The Devil Dared Me To posterIn 2006 the New Zealand Film Commission announced a new ultra-low budget feature film scheme called Headstrong and asked for submissions. The Headstrong team (including the Incredibly Strange Ant Timpson, director Paul Swadel and producer Leanne Saunders) went through the 300 scripts to select 10 to develop in the hope that four would go in to production. The first completed film gets a large scale national release today: The Devil Dared Me To (in which legendary stuntman Randy Campbell attempts to jump Cook Strait in a rocket car).

The Devil is screening at Readings, Empire, Regent-on-Manners, Sky City Queensgate

At Readings, Lighthouse Petone and the Penthouse, Angelina Jolie plays Marianne Pearl, widow of murdered journalist Daniel Pearl, in the true story A Mighty Heart. Directed by the great Michael Winterbottom, A Mighty Heart has been described as “moving and frighteningly real” by the LA Times.

[The rest of this week’s new releases after the jump]

Jodie Foster returns to the screen in another paranoid thriller (after Panic Room and Flightplan) but this time she turns the tables (or did she do that in those other ones, I forget). A revenge-tragedy harking back to films like Death Wish, The Brave One also features Terrence Howard as the cop on her trail. Readings, Regent-on-Manners, Sky City Queensgate.

Ryan Gosling’s Oscar-nominated performance in Half Nelson gets a commercial release following strong Festival screenings earlier this year. He plays a New York teacher with a drug problem who befriends one of his students who is also damaged and lonely: Rialto and Paramount. Finally, the Paramount gets a rare big-budget exclusive: Paul Verhoeven’s WWII melodrama Black Book starring Carice van Houten and (from The Lives of Others) Sebastian Koch.

Black Book and Half Nelson are reviewed at Funerals & Snakes (and the others will be appear next week).