Year of the Dog posterWhile the Film Festival dominates the screens at the Embassy, Paramount, Te Papa, the Film Archive (and partially takes over the Penthouse) there are still mainstream releases being flung to the four winds.

As a writer, Mike White has been responsible for some of the weirdest (Chuck & Buck), the straightest (The Good Girl) and the funniest (The School of Rock) films of recent times. Year of the Dog is his first film as a director and is about a decent, single, secretary (played by perennial supporting actress Molly Shannon) and her quest to replace her deceased pet. It’s a romantic comedy and the supporting cast is pretty flash: including John C. Reilly and Peter Sarsgaard. Penthouse exclusive.

The uplifting story of William Wilberforce (Ioan Gruffudd) and his quest to outlaw slavery (inspiring – or inspired by – the hymn) is told in Amazing Grace. Also starring the wonderful Romola Garai who will be here in less than a month to star with Ian McKellen in “King Lear” and “The Seagull”. Penthouse, Readings, Lighthouse Petone and Rialto.

Knocked Up is the story of an unlikely couple who, after a one-night-stand, are forced to deal with the pregnancy that binds them together. It’s by the team that made The 40-year-old Virgin and stars Seth Rogen (promoted from supporting actor in the previous film) and Katherine Heigl. A hoot by all accounts. Readings, Regent-on-Manners, Lighthouse Petone, Sky City Queensgate.

Finally, probably co-inciding with the Dowse’s “Making of” exhibition, King Kong gets another trot out at Queensgate at 2.30pm on Sunday.