This week you can't miss "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," which was one of our favorites from 2012. If you need a little more madness, there's Lee Daniels's deep south fable "The Paperboy;" if you don't get hot from the steamy scenes with Nicole Kidman, you'll just sweat from looking at how sticky everyone looks in the humid Florida heat. Plus, we've got some great older titles, including the Sundance hit that was the "Beast of the Southern Wild" before Quvenzhané Wallis stepped foot in Park City.
One of the highlights from 2012, Stephen Chbosky's adaptation of his own book (which rarely works out well) stars Emma Watson and Ezra Miller as popular seniors who take an introverted freshman (Logan Lerman) under their wing and shows him a world he's never seen before.
Why Watch It: See why Ezra Miller should have gotten award consideration. No lie.
Granted, it's known for its scene where Nicole Kidman soothes Zac Efron's jellyfish sting with fresh pee, but Lee Daniels's Southern fried noir also includes some powerful performances by Kidman, Efron, John Cusack and Matthew McConaughey, who is a reporter investigating the case of a death row inmate (played with psychotic glee by Cusack).
Why Watch It: Not even counting the pee scene, you'll want to see McConaughey in an eye patch. This might be Cusack's best performance in years.
Following up his zany trip down the river with cult hit "The Catechism Cataclysm," writer/director Todd Rohal enters the woods again in this comedy about brotherly love and a Scouting trip gone awry. Patton Oswalt and Johnny Knoxville star as brothers.
Why Watch It: With loads of cameos, you never know exactly where the comedy is going to go.
Mark Webber writes, directs and stars in this emotional drama about a young father and aspiring actor who tries to maneuver through life with an infant son.
Why Watch It: Webber's performance is a tour de force. The impressive cast includes Shannyn Sossamon, Michael Cera, Aubrey Plaza and Amanda Seyfried.
Available On: Cable On Demand [In Theaters March 1]
This highly stylized documentary follows the bizarre story of a Texas family who believes their son, who has missing for three years, has been found in Spain.
Why Watch It: With slick photography and a can't-believe-this-is-real story, you're in for a fun ride.
Alex Karpovsky ("Girls") and co-writer Tarik Lowe play best friends who try to deal with their own personal relationships while struggling to edit a mess of a film.
Why Watch It: Extremely witty dialogue that is in the vein of Albert Brooks.
Available On: Cable On Demand [In Theaters January 25]
OLDIES BUT GOODIES
At the peak of Steve Guttenberg's stardom in the late '80s, he starred in this touching story about a robot who, after being struck by lightening, gains sentience and escapes from the military base to learn more about human interaction. That's when Ally Sheedy comes along, who is the perfect love interest for not only the robot "Johnny Five" but Guttenberg as well. Then there's Fisher Stevens playing an Indian character, which we still can't figure out.
For many, this was the film that not only brought our attention to Paul Thomas Anderson but to the legitimate acting abilities of Mark Wahlberg. In it he plays Dirk Diggler, a John Holmes-like porn superstar who rises from obscurity and crashes even faster. With amazing camera work and detail through two decades, it was a harbinger of things Anderson was going to bring us for years to come.
With Sundance in full swing, it's a great time to watch for free one of the highest regarded films out of the festival in the last five years. Winner of Best Director (Lance Hammer) and Cinematography (Lol Crawley), this gripping drama set in the Mississippi delta was the "Beast of the Southern Wild" in 2008.
Available On: Hulu (free)