We’re nearing the end of year, which means worthwhile theater releases are few and far between.  Unless you still haven’t seen Interstellar, can hunt down a theater showing Foxcatcher, or have been eagerly waiting for Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels to show the world they’re still dumb, there’s no real reason to leave the comfort of your home in order to catch a great film.  Instead, settle in, grab some popcorn, and rent one of these movies available on demand.

Camp X-Ray

IFC Films

IFC Films

In Camp X-Raya female guard at Guantanamo Bay strikes up an unlikely friendship with one of the prisoners.  Kristen Stewart has proven over the years that given the right role to work with, she can turn in an exemplary performance, and this rings particularly true in this film.  Her convincing portrayal as a young prison guard is balanced by a likewise compelling performance by the man who resides on the other side of the fence, Peyman Maadi.  Camp X-Ray is available to rent on Amazon and iTunes for $6.99.

Life Partners

Magnolia Pictures

Magnolia Pictures

Life Partners follows two lifelong best friends that are forced to deal with the realities of growing up and potentially growing apart.  It creates an honest, believable representation of female friendships and the identity struggle of a woman in her late 20s.  The chemistry Leighton Meester and Gillian Jacobs is magnetic, and every female viewer will walk away wanting both of them as a best friend.  The writing is is sharp, engaging, and funny, creating a feel good atmosphere you’ll never want to leave.  Life Partners is available to rent on Amazon and iTunes for $9.99.

Listen Up Philip

Tribeca Films

Tribeca Films

Listen Up Philip follows three characters and analyzes the effect Philip, a self-absorbed author, has on the two primary people in his life,  This movie doesn’t try to fix anyone’s problems or teach any lessons, but rather uses excellent film making and spot on characterization to exhibit simply what is.  The dialogue is darkly funny, and the performances by its stars (Elizabeth Moss, Jason Schwartzman, and Jonathan Pryce are sharply realized.  Listen Up Phillip is available to rent on Amazon and iTunes for $6.99.

Stonehearst Asylum

Milennium Films

Millennium Films

On Oxford man joins the ranks at an insane asylum to study its methods and proceeds to discover its darkest secret in Stonehearst Asylum, based on the short story “The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether” by Edgar Allan Poe.  This Gothic thriller has some horror elements that will whet your appetite for the creepy leftover from Halloween.  Since it’s based on a Poe story, I don’t have to tell you that this film is full of dark, bizarre moments and inventive twists.  Jim Sturgess and Ben Kingsley lead a cast of heavy hitters that also includes Michael Caine and Kate Beckinsale, but none hold a candle to Kingsley’s disturbingly precise performance.  Stonehearst Asylum is available to rent on Amazon and iTunes for $6.99.

V/H/S: Viral

Magnet Releasing

Magnet Releasing

V/H/S: Viral is the third installment in a series of films compiling a collection of found footage films tied together to form one complete story.  This horror flick features four short films directed by a variety of indie filmmakers.  Keep an eye out for “Parallel Monsters”, the standout Spanish segment directed by  Nacho Vigalando, a story about two parallel universes filled with plenty of edge of your seat suspense and more twists that most full length films.  V/H/S: Viral is available to rent on Amazon and iTunes for $9.99.

Why Don’t You Play In Hell

Drafthouse Films

Drafthouse Films

Why Don’t You Play in Hell is a Japanese action film written and directed by Sion Sono, about two yakuza clans in a power struggle that results in a a climactic battle drenched in blood.  An enthusiastic romp created with a calculated reckless abandon, this film is full of energy and a love for movies and the making of them.  As long as you aren’t squeamish, you’re bound to have fun.  Why Don’t You Play in Hell is available to rent on Amazon and iTunes for $6.99.

Young Ones

Screen Media Films

Screen Media Films

Set in the not so distant future, Young Ones takes place on an earth that’s suffering from a severe water shortage, causing its characters to get creative in their attempt to revitalize the supply.  Although the always compelling Michael Shannon has a starring role as Earnest Holm, the young Australian actor Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) manages to steal the screen as Jerome, one of Holms’ children.  The lack of character development may keep this film from becoming becoming truly great, but rising star Smit-McPhee’s performance makes it worth a watch.  Young Ones is available to rent on Amazon and iTunes for $6.99.

The One to Wait For: The Babadook (available 11/28)

Cinetic Media/eOne Films International

Cinetic Media/eOne Films International

If you spend much time on the internet, you’re well aware that Jennifer Kent’s Australian horror film has been scaring the hell out of just about everyone.  The Babadook features a woman and her son,who suffers from  nightmares that become more real when his mother finds an unsettling children’s book.  The combination of Kent’s direction and star Essie Davis’ acting create genuine scares as well as emotional realism.  Look for The Babadook On Demand when it begins its limited theater release on November 28th.