OCTOBER

'Whip It!'
Release Date: Oct. 9
Starring: Ellen Page, Drew Barrymore
The Scoop: Page plays a beauty pageant contestant who trades in her tiara for roller skates ... because she gets into roller derby. Yes, roller derby. Bruising body checks! Fights! Girl power! Is it any wonder some of us are looking forward to this more than any other movie this season? Incidentally, 'Whip It!' marks the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore. And it has ROLLER DERBY.
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'Capitalism: A Love Story'
Release Date: Oct. 2
Starring: Michael Moore
The Scoop: Moore's mad as hell and he's not going to take it anymore (as usual) -- this time in response to the massive U.S. economic crisis. He confronts bankers, Wall Street types and politicos to learn how we got into this mess and to demand the pay back of trillions the American people have lost. Good luck with that.
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'The Invention of Lying'
Release Date: Oct. 2
Starring: Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Jonah Hill
The Scoop: Jam-packed with stars and cameos from some of our favorite funny people (Rob Lowe, Tina Fey, Jason Bateman), Gervais' big-screen directorial debut is getting buzz for its premise too: in a world where no one has ever told a lie, he's the first guy to fib. We can't think of anyone we'd rather see milk that opportunity.
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'More Than a Game'
Release Date: Oct. 2
Directed by: Kristopher Belman
The Scoop: It's been called "'Hoop Dreams' with a happy ending," and rightly so. The b-ball doc starts with the familiar setup of a filmmaker following a group of high school hoopsters. The twist? One of those players is future NBA superstar LeBron James. And unlike 'Dreams,' 'Game' stresses the well-documented absence of "i" in "team," focusing on James' tight bond with his varsity teammates on their way to a national championship.
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'A Serious Man'
Release Date: Oct. 2
Starring: Michael Stuhlbarg, Sari Lennick
The Scoop: Two years after dominating the Oscars, and one year after enlisting Hollywood heavyweights Pitt and Clooney for the same wacky farce, the Coen brothers return with ... their most "starless" film yet? If there's any justice in the world, it shouldn't matter a lick, as the buzz around this black comedy about a college professor (Stuhlbarg) whose life quickly unravels is tremendous. And let's face it, who needs stars when the Coens are pulling the strings?
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'Couples' Retreat'
Release Date: Oct. 9
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Kristen Bell, Jason Bateman
The Scoop: An all-star ensemble cast (Vaughn, Bell, Bateman, Jon Favreau, Kristin Davis, Malin Akerman) fleshes out the Favreau/Vaughn-penned script about four dysfunctional couples who unwittingly end up in a mandatory-marriage-therapy tropical resort. We imagine the 'Swingers' guys approaching midlife. That's money, baby.
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'Zombieland'
Release Date: Oct. 2
Starring: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg
The Scoop: With vampires all the rage, it was only a matter of time before the zombies took over; and take over they do in this comedy about normal folks forced to fight off the undead. Think of it as 'Shaun of the Dead' except flashier (director Ruben Fleischer previously worked on music videos) -- plus, one of the characters (Harrelson) is actually a badass. No offense, Simon Pegg.
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'An Education'
Release Date: Oct. 9
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Emma Thompson
The Scoop: Set in England in the early '60s, this atypical coming-of-age story follows Jenny, a 16-year-old smartie who is decades beyond her classmates in maturity, a trait that a 30-ish bon vivant (Sarsgaard) takes full advantage of. A touching tear-jerker that's sure to get some Oscar buzz (our bid for relative newcomer Mulligan starts now!).
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'Where the Wild Things Are'
Release Date: Oct. 16
Starring: Max Records, Catherine Keener, James Gandolfini
The Scoop: For decades, a film based on Maurice Sendak's beloved 10-sentence children's book seemed as much a fantasy as the domain over which the tale's "hero" Max rules. Enter Spike Jonze. The 'Adaptation' director fleshed out the story to focus on Max's relationship with his mom and flouted CGI beasts in favor of gargantuan life-like puppets, to breathtaking effect. We're more than ready for the wild rumpus to begin.
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'New York, I Love You'
Release Date: Oct. 16
Starring: Natalie Portman, Shia LaBeouf, approximately 13 percent of SAG
The Scoop: Like 2007's 'Paris, je t'aime,' this anthology unites a contingent of eclectic filmmakers to pay tribute to the titular metropolis through interrelated, romance-minded shorts. Also appearing: Bradley Cooper, Ethan Hawke, Maggie Q, Orlando Bloom, Christina Ricci, Robin Wright Penn (see what we mean?).
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'Black Dynamite'
Release Date: Oct. 16
Starring: Michael Jai White, Arsenio Hall, Tommy Davidson
The Scoop: With co-stars like Hall and Davidson, you'd be forgiven for thinking this slice of screen nostalgia hearkens back to the '80s or '90s. But Scott Sanders' buzzed-about send-up starring White (finally given another leading look after 'Spawn') is a full-on '70s-set Blaxploitation satire. In the era of 'Disaster Movie' and 'Dance Flick,' the word on 'Dynamite' is that it's the rarest of breeds: a spoof film that's actually funny.

'Amelia'
Release Date: Oct. 23
Starring: Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, Ewan McGregor
The Scoop: Swank portrays legendary pilot Amelia Earhart, who disappeared while attempting to circumnavigate the globe. The film, helmed by Mira Nair ('Monsoon Wedding'), documents the feisty pilot's perilous quest and the relationships -- husband George Putnam (Gere) and lover Gene Vidal (McGregor) -- it forces her to leave behind. Oscar voters, you've been baited.
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'Michael Jackson: This Is It'
Release Date: Oct. 28
Starring: Michael Jackson
The Scoop: What is probably the most rushed film project we've seen race toward theaters since Michael Moore cranked out 'Fahrenheit 9/11' before the 2004 election, this concert doc culls from the more than 100 hours of rehearsal and behind-the-scenes footage shot around the late pop stars's rehearsals for his planned 50-show London stay. Set to open wide and play in theaters for only two weeks, expect this to be a real 'Thriller.'

'The Box'

Release Date: Oct. 30
Starring: Cameron Diaz, James Marsden, Frank Langella
The Scoop: Diaz and Marsden are happy suburbanites till a creepy Langella offers a "gift": a box that'll make them rich but will cause a random death. It's not someone they know, and they could use the cash -- so what to do? It's a thriller wrapped in a moral dilemma, and we can't decide whether to be scared or intrigued; we choose both.
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'Youth in Revolt'
Release Date: Oct. 30
Starring: Michael Cera, Portia Doubleday, Jean Smart
The Scoop: Cera tackles dual roles in this coming-of-age comedy, playing both awkward lovesick teen Nick Twisp and Francois Dillinger, the mustache-sporting, Capri-pant-wearing badass alter ego he creates in order to win the girl of his dreams (Doubleday). The chance to see Cera out of his comfort zone as an authority-ignoring, arsonist rebel in skinny pants -- yeah, we'll pay for that.
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Also in October
Chris Rock makes touring salons a rollicking good time in 'Good Hair' ... 'HSM' alum Corbin Bleu graduates from extreme singing and dancing to extreme sports in 'Free Style' ... Michelle Monaghan is one 'Trucker' we'd hit the road with ... Gerard Butler goes eye-for-about-a-dozen-eyes in the revenge thriller 'Law Abiding Citizen' ... Don't you hate it when you find out your 'Stepfather' is a serial killer? ... Preteens everywhere anxiously await the arrival of 'Astro Boy,' voiced by Freddie Highmore ... Yep, 'Saw VI' ... John C. Reilly gets starring role, Salma Hayek gets beard in 'The Vampire's Assistant' ... Danish provocateur Lars von Trier still wants to be our 'Antichrist.'