The 9 best films coming to Netflix, Apple TV+ and Prime this autumn

Florence Pugh as Lib Wright in The Wonder.
PHOTO: Netflix

The legitimacy of streaming services has increased exponentially in recent years.

Once the shadowy realm of catalogue classics and low-budget genre cheapies, the fierce competition between platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ has sparked a boom in big-budget, star-studded content aimed at not only retaining subscribers, but also courting serious awards attention.

The lockdowns and cinema closures around the world triggered by the pandemic gave subscription numbers a serious leg-up, but things came to a head earlier this year when Apple TV+ won the Academy Award for best picture for Coda, a first for a streamer.

This trend appears set to last, as digital studios are behind some of this year's biggest awards hopefuls, as well as an expanding roster of family-friendly blockbuster titles to keep audiences rooted firmly to their sofas at home.

Listed below are some of the biggest hitters coming to your living room between now and Christmas.

Blonde

The tortured life of Hollywood starlet Marilyn Monroe is brought to the screen by Australian filmmaker Andrew Dominik, with Cuban actress Ana de Armas transforming into the iconic blonde bombshell.

Adapted from the novel by Joyce Carol Oates, this fictional retelling of Marilyn's not-so-private life charts her difficult childhood, tempestuous marriages to Arthur Miller and Joe DiMaggio, repeated exploitation, and crippling drug addiction, which led to her untimely death, aged just 36. (Netflix, September 28)

The Greatest Beer Run Ever

In a story so preposterous it just had to be true, deadbeat ex-Marine "Chickie" Donohue (Zac Efron) vowed to travel to Vietnam at the height of the Vietnam war, and bring every young soldier from his New York neighbourhood a can of beer.

Adapted from Donohue's own bestselling memoir, his misguided and potentially suicidal undertaking is brought to the screen by Green Book director Peter Farrelly, and features Russell Crowe and Bill Murray. (Apple TV+, September 30)

Raymond & Ray

Ewan McGregor and Ethan Hawke play estranged half-brothers who are reunited by the death of their equally distanced father in Raymond & Ray, which blends acutely observed character drama with pitch-black gallows humour.

This latest film from Mexican director Rodrigo Garcia sees the two men from very different worlds forced to reconcile, revisit painful memories both thought they had escaped, and fulfil a frustrating final request from a man whom everyone else but them seemed to love. (Apple TV+, October 21)

Wendell & Wild

21st-century horror impresario Jordan Peele teams up with master stop-motion animator Henry Selick (Coraline, The Nightmare Before Christmas) for a delightfully ghoulish Halloween treat.

Peele and long-time comedy partner Keegan-Michael Key voice a pair of mischievous demons, who strike a deal with a young girl (Lyric Ross) to return to the land of the living.

What follows is the perfect blend of action, adventure, humour and horror. (Netflix, October 28)

Causeway

Jennifer Lawrence in a still from Causeway.
PHOTO: Apple TV+

Lila Neugebauer, director of the critically acclaimed Netflix series Maid, casts Jennifer Lawrence in her most substantial role in years as a wounded veteran from the war in Afghanistan, who struggles to adjust to life back home.

Brian Tyree Henry co-stars in this powerful drama that shines the spotlight on the challenges facing thousands of returning service personnel. Both performers could be up for awards consideration at the end of the year. (Apple TV+, November 4)

My Policeman

Harry Styles is back on our screens for his second leading role this season, following his part in Olivia Wilde's controversy-courting Don't Worry Darling.

Set in 1950s Britain, the film sees the former One Direction pop idol play a Brighton policeman whose affections are torn between a young female teacher (Emma Corrin) and a male museum curator.

Told in mournful flashback from the perspective of the more progressive 1990s, My Policeman is poised to tug at all our heartstrings. (Prime Video, November 4)

The Wonder

Florence Pugh as Lib Wright in a still from The Wonder.
PHOTO: Netflix

Florence Pugh cements her status as one of Hollywood's most versatile and in-demand young stars with this sumptuous adaptation of Emma Donoghue's celebrated psychological thriller.

Directed by Sebastián Lelio (A Fantastic Woman), it tells the story of an English nurse (Pugh), who is sent to a small village in 19th-century Ireland to investigate a purported miracle.

Tom Burke plays a journalist on a similar mission, and the pair become involved in a turbulent romance. (Netflix, November 16)

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio

Arriving hot on the heels of Disney's live-action adaptation of the classic Carlo Collodi fairy tale, the Mexican Oscar winner unveils his own animated interpretation.

Del Toro's first feature since The Shape of Water promises a far more gothic and macabre approach, employing stop-motion animation to give his tale of the incredible wooden boy a more tactile aesthetic, while Ewan McGregor, Christoph Waltz and Tilda Swinton headline the voice cast. (Netflix, December 9)

Bardo, or False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths

Daniel Giménez Cacho as Silverio in a still from Bardo: False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths.
PHOTO: Limbo Films, Netflix

It has been seven years since Alejandro G Inárritu won back-to-back best director Oscars for Birdman and The Revenant, and his new film takes him back to his homeland of Mexico for the first time since 2000's Amores Perros.

This intensely personal, three-hour odyssey follows Daniel Gimenez Cacho's renowned documentarian, who similarly returns to Mexico, to work through an existential crisis of confidence and identity. (Netflix, December 16)

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.