Outside of a few studio titles like "Dredd," "Frankenweenie," and "Hotel Transylvania," this week is ruled by the indies. David Ayer's realistic look at police work brings out amazing performances by Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena in "End of Watch." Catch the bizarre-looking "A Glimpse Inside The Mind of Charles Swan III," starring Charlie Sheen, Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray, on demand before it hits theaters. Sundance award winner "Searching For Sugar Man" is a must-see. And "Compliance" is sure to leave you scratching your head.
There are a lot of choices out there, so get to it!
'End of Watch'
Using handheld cameras, dashcams and pencams, we have a front row seat to the rough streets of Los Angeles as we follow two LAPD officers (Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena) who get over their heads when a cartel marks them for death.
Why Watch It: The shaky camera work can get annoying at times, but Gyllenhaal and Pena's performances are top notch.
Available On: iTunes, Amazon Instant [On Demand: 1/22]
Move over Sylvester Stallone, there's a new Dredd in town, played by Karl Urban. In this darker adaptation of the comic book character, we follow the cop who is also judge, jury and executioner as he shows a trainee (Olivia Thirlby) the ropes while trying to take down a gang that possesses the new hot designer drug.
Why Watch It: It's a lot better than Sly's version. (If that's saying much.)
'A Glimpse Inside The Mind of Charles Swan III'
Charles Swan (Charlie Sheen) is not doing well after breaking up with "the love of his life," so he goes on a quest of self-discovery with his friend Kirby (Jason Schwartzman), which leads to weird scenarios and Bill Murray popping up once in a while.
Why Watch It: From director Roman Coppola (Francis's son), it has a bit of Charlie Kaufman charm to it.
Available On: Cable On Demand [In Theaters February 8]
'Searching For Sugar Man'
This amazingly true story follows a pair of South Africans who set out to debunk the myths and find out what really happened to their idol, the mysterious '70s folk singer Rodriguez.
Why Watch It: The only thing that tops this amazing story is the music by Rodriguez featured throughout.
Available On: iTunes [On Demand: 1/22]
We get a glimpse of Tim Burton's inner child, and frankly we're not too surprised. A young boy named Victor Frankenstein conducts a science experiment to bring his dog Sparky back to life. It's successful, but when imitators catch wind of the project it leads to some horrific results.
Why Watch It: Mixed with tons of horror movie homages and Disney magic, it's Burton's best work in a while.
Available On: Cable On Demand, Amazon Instant
Dracula (Adam Sandler) has created a hotel dedicated to ghouls and goblins of all sorts, no humans allowed — well, until one happens to come across it. Now Drac's scared his horror haven will be revealed to all humans, but things get worse as the human (Andy Samberg) has the hots for Dracula's daughter (Selena Gomez).
Why Watch It: If this could only be the movie we think about when we see Sandler and Samberg in the credits.
Writer/co-director Dax Shepard stars as a former getaway driver known as Charles Bronson who's now part of the witness protection program. He risks it all to help his girlfriend (played by Shepard's real-girlfriend Kristen Bell) get to L.A. for a new job, but this isn't going to be a leisurely drive as Charles's old gang and the feds are hot on his tail.
Why Watch It: Some entertaining moments and fun cameos.
When Alex (Ryan O'Nan) loses his girl and his band breaks up, there isn't really much left to do but head out on the road with a musician (Michael Weston) who plays toy instruments. It may sound a little out there (and it is), but "Brooklyn Brothers Beat The Best" sneaks up on you with surprisingly witty humor and some impressive songs — yes, really played with toy instruments.
Why Watch It: The songs really stick with you. And there's some great comedic moments.
One of the more polarizing films at last year's Sundance, this story based on true events follows a young employee at a fast food restaurant who is accused of stealing money by a prank caller disguised as a cop. The situation escalates, leading to some questionable actions by her boss and coworkers.
Why Watch It: Decide for yourself how you'd handle this situation.
Available On: Cable On Demand, VUDU
OLDIES BUT GOODIES
This classic prison break drama marks the final time Clint Eastwood and director Don Siegel would team up; previous to this they worked on "Dirty Harry," "Coogan's Bluff" and "Two Mules for Sister Sara." Eastwood plays a lifer who attempts the historic escape.
With all the talk of "Django Unchained," take a moment to go back in the archives and check out one of Tarantino's classics. Part gangster film and part heist movie, Tarantino shows why he will become the director of his generation with biting dialogue, an amazing soundtrack and a standoff finale that is still as powerful now as it was 21 years ago.
From "Y Tu Mama Tambien" director Alfonso Cuaron, "Children of Men" takes us to 2027, a barren, dystopic future where humans can no longer reproduce. Theo (Clive Owen) happens upon a pregnant woman and agrees to take her to a group of scientists who hope to save humanity with her help.