© 2023 WSIU Public Broadcasting
WSIU Public Broadcasting
A Service of Southern Illinois University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Here are the movies we can't wait to watch this fall

Clockwise from top left: <em>Invisible Beauty</em>,<em> Foe</em>,<em> All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt</em>,<em> The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes</em>,<em> </em><em>My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 </em>and <em>Nyad.</em>
Magnolia Pictures; Amazon Studios; A24; Murray Close/Lionsgate; Focus Features; Liz Parkinson/Netflix
Clockwise from top left: Invisible Beauty, Foe, All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 and Nyad.

With no end in sight for the Hollywood strikes, we check in on new film releases for the fall. Our critics share recommendations for more than 25 films coming out between now and Thanksgiving.

September

Nia Vardalos as Toula in <em>My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3.</em>
/ Focus Features
/
Focus Features
Nia Vardalos as Toula in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 Nia Vardalos wrote and directed this third installment in an unexpected franchise springing from her 2002 romantic comedy. Toula and Ian take their daughter and some of their family members to Greece for a reunion. Expect lots of beautiful scenery and, most importantly, the great and good Andrea Martin. — Linda Holmes

Bethann Hardison in <em>Invisible Beauty.</em>
/ Magnolia Pictures
/
Magnolia Pictures
Bethann Hardison in Invisible Beauty.

Invisible Beauty Bethann Hardison's self-portrait (co-directed with Frédéric Tcheng) chronicles the pioneering Black model's rise and influence in a rigid, often-hostile fashion industry. After triumphing on the runway in a 1973 "Battle of Versailles" that pitted French designer royalty against American newcomers, Hardison founded a modeling agency and focused on changing the industry from the inside. She nurtured a community of models of color, including superstars Naomi Campbell, Iman and Tyson Beckford. — Bob Mondello

Cassandro Gael García Bernal is the titular real-life, gay luchador (wrestler) dreaming of being something other than the runt who gets smashed by the big guy. Someone suggests that he try being an "exotico" (a fey wrestling caricature), but they always lose, and he wants to win. Bernal is engaging, sexy and charismatic in the ring, and director Roger Ross Williams makes sure you hear the anti-gay slurs turn into cheers for the little guy. A Sundance Festival favorite. — Bob Mondello

Dumb Money In Craig Gillespie's reality-based comedy, Paul Dano plays a guy with a Reddit page who went up against big hedge funds in 2021 in what became known as the "GameStop short squeeze." The Reddit page recommended GameStop stock and its followers bought it. Hedge funds (Seth Rogen is their chief fall guy) saw them as amateurs ("dumb money") and bet against the stock, assuming that it would fall. Small investors kept buying, making millions as the hedge funds lost billions. A feel-good comedy, yes? — Bob Mondello

Eve Hewson as Flora in <em>Flora and Son.</em>
David Cleary / Apple TV+
/
Apple TV+
Eve Hewson as Flora in Flora and Son.

Flora and Son When writer/director John Carney tackles a music-inflected story — Once, Sing Street, Begin Again — it pretty much always comes out crowd-pleasing. This one involves a single mom (Eve Hewson) who rescues a guitar from a dumpster hoping to find a hobby for her disaffected teen son, and when he's not interested, she goes online to take lessons from Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Now, how could that not be a charmer? — Bob Mondello

October

Strange Way of Life I'd wager there isn't a more sultry trailer this season than Pedro Almodóvar's first (hopefully not last!) Hollywood Western. The iconic director once turned down the opportunity to direct Brokeback Mountain but clearly maintained his mission to queer the Western on his own terms. There couldn't be a sexier casting coup than a gunslinging Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke revisiting an old romance — delivered with Almodóvar's signature color palette, dark humor and emotional precision. — Bilal Qureshi

Saoirse Ronan and Paul Mescal in <em>Foe</em>.
/ Amazon Studios
/
Amazon Studios
Saoirse Ronan and Paul Mescal in Foe.

Foe Australian director Garth Davis' Lion starring Dev Patel was a deeply moving and underrated breakthrough, and in this otherwise quieter fall season, Davis' latest family drama is one of the more promising and mysterious arrivals. The brooding and brilliant Paul Mescal joins Saoirse Ronan as a husband and wife forced to make a harrowing choice in a dystopian future. The sci-fi stakes are being kept cryptic, but the performances excerpted in the trailer suggest an awards season powerhouse. — Bilal Qureshi

Nathan Lane and Megan Mullally in <em>Dicks: The Musical.</em>
Justin Lubin / A24
/
A24
Nathan Lane and Megan Mullally in Dicks: The Musical.

Dicks: The Musical In a bizarre-o musical take on The Parent Trap, a pair of businessmen learn they're long-lost twins and plot to get their divorced parents back together again. It's a conceit that's just out-there enough to succeed with the right creative elements. Luckily, director Larry Charles (Seinfeld, Borat) and performers Megan Mullally, Megan Thee Stallion, Nathan Lane and Bowen Yang (playing, appropriately, God) are all involved. — Aisha Harris

Alden Ehrenreich as Luke and Phoebe Dynevor as Emily in <em>Fair Play</em>.
Sergej Radovic / Netflix
/
Netflix
Alden Ehrenreich as Luke and Phoebe Dynevor as Emily in Fair Play.

Fair Play Written and directed by Chloe Domont, this story is about a couple, played by Phoebe Dynevor and Alden Ehrenreich, whose relationship is upended by a promotion at a hedge fund. That might sound like an unusual premise, but the thriller made a splash at Sundance and promises to tackle some interesting dynamics about gender and power. — Linda Holmes

What Happens Later Ex-lovers who'd just as soon never see each other again are stranded at a small regional airport during a snowstorm. Sounds like hell, but if the exes are played by Meg Ryan and David Duchovny, and if Ryan also steps behind the camera as co-writer and director, it might make a winning rom-com, yes? That's the theory. It'll be Ryan's first appearance on-screen in eight years. Bob Mondello

JaNae Collins, Lily Gladstone, Cara Jade Myers and Jillian Dion in<em> Killers of the Flower Moon</em>.
/ Apple TV+
/
Apple TV+
JaNae Collins, Lily Gladstone, Cara Jade Myers and Jillian Dion in Killers of the Flower Moon.

Killers of the Flower Moon Monumental in scope (and in running time at three-plus hours), Martin Scorsese's epic adaptation of David Grann's nonfiction book is a true-crime drama about greed and homicide in 1920s Oklahoma. Cattle rancher Robert De Niro enlists his gullible nephew (Leonardo DiCaprio) in an intricate scheme to rob the Osage Nation of the oil under the "worthless" land to which its people had been exiled. Lily Gladstone plays Mollie, a wrenching figure in an escalating tragedy certain to be remembered during awards season. — Bob Mondello

Radical On the first day of sixth grade in a Mexican border town, students dodge hostage-dragging pickup trucks on their way to school and, once inside, are mostly bored. Except in Sergio's classroom, where students float in "boats" (upside-down desks), trying not to capsize as part of a lesson about density and mass that only Sergio thinks they have the smarts to pursue. The film, based on a true story, has an uplifting take that's conventional but proves winning. — Bob Mondello

Annette Bening as Diana Nyad in <em>Nyad</em>.
Liz Parkinson / Netflix
/
Netflix
Annette Bening as Diana Nyad in Nyad.

Nyad Annette Bening is swimming legend Diana Nyad and Jodie Foster is her longtime pal and reluctant coach, Bonnie Stoll, in this recounting of Nyad's several attempts, in her 60s, to swim the 110 miles from Cuba to Florida's Key West without a shark cage. She'd failed when still in her prime, but now — out of shape but determined — she wants another go. With Mother Nature throwing everything she has at them, Bening and Foster are garnering raves, as is the cinematography. — Bob Mondello

Niousha Noor as Shirin in<em> The Persian Version.</em>
Yiget Eken / Sony Pictures Classics
/
Sony Pictures Classics
Niousha Noor as Shirin in The Persian Version.

The Persian Version Immigrant angst and intergenerational collisions have always been at the heart of American cinema, and in recent years there have been even more specific and nuanced portrayals — from Hulu's Ramy to Netflix's Beef. Now I can't wait for filmmaker Maryam Keshavarz's big-screen Persian Version of that classic coming-of-self story. A hit at this year's Sundance, it's about a queer young woman and her Iranian mother, told through dance numbers, pop songs, sex, comedy and palpable heart. — Bilal Qureshi

Dear David Those of us who love web comic author Adam Ellis' funny, creepy, sexy queer work have always expected him to break into the mainstream. Few of us expected it to happen this way, though. Dear David dramatizes a Twitter thread (no, seriously) that Ellis wrote in 2017, while he was still working at BuzzFeed, about encountering the ghost of a small boy in his apartment. The Tweet went viral, and here we are. Look, Lana Turner was discovered at a drugstore. — Glen Weldon

The Killer Bland title aside, David Fincher's crime thriller looks like a fun, intense time at the movies in the tradition of John Wick. Michael Fassbender — in his first film since 2019's X-Men: Dark Phoenix — plays an assassin who goes head-to-head with his employers and might be losing his mind. It also features Tilda Swinton and is based on an acclaimed French graphic novel series. Following Fincher's last feature, Mank, his return to the brooding psychological genre is a welcome one. — Aisha Harris

Dominic Sessa as Angus Tully and Da'Vine Joy Randolph as Mary Lamb in <em>The Holdovers.</em>
Seacia Pavao / Focus Features
/
Focus Features
Dominic Sessa as Angus Tully and Da'Vine Joy Randolph as Mary Lamb in The Holdovers.

The Holdovers This comedy-drama reteams director Alexander Payne with his Sideways star Paul Giamatti in the story of an embittered teacher at a boarding school forced to supervise students who stay on campus over Christmas break. It's Payne, so despite the setting, don't expect maudlin, sentimental Dead Poets Society-type uplift. No, we'll likely get lots of flintiness and passive-aggression. And if we get any moments of human connection, they'll feel surprising — and fully earned. — Glen Weldon

November

Quiz Lady The triumphant year of the R-rated female-led comedy continues here, with Sandra Oh and Awkwafina playing estranged sisters who set aside their resentment to compete together on a game show. Jason Schwartzman and Will Ferrell also star, but really all you need to know is that Oh, primarily known for playing Type A overachievers, is portraying the hot mess sibling of the family — and that should be more than enough of a selling point. — Aisha Harris

Rustin Biopics can often be a rote slog, but the fact that this centers on the gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin and stars the fantastic Colman Domingo (who is himself gay) is promising. Director George C. Wolfe's previous work for the stage and screen has never been dull, and the cast is stacked with some of our finest character actors, including Glynn Turman, CCH Pounder, Jeffrey Wright and Da'Vine Joy Randolph. — Aisha Harris

The Marvels Brie Larson returns as Carol Danvers, and meets up with Iman Vellani and Teyonah Parris as Kamala Khan and Monica Rambeau, in the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Directed by Nia DaCosta, the film will present a number of questions: What's the status of the theatrical elements of the MCU? What will be the effect of releasing a big Marvel movie with very limited promotion during the strikes? The strong trio of MCU women is a reason for optimism. — Linda Holmes

Erika Alexander as Coraline and Jeffrey Wright as Thelonious "Monk" Ellison in <em>American Fiction</em>.
Claire Folger / Orion Pictures
/
Orion Pictures
Erika Alexander as Coraline and Jeffrey Wright as Thelonious "Monk" Ellison in American Fiction.

American Fiction First off, this cast: Jeffrey Wright, Tracee Ellis Ross, Erika Alexander, Sterling K. Brown. (And more!) Also, this creator: Cord Jefferson, in his feature directing debut. His fingerprints have been all over some great TV from the last few years, including Watchmen. And finally, the subject: In an adaptation of Percival Everett's Erasure, Wright plays a notable author who unwittingly finds huge success with a novel full of Black stereotypes and must contend with the monster he has unleashed. — Aisha Harris

Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray Baird and Tom Blyth as Coriolanus Snow in <em>The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes</em>.
Murray Close / Lionsgate
/
Lionsgate
Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray Baird and Tom Blyth as Coriolanus Snow in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes.

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes In this prequel to the original trilogy, it's 64 years before Katniss Everdeen brought down the regime of President Coriolanus Snow. District 12 tribute Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler) is prepping to fight in the 10th Hunger Games, ironically, mentored by that same Coryo Snow (Tom Blyth), who is then 18. Also on hand, Game inventors Viola Davis and Peter Dinklage, and Jason Schwartzman as TV host "Lucky" Flickerman, presumed ancestor to Stanley Tucci's character. — Bob Mondello

<em>Next Goal Wins</em>.
Hilary Bronwyn Gayle / Searchlight Pictures
/
Searchlight Pictures
Next Goal Wins.

Next Goal Wins Writer/director Taika Waititi's last couple of films (Jojo Rabbit, Thor: Love and Thunder) showed signs that his sharp, defiantly off-kilter sensibility might be losing its singular vigor. Here's hoping that in tackling this tale (along with co-screenwriter Iain Morris) about a sozzled, washed-up soccer coach (Michael Fassbender) trying to help the hapless American Samoan soccer team, Waititi is back on firm creative ground. If he manages to invert some sports-movie clichés along the way, all the better. — Glen Weldon

Napoleon Ridley Scott's action epic traces the rise and fall of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, with Scott's favorite Gladiator, Joaquin Phoenix, as the arrogant, height-challenged despot. Vanessa Kirby is Napoleon's adored Josephine, and while much of her part has been trimmed from the director's original four-hour cut, Scott says he hopes the long version will find a home on streaming. Wide-screen battles reportedly among the most enormous ever filmed offer an argument for seeing it first in theaters. — Bob Mondello

Bradley Cooper as Leonard Bernstein in <em>Maestro</em>.
Jason McDonald / Netflix
/
Netflix
Bradley Cooper as Leonard Bernstein in Maestro.

Maestro Much of the early attention has gone to a debate about the prosthetic nose that Bradley Cooper uses in his portrayal of composer Leonard Bernstein. But the film, which Cooper directed and co-wrote with Josh Singer, got solid reviews on the festival circuit in Venice. Carey Mulligan plays Bernstein's wife, Felicia Montealegre, and that's likely to be a potent on-screen combination. — Linda Holmes

Wish If the Disney folks had just one wish, it might well be for a hit animated comedy, after a run of box office misfires (Raya and the Last Dragon, Strange World, Lightyear, Elemental) and three pandemic-era Disney+ exclusives (Luca, Soul, Turning Red). Ariana DeBose voices Asha, a teenager in a land where wishes come true, though not always in the way you expect. Chris Pine is King Magnifico, who's the keeper of wishes, and Alan Tudyk is a goat with lots to say when given a chance. — Bob Mondello

Barry Keoghan as Oliver in <em>Saltburn.</em>
/ MGM and Amazon Studios
/
MGM and Amazon Studios
Barry Keoghan as Oliver in Saltburn.

Saltburn Little is known about Emerald Fennell's directorial follow-up to Promising Young Woman, but early word out of test screenings is that it's a sexually explicit version of The Talented Mr. Ripley. Barry Keoghan plays a college student who becomes obsessed with his schoolmate Jacob Elordi's wealth, family — and charisma. We're about due for a revisit to Brideshead Revisited that takes the sub out of the queer subtext, not to mention a chance for Keoghan to play a lead role at last. — Glen Weldon

<em>All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt.</em>
/ A24
/
A24
All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt.

All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt Raven Jackson's directorial debut spans decades and generations of a Mississippi family, primarily through the eyes of Mack (played as a kid by Kaylee Nicole Johnson and as a young adult by Charleen McClure). The nonlinear film is lushly visualized and evokes the weight of time and the significance of life moments big and small. I had the fortune of catching its Sundance debut, and a wordless scene between two characters lingers with me as one of the absolute best cinematic moments of the year. — Aisha Harris

Edited by Rose Friedman
Produced by Beth Novey

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Aisha Harris is a host of Pop Culture Happy Hour.
Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.
Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.
Glen Weldon is a host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. He reviews books, movies, comics and more for the NPR Arts Desk.
As a WSIU donor, you don’t simply watch or listen to public media programs, you are a partner. By making a gift, you help WSIU produce, purchase, and broadcast programs you care about and enjoy – every day of the year.