For many film buffs, the summer blockbuster season officially concludes on Labor Day weekend, signaling the start of the autumn awards season. The world is getting its first glimpse at the auteur-driven films that will be released over the coming several months, with the Telluride and Venice Film Festivals now underway (and the Toronto International Film Festival beginning next week).Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
However, the Lido is not required to see some of the month’s most anticipated festival premieres. Later this month, you may see some of Netflix’s most award-worthy films, which had their world premieres in Venice. Wes Anderson’s stop-motion version of a Roald Dahl short tale, “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar,” is the first in a series of four shorts he will film for Netflix, and it’s easily the most anticipated title of the bunch.
Critics in Venice were blown away by this short film, which, at only 37 minutes, served as the ideal finale to the visual feast that was “Asteroid City.” This month also sees the premiere of “El Conde,” Pablo Larrain’s genre-bending historical parody in which Augusto Pinochet is reimagined as a vampire.
Beyond that, there is a wealth of popular classics to rewatch in Netflix’s most recent round of additions to its film collection. There’s a film for every movie buff this month, from ’80s throwbacks to new masterworks by Martin Scorsese and Denis Villeneuve. Read on to see which seven films we think you should watch when they hit Netflix in September 2023.
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar: (Streaming September 27)
At just 37 minutes long, “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar” may not qualify as a “movie” in the traditional sense. The release of a new Wes Anderson film, however, is cause for celebration. Anderson, following up on the success of his 2001 film “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” returns to Roald Dahl’s canon with this charming rendition of the author’s iconic short tale, which is replete with elaborate dioramas.
Anderson’s most visually inventive film to date, according to IndieWire critic David Ehrlich: “Its in-your-face theatricality and manic bricolage of nested subplots are so aggressive that even the recent ‘Asteroid City’ — with its movie about a television program about a play within a play ‘about infinity and I don’t know what else’ construction — feels measured in comparison.” Anderson will direct four further short films based on Dahl’s tales for Netflix, with this one serving as the prologue.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High: (Now streaming)
The movie that launched the careers of Cameron Crowe and Sean Penn is a classic of 1980s teen cinema and a perennial favorite with Netflix viewers. Crowe spent a year posing as a high school student in order to research and publish a book that took a journalistically serious look at students’ interests in sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll; the resulting comedy by Amy Heckerling. A magnificent portrayal of high school hedonism, the film adaptation by Heckerling portrays the immense emotional swings that happen in the last years before joining the real world.
Arrival: (Now streaming)
If the news that “Dune: Part Two” won’t be released this year has left you feeling down, take comfort in the knowledge that one of Denis Villeneuve’s finest science fiction films is now available to stream on Netflix. Amy Adams plays a linguist in “Arrival” who is entrusted with documenting the extraterrestrial species’ language when they crash on Earth and try to communicate with humans. It’s one of the greatest instances of science fiction arguing for the value of the liberal arts, and Villeneuve achieves that rare combination of intellectual pondering and true heart that so many directors talk about but few truly pull off.
Stand by Me: (Now streaming)
A classic coming-of-age drama and Stephen King adaption, “Stand By Me” has a brilliant ensemble cast of future stars including River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton. Set in the made-up hamlet of Castle Rock, the film follows four teenagers as they come together to locate the corpse of a missing classmate. What seems like a Tom Sawyer-style adventure for boys soon becomes a touching drama as each youngster must face the impact that his or her family’s sadness has had on his or his upbringing.
The movie cuts back and forth in time between the actual journey and one of the guys writing a book about the experience later in life, and its bittersweet finale is one of the most powerful statements about time in recent film. Any compilation of the greatest closing scenes in cinema history should include this film.
The Wolf of Wall Street: (Streaming September 12)
The last weeks leading up to the release of “Killers of the Flower Moon” may be torturous for moviegoers who are dying to see Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio work again for the sixth time. Why not take a look back at their most recent project together while you wait? The success of “The Wolf of Wall Street” at the box office confirmed that Scorsese, far into his fifth decade as a director, was still capable of filming extreme drunkenness for an R-rated adult drama. As the disgraced businessman Jordan Belfort, Leonardo DiCaprio delivers one of his most erratic performances, while debutant Margot Robbie establishes herself as an actress to keep an eye on.
Up in the Air: (Now streaming)
When it comes to portraying the “ultra-cool middle-aged man” attitude, George Clooney has never been topped, and “Up in the Air” by Jason Reitman was one of his greatest chances to do so. Clooney slips into the character of a business consultant who spends his days dismissing people while touring the world in first class because it is so much more enjoyable than being at home.
He’s a guy who doesn’t like change, but his company’s recent enthusiasm for teleconferencing might completely upend his life. The film “Up in the Air” had a strong message about the value of human relationships in the workplace when it was released in 2009, and the intervening 15 years have only served to bolster that message in light of the widespread adoption of remote work and artificial intelligence.
El Conde: (Streaming September 15)
“El Conde,” a parody of Chilean history directed by Pablo Larrain, will be one of the first big films from the autumn festivals to find its way to streaming platforms. In the film, the late dictator Augusto Pinochet is depicted as an undead vampire who has haunted the world for 250 years. Larrain makes one of the most audacious statements of his career with this savage satire after spending years utilizing more subtle means to confront the legacy of Pinochet’s dictatorial rule. A week after it debuts in cinemas, you can see it on Netflix.