If any film is going to tempt crowds back to cinemas, it's Christopher Nolan's Tenet, a brain-frying science-fiction blockbuster with a high concept and a higher budget. John David Washington stars as a secret agent who learns about mysterious weapons that move backwards through time, and then dashes off on a mission to find the man responsible, a sadistic Ukrainian arms dealer played by Kenneth Branagh. Tenet is a Bond movie that squeezes Back to the Future 2 and Edge of Tomorrow into its last act. After six months with almost no new films in cinemas, it's good to see a film so crammed with exotic locations, snazzy costumes, shoot-outs and explosions that you get six months' worth of entertainment in two and a half hours.
On general release now, and in the US and Russia on 3 September
Has there ever been a longer gap between a film's premiere and its general release? Mulan had its red-carpet gala in Los Angeles on 9 March, but then... well, we all know what happened next. Its release was postponed and postponed again, and now at last Niki Caro's live-action remake of the 1998 cartoon is being shown on Disney Plus for a premium fee. It will go down in history as the first major film to go straight to the company's new streaming channel, but it's a shame that it won't be on the big screen. Judging by the trailers, Mulan will have some huge battle scenes and spectacular mountain scenery, as a Chinese girl (Yifei Liu) disguised as a man proves herself in the emperor's army.
On Disney+ from 4 September
Gloria Steinem's life and work are too much for one actress. Already this year, the trailblazing activist and journalist has been played by Rose Byrne in the Mrs America TV series. And now, in an ambitious biopic directed by Julie Taymor (Frida, Across the Universe), she is embodied at different ages by Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander, Lulu Wilson and Ryan Kiera Armstrong. There are even fantasy sequences in which the various Glorias meet and chat about their decades of learning and campaigning. Film trivia footnote: Steinem's stepson is Christian Bale.
On Amazon Prime in the US and Canada from 30 September
A crime caper with a difference – well, quite a few differences – Kajillionaire is the first offbeat but heartfelt comedy from Miranda July (Me and You and Everyone We Know, The Future) in almost a decade. Evan Rachel Wood plays a twenty-something who has been raised by her parents (Richard Jenkins and Debra Winger) to be a small-time crook in Los Angeles. Like the families in Parasite and Shoplifters, the trio devotes its days to cheating and stealing, but is still stuck in poverty. Things change when the woman makes a new friend (Gina Rodriguez).
Released on 18 September in the US and 30 Sept in France
The Devil All the Time
Antonio Campos has packed his feverish backwoods gothic thriller with one of the year's coolest casts. Adapted from Donald Ray Pollock's award-winning novel, The Devil All the Time charts the crime and corruption in a small religious community in Knockemstiff, Ohio (yes, that's a real place) between World War Two and the Vietnam War. Tom Holland is a dirt-poor youth who is pushed towards violence, Riley Keough is the beauty queen, Sebastian Stan is a crooked sheriff, and Mia Wasikowska and Bill Skarsgård are also in the mix. But the performance that could get people talking is Robert 'The Batman' Pattinson's wild-eyed turn as a villainous preacher.
On Netflix from 16 September