As Netflix et al. add more content, it’s difficult to know what to look for amidst all of the newly added titles. So at the start of every month, I publish a list of particularly noteworthy and interesting movies and TV shows to add to your streaming queues.
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Gone Baby Gone (September 1)
Ben Affleck’s brilliant directorial debut is a harrowing modern noir about the frenzied attempts to find a missing girl. At the film’s center is a jaded P.I. (Casey Affleck, in an amazing performance) whose dogged determination to find the girl begins to uncover a host of other sins. The rest of the cast is phenomenal, too, including Michelle Monaghan as the P.I.‘s girlfriend, Ed Harries as a tough-as-nails detective, and Amy Ryan, who was nominated for Best Actress for her performance as the missing girl’s awful mother.
Pulp Fiction (September 1)
Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown arrived on Netflix in August, so it seems only appropriate that its precursor arrives in September. I was a college freshman when Pulp Fiction arrived in theaters, and it was everywhere. Tarantino’s twisty, twisted morality play about hitmen, gangsters, drug addicts, boxers, and a mysterious briefcase blew everyone away with its snappy dialog, retro aesthetic, and bravura performances (including John Travolta in a career-resurrecting performance). In particular, the diner conversation between Jules and Vincent is one of my favorite movie scenes of all time.
Requiem for a Dream (September 1)
I fully admire and respect Requiem for a Dream, but I’m not sure I ever want to watch Darren Aronofsky’s movie about a group of people struggling with various addictions ever again. It’s a brutal film, to be sure, as we watch the characters’ lives sink every more deeply into the toilet. But it’s told with such verve and style, from the masterful editing to the powerful Clint Mansell/Kronos Quartet soundtrack, that it’s a sheer juggernaut.
The Forgotten (September 11)
I was a bit surprised to see how many critics disliked The Forgotten because I remember it being a fairly entertaining film. Yes, the film’s storyline — a woman (played by Julianne Moore) fights to maintain her sanity as her entire life begins to unravel — gets a bit preposterous and hard to swallow, but it has some solid “What the…” moments, and Moore gives a good central performance.
The Magic School Bus Rides Again (September 29)
First DuckTales gets a reboot, and now comes a reboot of The Magic School Bus. If you’re unfamiliar with the show, it features the wacky Ms. Frizzle who takes kids on various (and very imaginative) field trips with the aid of the titular vehicle. Of special note, the reboot features Saturday Night Live alum Kate McKinnon, who replaces Lily Tomlin in the Ms. Frizzle role.
Other noteworthy titles coming to Netflix include Amores Perros, City of God, Jaws, and The Squid and the Whale. Click here for a complete list of everything arriving and leaving Netflix in September 2017.
Batman (September 1)
Though Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy could be considered the gold standard of live action Batman adaptations, Tim Burton’s take on the Caped Crusader is not without its merits. It’s gaudy, gothic, and hyper-stylized, boasts some scenery chewing of the finest sort courtesy of Jack Nicholson’s Joker, and has a funky Prince soundtrack. (Batman Returns also starts streaming on September 1.)
Lars and the Real Girl (September 1)
Ryan Gosling plays a taciturn, socially awkward young man who suddenly reveals his new girlfriend: an adult-sized sex doll named Bianca. At first blush, such a storyline sounds like it could easily be exploitative and prurient, or just weird for weirdness’ sake. In reality, Lars and the Real Girl is a gently humorous and affecting story about community and family… that just happens to star a sex doll.
The Neverending Story (September 1)
This may very well be a case where nostalgia gets the better of me, but how could I not include a movie featuring a warrior trying to save a fantastical kingdom, a coming of age story, and a flying luck dragon? The first time I saw The Neverending Story, I think it gave me nightmares — but that was back when I was in third grade or so. Hopefully, I’ve toughened up a bit since then.
Robocop (September 1)
On its surface, Robocop seems like a pretty straightforward action/sci-fi movie: dedicated cop gets gunned down by vicious thugs and is reborn as an unstoppable cybernetic enforcer. But this being a Paul Verhoeven movie, it’s no surprise that Robocop also packs a darkly satirical edge that skewers corporate greed. (The less acclaimed Robocop 2 also starts streaming on this date.)
The Orville (September 11)
As a longtime Trekkie, I absolutely adore Galaxy Quest. Though it pokes a lot of fun at Star Trek, it’s obviously coming from a place of love and affection. I get a similar vibe from The Orville. This new Fox series looks like it could be a lot of goofy, nerdy fun, but that’ll ultimately depend on whether series creator and star Seth MacFarlane can tone down the excess and nastiness that tends to characterize his other work (e.g., The Family Guy, Ted).
Let the Right One In (September 27)
In this Swedish cult hit, a lonely boy befriends a mysterious girl who has just moved into his apartment complex. However, he soon learns that his new friend is more than she seems, and her secrets may prove deadly. Billed as a horror film, Let the Right One In has its fair share of chills and bloodshed, but it’s more a brilliant atmospheric film built around a truly unique and haunting relationship.
Family Matters / Full House / Perfect Strangers / Step by Step (September 29)
TGIF is back, so cue the nostalgia. You read that right… Kimmy Gibbler, Balki and Cousin Larry, Cody Lambert, and of course, Urkel are all back, the way you remembered them in the ’90s. I honestly can’t recall how many Friday nights in middle school were spent watching ABC’s powerhouse Friday night line-up, but these shows are ingrained in my pop culture subconscious. No matter how painful they might be to watch now, I’m going to check them out again. I have to.
Other noteworthy titles coming to Hulu include A River Runs Through It, The Addams Family, Contact, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Click here for a complete list of everything arriving and leaving Hulu in September 2017.
Computer Chess (September 1)
Nothing seems less cinematic than a chess tournament in 1980, and yet Andrew Bujalski uses that setting to craft a truly unique film. Computer Chess is part offbeat comedy, part experimental headtrip, part absurd nightmare, and part sci-fi — and even if you hate it, you have to admire how unlike it is compared to anything else. Part of that’s due to Bujalski’s decision to shoot the film with analog black-and-white videocameras, making it look like it’s truly a visual document from the early ’80s.
The Lost City of Z (September 15)
In this adaptation of David Grann’s acclaimed novel, Charlie Hunnam plays British explorer Percy Fawcett who becomes obsessed with finding a lost city in the Amazon that’s supposedly full of riches. The movie was originally released in theatres by Amazon Studios, which followed a similar strategy for such acclaimed films as Manchester by the Sea and Paterson.
As usual, Amazon’s streaming release schedule is very similar to Hulu’s. Click here for a complete list of everything arriving and leaving Amazon Prime in September 2017.