This Fall's Most Exciting Movies Spotlight Local Talent

After a string of roles in successful films and series such as The Handmaid’s Tale and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Grapevine's McKenna Grace is battling spirits in Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
After a string of roles in successful films and series such as The Handmaid’s Tale and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Grapevine's McKenna Grace is battling spirits in Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Rachel Luna/Getty
There was a time we got excited for new movies and not just confused. Whenever we look forward to a release, we're also filled with questions: Which movies are playing in theaters? To what streaming services do we need to subscribe now? What the hell is Paramount+?  Can you watch Black Widow if you have Disney+, or is there an extra charge?

Even though their viewing may require a bit of research, this fall promises an exciting slate of movies, and we're especially excited about the projects from homegrown stars.

The days of action-packed summer fare are slowly fading away, making way for serious cinema, just ahead of awards season. Between the return of Michael Myers and James Bond to the star-studded reboot of West Side Story, the fall is packed with attention-grabbing titles. If you need help making a decision, make sure to check out these exciting upcoming projects from Texas artists.

Red Rocket
Even if he’s best known as the goofball from the Scary Movie franchise, actor Simon Rex looks to be taking a more serious turn with this drama about a washed up porn star. Directed by The Florida Project auteur Sean Baker, Red Rocket was shot in Texas City and other Texas locations last fall.

American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story
Look, the inspirational football story isn’t a tough formula to crack, but it can lift our spirits when done well. This Zachary Levi star vehicle (it also stars Dennis Quaid, Anna Paquin and Virginia Madsen) about two-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl MVP and Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner shot many key sequences in Allen this spring.

The French Dispatch
Even if he’s every coffee shop hipster’s favorite director, Texas-born Wes Anderson rarely misses, and he’s pulled in another impressively stacked cast for this story of American journalists in France. Among them is Dallas’ own Owen Wilson, who is reuniting with Anderson for the eighth time.

The Harder They Fall
Even if his Emmy-nominated series Lovecraft Country was canceled, Jonathan Majors isn’t slowing down and frontlines an action revenge Western in The Harder They Fall. Majors is not the only impressive name attached to the all-Black cast; the film also features Regina King, Idris Elba, Lakeith Stanfield, Delroy Lindo, Zazie Beets and RJ Cycler.

The Power of the Dog
Thomas Savage’s novel The Power of the Dog broke social barriers when it debuted in 1967, depicting suicide, depression, homosexuality and domestic abuse within the American West. We’re certain the upcoming Netflix adaptation won’t be an easy one to watch, but we’re looking forward to seeing Dallas’ Jesse Plemons in the sympathetic role of farmer George Burbank.

Cry Macho
We’re pretty much convinced that if Clint Eastwood ever actually dies, it’ll be on a movie set. The 91-year-old screen legend returns to screen — for what we can only presume is his final performance — as an aging Texas cowboy transporting a child fugitive across the Mexican border.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre? A classic. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 2? An underrated gem. The rest? Eh. We’re hoping this upcoming reboot from Texas filmmaker David Blue Garcia brings some energy to this tired series.

Apollo 10 ½
Nobody makes us nostalgic for our existential teenage days like Texas filmmaker Richard Linklater, whose coming-of-age classics include Slacker, Dazed and Confused, Boyhood, Everybody Wants Some and the Before series. Virtually every Linklater movie is described as “his most personal yet,” but this one draws on the director’s childhood during the days before the Apollo 11 landing.

The Way of the Wind

Austin-based filmmaker Terrence Malick is responsible for Texas classics such as Badlands, Days of Heaven and The Tree of Life. The director brought his last film, A Hidden Life, to the Fort Worth Film Festival back in 2019; we’re hoping for another local festival run for his biblical epic The Way of the Wind.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife
What’s that? Another Ghostbusters? Ditching the New York setting for a rural backdrop, the new “legacyquel” replaces the cynical scientists with a batch of young heroes. Among them is Grapevine actress McKenna Grace, who at 15 has already co-starred in Captain Marvel; The Handmaid’s Tale; I, Tonya; The Haunting of Hill House; The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina; Ready Player One and Troop Zero. Maybe she and Eastwood should pair up to shatter Hollywood’s ageism.
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Liam Gaughan has been covering film and television since before he had a driver's license, and in addition to the Observer has been published in, Schmoes Know, Taste of Cinema and The Dallas Morning News. He enjoys checking classic films off of his watchlist and working on spec scripts.