September 2020’s Best Streaming Titles: The Muppets, Midnight Special, The Terminator, Casino Royale, Mulan

The return of Kermit and friends, a supernatural sci-fi thriller, Ahnuld’s greatest role, a 007 reboot, Disney live-action, and more.
The Muppets - James Bobin
Kermit and his friends return in The Muppets

As Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, et al. add more content, it can be difficult to know what to look for amidst all of the newly added titles. So I’ve compiled a list of particularly noteworthy and interesting movies, TV shows, etc. to add to your streaming queues in the new month.


Netflix

Erased, Season 1 (September 1)

One of my favorite animé series in recent years, Erased is an intriguing blend of coming-of-age drama, sci-fi, and mystery. After discovering that his mother has been murdered, a young man travels back in time to elementary school. Realizing that his mother’s death was linked to the murder of several of his classmates — an incident that has haunted him ever since — he sets out to prevent their deaths and identify the culprit. Note: Netflix previously produced a live-action version of Erased back in 2017.

The Muppets (September 1)

This reboot of the Muppets could’ve gone wrong in several ways. It could’ve been mawkish nostalgia or a cynical deconstruction. But the filmmakers made the very wise decision to just play things straight and earnest, and as a result, The Muppets is a true delight. When the Muppets’ old theater is about to be torn down, Kermit and the gang reunite for one last hurrah — but has the world forgotten all about them? In addition to Kermit, Miss Piggy, and Gonzo the Great, The Muppets also stars Jason Segel, Amy Adams, and Chris Cooper.

The Promised Neverland, Season 1 (September 1)

The lives of the orphans at Grace Field House are idyllic and carefree. Until, that is, some of them unwittingly discover the hideous truth: they’re actually being raised as food for the demonic monsters that rule the world outside their familiar walls. And so begins a battle of wits as the orphans try to plan their escape while staying one step ahead of their now-ominous caretakers. The Promised Neverland is one of my favorite animé series of the last few years. (Read my review.)

I’m Thinking of Ending Things (September 4)

Charlie Kaufman directs this adaptation of Iain Reid’s novel about a young woman who travels to her boyfriend’s family farm, where she begins experiencing strange and frightening phenomena. The movie stars Toni Collette, Jesse Plemons, and David Thewlis, and being that it’s from the man responsible for Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, it’s safe to say that I’m Thinking of Ending Things is going to quite the head trip as well.

Midnight Special (September 7)

In this wonderful and moving sci-fi thriller, a man is on the run with his young son who has begun to exhibit strange and miraculous powers — powers that have piqued the curiosity of both the U.S. government and a religious cult. As the father tries to stay one step ahead of their pursuers, he must also deal with his son’s powers, which are growing in intensity. Midnight Special stars Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, and Adam Driver.

Enola Holmes (September 23)

Based on the young adult mystery series by Nancy Springer, this Netflix original follows the adventures and exploits of Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister, Enola (played by Stranger Things’ Millie Bobby Brown), as she tries to find their missing mother and uncovers a conspiracy. Enola Holmes also stars Henry Cavill as Sherlock Holmes and Helena Bonham Carter as their mother.

Here’s everything arriving on and leaving Netflix in September 2020.


Hulu

50 First Dates (September 1)

Come for the always cute chemistry between Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, stay for Sean Astin’s steroid-addicted weightlifter bro and the gross-out humor. It’s true, 50 First Dates walks a fine line between charm and crass, but it falls enough on the side of the former that it can make for a fun Friday night diversion. Or Monday night or Wednesday night diversion, since time has essentially become meaningless these days.

Evil Dead II (September 1)

I didn’t really know what to expect the first time I watched Evil Dead II, but I don’t think I was expecting it to be as over-the-top funny as it is. Bruce Campbell — in his most iconic role — is Ash Williams, who just wanted a romantic weekend with his girlfriend in a remote cabin, only to find himself facing off against unimaginable evil with nothing but a shotgun, a chainsaw, and a perfect blend of gore and slapstick comedy.

The Last Boy Scout (September 1)

On the one hand, The Last Boy Scout is a nihilistic, misanthropic, and violent film with almost no redeeming qualities. On the other hand, it’s an awful lot of fun to watch, as Bruce Willis’ jaded private eye and Damon Wayans’ disgraced football player make for an interesting dynamic while taking on corrupt politicians. There’s something almost gleeful about the film’s cynicism, which is elevated by the atmospheric, noir-ish direction and cinematography.

Pieces of April (September 1)

In this Peter Hedges dramedy, a rebellious young woman (Katie Holmes) decides to host her conservative, uptight family for Thanksgiving dinner. While she struggles to make the meal, her family encounters plenty of issues of their own as they travel to her Manhattan apartment. Pieces of April is heartwarming in the best sense of the word; it gives us characters who are deeply flawed and yet also deeply sympathetic. As such, it’s hard to not get caught up in this messed up family’s plight, and want the best for them.

The Terminator (September 1)

One of the all-time great sci-fi action movies, The Terminator stars Arnold Schwarzenegger in the role he was born to play: an unstoppable killing machine from the future. His mission? Killing the mother of the child who will grow up to lead humanity in the war against the machines. With its ground-breaking special effects and intense storyline, The Terminator has influenced countless films, and has even been added to the National Film Registry for being ​“culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

Here’s everything arriving on and leaving Hulu in September 2020.


Amazon Prime

Casino Royale (September 1)

Daniel Craig started off his tenure as James Bond with a bang in this reboot of the venerable spy movie franchise. As a newly minted ​“00” agent, Bond is assigned to track down a wealth financier who has been helping terrorists. Throw in a femme fatale or two, some excellent tailoring, and a slew of clever gadgets — not to mention Craig’s icy-yet-sympathetic portrayal of Bond — and you have a 007 film par excellence.(Read my review.)

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (September 1)

This Steven Spielberg movie about a group of people whose chance encounters with extraterrestrials cause them to leave their lives behind for some unknown quest is a sci-fi classic, if ever there was one. And it still holds up after more than 40 years, thanks to its sense of awe and wonder, which culminates in an iconic scene where aliens and humans finally learn to communicate with each other.

Utopia, Season 1 (September 25)

Back in 2013, the BBC aired Utopia, a dark conspiracy thriller about a comic book that held secrets concerning various world disasters, and the people seeking to uncover — and hide — its secrets. An American adaptation was stuck in production hell for several years, but it’s finally arriving via Amazon. A series about a pandemic and conspiracy theories might seem a bit distasteful given our current zeitgeist, but the original Utopia has developed a cult following over the years, so I’m curious to see what the hubbub is about.

Here’s everything arriving on and leaving Amazon in September 2020. As usual, there’s a lot of overlap between Hulu and Amazon Prime’s offerings.


Disney+

Mulan (September 4)

Disney is finally releasing their long-delayed live action remake of Mulan via Disney+ instead of movie theaters. It’ll cost you $30 — which isn’t too steep of a price if you were planning to take your family to see Mulan in the theater — but you’ll be able to watch it for as long as you subscribe to Disney+. The movie stars Liu Yifei as a young woman who joins the army disguised as a man to save her father. Mulan also stars Chinese cinema legends Donnie Yen, Gong Li, Jet Li, and Cheng Pei-pei.

Here’s everything arriving on and leaving Disney+ in September 2020.


HBO Max

The Conversation (September 1)

This Francis Ford Coppola-directed thriller follows a paranoid surveillance expert (Gene Hackman) who believes that he’s recorded evidence of a murder conspiracy during one of his jobs. But as he tries to ascertain the truth of the recording, the truth becomes increasingly elusive, even dangerous. The Conversation won the top prize at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for multiple Oscars.

Three Kings (September 1)

In the final days of the Gulf War, several U.S. soldiers set out to steal some gold bullion that the Iraqi army had taken from Kuwait — and quickly find themselves in over their heads. It’s by turns quirky and dark, poignant and cynical, but to his credit, writer/​director David O. Russell navigates the tonal changes adroitly — and even throws in some experimental filmmaking for good measure. And he’s helped by solid acting from the likes of George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, and Spike Jonze.

The Wedding Singer (September 1)

Robbie Hart (Adam Sandler) seems to have it made. He’s the most popular wedding singer in Ridgefield, New Jersey circa 1985 and he’s about to marry the love of his life. But when his fiancée leaves him at the altar, he sinks into a depression that leaves him angrily questioning his wedding singer career. Could a burgeoning relationship with cute waitress named Julia (Drew Barrymore) be the thing that snaps him out of his downward spiral? Do you even need to ask?

Raised by Wolves (September 3)

In this Ridley Scott-produced sci-fi series, androids have been tasked with raising children on a distant planet following Earth’s destruction. Not surprisingly, things go awry as the children grow older and the androids must not only deal with their young charges, but also external threats on their new home planet. Scott also directs the series’ first two episodes.

Here’s everything arriving on and leaving HBO Max in September 2020.