September 2022’s Best Streaming Titles: Abbott Elementary, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Fight Club

Elementary school comedy, a return to Middle-earth, a galaxy far, far away, Tyler Durden, and more.
Morfydd Clark stars as the young Galadriel in Amazon's The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
Morfydd Clark stars as Galadriel in Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

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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ABC

Abbott Elementary, Season Two (Sep 21)

One of our favorite TV discoveries last year was Abbott Elementary, a mockumentary style sitcom about the teachers working in a predominantly Black school in Philadelphia, and their various trials, tribulations, and triumphs. Cut from the same cloth as Parks and Recreation, Abbott Elementary’s optimism is always engaging and entertaining, and thankfully free from snark and cynicism. Even better, the show’s second season will be a full, 22-episode-long season.


AMC

Pantheon, Season One (Sep 1)

In this animated series that’s been called a cross between Black Mirror and Love, Death & Robots, a bullied teen begins receiving messages from someone claiming to be her dead father. Turns out, his consciousness has been uploaded to the cloud. As she tries to make sense of this, she discovers a vast conspiracy that could lead to war. Based on Ken Liu’s short stories and produced by the studio behind G.I. Joe: Resolute, Star Trek: Lower Decks, and The Legend of Vox Machina, Pantheon features the voices of Katie Chang, Paul Dano, Aaron Eckhart, and Daniel Dae Kim.


Amazon Prime Video

The Adventures of Buckraoo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (Sep 1)

Dr. Buckaroo Banzai is many things: physicist, neurosurgeon, test pilot, rock star. He’ll need all of those talents, as well as his brave comrades in the Hong Kong Cavaliers, to save Earth from the evil Red Lectroids, who’ve been trapped in the 8th dimension by the Black Lectroids of Planet 10. If any part of that description sounds like the best movie ever, then you’ve probably already watched this multiple times. If you haven’t, then you’re in for a treat: Buckaroo Banzai is cult cinema par excellence.

Let the Right One In (Sep 1)

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.

Reign of Fire (Sep 1)

Dragons have taken over the world, driving humanity into a post-apocalyptic existence. One little pocket of humanity ekes out a hardscrabble life in the British wilderness. Their lives are upended when a group of American soldiers arrive with plans to kill all of the dragons and take back the planet. But will their plans succeed against the biggest, baddest dragon of them all? Reign of Fire succeeds because it never forgets that it’s a glorified “B” movie. That, and it has dragons. Lots of really cool dragons.

The Transporter (Sep 1)

Jason Statham is Frank Martin, an elite getaway driver who operates according to a strict code. But when he breaks that code, he finds himself on the run with a beautiful woman (Shu Qi) and hunted by his former employers. Directed by Hong Kong action legend Corey Yuen, The Transporter is a slicker-than-slick and eminently enjoyable action movie that blends Hong Kong style martial arts with crazy auto stuntwork. The picturesque Mediterranean backdrop is a nice touch, too.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, Season One (Sep 2)

With a price tag of over $1 billion, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is the most expensive TV series of all time. And it certainly looks that way, from the epic shots to the impressive designs and effects. But of course, it remains to be seen how Amazon’s series will handle the storyline. The Rings of Power is set thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, during the Second Age of Middle-earth. The world is currently at peace, but some suspect that a new evil is beginning to rise, with potentially cataclysmic consequences for all of the free peoples of Middle-earth.

Ambulance (Sep 30)

Will Sharp is a former soldier who needs money for his wife’s operation. His criminal brother Danny offers to help him out if Will helps out on a bank job. Naturally, things go sideways and the two brothers go on the run in an ambulance after taking hostages. Let’s be honest, sometimes you need a little Bayhem, and Ambulance received a surprising amount of critical praise for its action sequences and Michael Bay’s direction.

Here’s everything arriving on Amazon Prime Video in September 2022.


Disney+

Thor: Love and Thunder (Sep 8)

Taika Waititi and Chris Hemsworth reunite for another Thor movie. This time around, the God of Thunder must not only track down a malevolent entity intent on killing all of the gods, he must also contend with the reappearance of his ex-girlfriend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) who now wields his old hammer Mjolnir and has become the Mighty Thor. Overall, Love and Thunder received less acclaim than its predecessor, 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, though many critics still praised the film’s performances and colorful visuals.

Star Wars: Andor, Season One (Sep 21)

You wanted more Star Wars, you’re getting more Star Wars. Set five years before Rogue One, Andor explores the earliest days of the Rebellion through the eyes of Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), a cynical thief who joins the Rebel Alliance after The Empire destroys his homeworld. Featuring episodes written by Tony Gilroy (Rogue One) and Dan Gilroy (The Bourne Legacy, Nightcrawler), Andor also stars Stellan Skarsgård and Forest Whitaker. (Andor was originally supposed to premier on August 31 but got moved to September.)

Here’s everything arriving on Disney+ in September 2022.


Hulu

Batman Begins (Sep 1)

Before Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale came along, the Caped Crusader hadn’t fared too well on the silver screen. True, Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman was enjoyable in a campy way, thanks to an ultra-gothic aesthetic, Jack Nicholson’s over-the-top Joker, and a funky Prince soundtrack. But it wasn’t until Nolan’s Batman Begins that the world’s greatest detective truly came into his own.

Chronicle (Sep 1)

When a group of high school students discover a strange meteorite that gives them superpowers, the world becomes their oyster. But when one of them slowly begins to slip into villain territory, how will his friends respond. Chronicle is an interesting take on the superhero genre, not the least of which is its “found footage” approach to storytelling in the form of footage from cellphones and videocameras.

Fight Club (Sep 1)

When it was released in 1999, Fight Club generated no small amount of controversy due to its dark, seemingly nihilistic plot about a couple of guys (Edward Norton, Brad Pitt) who start an underground fight club that eventually grows into an anarchist cell. But all of the hullabaloo over the film’s darkness and violence overlooked the fact that it also made some valid points about the hollowness of consumerism and materialism (read my review). Since then, Fight Club’s reputation has grown, with some critics calling it a defining movie of the late 20th century.

The Fisher King (Sep 1)

Terry Gilliam directs this thought-provoking fantasy-comedy about a former radio shock-jock guilt-ridden by the damage his on-air vitriol has caused who meets up with a homeless man who claims that he’s on a quest to find the Holy Grail. But the two men have a tragic connection that threatens to undo both of them. The Fisher King stars Robin Williams in one of his most memorable performances alongside Jeff Bridges and Amanda Plummer.

Lupin III: The First (Sep 2)

Lupin the Third is one of the most famous and celebrated media franchises in Japan, spawning numerous comics, TV series, and films. Directed by Takashi Yamazaki, Lupin III: The First is one of the latest incarnations, and boasts some truly jaw-dropping animation. In his latest adventure, master thief Arsène Lupin III races against Nazis in pursuit of an incredible treasure. Lupin III: The First was nominated “Animation of the Year” at the 43rd Japan Academy Awards.

Petite Maman (Sep 6)

One of 2021’s most acclaimed films, Petite Maman is a fantasy drama about a young girl grieving her grandmother’s recent death. One day, she strikes up a friendship with another young girl who — surprise! — turns out to be her mother when she was a child. The resulting film is what one critic called “a delicate, powerfully acted meditation on grief.”

Here’s everything arriving on Hulu in September 2022.


Netflix

A Clockwork Orange (Sep 1)

In Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of the Anthony Burgess novel, a young man (played by Malcolm McDowell) obsessed with sex, violence, and Beethoven is subjected to a controversial treatment to cure his anti-social desires, but it all goes wrong. The film was originally rated “X” and stirred up considerable controversy due to its graphic content. It wasn’t even widely available in the UK until after Kubrick’s death, nearly 30 years after its initial release.

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (Sep 1)

Yeah, baby… Mike Myers’ original send-up of James Bond movies and ’60s swinger culture is very much a product of its time (the late ’90s). And though the sequels ran the joke into the ground (and then dug it up and re-ran it back into the ground), the original is still quite a lot of good fun, as Myers’ shagadelic super-spy must come to terms with the modern era after he’s re-thawed to take on the nefarious Dr. Evil (also played by Myers).

Road House (Sep 1)

The Double Deuce is the rowdiest bar around, filled with violence and corruption, and it’s going to take a special man to bring things under control. Enter Dalton, whose as quick with a roundhouse kick as he is a nugget of Zen wisdom. Forget about Dirty Dancing. Road House is Patrick Swayze’s most iconic performance, and I’m pretty sure Andy Dwyer would agree with me.

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, Season One

Inspired by the Cyberpunk 2077 video game and produced by Studio Trigger (Kill la Kill, Promare), Cyberpunk: Edgerunners follows the exploits of a gang of cybernetically enhanced mercenaries trying to survive in Night City. Given the source material and production team involved, I’m pretty sure these ten episodes are going to be pure sensory and style overload, for better or worse.

Here’s everything arriving on Netflix in September 2022.