September is generally a slower month at the box office thanks to the summer blockbuster season being over and everyone heading back to school. But this year, there are still a few hugely-anticipated tentpoles, like It: Chapter Two, and a couple of buzzy movies that should have fans excited, like Ad Astra and Downton Abbey.
Here’s your handy guide to all the movies you need to see as we head into the fall movie season.
‘It: Chapter Two’ (September 6)
Cast: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Skarsgård, Bill Hader, Javier Botet, Jay Ryan, Isaiah Mustafa, James Ransone, Sophia Lillis, Jack Dylan Grazer, Finn Wolfhard, Jaeden Martell, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Joan Gregson
Director: Andy Muschietti
Forget the most anticipated movie in September, the sequel to last year’s monster hit Stephen King adaptation is one of the most anticipated movies of all of 2019. For the first half of the two-parter, director Andy Muschietti assembled a great ensemble cast of young talent. This time, the cast is even more stacked, with some of the biggest actors today taking on the roles of the adult Losers Club. The first teaser trailer already has us afraid to walk into a dark kitchen – the movie is sure to terrify.
See It With: Your horror-loving friends and Stephen King fans
‘The Goldfinch’ (September 13)
Cast: Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, Sarah Paulson, Finn Wolfhard, Aneurin Barnard, Luke Wilson
Director: John Crowley
The Goldfinch, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Donna Tartt, the dramatic coming-of-age story may not be a huge hit, but it’s sure to be thought-provoking and emotional counter to some of the other movies hitting theaters in September. It tells the tale of young Theodore Decker (Elgort), who loses his mother in a terrorist bombing in a museum. As he grows up and spirals into a life of crime, his touchstone and source of comfort is a small painting of a goldfinch by Rembrandt pupil Carel Fabritius. This one has the potential to be beautiful.
See It With: Anyone who loves a good drama or your literary-minded friends
‘Hustlers’ (September 13)
Cast: Constance Wu, Lili Reinhart, Julia Stiles, Jennifer Lopez, Madeline Brewer, Kiki Palmer, Cardi B
Director: Lorene Scafaria
The plot of Hustlers may sound like a comedy, but it’s very much a drama. Not much is known about it at this time, but the plot revolves around a group of ex-strip club employees who join forces in order to flip the script on their former wealthy clients. The cast is fairly impressive, so if you want to see a movie a lá Widows where a group of women take power into their own hands, this one is for you.
See It With: Your girl gang and anyone who loves a good hustle and con movie
‘Freaks’ (September 13)
Cast: Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern, Lexy Kolker, Amanda Crew, Grace Park
Director: Zach Lipovsky & Adam B. Stein
If you’re into sci-fi noir, you might want to check out Freaks. The film has been getting really solid praise on the festival circuit. Seven-year-old Chloe lives in a state of everlasting fear. Her father has kept her locked inside their house her entire life, drilling it into her that the Abnormals outside are a constant and deadly threat. When she finally gets free of her father’s control, a stranger shows her that what she’s always thought of the world outside might not be the truth. However, that doesn’t mean the danger isn’t still there – it just comes in a different form.
See It WIth: Sci-fi lovers, anyone who enjoys a good thriller.
‘Ad Astra’ (September 20)
Cast: Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, Ruth Negga
Director: James Gray
Brad Pitt’s long-awaited sci-fi drama is one of the more mysterious and intriguing movies hitting screens this year. Director James Gray likened it to Heart of Darkness, which is interesting. Twenty years after his father disappeared on a space mission, astronaut Roy McBride travels across the far reaches of space to unravel the mystery of his father and the survival of Earth. Gray also plans for it to be the most realistic depiction of space travel yet. Considering the incredible visuals of movies like Interstellar, Gravity, and First Man, that’s a bold statement. Here’s to hoping he pulls it off.
See It With: Your sci-fi loving friends and anyone in the mood for an early awards season contender
‘Villains’ (September 20)
Cast: Bill Skarsgård, Maika Monroe, Jeffrey Donovan, Kyra Sedgwick
Director: Dan Berk & Robert Olsen
Villains was one of the breakout hits of this year’s SXSW (and one of my personal favorites) and with good reason. The black comedy-thriller follows is full of unexpected plot twists and surprising tenderness between the two leads. All Mickey (Skarsgård) and Jules (Monroe) want to do is steal enough cash to make it to Florida to start their new life together. But when they break into the home of George (Donovan) and Gloria (Sedgwick), the twisted homeowners teach the young criminals what real villains are. Plus, it’s a rare project in which Skarsgård is allowed to flex his comedic muscles, which is worth the watch alone.
See It With: Horror lovers, anyone who likes plot twists, a group of friends up for a good time
‘Downton Abbey’ (September 20)
Cast: Maggie Smith, Laura Carmichael, Tuppence Middleton, Imelda Staunton, Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern,
Director: Michael Engler
Fans can delight in returning to the trials and everyday tribulations of the denizens of Downton Abbey this fall, this time on the big screen. In the movie, the Crawley family and the staff of the estate are sent into a tizzy when they’re informed the King and Queen plan to stop by for a visit. Expect intrigue and gossip and all the upscale British fun that you’ve come to love from the hit series.
See It With: Fans of the series, and any lovers of Britain-set period movies.
‘Rambo: Last Blood’ (September 20)
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Paz Vega, Yvette Monreal,
Director: Adrian Grunberg
In keeping with the trend of sequels coming years after the last movie in the franchise, Rambo: Last Blood comes 11 years after the last Rambo movie. In his latest adventure a decade in the making, Rambo (played, of course, by Sylvester Stallone) goes up against a Mexican cartel. Not much else is known about the movie, but it’s reported to be Rambo’s last film, so fans of Stallone and the Rambo franchise will want to hustle to the theater to see it while they can.
See It With: Rambo fans and anyone who is nostalgic for old-school ’80s action flicks
‘Promare’ (September 20)
Cast: Arata Furuta, Nobuyuki Hiyama, Tetsu Inada
Director: Hiroyuki Imaishi
Promare is the first feature film from anime studio Trigger, which has acclaimed series like KILL la KILL and Little Witch Academia under its belt. It follows the story of the Burning Rescue firefighting team, a futuristic mecha unit tasked with protecting the world from mutants called the Mad Burnish. The film has already premiered at a few film fests, and the bold visual style of the animation has been getting rave reviews. Definitely one worth checking out.
See It With: Anime fans and anyone who is a fan of interesting animation
’21 Bridges’ (September 27)
Cast: Chadwick Boseman, J.K. Simmons, Sienna Miller, Taylor Kitsch
Director: Brian Kirk
Chadwick Boseman takes a break from Black Panther and Marvel to headline this action thriller with a pretty darn good premise. Boseman stars as a disgraced NYPD detective who gets a chance at redemption when he is forced to close down the city on the hunt for a cop killer. But, because movies, the closer he gets in the search for the killer, the shadier the events surrounding the murder seem.
21 Bridges is produced by Boseman’s Avengers: Endgame directors, Joe and Anthony Russo, and buzz is so good on this movie that it will likely be a sleeper fall hit.
See It With: Lovers of Die Hard-style action movies and police thrillers
‘Abominable’ (September 27)
Cast: Voices of Chloe Bennet, Albert Tsai, Sarah Paulson
Director: Jill Culton and Todd Wilderman
In an animated movie that looks to be similar in story to Missing Link, Abominable tells the tale of a group of city kids who find a magical Yeti and must return him to his family in the Himalayas. It’s the last animated movie from DreamWorks of this decade, and the early footage shown at CinemaCon was visually gorgeous and touching. This should be a good one for families as we head into the late fall/early holiday movie season.
See It With: Your kids, your family, and anyone who wants to see a heartwarming and whimsical story.
‘Prey’ (September 27)
Cast: Logan Miller, Kristine Froseth, Jolene Anderson
Director: Franck Khalfoun
This could be an interesting one for fans of horror that’s off the beaten path. Troubled teen, Toby, is sent to live on a deserted island for a few weeks as part of a youth rehabilitation program. While there he meets a mysterious young girl who seems to know more about the island than she should…and he learns there is something deadly on the island with them. The premise is an interesting one, and while it’s extremely low budget, Blumhouse has a knack for picking out horror gems. It’s also hitting VOD, but if you like your scares big, Prey might be one to see in theaters with your crew.
See It With: Your horror-loving friends, anyone who can appreciate an indie scary flick
‘All Rise’ (September 27)
Cast: Kelvin Harrison Jr., John David Washington, Jennifer Ehle, Tim Blake Nelson, Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Hudson
Director: Anthony Mandler
Originally titled Monster, All Rise is adapted from the bestselling novel by Walter Dean Myers. 17-year-old honor student Steve Harmon is being charged with felony murder. The prosecution calls him a monster. But is that what and who he really is? The film follows Steve’s complex legal battle that could end with a lifetime in prison. The young adult drama touches upon the realities of race in America and how black boys and young men are set up to fail by the system, so expect this one to be a sometimes difficult – but necessary – watch.
See It With: A date or anyone who loves complex YA book adaptations
‘Judy’ (September 27)
Cast: Renee Zellweger, Bella Ramsey, Rufus Sewell, Michael Gambon, Finn Wittrock
Director: Rupert Goold
Judy Garland was one of the most mesmerizing and troubled actresses in Hollywood history. In Judy, Renee Zellweger plays the legendarily tumultuous actress later in life, as she arrives in London in 1968 to perform a series of concerts. By this point in her life, Garland’s health was deteriorating; she’d be found dead a year later having overdosed on barbituates. Judy looks to be an unflinching look at one of the most pivotal and stressful periods of the famous songstress’ life.
See It With: Fans of Judy Garland, biopic lovers, anyone who loves music.
‘The Death of Dick Long’ (September 27)
Cast: Michael Abbott Jr., Roy Wood Jr., Virginia Newcomb, Andre Hyland, Sarah Baker, Jess Weixler
Director: Daniel Scheinert
One half of the Swiss Army Man directing duo, Daniel Scheinert is striking out on his own with The Death of Dick Long, a Southern-set dark comedy about two friends who become embroiled in a web of lies after they kinda, sorta, maybe accidentally kill their friend during a night of drinking and ill-advised shenanigans. Spoilers: They are idiots and not great at hiding their guilt. A24 is a company known for turning out solid indie films, and Dick Long appears to be right up their alley.
See It With: Anyone who likes dark comedy, a murder mystery, and anyone who loves deadpan comedies set in rural areas