What to Watch in September: New ‘Lord of the Rings,’ Star Wars ‘Andor’ and an ‘American Gigalo’ Remake

·8 min read
1039826-1-1 - Credit: Disney+
1039826-1-1 - Credit: Disney+

Looking for something to watch this month? September is a great month for old favorites.

In theaters you can revisit Spider-Man: No Way Home, Jaws, and Avatar. At home, viewers can watch the returns of Abbott Elementary, The Handmaid’s Tale, Atlanta, The Good Fight, Los Espookys, Rick and Morty and more.

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But not all of September’s most promising choices are familiar. There’s plenty of new stuff to take in, too, even if some of it is set in familiar fantasy worlds, like one of the month’s biggest premieres. But let’s kick things off with an intriguing animated series.

Pantheon (AMC+ September 1)

AMC isn’t known for animated dramas but that could change with this new series based on the work of science fiction writer Ken Liu. Katie Chang voices the teenage Maddie, who unexpectedly begins communicating with her late father (Daniel Dad Kim), who uploaded his consciousness to the cloud prior to his death. The supporting cast includes Rosemarie DeWitt and the late William Hurt. Watch on AMC here.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (Prime Video, September 2)

If you thought we were done with stories of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, think again. Set thousands of years before the events of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, this ambitious, and expensive, new series chronicles Middle Earth’s Second Age, in which sinister forces creep into a land still recovering from that last great conflict between good and evil. Expect dwarves, elves, and orcs by the boatload. Watch with a 30-day free trial to Amazon Prime Video here.

Tell Me Lies (Hulu, September 7)

Based on Carola Lovering’s 2018 novel, this series traces a few tumultuous years in the lives of Lucy (Grace Van Patten) and Stephen (Jackson White), a couple who meet as college freshmen and embark on a relationship that threatens to spin out of control. Watch with a free trial to Hulu here.

Last Light (Peacock, September 8)

Returning to television after a long post-Lost absence, Matthew Fox stars opposite Joanna Froggatt in a miniseries adapted from an Alex Scarrow novel. He might be off the island but he’s still in peril: Fox stars as a petro-chemist desperately trying to keep his family safe as the world’s oil supply grinds to a halt. Watch on Peacock here.

Speak No Evil (Theaters, September 9)

Even hardened festival veterans were shocked when this darkly comic Danish film premiered at this year’s Sundance. Directed by Christian Tafdrup, the film follows a Danish family after they make the mistake of visiting a couple they met on vacation at their rural home in the Netherlands where they learn politeness could get them in a world of trouble.

American Gigolo (Showtime, September 11)

Paul Schrader’s 1980 film American Gigolo helped make a star of Richard Gere by casting him as a high-end sex worker specializing in meeting the needs of lonely women. Schrader and Gere have nothing to do with this series, but it does star the always compelling Jon Bernthal as Julian Kay, the character Gere originated, who’s now trying to figure out where he belongs in contemporary L.A. after a stint in prison. Watch with a free trial to Showtime here.

Moonage Daydream (IMAX, September 16)

Brett Morgen (The Kid Stays in the Picture, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck) convinced the estate of David Bowie to grant him unprecedented access to Bowie’s archives for his latest film. The result, which runs over two hours long and spans the entirety of Bowie’s life, won acclaim when it debuted at Cannes earlier this year. It’s premiering only on IMAX screens, which seems apt: Bowie never did anything by half-measures.

The Woman King (Theaters, September 16)

For centuries, the African nation of Dahomey was home to the Agojie, called the Dahomey Amazons by some, an all-female military unit known for its ferocity. Gina Prince-Blythewood directs this drama starring Viola Davis as General Nanisca, an Agojie leader urgently trying to shape a new generation of warriors.

Confess, Fletch (Theaters / VOD, September 16)

Directors have tried for years to revive the adventures of Irwin Maurice “Fletch” Fletcher, the investigative reporter created by Gregory McDonald and played by Chevy Chase in a pair of Eighties films. Maybe Fletch was just waiting for Jon Hamm to play him, since that seems like a pretty nifty bit of casting. Directed by Gregg Mottola (Superbad), the film is hitting theaters and VOD before making its Showtime premiere next month.

Pearl (Theaters, September 16)

Ti West and Mia Goth teamed up earlier this year for the terrific ‘70s-set horror film X and apparently decided to keep the ball rolling with Pearl. Set during World War I, it provides an origin story for the villain at the heart of X. (And if you haven’t  seen that yet, maybe watch it to avoid any further spoilers.)

See How They Run (Theaters, September 16)

Sam Rockwell and Saoirse Ronan co-star as a pair of 1950s police officers trying to solve a backstage murder in London’s theater scene in a fun-looking comedy co-starring Adrian Brody, David Oyelowo, and Harris Dickinson (as Richard Attenborough).

Reboot (Hulu, September 20)

Modern Family co-creator Steven Levitan makes his return to the sitcom world but his latest comes at it from a different angle. This new series stars Keegan-Michael Key, Judy Greer, Johnny Knoxville, Paul Reiser, Rachel Bloom, Calum Worthy and Krista Marie Yu as the cast of an early 2000s sitcom who reunite — uneasily — when their show gets a second life. Watch with a free trial to Hulu here.

Andor (Disney+, September 21)

The 2016 film Rogue One: A Star Wars story offered a grittier sort of Star Wars tale than we’d gotten on the big screen before via characters wrapped up in espionage, sabotage, and other secretive acts of warfare. Nothing else in the Star Wars universe has really built on that development, but that’s apparently about to change. Diego Luna reprises his role as Caspian Andor for this prequel series created by Tony Gilroy, who played a major part in shaping Rogue One. Watch on Disney+ here.

Meet Cute (Peacock, September 21)

Palm Springs proved that a variation on Groundhog Day’s premise, in which characters live through the same day over and over again, could work in the rom-com world. In the spirit of repetition, this new rom-com appears to want to prove it again. Kaley Cuoco plays Sheila, a woman who tries to fix a troubled first date with Gary (Pete Davidson). Watch on Peacock here.

Blonde (Netflix, September 23)

Andrew Dominik’s (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) adaptation of a Joyce Carol Oates novel inspired by the life of Marilyn Monroe has generated a lot of controversy sight-unseen, thanks to an NC-17 rating and reports of graphic sexual content. Starring Ana de Armas as Monroe, it will likely be shocking but Dominik’s presence suggests it won’t just be shocking for shock’s sake. Adrien Brody and Bobby Cannavale co-star as, respectively, Arthur Miller and Joe DiMaggio. Watch on Netflix here.

Don’t Worry Darling (Theaters, September 23)

Speaking of pre-release press, it will be tough for this film to escape the stories of production troubles and personal drama that have preceded it. But it at least sounds intriguing. Olivia Wilde directs a Fifties-set drama in which Florence Pugh plays a housewife who makes some disturbing discoveries regarding her husband’s (Harry Styles) job.

Sidney (Apple TV+, September 23)

“Groundbreaking” doesn’t adequately sum up the career of Sidney Poitier, an actor, director, and activist who pushed past barriers in the 1950s and 1960s and kept pushing for the rest of his life. Reginald Hudlin directs this documentary covering Poitier’s life and career and featuring interviews with those he knew and influenced. Watch with a free trial to Apple TV here.

On the Come Up (Paramount+, September 23)

Sanaa Lathan makes her directorial debut helming this adaptation of a 2019 novel by Angie Thomas (The Hate U Give) about a teenager trying to find her place in the world of battle rap. Jamila C. Gray leads a cast that includes Lathan, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Mike Epps, and Method Man. Watch with a free trial to Paramnount+ here.

Bros (Theaters, September 30)

Tired: it’s time for more rom-coms. Wired: it’s time for more rom-coms with Billy Eichner. Eichner co-stars and co-writes this new romantic comedy directed by Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) playing one half of a could-be couple opposite Luke MacFarlane.

Smile (Theaters, September 30)

Up-and-coming horror director Parker Finn expands his 2020 short “Laura Hasn’t Slept” for his feature debut, the story of a doctor who starts to experience some spooky occurrences. Sosie Bacon (Mare of Easttown) stars, heading a cast that includes Jessie T. Usher, Kal Penn, and Rob Morgan.

The Greatest Beer Run Ever (Theaters/Apple TV+, September 30)

Based on a true story previously turned into a short documentary, Peter Farrelly’s follow-up to the Best Picture-winning Green Book stars Zac Efron and Russell Crowe as two men trying to sneak into Vietnam at the height of the Vietnam War to deliver beer and good cheer to American soldiers mired in combat. Watch with a free trial to Apple TV here.

My Best Friend’s Exorcism (Prime Video, September 30)

Fans of horror fiction have learned to keep a lookout for Grady Hendrix’s offbeat novels, which tread the line between what’s funny and what’s funny with tremendous expertise. This film adapts Hendrix’s 2016 novel of the same name and stars Elsie Fisher as a teenager who comes to believe her best friend (Amiah Miller) might have picked up a demon somewhere. Watch with a 30-day free trial to Amazon Prime Video here.

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