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September 2023’s Best Streaming Titles: 2001, Dracula, The Lego Movie, Band of Brothers, Star Trek: Lower Decks

Bela Lugosi, Emmet Brickowski, Easy Company, the USS Cerritos, and more.
The Lego Movie - Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Emmet Brickowski and his friends are searching for the Piece of Resistance in The Lego Movie

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

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Amazon Prime Video

10 Things I Hate About You (Sep 1)

Before he was the Joker, Heath Ledger was Patrick Verona, a mysterious bad boy hired to win the heart of Julia Stiles’ Katarina in this modern retelling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. While it could’ve been little more than a ’90s high school rom-com, 10 Things I Hate About You shines thanks to a smart script and a wonderful cast that includes Ledger, Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Krumholtz, and Larry Miller as the Stratford sister’s over-protective father.

2001: A Space Odyssey (Sep 1)

A giant monolith of non-human origin is found buried on the moon’s surface, and its signal sends a group of astronauts to Jupiter to find the signal’s origin. Not only must the astronauts contend with facing an alien intelligence, but they must also deal with their ship’s increasingly erratic AI. One of cinema’s most iconic titles, 2001: A Space Odyssey blends ambitious storytelling about the origins and destiny of mankind with visual effects still feel groundbreaking to this day; it has subsequently been the subject of countless tributes and parodies, attesting to its cultural significance.

Army of Darkness (Sep 1)

Army of Darkness isn’t as good as Evil Dead II, but it’s still a horror comedy classic thanks to Bruce Campbell’s performance of the hapless — and handless — Ash Williams and Sam Raimi’s inventive directing. When Ash is transported back to the Middle Ages through his own cluelessness, he must use his 20th century wisdom — and his boomstick — to defend the land from the encroaching Deadite forces.

The Bourne Identity (Sep 1)

Matt Damon stars in this slick action thriller about a man who is pulled from the ocean with a couple of bullets in his back and no memories. As he tries to rediscover his past, he discovers an array of deadly and unusual skills — skills that’ll come in handy when he finds himself in the middle of an international conspiracy. Directed by Doug Liman and based on Robert Ludlum’s novel, The Bourne Identity kicked off the Bourne franchise, which thrilled moviegoers throughout the ’00s.

Bowling For Columbine (Sep 1)

Michael Moore’s blustery, confrontational approach to documentary filmmaking has been controversial on all sides of the political spectrum. As such, it’s tempting to dismiss his films as mere propaganda. Doing so with Bowling for Columbine would be a mistake, however. The Oscar-winning documentary explores the causes behind gun violence, especially the 1999 massacre at Colorado’s Columbine High School. Moore’s documentary is by turns thoughtful, disturbing, over-the-top, and bleakly funny, but given America’s ongoing gun violence problem, it’s probably still (and sadly) all-too relevant.

Children of Men (Sep 1)

Alfonso Cuarón’s gripping dystopic movie (adapted from the P. D. James novel) is set in a world where humanity is on the brink of extinction because of global infertility. It boasts some solid performances, particularly from Clive Owen as a former activist tasked with escorting a young refugee who may hold the key to saving humanity. It also boasts some bravura filmmaking in the form of some brilliant single-shot sequences, including a thrilling car chase.

Dracula (Sep 1)

Tod Browning’s Dracula was one of the earliest adaptations of Bram Stoker’s classic horror novel, and the first sound film adaptation. The film is arguably best known for Bela Lugosi’s portrayal of the titular character, and his version of Dracula as a elegant, eccentric, and menacing nobleman has since become an archetypal take on the character. Dracula was an instant success upon its release, and spawned numerous sequels and spin-offs, including a crossover with Abbott and Costello.

Sense and Sensibility (Sep 1)

Emma Thompson spent five years adapting Jane Austen’s classic novel, and the result is a lavish and utterly delightful adaptation directed by Ang Lee and starring Thompson, Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet, and Hugh Grant. Released in 1995, the film was a massive commercial and critical success. The film received seven Academy Awards nominations, with Thompson winning an Oscar for “Best Adapted Screenplay.”

Here’s everything arriving on Amazon Prime Video in September 2023.


Hulu

Chronicle (Sep 1)

When three high schoolers begin developing superpowers after encountering a bizarre crystal, they wrestle with the implications — especially when one of them, who has been bullied and abused his entire life, begins using his powers in increasingly negative and destructive ways. Chronicle is a classic coming-of-age superhero origin story, but its use of found footage (i.e., the film makes heavy use of the teens’ video diaries) puts a fresh spin on the genre.

The Lego Movie (Sep 1)

I’ll admit, I had very low expectations for The Lego Movie when it was originally announced. But I need not have worried: The Lego Movie turned out to be way more delightful, inventive, and affecting than I could’ve expected. When a lowly Lego guy named Emmet Brickowski (voiced by Chris Pratt) finds himself in possession of a powerful relic, he’s drawn into a conflict between freedom fighters and an evil overlord that will completely change his view of the world. The Lego Movie also features the voice talents of Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Alison Brie, Will Ferrell, and Morgan Freeman (to name a few).

Raising Arizona (Sep 1)

One of the Coen Brothers’ earliest films, Raising Arizona remains one of their best and most beloved films, blending slapstick comedy and madcap filmmaking with a heart of gold. When a down-on-his-luck thief and his police officer wife are unable to have kids, they decide to kidnap one. But in doing so, they set off a wild chain of events involving escaped convicts, a wife-swapping pervert, and a bounty hunter straight from the bowels of Hell.

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.

Mad Max: Fury Road (Sep 9)

George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road is an absolute juggernaut of a film, from its mind-blowing visuals of an apocalyptic wasteland to some of the most insane and over-the-top action sequences in recent history. Indeed, you’ll often find yourself wondering how no one died during the making of this film. Even more surprising, though, are the quiet and even hauntingly beautiful moments that Miller intersperses amongst the action and chaos.

Here’s everything arriving on Hulu in September 2023.


Max

Blade II (Sep 1)

The first Blade movie was an OK superhero movie, but Blade II benefits greatly from both Guillermo del Toro’s direction and Donnie Yen’s fight choreography, both of which go along nicely with Wesley Snipe’s brand of bad-assery. The result is a solid superhero/action/horror hybrid, as the titular superhero (Snipes) must defend both humans and vampires from a new threat.

Source Code (Sep 1)

When Colter Stevens wakes up on a train heading into Chicago, he’s in a different body and has a different name — only to die in a terrorist attack. When he reawakens on the same train, he believes he’s in a military simulation, but the truth is far stranger and more disturbing. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, and Vera Farmiga, and directed by Duncan Jones (Moon, Mute), Source Code was one of 2011’s most acclaimed Hollywood movies.

THX 1138 (Sep 1)

Before Star Wars, George Lucas directed this dystopic sci-fi feature starring Robert Duvall as the titular THX 1138, a mindless drone who lives in a vast city patrolled by faceless android police. Although emotions are strictly forbidden, THX begins to develop them anyway, eventually falling in love with his roommate LUH 3417 — which puts them at odds with the totalitarian system ruling the city. With its bleak style, minimal dialog, and spartan effects, THX 1138 stands in stark contrast to George Lucas’ Star Wars films, and almost feels like it was made by a different person altogether (read my review).

Here’s everything arriving on Max in September 2023.


Netflix

Arrival (Sep 1)

One of the very best sci-fi films in recent years, Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival is a thought-provoking film unlike any alien invasion film you’ve seen. When strange alien ships appear around the globe, the military asks a linguist (Amy Adams) to help decipher the alien’s strange language. But as she begins to understand it, the language begins to affect her in mysterious ways. Arrival’s slow pace may frustrate some, but Villeneuve’s direction is masterful, the cinematography is gorgeous, the concepts are fascinating, and the soundtrack by Jóhann Jóhannsson is incredible.

Jaws (Sep 1)

Steven Spielberg’s classic 1975 thriller about a shark menacing a popular beach and the various efforts to try and kill it is widely considered to be the first summer blockbuster film, and it was the highest grossing film of all time until Star Wars came along in 1977. In many ways, Jaws set the template for the modern movie industry in terms of release schedules and marketing, and its influence on filmmakers is incalculable. It’s also infamous for having driven at least one person mad, in a case of “cinematic neurosis.”

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (Sep 1)

I’m not sure where Curse of the Were-Rabbit falls in the Wallace & Gromit pantheon (though I do know that The Wrong Trousers occupies the top spot). But no matter, really: any Wallace & Gromit film is going to be more creative, whimsical, and delightful than the vast majority of films out there. Parodying classic horror films, Curse follows the exploits of a cheese-loving inventor who tries to stop a monstrous rabbit creature from disrupting the town’s annual giant vegetable competition, with hilarious and spine-tingling results.

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (Sep 5)

One of the most quotable films of the early ’00s, Anchorman follows the exploits of Ron Burgundy, San Diego’s most famous anchorman circa 1974. But after his station hires a new female anchor, Burgundy’s status is threatened by her increasing popularity. The over-the-top, absurdist comedy — which showcases Burgundy’s jazz flute talents and features an epic news team brawl — features a packed cast that includes Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, Vince Vaughn, Fred Willard, and many more.

Band of Brothers (Sep 15)

Originally airing on HBO back in 2001, and based on Stephen E. Ambrose’s book, Band of Brothers follows the soldiers of Easy Company from training to their various battles in Europe throughout World War II. The series’ inclusion of interviews with the real members of Easy Company adds to its power and poignancy. Band of Brothers received widespread critical acclaim for its depiction of World War II and the heroism of those who fought in it, though its viewership suffered after HBO ceased all marketing after the events of 9/11.

Here’s everything arriving on Netflix in September 2023.


Paramount+

Star Trek: Lower Decks, Season Four (Sep 7)

The crew of the USS Cerritos is back for another season of animated Star Trek hijinks. Season three found the crew uncovering and preventing a Starfleet conspiracy and gaining a new crew member. But this season, they’re tasked with determining whose behind a series of suspicious attacks. And of course, deal with holodeck waste removal and the potential return of the evil Badgey while riffing on anything and everything that we love about Star Trek.

Here’s everything arriving on Paramount+ in September 2023.

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