A brand new hero for Marvel bursts onto the scene, Clint Eastwood’s latest arrives on HBO Max, James Wan returns to the world of horror and much more in a stacked month for the movies
‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ September 3rd (Theaters)
While Black Widow officially signaled the return of Marvel Studios to the big screen, it was also available to everyone at home via Disney+. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which introduces a new hero and new powers to the Avengers universe, is officially the first entry in the MCU to be exclusively in theaters in over two years. Simu Liu stars as the titular Shang-Chi, a gifted master of martial arts who is forced to confront the past he thought he left behind when he’s drawn into the mysterious organization run by his father (Tony Leung), The Ten Rings.
‘Malignant’ September 10th (Theaters and HBO Max)
James Wan has been a constant presence in Hollywood since launching the Saw franchise at the start of the 2000s, going on to greater and greater success with other series like The Conjuring and Insidious and even contributing entries in the Fast and Furious franchise and the DCEU. Wan usually produces several films in any given year, but the last one he directed was 2018’s Aquaman, his biggest blockbuster to date. Malignant is a proper return to the filmmaker’s horror roots, following a woman named Madison (Annabelle Wallis) who is paralyzed by shocking visions of grisly murders, and her torment worsens as she discovers that these waking dreams are in fact terrifying realities.
‘The Card Counter’ September 10th (Theaters)
Paul Schrader made a name for himself co-writing four of Martin Scorsese’s films – Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Last Temptation of Christ, & Bringing Out the Dead – and has directed nearly two dozen films himself, but didn’t receive Academy Award recognition until 2017 with the quietly powerful First Reformed. His latest film and first one in four years is The Card Counter, the story of an ex-military interrogator turned gambler (played by Oscar Isaac) who is haunted by the ghosts of his past decisions. The film is executive produced by Scorsese and also stars Tiffany Haddish, Tye Sheridan, and Willem Dafoe.
‘Nightbooks’ September 15th (Netflix)
A young boy named Alex (Winslow Fegley) becomes the prisoner of a witch (Krysten Ritter); to avoid certain death, he convinces her to let him tell her a scary story every night. Upon meeting the witch’s servant, Yazmin (Lidya Jewett), the two must use their wits to escape her apartment, a magical labyrinth filled with various dangers, before the witch kills them both. Based on the horror fantasy book by J.A. White, Nightbooks comes from director David Yarovesky, who previously made Brightburn and The Hive.
‘The Mad Women’s Ball’ September 17th (Amazon Prime Video)
Directed by and starring Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds, Now You See Me, Enemy, 6 Underground), this French thriller is based on the novel Le bal des folles by Victoria Mas. The Mad Women’s Ball follows a 19th century woman who is unjustly institutionalized due to her ability to hear and see the dead. Alongside a tormented nurse, the two prepare to attend a famous ball at the neurological clinic they’ve trapped in.
‘Prisoners of the Ghostland’ September 17th (Theaters and VOD)
Originally premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, Japanese filmmaker Sion Sono’s Prisoners of the Ghostland seems to truly understand how to harness the innate chaotic energy of Nicolas Cage. The eclectic actor plays a notorious criminal named Hero who is sent to rescue the governor’s daughter. She’s disappeared into a dark supernatural universe (as one does) and to escape the nightmare world, Hero must break the evil curse controlling the mysterious Ghostland. The film is a completely bizarre mashup of a wide range of different genres and influences. Everything from Westerns to fantasy to neo-noir to horror to martial arts films can be found in Prisoners of the Ghostland. Filmed entirely in Japan yet marking Sono’s first English-language feature, it’s also a blend of Eastern and Western styles. It’s unbridled creativity at its finest with impeccable costumes, production design, and ambitious practical effects.
‘Cry Macho’ September 17th (Theaters and HBO Max)
Clint Eastwood needs no introduction. The 91(!!) year-old Hollywood icon’s latest film comes from a screenplay by Nick Schenk and N. Richard Nash, based on the novel by Nash. Cry Macho stars Eastwood as Mike Milo, a one-time rodeo star and washed-up horse breeder who, in 1979, takes a job from an ex-boss (Dwight Yoakam) to bring the man’s young son (Eduardo Minett) home from Mexico. Forced to take the backroads on their way to Texas, the unlikely pair faces an unexpectedly challenging journey, during which the world-weary horseman finds unexpected connections and his own sense of redemption. The film was shot in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
‘The Eyes of Tammy Faye’ September 17th (Theaters)
Directed by Michael Showalter (Wet Hot American Summer, The Big Sick), The Eyes of Tammy Faye is an intimate look at the extraordinary rise, fall and redemption of televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker (played by Jessica Chastain). In the 1970s and 80s, Tammy Faye and her husband, Jim Bakker (Andrew Garfield), rose from humble beginnings to create the world’s largest religious broadcasting network and theme park, and were revered for their message of love, acceptance and prosperity. Tammy Faye was legendary for her indelible eyelashes, her idiosyncratic singing, and her eagerness to embrace people from all walks of life. However, it wasn’t long before financial improprieties, scheming rivals, and scandal toppled their carefully constructed empire.
‘Intrusion’ September 22nd (Netflix)
Freida Pinto stars in this upcoming Netflix thriller as Meera, a woman looking for a fresh start with her husband Henry (Logan Marshall-Green) by moving to a small town and a new home. But this attempt at bliss comes crashing down when their home gets broken into, leaving Meera traumatized and increasingly suspicious of everyone around her. Directed by Adam Salky, Intrusion is sure to be full of secrets, surprises and nail-biting suspense.
‘Seance’ September 29th (Shudder)
Camille Meadows (Suki Waterhouse) is the new girl at the prestigious Edelvine Academy for Girls. Soon after her arrival, six girls invite her to join them in a late-night ritual, calling forth the spirit of a dead former student who reportedly haunts their halls. But before morning, one of the girls is dead, leaving the others wondering what they may have awakened. Directed by horror aficionado Simon Barret, who’s best known for his work with Adam Wingard on films like You’re Next, V/H/S, and The Guest, Shudder’s biggest exclusive of the year is sure to be filled to the brim with scares.