At least they’re not singling anything out: This month’s exiting Netflix titles run the gamut from Oscar winners to genre specialties to blockbusters to tiny indies. That means if you load up your queue now, you might just have time to get them all in before they leave. (Dates indicate the final day a title is available.)
‘Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made’ (Sept. 15)
It began in 1982, when three kids were so wild about “Raiders of the Lost Ark” that they decided to pool their time, resources and ingenuity to do the impossible: remake Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster, scene by scene and shot by shot, with home video recorders and homemade props and costumes. This sweet and funny 2015 documentary explains how that neighborhood project became a lifelong obsession and how its creators accidentally captured (on beautifully ugly VHS) the limitless joy of childhood camaraderie, fandom and play.
‘The Witch’ (Sept. 16)
In New England in the 1630s, a family finds itself expelled from its Puritan community to face the forces of evil alone in this slow-boil horror chiller from the writer and director Robert Eggers. A newborn baby disappears, seemingly right under the nose of the daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy, in a bravura breakthrough performance); as her mother mourns and her father fumes, increasingly unnerving events invade their home and their souls. Eggers doesn’t go for cheap thrills or jump scares, instead building an atmosphere of slowly accumulating dread that culminates in a furious, harrowing climax.
‘Train to Busan’ (Sept. 17)
Who’s in the mood to escape their troubles with a story of … quarantines, a deadly infectious virus and “violent riots” in major cities? Uncomfortable parallels aside, this white-knuckle zombie-apocalypse thriller from the South Korean director Yeon Sang-ho, set onboard train hurtling toward possible safety, is a fantastic entry in the “relentless action in a confined space” subgenre (recalling “The Raid,” “Dredd” and the granddaddy of them all, “Die Hard”). The set pieces are energetic, the makeup effects are convincing, and the storytelling is ruthless. (Don’t get too attached to anyone.) But it’s not all blood and bluster; there’s a patient, deliberate setup before the orgy of gore and mayhem, leading to a surprising outpouring of emotion at the story’s conclusion.
‘20 Feet From Stardom’ (Sept. 22)
Late one night in 1969, the singer Merry Clayton was awakened from her slumber by a summons to a recording studio to record with a band she didn’t really know. Curlers in her hair, she went into the booth and recorded the scorching guest track for the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter,” making music history. But Clayton went home and went back to bed; her name was misspelled in the liner notes. That was par for the course for rock and soul backup singers, who finally get their due in this Oscar-winning documentary from Morgan Neville, a celebration of their contributions to popular music and a candid look at the difficulty of stepping from the background into the spotlight.
‘The Grandmaster’ (Sept. 26)
The Hong Kong master Wong Kar-wai (“In the Mood for Love,” “Chunking Express”) writes and directs this thrilling combination of biographical drama and martial arts epic, telling the story of the Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man (Tony Leung), who trained Bruce Lee in the art. Ip Man is a folkloric figure, and his story of dynasty, vengeance, destiny and fate has been told in feature films galore. “The Grandmaster” distinguishes itself with its gorgeous cinematography and astonishing fight sequences, in which Wong proves himself just as adept at crafting thrilling action as intimate drama.
‘The Devil’s Advocate’ (Sept. 30)
Looking back, the only thing surprising about Al Pacino’s choosing to play the devil is that he took so long to do it. Old Scratch is here envisioned as John Milton, a high-powered New York lawyer (of course) who recruits a gifted young Florida attorney (Keanu Reeves) for his practice — and all the evil that entails. The director Taylor Hackford struggles somewhat to find the right tone, but his star knows exactly what movie he’s in, and he acts accordingly. This is roaring, scenery-chewing Pacino at his absolute hungriest, and the film works best when it meets him at that volume.
‘Frances Ha’ (Sept. 30)
Greta Gerwig co-writes (with the director Noah Baumbach) and stars in this charming chronicle of the struggles of a young woman who is trying to make her way in the big city. It’s a tale as old as time, but Gerwig’s off-center charm juices it with new life while Baumbach’s “Manhattan”-style, black-and-white photography gives the picture a lushness uncharacteristic of New York indies. It’s an approach that mirrors the film itself, which seems lightweight and offhanded but holds unexpected truths about friendship, maturity and finding a true version of oneself.
‘Inside Man’ (Sept. 30)
When would-be robbers take over a New York City bank and hold its customers hostage in a Spike Lee movie, you don’t have to worry whether the echoes of “Dog Day Afternoon” will be too obvious; he’ll put those callbacks into the mouths of his characters. But this 2006 heist thriller has more on its mind than mere homage. What seems at first to be the customary routine of demands, negotiations, threats and pizza deliveries gives way to a pointed commentary on power in the city — who holds it, and who abuses it. The result, both giddily entertaining and slyly political, is one of Lee’s finest works.
‘Jurassic Park’ (Sept. 30)
If you’ve made it 27 years without seeing Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster adaptation of the dinosaur-tastic best seller from Michael Crichton, a few words here probably won’t change your mind. (That said, now is as good at time as any!) No, this is a heads-up for the many who find it endlessly re-watchable, a breathlessly executed thrill ride that serves up charismatic performances, razor-sharp set pieces, jolts of dark comedy and groundbreaking dinosaur effects that somehow remain awe-inspiring.
‘Menace II Society’ (Sept. 30)
The twin brothers Allen and Albert Hughes made their feature directorial debut with this electrifying crime drama, which follows a young man (Tyrin Turner) on his journey into the underworld of the streets. Along with “Boyz N the Hood” from two years earlier, “Menace” became a prototype for the “hood movies” of the 1990s, but it’s more than a shoot-’em-up; the Hughes brothers’ moody direction and Tyger Williams’s bleak screenplay paint a picture of unnerving desperation, and the performances (including early work from Jada Pinkett and Larenz Tate, and brief but memorable turns by Samuel L. Jackson and Bill Duke) are electric.
‘Million Dollar Baby’ (Sept. 30)
Clint Eastwood picked up his second Academy Award for best director (and his second statue for best picture) for this modestly mounted yet undeniably affecting boxing drama, adapted from a story by the trainer-turned-writer F.X. Toole. Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman also won Oscars for their low-key roles as a stubborn novice fighter and the best pal of the curmudgeonly boxing trainer Frankie Dunn (Eastwood), who reluctantly finds himself in the young woman’s corner. Eastwood stages the gymnasium and ringside sequences with lived-in ease, but that’s to be expected. The film’s power lies in its third act, and the sensitivity with which Eastwood presents unguarded vulnerability of these complicated characters.
‘Mud’ (Sept. 30)
This 2013 coming-of-age drama from the writer and director Jeff Nichols (“Loving,” “Take Shelter”) is an evocative throwback, conjuring up the dizzying freedom of a “Huck Finn”-style boys’ adventure story while fusing it with a contemporary tale of crime and punishment. Matthew McConaughey is the title character, an escaped fugitive hiding out on a remote island who is discovered and then assisted by two young boys (Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland). Nichols is beautifully attuned to the rhythms of these small Southern communities, which makes his work somehow both leisurely and urgent. His films sneak up on you, and this one ambles for two hours before landing with the force of a gut punch.
‘Seabiscuit’ (Sept. 30)
Laura Hillenbrand’s “Seabiscuit: An American Legend” was a publishing sensation in 1999, telling the true story of how an undersized racehorse became an unexpected rallying point for Americans during the Great Depression. The film version, adapted and directed by Gary Ross (“Pleasantville”), hits many of the same emotional pressure points: It’s an underdog story through and through, from its title Thoroughbred to its hotheaded jockey (Tobey Maguire) to the challenges faced by America more broadly. Ross convincingly recreates the period while a sterling cast (including Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper, Elizabeth Banks and William H. Macy) injects its potentially stock characters with quirks and dimension.
‘Starship Troopers’ (Sept. 30)
An astonishing (embarrassing, frankly) number of film critics blew the call entirely on Paul Verhoeven’s adaptation of the 1959 novel by Robert A. Heinlein, dismissing it as a dopey sci-fi-action-monster mess while missing its pointed indictments of “patriotic” militarism and government authoritarianism (and mainstream cinema’s frequent carrying of those messages). In retrospect, Verhoeven couldn’t have made his intentions clearer: From the flag-waving propaganda sequences to the purposefully plastic acting, this is political satire with real teeth.
‘The Social Network’ (Sept. 30)
The unlikely marriage of the screwball-inspired screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and the chilly visual stylist David Fincher birthed one of the finest works of both careers, a highly fictionalized account of the early days of Facebook and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg (brought to hard edged, sneering life by Jesse Eisenberg). Sorkin’s ingenious, Oscar-winning script spins the Facebook origin story as a Silicon Valley “Citizen Kane,” dazzlingly hopscotching through flashbacks and framing devices. But the ruthlessness of Fincher’s cleareyed direction is what brings the picture together, presciently framing Zuckerberg as the media mogul of the future — and hinting at the trouble that entails.