LOS ANGELES - Hollywood might be telling its own life story this fall, presenting a lineup of liars, phonies, smooth talkers, bloodsuckers and greedy old men.
Granted, there are heroes in the mix, including Robert Downey Jr. as the great detective in ''Sherlock Holmes'' and Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela in Clint Eastwood's drama ''Invictus.''
Beloved literature and storybook adventures come to the screen with Maurice Sendak's children's classic ''Where the Wild Things Are,'' Disney's animated fairy tale ''The Princess and the Frog'' and ''Lord of the Rings'' filmmaker Peter Jackson's adaptation of modern favorite ''The Lovely Bones.''
The Associated Press
Max Records is shown in a scene with a furry friend from “Where The Wild Things Are,” scheduled to be released Oct. 16.
And audiences will be reunited with absent friends, among them director James Cameron on the sci-fi epic ''Avatar,'' his first narrative film since ''Titanic,'' and Woody, Buzz Lightyear and their plaything pals as 3-D versions of ''Toy Story'' and ''Toy Story 2'' hit theaters.
Still, rascals, rogues, beasts and baddies abound. Vampires and werewolves form opposing cliques in the season's supernatural heavyweight, ''The Twilight Saga: New Moon,'' with Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson back for the second chapter of Stephenie Meyer's vamp-schoolgirl romance.
The vampire-werewolf feud makes for a nice exploration of our own psyches, said ''New Moon'' director Chris Weitz.
Fall film highlights
11 - BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT: A reporter frames himself for murder to get the goods on a prosecutor (Michael Douglas) running for governor.
25 - BRIEF INTERVIEWS WITH HIDEOUS MEN: John Krasinski directs and co-stars in the tale of a graduate student researching relationships amid her own broken personal life.
23 - CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY: Michael Moore's latest documentary takes on corporations and speculators that have made love of money a way of life.
18 - CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS: A town copes with too much of a good thing in the animated take on the children's book where food falls from the sky.
25 - FAME: The 1980s hit is updated with a new take on life at a high school for performing arts. With Kelsey Grammer and Debbie Allen.
18 - THE INFORMANT!: Matt Damon stars in Steven Soderbergh's darkly comic portrait of a deceptive executive who blew the whistle on corruption at Archer Daniels Midland.
18 - JENNIFER'S BODY: Megan Fox lets her inner demon loose as a high school queen bee feeding on classmates after she's possessed by evil.
18 - LOVE HAPPENS: A florist (Jennifer Aniston) and a self-help author (Aaron Eckhart) make reluctant stabs at romance.
9 - 9: Elijah Wood and Jennifer Connelly lead the voice cast in an animated sci-fi adventure set in a post-apocalyptic future.
25 - PANDORUM: Dennis Quaid stars in a horror tale about amnesiac astronauts who awaken on a space station filled with dark secrets.
11 - SORORITY ROW: Five college women are stalked by a killer after they cause the death of a sorority sister.
25 - SURROGATES: Federal agents (Bruce Willis and Radha Mitchell) pursue a killer in a world where people can live vicariously through robot replicas.
11 - TYLER PERRY'S I CAN DO BAD ALL BY MYSELF: Filmmaker Perry's latest features Taraji P. Henson as a boozy singer forced to raise her delinquent niece and nephews.
11 - WHITEOUT: The only U.S. marshal in Antarctica (Kate Beckinsale) races to solve a murder before the long winter strands her there with the killer.
23 - AMELIA: Hilary Swank plays legendary aviator Amelia Earhart in Mira Nair's biopic. With Richard Gere and Ewan McGregor.
23 - ASTRO BOY: A robot boy (voiced by Freddie Highmore) learns lessons in humanity in an animated adaptation of the Japanese TV series.
23 - CIRQUE DU FREAK: THE VAMPIRE'S ASSISTANT: A teen's encounter with a vampire (John C. Reilly) lands him in a traveling freak show. With Salma Hayek.
9 - COUPLES RETREAT: Four couples cope with relationship issues in this ensemble comedy featuring Vince Vaughn, Kristin Davis, Jon Favreau and Kristen Bell.
25 - THE INVENTION OF LYING: Ricky Gervais stars in a comic fantasy about a man who discovers the value of fibbing in a world where everyone tells the truth.
16 - LAW ABIDING CITIZEN: An imprisoned man orchestrates bloody revenge for the murders of his wife and child. With Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler.
28 - MICHAEL JACKSON: THIS IS IT: Rehearsal footage as the singer prepared for his London comeback shows form the backbone of this concert-that-never-was film.
16 - MOTHERHOOD: Uma Thurman juggles the stresses and strains of parenthood in a comedy co-starring Minnie Driver.
23 - SAW VI: Deceased killer Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) continues to wreak bloody havoc from beyond the grave.
2 - A SERIOUS MAN: The Coen brothers tell the story of a college professor straining to do right amid personal and professional adversity.
16 - WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE: A boy journeys to a land of wondrous creatures in Spike Jonze's adaptation of Maurice Sendak's beloved picture book.
2 - WHIP IT: Drew Barrymore directs and co-stars with Ellen Page as a small-town beauty queen turned roller-derby mama.
2 - ZOMBIELAND: Woody Harrelson and Abigail Breslin are among a band of survivors battling the undead in this zombie comedy.
20 - THE BLIND SIDE: A true-life drama chronicles Michael Oher's journey from homeless teen to No. 1 pick in this year's NFL draft. With Sandra Bullock.
6 - THE BOX: A mysterious box holds the promise of fortune for a couple (Cameron Diaz and James Marsden) - and misfortune for a stranger.
6 - A CHRISTMAS CAROL: Jim Carrey does Scrooge and his three Christmas ghosts in Robert Zemeckis' motion-capture adaptation of the Dickens classic.
13 - FANTASTIC MR. FOX: Wes Anderson's fox-vs.-farmers animated tale features the voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Bill Murray.
6 - THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS: George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey star in a comic tale of ''psychic warfare'' by the U.S. military.
25 - NINJA ASSASSIN: A renegade hit man (pop singer Rain) teams with a European cop (Naomie Harris) against an Asian assassin syndicate.
13 - 2012: Mark your calendars for doomsday in Roland Emmerich's latest end-of-the-world saga. With John Cusack.
20 - THE TWILIGHT SAGA: NEW MOON: Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson return in the schoolgirl-vampire romance, this time with werewolves on the prowl.
18 -?AVATAR: James Cameron's 3-D sci-fi epic centers on humans placed inside alien skins to survive on a distant world. With Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver.
11 - INVICTUS: Morgan Freeman stars as Nelson Mandela in Clint Eastwood's saga of an underdog season for the South African rugby team. With Matt Damon.
11 - THE LOVELY BONES: Peter Jackson directs the story of a slain girl watching over her family from heaven. With Rachel Weisz and Mark Wahlberg.
25 - SHERLOCK HOLMES: Robert Downey Jr. is the illustrious detective as he races to uncover a plot that threatens all of Britain. Jude Law co-stars as sidekick Watson.
''I suppose they're the two most relatable human monsters that we can think of. They nicely encapsulate restraint and passion,'' Weitz said. ''Vampires are cold-blooded, literally, and werewolves are hot-blooded.''
Downey and director Guy Ritchie inject some passion into cold-blooded rationalist Holmes with their Victorian-era crime tale inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle's detective stories, featuring Jude Law as sidekick Watson.
Holmes ''is a weirdo by any standards,'' Downey said. ''He has dedicated the entirety of his adult life to this one purpose, which is being a consulting detective and knowing things that other people don't take the time to make it their business to know.
''That said, there's something kind of bohemian about him. He also has made no effort to cultivate friendships with anybody, because that would be to the exclusion of his prime mover. So he's trippy.''
Here's a look at some of the other good, bad and trippy types in store this season:
James Cameron's ''Avatar'' leads a rush of films featuring humans in phony forms, including Bruce Willis' ''Surrogates,'' a murder thriller in a world where people live vicariously through robot replicas, and Gerard Butler's ''Gamer,'' where mind-control allows puppetmaster players to toy with real people in lethal games.
''Avatar'' stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana and Cameron's ''Aliens'' hero Sigourney Weaver in a 3-D saga in which human explorers embody clones of an alien race to explore their planet's fantastic environment. Cameron's ocean explorations for the documentary ''Aliens of the Deep'' helped spark his imagination for the life forms of ''Avatar.''
''I've seen some pretty amazing things at the bottom of the ocean. I've seen in some cases things that have never been seen or described by science before. So I know there are wonders out there and I know that nature is infinitely more inventive not only than we imagined, but than we can imagine,'' Cameron said.
Living the lie
Ricky Gervais directs, co-writes and stars as the world's first fibber in ''The Invention of Lying,'' featuring Jennifer Garner and Tina Fey in a comedy about an alternate reality where everyone tells the truth - until one man discovers the benefits of dishonesty.
Matt Damon and Steven Soderbergh, collaborators on the ''Ocean's Eleven'' romps, reunite for the whistleblower tale ''The Informant!'', based on Kurt Eichenwald's book about Archers Daniel Midland executive Mark Whitacre, who turned FBI mole in a price-fixing scheme at the agriculture-processing company.
The film plays as dark comedy, Soderbergh centering on the absurdity of Whitacre's deceitful, vainglorious cooperation with his FBI handlers.
''Steven really kind of set on this idea of him being the most unreliable narrator. There's information in the book that's just kind of doled out slowly, where you go, 'Wait a minute, something's not quite right,''' Damon said. ''It's sort of the liar who keeps saying, 'OK, now I'm telling you everything.'''
Singing rodents return in ''Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel,'' with Alvin, Simon and Theodore in a battle-of-the-bands showdown with three female chipmunks.
Food falls from the sky in an animated adaptation of the children's book ''Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,'' the story of a town where plenty eventually becomes too much.
Tom Hanks and Tim Allen are back as Woody and Buzz in 3-D versions of ''Toy Story,'' the first computer-animated feature film, and ''Toy Story 2,'' which play as a double-feature in advance of next year's ''Toy Story 3.''
Disney bucks the computer-animation trend with a throwback to its hand-drawn cartoon roots on ''The Princess and the Frog,'' updating the fairy tale about a girl and her slimy prince.
The animated adventure ''Planet 51'' features the voices of Dwayne ''The Rock'' Johnson and Jessica Biel in the tale of an astronaut who discovers a world of tiny green aliens living the ''Ozzie and Harriet'' life of 1950s America.
With a voice cast including James Gandolfini, Forest Whitaker and Catherine O'Hara, ''Where the Wild Things Are'' casts an adventurous boy onto an island where he rules over an assortment of cuddly but unpredictable beasts.
Rather than relying on digital effects to bring Maurice Sendak's exotic world to life, director Spike Jonze stuffed performers into bulky suits on real sets to adapt the picture book.