Netflix, as Hilary Swank stars as Emma Green, an American astronaut leading the first manned mission to Mars. But leaving behind her family to explore the great unknown affects Emma and the rest of her crew in increasingly dramatic ways as they venture deeper into space.

Woke”* – Sept. 9 (Hulu)

This seems like an incredibly timely show for Hulu to release. Starring Lamorne Morris (“New Girl”), “Woke” follows an African-American cartoonist on the verge of mainstream success until a run in with the cops sends him off course. Morris’s character, Keef, is racially profiled and incorrectly targeted by the police, held at gunpoint and arrested before the cops realize their own mistake. The trauma of the event causes Keef to begin suffering hallucinations, but the visions lead him on a transformation from someone who used to “stay out of politics” into a man who is now “woke.”

Ratched”* – Sept. 18 (Netflix)

It seems like everything is getting a prequel, sequel, reboot or spin off these days, so why not add the 1975 classic “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” to the list? The infamous Nurse Ratched, played by Louise Fletcher in the original, is now getting her own origin story in this Netflix Original starring Sarah Paulson. Produced by Ryan Murphy, the series will explore the nurse’s sinister start in healthcare and what led her down the path to tormenting patients.

Becoming”* – Sept. 18 (Disney+)

If you’re looking for a feel-good show this month, then look no further than this new docu-series from executive producer LeBron James. Each episode will take a look at one celebrity, from entertainers to athletes, diving into how they became the star they are today. With visits to their hometowns and interviews with family, coaches, teachers and friends, the 10-episode series will pull back the curtain on some of the biggest names in the industry, like Anthony Davis, Candace Parker, Colbie Caillat and Caleb McLaughlin, among others.

PEN15″ (Season 2)* – Sept. 18 (Hulu)

“PEN15” is back for another season of cringey comedy. Starring Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle, the two 33-year-olds play middle school versions of themselves, while their co-stars actually are 13-year-olds. In the first season the duo traversed their way through all the awkward middle school rites of passage like talking to crushes, puberty and climbing the social ladder, so now it’s time to see what Season 2 has in store.

Once Upon a Time” – Sept. 18 (Disney+)

Explore reimagined versions of all your favorite fairy tales with this creative drama series from ABC. The show originally aired from 2011 to 2018, and now all seven seasons have arrived on Disney+ for fans to hunker down for a 156-episode marathon. 

Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted” (Season 2) – Sept. 25 (Disney+)

None of us can travel the world right now, so let Gordon Ramsay do it for you. Catch up on the latest season of his globe-trotting series where the renowned chef explores remote locations around the world diving into their cultures and cuisines. Season 2 features stops in Sumatra, Norway, India, and even stateside in the bayou of Louisiana.

The Good Place” (Season 4) – Sept. 26 (Netflix)

For those of you who missed out on the final season of The Good Place earlier this year, now’s your chance to catch up on the Emmy-nominated comedy. The show’s general premise revolves around the idea that all religions are somewhat correct when it comes to the afterlife – there’s both a good place, and a bad place. But in Season 4, the crew led by Kristen Bell and Ted Danson are out to discover how they can make The Good Place more accessible to people when the time comes.

DOCUMENTARIES

“The Social Dilemma”* – Sept. 9 (Netflix)

Now more than ever people are depending on social media to stay connected with friends and loved ones around the world, but what’s the cost of this dependency on technology? This documentary explores the downside of too much social media, straight from the Silicon Valley insiders who work to create it every day.

Challenger: The Final Flight”* – Sept. 16 (Netflix)

Whether you were an adult or in school back in 1986, it seems like most people remember where they were when the Challenger space shuttle exploded shortly after launch. This four-part docu-series explores the tragedy through archival footage and interviews, and looks to be just as informative for those who experienced it live as it will be for newcomers.

The Playbook”* – Sept. 22 (Netflix)

From Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers to the U.S. Women’s National Team’s two-time FIFA World Cup-winning coach Jill Ellis, this docu-series features sit-down interviews with some of the best coaches in the world as they reveal their keys to success in sport and in life. This is another series to come from LeBron James’ newly-formed SpringHill Company, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

ICYMI

Lovecraft Country” – Every Sunday at 9 p.m. (HBO Max)

If it has Jordan Peele’s name on it, then it must be good. Peele, as well as J.J. Abrams, are executive producers on this new HBO series exploring the terrors of both supernatural monsters and racism in the Jim Crow-era south. Based on the 2016 novel, Lovecraft Country stars Jonathan Majors, Courtney B. Vance and Jurnee Smollett, as the trio traverses the country in search of the main character’s missing father. The series kicked off in August with three thrilling episodes, so it’s not too late to catch up!

Immigration Nation”*– Netflix

If the Trump administration didn’t want this documentary to come out, then it must be must-watch TV. Since 2017, acclaimed filmmakers Shaul Schwarz and Christina Clusiau have been given unprecedented access to the U.S.-Mexico border, where they have captured the daily struggles of immigrants seeking to enter America. Told from both sides– with stories from immigrants and activists, and access to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents– Immigration Nation aims to provide a holistic look at the situation at the border, the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy, and what– if anything– can be done to salvage the promise of “the land of the free.”

Batman” Movies – HBO Max

If last month’s trailer for The Batman got you pumped up for another iteration of the Caped Crusader, why not take a look back at all the past versions? From Keaton to Kilmer, Clooney and Bale, crank up a marathon and figure out which Batman donned the cowl and cape best. Dive into the depths of the DC universe with six Batman movies, including “Batman” (1989), “Batman Returns” (1992), “Batman Forever” (1995), “Batman & Robin” (1997), “Batman Begins” (2005) and “The Dark Knight” (2008). 

Nightcrawler” – Netflix

To be honest, not enough people saw this Jake Gyllenhaal thriller back in 2014. So, do yourself a favor and check it out once it hits Netflix. Starring Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo and Riz Ahmed, “Nightcrawler” explores the competitive dark side of Los Angeles crime journalism. Known as nightcrawlers, these freelance photographers prey on fiery car crashes and fatal accidents, but what happens when victims begin to look more like dollar signs?

Class Action Park”* – HBO Max

Waterparks are supposed to be fun, not crime scenes. But Action Park in Vernon, New Jersey served as both for nearly 20 years. Upside down waterslides, alcohol, no rules and no supervision is a recipe for disaster, and it’s no wonder the amusement park led to more than a few deaths on the premises. Find out how this nightmare of a place became a go-to summer destination, and why it was able to stick around for so long.

Zach Goins View All

Zach Goins is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association based in Charlotte, N.C. Zach co-founded Inside The Film Room in 2018 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the website and co-host of the podcast. Zach also serves as a film critic for CLTure.org.

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