Starts Sept. 3
Probably the most high-profile feature to be released upon the pending 20th anniversary of the 9-11 terror attacks, the moral drama “Worth” centers on an attorney (Michael Keaton) placed in the impossible position of compensating family members of the nearly 3,000 Americans who died on that day. He’s forced to weigh outside factors in determining the amount of money owed each relative, as if one life is worth inherently more than another, which inevitably leads to conflicts involving race and sexuality in an unequal society. It’s a film that, I expect, will reveal the institutional fractures in a world that, on the surface, came together in selfless unity. Stanley Tucci, Amy Ryan, Tate Donovan and Marc Maron co-star.
Starts Sept. 10
The protagonist of this neon-drenched, Tokyo-set action thriller is a professional assassin who, after realizing she has ingested a poison that will kill her in 24 hours, begins a manhunt for the yakuza that tried to take her out. It’s the sort of role that is usually offered to Liam Neeson, but this time was thankfully cast for a woman, in this case an unusually bad-ass Mary Elizabeth Winstead. “Kate”’s credits include a producer of “Atomic Blonde,” which describes the hard-hitting vibe it’s going for. Oh yeah, and Woody Harrelson is in it, too.
Starts Sept. 24
As 2018’s “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” revealed to most of us, some of Melissa McCarthy’s best work is outside her native comedy bailiwick. “The Starling,” while certainly laced with warm humor, is her latest foray into more serious drama. She plays Lilly, a grieving spouse wracked with guilt over a recent tragedy, whose husband (Chris O’Dowd) suffers from his own mental health issues. After her well-manicured garden is disrupted by a particularly nasty starling, Lilly seeks counsel from a psychologist-turned veterinarian (Kevin Kline) whose services extend well beyond the peculiar habits of avian invaders.
ON AMAZON PRIME
Starts Sept. 3
It’s been only six years since the release of Kenneth Branagh’s well-received live-action remake of “Cinderella,” but there’s plenty of room in the revisionist fairy-tale pantheon for this modernist interpretation, written and directed by Kay Cannon. In her acting debut, Cuban-American singer-songwriter Camila Cabello plays the title character, a promising fashion designer whose talent is kept under a bushel by her domineering and murderous stepmother (Idina Menzel). Inclusive casting abounds in this colorful and splashy musical, including Billy Porter as the genderless fairy godparent and Missy Elliott as the town crier. Cabello cowrote one of the movie’s signature songs; other compositions in this jukebox approach come from Gloria Estefan, Ed Sheeran, Queen and Janet Jackson.
Starts Sept. 17
The Mad Women’s Ball
Arguably the most prestigious title on the September streaming docket, the directorial effort from actor Melanie Laurent adapts Victoria Mas’ historical novel of the same name, set in Paris’ notorious Salpetriere Asylum in the late 19th century. Confined to the madhouse by her bourgeois family, 19-year-old inmate Eugenie (Lou de Laage) discovers an institution filled with society’s “dregs” and a regime run by a sadistic doctor who tests his vulgar hypnotism techniques on the patients. But she has a trump card: She can see spirits, and with help from a nurse who is on her side, she might just be able to escape the prison’s patriarchal shackles.
NEW ON HBO MAX
Starts Sept. 17
Clint Eastwood notches another western onto his belt, this time directing and starring—at 91, no less—in an adaptation of a 1975 novel by N. Richard Nash. In a John Fordian plot, he plays Mike Milo, a former Texas rodeo star hired by his former boss to travel across the border in Mexico and return his client’s son to him. The boy insists on bringing his pet chicken with him, which he has named Macho, but the title doubles as a wizened reaction to ideas of toxic masculinity and the destruction it causes—proof, perhaps, that even a traditionalist like Eastwood continues to evolve.