Now that cinemas are slowly reopening, the film industry is working hard to tempt people out of their lockdown hibernation. This means some big blockbuster new film releases this month, such as Christopher Nolan’s much hyped psychological thriller Tenet. But for those not ready to brave the cinema yet, there’s plenty of excellent content to stream, from Netflix’s all-star Enola Holmes to Amazon’s rom-com Chemical Hearts. So whether you’re headed for your first trip back to the cinema, or simply want to know the best new releases to stream at home, these are the ten best new films to watch in September.
Whether they’re a mind-bending sci-fi like Inception or dramatic wartime dramas like Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan pictures all share the same dark, psychological edge. Now Tenet, his latest film, promises to continue that tradition, this time with the story of a secret agent fighting to ensure the survival of the human species.
Starring BlacKkKlansman’s John David Washington and Twilight’s Robert Pattinson, Tenet sees a CIA agent recruited by a mysterious organisation for a global mission to stop World War III. The key to saving the world? The physics of time travel. Expect to spend a long time unpacking this film after you leave the cinema.
In cinemas now
This French film would easily fool you into thinking it’s a romantic comedy – and while Perfumes is certainly funny, the romance doesn’t come as expected. Guillaume is a divorced chauffeur looking to make enough money to keep custody of his teenage daughter. But after getting points on his license, his job is hanging by a thread.
It’s for this reason he takes a role with Mademoiselle Anne Walberg, a famous nose who has developed countless big name perfumes, and who is also the boss from hell. While this might seem like a meet-cute that leads to love, don’t expect the obvious ending. On a side note, it’s a great insight into the scent industry, too.
In cinemas now
Comic thriller Sheep Without A Shepherd was a hit in recently reopened Chinese cinemas, so expect it to be the foreign language film of the season. Li Weijie lives in Thailand, where he runs an internet equipment business and spends his spare time watching films. It’s a life he’s satisfied with, less so his family.
But when his wife and daughter accidentally kill an entitled rich kid who has been blackmailing his daughter for sexual favours, Weijie must rely on the knowledge he has gleaned from movies in order to dispose of the body. Can he pull it off? Fans of Parasite will enjoy this.
In cinemas now
Tom Holland and Robert Pattinson star in this gothic American horror based on Donald Ray Pollock’s novel, The Devil All The Time. In the deeply religious town of Knockemstiff, Ohio, Arvin (Holland) is celebrating his birthday. The gift he receives? A gun which his late father, Willard, brought back with him from World War II.
But Willard was troubled – his experience of war was brutal. In a flashback, we see him witness a fellow soldier skinned and crucified alive. This trauma carries through his family, yet that legacy keeps good company – every resident of Knockemstiff harbours a dark, dangerous secret. Looks like Arvin’s gun is going to come in handy…
Streaming on Netflix from 16 September
A woman on the verge of breaking up with her boyfriend doesn’t seem like a particularly creepy concept. But writer and director Charlie Kaufman proves himself capable of creating horror in the claustrophobia of the mundane. I’m Thinking of Ending Things is bleak and bonkers, but exactly what you’d expect from Kaufman’s wild imagination.
Jessie Buckley plays the nameless troubled lead, who has seemingly drifted into a relationship with the incredibly dull Jake. Now, she’s set to meet his parents – a step which makes her consider ending it. The question is, does she mean the relationship or her life? No wonder it has been described as Kaufman’s most challenging work yet.
Streaming on Netflix from 4 September
A bout of teenage rebellion in Tehran leads to a full scale family crisis in this striking debut from Iranian-Canadian director Sadaf Foroughi. Ava is an intelligent, gifted student, but she’s beginning to lose patience with her life. Meanwhile her mother Bahar is an overworked doctor, who craves control over both her career and her increasingly defiant daughter.
After an innocent interaction with a boy, Bahar is left hysterically suspicious that Ava has ruined her reputation. Her answer? To take her daughter to a doctor to ensure her virginity is still intact – just one of the cruelties Ava suffers in this film about misogyny, everyday tyranny and family politics.
Streaming now on Amazon Prime
An interesting spin on the classic detective series – Millie Bobbi Brown takes centre stage as Enola Holmes, Sherlock’s younger sister. Set in 19th century England, this comedy action film sees super-sleuth Enola escape her stuffy finishing school in order to hunt for her newly missing mother, played by Helena Bonham Carter.
Little does she know, brothers Sherlock (Henry Cavill) and Mycroft (Sam Claflin) are hot on her tail to track her down. But while she manages to evade them, Enola becomes entangled in a mystery surrounding a young runaway aristocrat and exposes a conspiracy theory which threatens life as she knows it. A fun, feminist reboot.
Streaming on Netflix from 23 September
Based on the novel by Krystal Sutherland, coming-of-age rom-com Chemical Hearts initially looks like standard fare: a high school senior Henry falls in love with the transfer student in a classic tale of the chaos and confusion of teenage life. But new girl Grace comes with a secret that she is reluctant to share.
After finding her in a cemetery, Henry discovers Grace was visiting the grave of her former boyfriend who died in a car crash – an accident which left her leg seriously injured and her heart broken. Riverdale’s Lili Reinhart gives a stellar performance in the role of Grace, but it’s worth watching for the excellent soundtrack alone.
Available now on Amazon Prime
In anticipation of the 2020 Presidential Election later this year, this timely documentary looks at the issue of voter suppression in the United States. Fronted by Stacey Abrams, former Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives, the film offers an insider look at this insidious problem for American democracy.
Using personal experience, current activism and historical context, All In: The Fight For Democracy explores the laws and barriers to voting which most of the population don’t even realise pose a threat to their rights as American citizens. Spoiler alert: it’s truly terrifying. Eye-opening viewing for anyone with their heads currently turned West in trepidation.
Streaming on Amazon Prime Video from 18 September
Mulan was initially slated to be released in cinemas back in March, so to say this remake of the Disney classic is eagerly anticipated is an understatement. While fans of the original will be disappointed that Mushu and the well-loved musical numbers have been scrapped, the stunning visuals more than make up for it.
The story of a young Chinese girl who disguises herself as a warrior and enlists in the army to save her ailing father, Mulan is held up as a feminist icon amongst the Disney princesses. But this film is also the media giant’s first live action remake featuring an all-Asian cast, making it an important release in Disney history.
Streaming on Disney + from 4 September