Briefing

What to watch in September, from Andor to Don't Worry Darling

Say hello to shorter days — and longer nights for new movies and TV shows

August was a rather light month for new movies, but things are looking up in September thanks to some possible Oscar contenders and highly anticipated sequels. On TV, meanwhile, the most expensive show ever made is set to debut. Here are the biggest new movies and shows to watch in September:

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (Sept. 1)

Has Amazon forged the one streaming series to rule them all, or has Jeff Bezos flushed half a billion dollars down the drain? That's the question heading into The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, a massive bet from Prime Video and reportedly the most expensive TV series of all time. Set thousands of years before the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the show will depict the forging of the Rings of Power and the rise of Sauron, leading up to the Dark Lord's alleged defeat that we see in The Fellowship of the Ring's prologue. Young versions of Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and Elrond (Robert Aramayo) lead the series alongside a whole bunch of new characters, including plenty of Dwarves and Harfoots (which are pretty much just Hobbits). When the series premieres, there will officially be two dueling fantasy series on the air simultaneously, and House of the Dragon has set the bar pretty high. No pressure! 

Pinocchio (Sept. 8)

Some Disney fan out there clearly wished upon a star for an avalanche of Pinocchio content, and their wish has come true. There's not one, but two new versions of Pinocchio debuting before the end of the year, and first up is this one from Disney: A live-action version of the studio's 1940 animated movie. Tom Hanks stars as Geppetto, while Cynthia Erivo plays the Blue Fairy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt voices Jiminy Cricket. This isn't to be confused with that other Pinocchio movie, the stop-motion animated one Guillermo del Toro is making for Netflix. Disney's movie, though, is directed by Robert Zemeckis, and it's part of the company's quest to remake nearly its entire catalog in live-action. But for whatever reason — maybe because the live-action Dumbo wasn't a hit — Pinocchio is skipping theaters. It instead hits streaming on Sept. 8 to celebrate something called "Disney+ Day," which will presumably become a new federal holiday once Disney completes its takeover of planet Earth. 

Clerks III (Sept. 13) 

We assure you, Clerks III is opening this September. Kevin Smith returns to the film that launched his career with this comedy sequel, which sees Jeff Anderson and Brian O'Halloran return as convenience store workers Randal and Dante. But the third entry comes with a meta twist: After Randal survives a heart attack, he decides to make a movie about his experiences at the convenience store — a movie much like, well, the original 1994 Clerks. To add another meta layer, the story was inspired by Smith's own 2018 heart attack. "This is a much more personal story than the previous incarnation," Smith said, also telling Deadline it's an "emotional movie." Rosario Dawson reprises her role from Clerks II, while Smith and Jason Mewes return as Jay and Silent Bob, and Ben Affleck even has a cameo. Smith hasn't received much critical love in recent years, so will Clerks III be a return to form, or will it make viewers cry out that they weren't even supposed to be here today? 

The Woman King (Sept. 16)

Before Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, check out another team of highly skilled female African warriors in the historical drama The Woman King. Starring Viola Davis, the film is based on the true story of the "most exceptional female warriors to ever live," as the trailer puts it: The Agojie, who protected the West African kingdom Dahomey in the 1800s. They also served as inspiration for the fictional Dora Milaje from Black Panther. Davis plays General Nanisca, who "trains the next generation of recruits and readies them for battle against an enemy determined to destroy their way of life," per the plot description. Star Wars' John Boyega plays King Ghezo, and the cast also includes No Time to Die's Lashana Lynch. Gina Prince-Bythewood, who helmed Netflix's action flick The Old Guard, directs. On top of starring, Davis produced the film, and she teased to Vanity Fair, "I've never had a role like this before. It's transformative." Long may she reign. 

See How They Run (Sept. 16)

Get ready to spend an entire film wondering, "Wait, did Wes Anderson really not direct this?" Those looking for a Knives Out fix ahead of the actual Knives Out sequel might want to check out See How They Run, a new murder mystery comedy from Searchlight Pictures. Sam Rockwell stars as Inspector Stoppard, who teams up with rookie Constable Stalker (Saoirse Ronan) to solve a mystery: A film version of a hit play is in the works when one of the crew members is murdered. "The two find themselves thrown into a puzzling whodunit within the glamorously sordid theater underground, investigating the mysterious homicide at their own peril," the plot synopsis says. Adrien Brody, David Oyelowo, and Ruth Wilson also star. It looks like a light-hearted romp in the vein of Only Murders in the Building, and the trailer definitely gives off some major Wes Anderson vibes, though Tom George actually directed it. Or did he? 

Pearl (Sept. 16)

It's not often you see a film and its follow-up released in the same calendar year. But just six months after Ti West's excellent slasher X comes this prequel, which was shot before the first movie came out. X involved a film crew traveling to a Texas farm and being terrorized by an elderly woman named Pearl (played by Mia Goth under tons of makeup.) So Pearl flashes back to 1918 to tell the villain's origin story. At this point, Pearl is caring for her sick father at that farm we later see in X, and she aspires to be a movie star. But it's clear from the bloody trailer that homicidal tendencies weren't exactly a late addition to her life. "I always felt like if you're going to make a slasher movie, you have to make a bunch of sequels," West told the Los Angeles Times, teasing a potential third entry after Pearl. Could Mia Goth be poised to become our new female Jason Voorhees? Get ready for Pearl Goes to Space.

Reboot (Sept. 20)

Could our new 30 Rock be on the way courtesy of Hulu? From the co-creator of Modern Family comes Reboot, a new comedy about the making of a fictional sitcom reboot. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's Rachel Bloom stars as the writer who pitches the idea for the reboot, and Johnny Knoxville, Keegan-Michael Key, and Judy Greer play the original stars — who haven't had super fruitful acting careers since the show went off the air. Brought back together, the cast "must deal with their unresolved issues in today's fast-changing world." That should make way for some sharp satire about modern Hollywood and reboot culture — and even jokes at the expense of Hulu, the streamer airing this very series. The trailer ends with a Hulu executive remarking she's "new to humor," only to reveal her job title is vice president of comedy. Yeah, sounds about right. We'll have to see if the show can be as hilarious as 30 Rock, but if so, our wish to make it 2007 again through science or magic may just be coming true.  

Andor (Sept. 21)

You've heard of Star Wars prequels, but what about a prequel to a Star Wars prequel? The latest Disney+ Star Wars show Andor begins five years before Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, following Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) before his fateful mission to steal the Death Star plans. But the show also seems to be about the early Rebel Alliance in general, and we should get our most substantive look yet into how the Galactic Senate functions during the Empire's reign. Genevieve O'Reilly stars as Mon Mothma, the future Rebel leader who at this point is still a senator. Forest Whitaker also returns as resistance fighter Saw Gerrera, and Star Wars newcomers include Stellan Skarsgård and Fiona Shaw. Tony Gilroy, who famously worked on reshoots for Rogue One, created the series, and he tells Variety it will shine a light on the galaxy's everyday people, like "plumbers and cosmeticians." Gilroy also promised the series won't be overly focused on fan service — though we're still holding out hope for a Dexter Jettster cameo. 

Don't Worry Darling (Sept. 23)

There's been so much tabloid drama surrounding Don't Worry Darling, it's easy to forget there's an actual movie attached. Olivia Wilde's directorial follow-up to Booksmart is this psychological thriller starring Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, and Wilde herself. Pugh and Styles play a married couple living in an "experimental company town" that houses men working on the mysterious Victory Project in the 1950s. But Pugh's character soon suspects there's something ​sinister going on, and she "can't help questioning exactly what they're doing in Victory, and why," the synopsis says. Much of the film's plot is shrouded in mystery, but the trailer echoes The Stepford Wives, possibly with a bit of The Truman Show. Warner Bros. seems to have Oscar hopes, so could Pugh snag a Best Actress nod? The film will also give us our first real sense of Harry Styles' acting chops considering he didn't have a lot of dialogue in Dunkirk. You won't want to miss this one, unless your name is Jason Sudeikis. 

Blonde (Sept. 28)

Kim Kardashian might not be the only person to spark Marilyn Monroe-related backlash in 2022. Ana de Armas plays the Hollywood icon in Andrew Dominik's Blonde, though it's important to stress the Netflix film isn't a traditional biopic. Instead, it's based on Joyce Carol Oates' 2000 novel, which offers a fictional interpretation of Monroe's life. Netflix says that while the movie draws on real events, it "takes dramatic license," including various characters "based on historical figures as well as amalgams of people she might have known." Normally, Blonde would seem almost guaranteed to earn De Armas an Oscar nomination, but there's one problem that could turn some viewers off: The film has received a rare NC-17 rating for sexual content, likely due to the presence of a rape scene from the book. "It's a demanding movie," Dominik told Screen Daily. "If the audience doesn't like it, that's the f--king audience's problem. It's not running for public office." Whether critics love it or hate it, there should be no shortage of takes. 

Hocus Pocus 2 (Sept. 30)

Can everyone's favorite nostalgic Disney movie still cast a spell in this long-awaited follow-up? Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy return in Hocus Pocus 2 as the Sanderson sisters, a trio of witches who in the original 1993 film were accidentally resurrected by a young boy. This sequel takes place almost 30 years later in Salem, where the sisters are once again brought back by two young girls — and they're out for revenge. "Now it is up to three high-school students to stop the ravenous witches from wreaking a new kind of havoc on Salem before dawn on All Hallow's Eve," the plot description says. Veep stars Tony Hale and Sam Richardson also star, with Hale playing the mayor of Salem and Richardson playing the owner of the Olde Salem Magic Shoppe. The original movie wasn't a huge hit at the time, but it's since developed a cult status as a Halloween favorite, and the sequel hits Disney+ just in time for spooky season. 

Bros (Sept. 30)

Billy Eichner's latest film is set to make history: Bros will be the first gay romantic comedy ever released by a major studio to star an all-LGBTQ main cast. "Yes, even in all the straight roles," Eichner says. Universal describes it as a "smart, swoony, and heartfelt comedy about how hard it is to find another tolerable human being to go through life with," with Eichner starring as a gay man who ends up in a relationship with a guy who doesn't seem at all his type — "gay Tom Brady," as he puts it in the trailer. The rest of the cast includes Jim Rash and Bowen Yang, and it's directed by Nicholas Stoller, whose previous comedies include Neighbors and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. "After queer actors have spent decades watching straight actors capitalize both artistically and professionally by playing LGBTQ+ characters, it is a long overdue dream come true to be able to assemble this remarkable, hilarious cast," Eichner previously said. Plus, at this point, it's almost a miracle to see any studio comedy being released in theaters. 

The Greatest Beer Run Ever (Sept. 30)

Could Apple snag the Best Picture Oscar twice before Netflix even wins it once? Three years after Green Book shockingly defeated Roma to win Best Picture, director Peter Farrelly's follow-up film is The Greatest Beer Run Ever. Starring Zac Efron, it tells the true story of a Marine Corps veteran who decides to travel to Vietnam in 1967 to deliver beer to soldiers in an effort to show the troops that America is still on their side amid anti-war demonstrations back home. Bill Murray and Russell Crowe also star in the film, which is hitting Apple TV+ about two weeks after it premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival. Green Book's reception at TIFF is what helped rocket it to a Best Picture victory, so could Farrelly — whose other past films include Dumb and Dumber and There's Something About Mary — pull off the same trick twice? If Green Book is any indication, Sept. 30 is your chance for a first look at the movie critics may love to hate all Oscar season long. 

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