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October lite

By PETER KEOUGH  |  September 17, 2009

OCTOBER
The month opens with a couple of documentary reminders of how we're all being screwed over and what we can do about it. Michael Moore returns to infuriate conservatives (and some liberals) with his personal take on the recent Wall Street meltdown, CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY (October 2). Given the health-care-reform debate, he might also want to re-release Sicko. And in case you hadn't noticed, rampant capitalism and consumerism have had an adverse effect on the environment as well as the economy. In their documentary NO IMPACT MAN (October 2), Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein look at Colin Beavan, who's vowed to reduce his family's carbon footprint to zero.

But enough about that boring stuff — what's Drew Barrymore been up to lately? She's making her directorial debut and starring in WHIP IT (October 2), in which Ellen Page plays a Juno-esque waif torn between her mother's Little Miss Sunshine–like ambition for her to become a beauty queen and her own dream of putting on skates and fishnets and becoming a roller-derby champ.

Up for more shenanigans from high-school girls in sexy stockings? Oliver Parker's ST. TRINIAN'S (October 2) does it British-style, as the naughty hotties try to save the school — and the long-running British-comedy franchise — from bankruptcy. Colin Firth and Rupert Everett star, the latter reportedly in drag.

As adolescence turns into an older form of adolescence, our comedy gets more adult and complicated, as in Peter Billingsley's debut, COUPLES RETREAT (October 9). A bunch of young marrieds from the Midwest sign up for a vacation resort in search of relaxation and fun in the sun but instead find themselves thrown into a rigorous and mandatory therapy program. Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn wrote the screenplay, and they star along with Kristen Bell and Malin Akerman. Those couples would have a lot more to complain about if they had ended up in ZOMBIELAND (October 2), Robert Fleischer's slapsticky splatter film, in which Woody Harrelson plays a desperado trying to save a group of survivors from a plague of the flesh-eating cadavers.

Okay, it would appear that life is MORE THAN A GAME (October 9), even for NBA superstar LeBron James, who is the subject of this documentary by Kristopher Belman. Jokesters Ethan and Joel Coen, for example, are coming to grips with what it means to be A SERIOUS MAN (October 9), their dark comedy starring Michael Stuhlbarg in which a Jewish college professor in the '60s questions the value of life.

And yet it's still possible to admit that NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU (October 16). In this portmanteau movie, 11 directors including Fatih Akin, Mira Nair, and Natalie Portman are helped by the likes of Shia LaBeouf, Ethan Hawke, and John Hurt to show why, despite its tough rep, there's still a lot to love about the Big Apple.

On the other hand, there's not much to love in the title villain of F. Gary Gray's LAW-ABIDING CITIZEN (October 16), which stars Jamie Foxx as a psycho terrorizing Philadelphia, or Nelson McCormick's THE STEPFATHER (October 16), a remake of Joseph Ruben's 1987 thriller about the wicked new man in mom's life starring Dylan Walsh and Sela Ward. Harsh as these movies might be, they should help prepare us for THE ROAD (October 16), John (The Proposition) Hillcoat's adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel about the end of the world. Starring Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron, it makes No Country for Old Men look like a light romantic comedy.

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