Director. Andrew Bush
Stars. Mark Little, Kayla Lorette
Slap-sticked together by Halifax comedy troupe Picnicface, Roller Town is the little indie comedy that could. Not only was it made on a skate-string budget, but the gang decided to spoof the arcane fad of ’70s roller-rink films (remember Xanadu?). With plenty of silly gags whirling around a bare plot about a skate king who seeks justice against mobsters trying to kill disco, Roller Town stands out — even if it does lose its wheels by the end.
Director. Pete Travis
Stars. Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey
The hard-edged British future-shock comic book (previously adapted with Sly Stallone as a camp-fest in 1995) becomes a hard-core feature courtesy of writer Alex Garland (28 Days Later) and director Pete Travis. Dredd 3D is not for the faint of heart, filled as it is with endless skinning, stabbing, shooting and head crushing all rendered in some beautifully designed 3D sequences. Spare on dialogue, long on style, pulsing music and violence, Dredd 3D is a gift to serious sci-fi action movie fans.
Trouble with the Curve
Director. Robert Lorenz
Stars. Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams
Trouble with the Curve is no Moneyball. If anything, it’s the antithesis to the acclaimed biopic about using science to shape ball teams. In this, Clint Eastwood is an expired scout that, despite failing eyes and curmudgeonly demeanor, picks players the old-fashioned way — on personality. Too bad there wasn’t more personality in the film itself as text-book characters and routine plotting leaves Curve with a sub-par batting average.
House at the End of the Street
Director. Mark Tonderai
Stars. Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Shue, Max Thieriot
House at the End of the Street is notable as actress Jennifer Lawrence’s first big screen appearance since her turn in The Hunger Games. Marketed as a supernatural spook show for kids, the film is actually a rock solid, dark and suspenseful thriller armed with further evidence of just how good an actress Lawrence is becoming. Although saddled with a youth friendly PG-13 rating and light on anything visceral, House is actually ample frightening and even disturbing.
Director. Steve James
Stars. Christopher Nowinski, Keith Primeau
Although a touch didactic, the documentary Head Games will surely cause you to think twice about signing up your kid for football. While the film makes a convincing argument about the long-term effects of sports injuries (it doesn’t take a scientist to know a few blows to the brain is bad for your health) what’s more surprising is how slow the sports industry has reacted to the facts. Then again, the film never really offers a solution either.
Director. Kim Nguyen
Stars. Rachel Mwanza, Serge Kanyinda
A harrowing tale about a young African (astonishingly played by newcomer Rachel Mwanza) who is forced to become a gun-toting child soldier, Rebelle is a provocative examination of the horrors of war from Canadian filmmaker Kim Nguyen. It may not be an easy film to sit through but its evocative impact on audiences resounds long after the credits roll — whether you want it to or not.