Not every movie can feature huge stars, lavish spectacle and colossal marketing budgets. For every Avatar
or Alice In Wonderland
there are many low-cost indies that slip under the radar. The 'Hidden Gem' prize at the Digital Spy Movie Awards
looks to honour non-blockbustery cinema from the past 12 months.> Click here to cast your vote at the DS Movie Awards
Bunny And The Bull
"A world that is intriguing and unique, enchanting and funny, but also eerie and stifling. In the closing stages the action moves outdoors (for real this time) and those scenes are all the more powerful because of the switch. In fact, the biggest revelation of the film is that it packs real, raw emotion in spite of so much artifice." [SP]> Interview: Ed Hogg and Simon Farnaby
"A slick and absorbing thriller that juggles mind horror, science fiction and ratcheted-up tension, this is an accomplished debut and useful calling card for Hazeldine. His intricate script uncoils so that the viewer is essentially the ninth candidate in the room, discovering the answers as the characters do." [SR]> Interview: Jimi Mistry and Stuart Hazeldine
is less a film about the harshness of life on the other side of Essex and more an exploration of the complexity and turbulence of human relationships… The strength of the script and the direction throughout is surpassed by the skill of all the lead performers, and especially Jarvis, who elevates what would have been a good film to something very special indeed." [MN]> Review: 'Fish Tank'
The Scouting Book For Boys
"Every now and then a real gem comes along that restores one's faith in the British Film Industry. Step forward The Scouting Book For Boys
. A terrific movie that flits effortlessly between elation and despair, it harnesses impressively naturalistic turns from Thomas Turgoose and Holliday Grainger to a vibrant script from Skins
writer Jack Thorne." [BRJ]> Interview: Thomas Turgoose
Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll
"While not avoiding the pain and loss of life, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll
never provokes pity for Ian Dury's condition or difficult childhood. Its key line finds an exasperated Ian bellowing, "I'm not Tiny Tim, I'm Ian Dury! I don't want sympathy, I want respect!" As well as showcasing Dury's words and the Blockheads' music, this movie gives him just that." [MN]> Review: 'Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll'
"The very impressive Spread
deserves to be a cherished gem. The lack of sympathetic characters might be hard for some moviegoers to bear, but the performances of Kutcher and Heche in this offbeat flick along with Mackenzie's deft eye ensure that we're absorbed in the emotionally cold world they inhabit." [BRJ]> Review: 'Spread'
audaciously blends Groundhog Day
style temporal disturbance with the empty eeriness of The Shining
. A clever concept packed full of chilling twists is perfectly executed by director Chris Smith, with Aussie actress Melissa George a real revelation in a tough and gruelling lead role as the movie’s permanently distressed heroine." [BRJ]> Interview: Christopher Smith
"It somehow seems appropriate that Drew Barrymore
's directorial debut is a mirror image of the actress's personality - charming, cute and highly enthusiastic. Whip It!
contains its share of teen angst, but ultimately it's joyously upbeat rock 'n' roller derby candyfloss… Barrymore is able to invigorate her story with zippy skating matches, colourful characters and a propulsive energy." [SR]> Trailer: 'Whip It!
Review excerpts by Simon Reynolds, Ben Rawson-Jones and Mayer Nissim