Rake Up These Riskier Fall Offerings

'A Serious Man' (Oct. 2)

Directors: Joel and Ethan Coen

Stars: Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind, Adam Arkin

Story: In the late 1960s, a Jewish professor's life begins to fall apart. His wife wants to leave him, his university thinks he's bad at his job and his rabbis are avoiding him. How can someone be a productive member of society when the world is so clearly aligned against him? Expect this comedy to veer into the surreal, as the Coens slip into their "Barton Fink"/"Big Lebowski" mode of dark comedy.

VIDEO: Poojah Kumar talks about her role in IFCs musical mini-series.
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'Whip It' (Oct. 2)

Director: Drew Barrymore

Stars: Ellen Page, Alia Shawkat, Kristen Wiig, Juliette Lewis, Zoe Bell

Story: Barrymore's directorial debut, this coming-of-age comedy stars Page ("Juno") as a Texas teen unhappy and uncomfortable with the beauty-pageant life her mother (Marcia Gay Harden) has created for her. She'd much rather kick butt on wheels as part of a local, underground roller derby league. Barrymore, Wiig, Lewis and Bell co-star as her sisters-in-arms. The title refers to a teammate move, swinging one player around a bend to give her added speed and momentum. It's not a biopic of Devo, those cone-hat-clad musicians whose 1980 hit was "Whip It." But the filmmakers say everyone makes that joke.

VIDEO: Child actor Alexander Gould talks about growing up on the set of "Weeds."
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'An Education' (Oct. 9)

Director: Lone Scherfig

Stars: Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Emma Thompson, Sally Hawkins

Story: British actress Mulligan made a breakthrough at the Sundance Film Festival with this movie, starring as a schoolgirl in 1960s suburban London who is dazzled by a much-older suitor (Sarsgaard) and endangers the scholarly future her parents had planned for her. Based on a memoir by Lynn Barber, the screenplay is by author Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About a Boy.)

'Where the Wild Things Are' (Oct. 16)

Director: Spike Jonze

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Stars: Max Records, James Gandolfini, Forest Whitaker, Catherine Keener

Story: No child's bookshelf is complete without Maurice Sendak's story of a lonely and angry little boy who imagines himself in the realm of friendly woodland monsters as an escape from the real world, where he feels unloved. Innovative for its use of live action and giant puppets instead of the now-standard depiction of such stories in computer animation. Let the wild rumpus start!

'Astro Boy' (Oct. 23)

Director: David Bowers

Stars: Voices of Freddie Highmore, Nicolas Cage, Bill Nighy, Kristen Bell

Story: After the death of his young son, a scientist previously devoted to building futuristic weapons of war creates an android with the likeness and memories of his lost little boy. But the two are not the same, and the robot's identity crisis involves fighting a dictator who wants to harness his technology for cruel purposes. An updated version of the classic Osamu Tezuka character, which became the first major cartoon imported to America from Japan.

'Gentlemen Broncos' (Oct. 30)

Director: Jared Hess

Stars: Michael Angarano, Jemaine Clement, Mike White, Jennifer Coolidge

Story: The latest from the director/co-writer of "Napoleon Dynamite" follows a teenage outcast (Angarano) who discovers his bizarre sci-fi novel has been stolen and ripped off by a famous, pathologically cheesy, blowhard author ("Flight of the Conchords"' Clement). A war ensues to reclaim credit. Sam Rockwell co-stars as the novel's hero, a futuristic cowboy whose sequences strain the limits of the bizarre.

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