Mama - Guillermo del Toro presents Mama, a supernatural thriller that tells the haunting tale of two little girls who disappeared into the woods the day that their mother was murdered. When they are rescued years later and begin a new life, they find that someone or something still wants to come tuck them in at night. The day their father killed their mother, sisters Victoria and Lilly vanished near their suburban neighborhood. For five long years, their Uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his girlfriend, Annabel (Jessica Chastain), have been madly searching for them. But when, incredibly, the kids are found alive in a decrepit cabin, the couple wonders if the girls are the only guests they have welcomed into their home.
In the Fog - Western frontiers of the USSR, 1942. The region is under German occupation, and local partisans are fighting a brutal resistance campaign. A train is derailed not far from the village, where Sushenya, a rail worker, lives with his family. Innocent Sushenya is arrested with a group of saboteurs, but the German officer makes a decision not to hang him with the others and sets him free. Rumours of Sushenya's treason spread quickly, and partisans Burov and Voitik arrive from the forest to get revenge. As the partisans lead their victim through the forest, they are ambushed, and Sushenya finds himself one-to-one with his wounded enemy. Deep in an ancient forest, where there are neither friends nor enemies, and where the line between treason and heroism disappears, Sushenya is forced to make a moral choice under immoral circumstances.
War Witch - Montreal-based filmmaker Kim Nguyen paints a poignant and harrowing portrait of Komona, a 14-year-old girl (wonderfully played by nonprofessional actress Rachel Mwanza) who has been kidnapped from her African village by rebels to become a child soldier. She escapes from the camp with an older albino soldier and experiences for the very first time the joys of a peaceful and loving life, but a fresh tragedy will force her to confront and fight the ghosts haunting her mind. Although inspired by a real story that took place in Burma, Nguyen decided to film War Witch in the Democratic Republic of the Congo without giving a specific location to the plot. He worked on the film for 10 years, watching and catching children's points of view with his camera and mixing in tightly edited flashbacks in which the spirits of human beings appear with an ultra-realistic and violent storyline.
A Late Quartet (re-named 'Performance') - When the beloved cellist of a world-renowned string quartet receives a life changing diagnosis, the group's future suddenly hangs in the balance: suppressed emotions, competing egos, and uncontrollable passions threaten to derail years of friendship and collaboration. As they are about to play their 25th anniversary concert, quite possibly their last, only their intimate bond and the power of music can preserve their legacy. Inspired by and structured around Beethoven's Opus 131 String Quartet in C-sharp minor, Performance pays homage to chamber music and the cultural world of New York. Stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken and Catherine Keener.
Mt. Zion - Turei's family are hard-working potato farm workers in rural New Zealand. A talented musician, Turei dreams of his band being the support act for Bob Marley's 1979 tour. But it's a dream that challenges the traditions and values of his upbringing and will set him at odds with his family - particularly his father, a true man of the land.
Weekly Recommendation: At this point, having only seen 'In the Fog' it is hard to recommend anything this week. The Russian war drama is not a film made for mass appeal, and is only for a very niche market. It's tiny release will complement this. Oscar nominated 'War Witch' is potentially the best of the lineup, but 'Burt Wonderstone' and 'Performance' will no doubt please fans of their casts, and 'Mama' horror buffs.