Hesher

TJ is 13 years old. Two months ago, his mom was killed in an accident, leaving TJ and his grieving dad to move in with grandma to pick up the pieces. Hesher is a loner. He hates the world—and everyone in it. He has long, greasy hair and homemade tattoos. He likes fire and blowing things up. He lives in his van—until he meets TJ.

Hesher is that rare film that manages to be a completely original vision, a thoroughly entertaining story, and a provocative metaphor. Joseph Gordon-Levitt brings the character of Hesher to life with anger and angst, and Devin Brochu makes quite a splash as the young boy dealing with both the loss of his mother and an unwanted houseguest. Cowriter/director Spencer Susser crafts a multidimensional, darkly humorous film that exhibits an immensely talented storyteller at work.

Paul

For the past 60 years, a space-traveling smart-ass named Paul has been locked up in a top-secret military base, advising world leaders about his kind. But when he worries he’s outlived his usefulness and the dissection table is drawing uncomfortably close, Paul escapes on the first RV that passes by his compound in Area 51. Fortunately, it contains the two earthlings who are most likely to rescue and harbor an alien on the run.

Lay The Favorite

Beth Raymer is a beautiful girl with a big heart who leaves her dancing job at a Florida strip club to become a Las Vegas cocktail waitress. Not exactly an ideal career choice, but her borderline-ditzy personality doesn’t give her many options. In walks Dink, a professional sports bettor who sees through her bubbly exterior and offers her a job placing wagers all over town to gain an advantage over the casinos. Her surprisingly impeccable mind for numbers soon cements her status as Dink’s good-luck charm, until his gorgeous-but-frigid wife, Tulip, starts to get jealous. Faced with no other choice but to fire Beth, Dink’s luck runs out when she heads to New York to work for a smarmy bookie, a turn of events that lands her squarely on the wrong side of the law.

Zodiac

Based on the actual case files for one of the most intriguing unsolved crimes in America, “Zodiac” tells the story of a serial killer that terrified the San Francisco Bay Area, taunting police with his ciphers and letters. The case becomes an obsession for four men as their lives and careers are built and destroyed by the endless trail of clues.

Shutter Island

World War II soldier-turned-U.S. marshal Teddy Daniels investigates the disappearance of a patient from a hospital for the criminally insane, but his efforts are compromised by his own troubling visions and by Dr. Cawley.

Miracles from Heaven

When Christy (Jennifer Garner) discovers her 10-year-old daughter Anna (Kylie Rogers) has a rare, incurable disease, she becomes a ferocious advocate for her daughter’s healing as she searches for a solution. After Anna has a freak accident, an extraordinary miracle unfolds in the wake of her dramatic rescue that leaves medical specialists mystified, her family restored and their community inspired.

The Invitation

Will and Eden were once a loving couple. After a tragedy took their son, Eden disappeared. Two years later, out of the blue, she returns with a new husband… and as a different person, eerily changed and eager to reunite with her ex and those she left behind.

Over the course of a dinner party in the house that was once his, the haunted Will is gripped by mounting evidence that Eden and her new friends have a mysterious and terrifying agenda. But can we trust Will’s hold on reality? Or will he be the unwitting catalyst of the doom he senses? [Synopsis courtesy of SXSW Film Festival]

Hot Pursuit

An uptight by-the-book cop must protect the widow of a drug boss from crooked cops and gunmen.

Camp X-Ray

A young woman joins the military to be part of something bigger than herself and her small-town roots. Instead, she ends up as a new guard at Guantanamo Bay, where her mission is far from black and white. Surrounded by hostile jihadists and aggressive squadmates, she strikes up an unusual friendship with one of the detainees.

The Pretty One

Audrey has all of the qualities that her twin sister Laurel wishes she possessed: confidence, style, independence. When tragedy strikes, Laurel has the opportunity to reinvent herself. In a complex performance, Zoe Kazan poignantly captures Laurel’s complex mix of loss and awakening, especially as she begins a new relationship with her neighbor (Jake Johnson). Jenée LaMarque’s first feature film is a quirky, lovely tale of identity and the eternal bond between two sisters.