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Fall Movie Preview

updated 09/14/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/14/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

SEPTEMBER

LOVE HAPPENS

9/18

STARRING: Jennifer Aniston, Aaron Eckhart

As a widowed self-help author, Eckhart learns to take his own advice after meeting a florist (Aniston) who has sworn off men. "It's not your typical love story at all," says Aniston. "It goes a couple layers deeper."

SURROGATES

9/25

STARRING: Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, Ving Rhames

In a future where couch-potato humans interact with the outside world through physically superior (and Rogained!) robot versions of themselves, a murder forces Willis's FBI agent to reexperience real life.

Also Playing

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 9/18 The kids' classic about yummy weather goes 3-D.

The Informant! Starring Matt Damon, 9/18 Damon plays a corporate whistleblower with some serious issues of his own.

Plus: Taraji P. Henson sizzles in Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All by Myself; Liam Neeson tracks down his wife's lover in The Other Man; and a new generation sings out in Fame.

JENNIFER'S BODY

9/18

STARRING: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Johnny Simmons, Adam Brody

Megan Fox is a maneater—literally—in this horror-comedy that could only come from snarkmeister Diablo Cody (Juno). Fox plays a demon-possessed teen who craves guys ... for dinner. The sex symbol actress savored the chance to, well, actually act: "I felt I was able to make fun of my own image."

OCTOBER

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

10/16

STARRING: Max Records, Catherine Keener, Mark Ruffalo

Adapting Maurice Sendak's classic tale of a boy who meets fearsome-yet-friendly monsters took the unbridled imagination of Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich). The actors voicing monsters had a wild rumpus. Says Catherine O'Hara: "Watching everyone be sweet and silly was fun."

WHIP IT

10/2

STARRING: Ellen Page, Drew Barrymore

The character names alone are a hoot in this Roller Derby comedy: Smashley Simpson, Maggie Mayhem, Iron Maven. In her debut as a director, Drew Barrymore "put us in roller-skating boot camp," says costar Juliette Lewis. "Her enthusiasm was contagious."

THE INVENTION OF LYING

10/2

STARRING: Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Tina Fey

In a parallel universe, no one knows how to tell a lie—except writer Mark (Gervais, who also directed). Lying, he says, is "an attempt to make the funniest episode of The Twilight Zone ever, in the vein of early Woody Allen."

We'll eat you up--we love you so: Max meets a Wild Thing.

Also Playing

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant, Starring John C. Reilly, Salma Hayek, 10/23 A teen joins a band of sideshow denizens, including, yes, a bearded lady.

Astro Boy, Starring Freddie Highmore, 10/23 Based on the Japanese series about a young robot.

Plus: Viggo Mortensen in The Road; Vince Vaughn in Couples Retreat; and a starry ensemble in New York, I Love You.

NOVEMBER

NINE

11/25

STARRING: Penélope Cruz, Daniel Day-Lewis

This Rob Marshall (Chicago) adaptation of the Broadway musical tells the tale of an angst-ridden director (Day-Lewis) balancing the many women in his life. The Oscar-laden team made the shoot "really amazing," says Kate Hudson—but intense. "When I finished my number, I just cried, it was so emotional. I lost two inches because of how vigorous it was!"

A CHRISTMAS CAROL

11/6

STARRING: Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman

Tiny Tim still gets his moment, but "this is not your grandfather's Christmas Carol," promises producer Jack Rapke. Thanks to motion-capture technology, Carrey plays Scrooge at various ages—plus the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come.

Also Playing

Old Dogs Starring Robin Williams, John Travolta, 11/25 Two single guys are thrust into fatherhood when they must raise twins.

2012 Starring John Cusack, 11/13 The world is ending! Cue giant tidal waves.

Plus: Cameron Diaz is trapped in The Box; George Clooney explores paranormal secrets in The Men Who Stare at Goats; and Sandra Bullock takes in a homeless youth in The Blind Side.

NEW MOON

11/20

STARRING: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner

Team Edward, take heart: The brooding bloodsucker (Pattinson) appears more here than in the second Twilight novel, which sees Edward dump love Bella (Stewart) to protect her. As for fans of werewolf Jacob (Lautner), take it from costar Ashley Greene: "[New Moon] has a lot of Taylor with his shirt off!"

DECEMBER

SHERLOCK HOLMES

12/25

STARRING: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams

The 19th-century British detective (Downey) gets some 21st-century punch from director Guy Ritchie. "The idea is that Sherlock Holmes is the first western martial artist, coupled with being one of the great intellects of that period," says Ritchie. "He's a smart ass-kicker!"

THE LOVELY BONES

12/11

STARRING: Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz

Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson adapts Alice Sebold's bestseller, in which murdered teen Susie (Atonement's Ronan) peers down from heaven. "[It's about] dealing with a loss," says Wahlberg. "It's very emotional."

IT'S COMPLICATED

12/25

STARRING: Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin

New Moon isn't the only sexy love triangle around. In this romantic comedy from writer-director Nancy Meyers (Something's Gotta Give) Meryl Streep plays a divorced mom torn between two men who desire her. After Julie & Julia, who wouldn't?

Also Playing

The Princess and the Frog, 12/11 Disney unveils its first African-American princess in a tale set in New Orleans.

Up in the Air Starring: George Clooney Frequent-flier Clooney falls for a fellow compulsive traveler.

Plus: Robert De Niro road-trips in Everybody's Fine; Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal are Brothers.

DECEMBER

AVATAR

12/18

STARRING: Sam Worthington, Zoë Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver

Feeling blue? So is director James Cameron, whose first feature film since 1997's Titanic stars 10-ft.-tall, Smurf-colored creatures called Na'vi. Cameron believes audiences will come for the story, not the effects. Avatar is about seeing "through the eyes of people who are culturally different," he says. "It's a love story too."

ACTORS

Morgan Freeman could triumph as Nelson Mandela in Invictus (12/11), while his costar Matt Damon may score for that film or The Informant! Inglourious Basterds' villain Christoph Waltz is a front-runner after winning Best Actor in Cannes.

ACTRESSES

Meryl Streep has the recipe for a nod in Julie & Julia, while 15-year-old Saoirse Ronan is a contender as the lead in The Lovely Bones. Mo'Nique and newcomer Gabourey Sidibe have major buzz for roles as a mom and abused daughter in Precious (11/6).

BEST PICTURE

This year the field expands from five to 10, so look for fan favorites like Up and possibly Star Trek to receive votes. Prestige projects such as Nine, The Lovely Bones and Avatar will certainly get a close look. A dark horse: military drama The Hurt Locker.

DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE MORGANS?

12/18

STARRING: Sarah Jessica Parker, Hugh Grant

Remember that Sex and the City episode in which Carrie freaked out at Aidan's country house? Now Parker and Grant play urbanites forced even further out of their element: into the Witness Protection Program in Wyoming.

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