Rake Up These Riskier Fall Offerings

Autumn is a time of falling leaves, harvest moons, and risky, offbeat movies. Though a surfeit of scary films surround the Halloween season, it also is a time of family films, comedies and dramas that take a slightly skewed look at their subjects. USA TODAY looks at some from this year's crop.

'I Can Do Bad All By Myself' (Sept. 11)

Director: Tyler Perry

Stars: Taraji P. Henson, Tyler Perry, Gladys Knight, Mary J. Blige, Adam Rodriguez

Story: Henson (supporting-actress Oscar nominee for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button") stars as an alcoholic nightclub singer who finds herself taking care of three troubled kids. Perry's signature heroine, the geriatric-in-drag Madea, appears as the woman who discovers the teenagers ransacking her house one night.

VIDEO: David Blaustein reviews Inglorious Basterds.

'Bright Star' (Sept. 16)

Director: Jane Campion

Stars: Abbie Cornish, Ben Whishaw

Story: "Bright star, would I were as steadfast as thou art." So wrote 19th-century Romantic poet John Keats (Whishaw) about Fanny Brawne (Cornish), who inspired some of his greatest writings. Their love plays out in rich period detail as the poet struggles to find his voice, then finds his life fading from illness.

'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs' (Sept. 18)

Directors: Chris Miller and Phil Lord

Stars: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Mr. T, James Caan, Andy Samberg, Bruce Campbell

VIDEO: Megan Fox appears in bogus PSA talking about killing and eating boys.

Story: Inventor Flint Lockwood (Hader) concocts a machine that turns water into delicious, fully cooked meals! There's only one problem — the machine was launched into the stratosphere and now when it rains, it rains breakfast, lunch and dinner upon the besieged townsfolk. Think of a Roland Emmerich disaster film by way of Julia Child. Based on the children's story book by Judi and Ron Barrett.

'The Informant!' (Sept. 18)

Director:Steven Soderbergh

Stars: Matt Damon, Scott Bakula, Tony Hale, Joel McHale

Story: The exclamation point in the title is a clue that things here are slightly askew. Matt Damon (with a potbelly and mustache covering his Bourne identity) plays the whistle-blower in a true-life agri-business price-fixing scam. It might sound like a snore — except this true story is played as dark comedy, with the investigation spiraling out of control and the informant revealing himself to be a deeply disturbed narcissist.

VIDEO: Blaustein Movie Review: District 9

'The Invention of Lying (Oct. 2)'

Directors: Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson

Stars: Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Jonah Hill

Story: Gervais, star and co-creator of the original, British version of "The Office," plays a frustrated loser living in a fantasy world where everyone, always, tells the absolute truth. He becomes the first person to start telling lies. And everyone believes him, no matter how outlandish, because they've never had to deal with anything untrue before. Thus, Garner falls in love with him, and he becomes the most powerful man in a very gullible world.

'Capitalism: A Love Story' (Oct. 2)


Director: Michael Moore

Star: Michael Moore

Story: The documentarian provocateur sets his sights on Wall Street corruption and corporate manipulation of the government in this film. He has described it as a kind of monster movie in which vampires feed on their victims' money instead of their blood. After "Bowling for Columbine," "Fahrenheit 9/11" and "Sicko," Moore — love him or hate him — has proven himself to be a formidable box-office draw in addition to a reliable stirrer of national debate.

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