Ross Bonaime, Staff Writer

In the first few months of the year, film studios dump their films that may not be so great into one great heap that ends up making January and February a less than desirable time for movies. So in these winter doldrums, here are ten recent, lesser-known films to keep you entertained util the good ones start coming out.

In Bruges
After one of their jobs goes wrong, two hit men are told to lay low in the town of Bruges, Belgium and await further instructions. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson work great together as the two hit men in this darkly humorous and unpredictable film.

Whip It
Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut follows a teen (Ellen Page) in a small town who hasn’t quite figured out who she is, until she joins a roller derby league. Page is great as the newcomer to the team and this film about finding out who you really are is one of the best surprises from 2009.

Treeless Mountain
This Korean film about two little girls left with their aunt while their mother tries to find their father is a simple, yet beautiful and touching tale. The little girls, Jin and Bin, are forced to take care of each other and their performances are so nuanced and introspective that it’s hard to imagine such great performances coming from such young children.

World’s Greatest Dad
Recently, Robin Williams has been defined by his work in terrible comedies like Old Dogs as opposed to his great performances in darker films like One Hour Photo and Insomnia. However, World’s Greatest Dad is a great dark comedy where Williams is a failed writer who becomes increasingly famous after a freak accident in his family. This movie is one of Williams’ best comedies in years.

In the Loop
With the U.K. and the U.S. on the brink of going to war together against a Middle Eastern country, every little word counts. However, this mockumentary that also feels like it could be real, is one of the best comedies of last year, thanks to great writing and a hilarious performance by Peter Capaldi.

Big Fan
New York Giants superfan Paul, played by comedian Patton Oswalt, would do anything for his team. But after an altercation with his favorite player, he has to decide how far he would go for the team he loves. This incredibly dark comedy is also deeply depressing, yet Oswalt’s Paul keeps it all in balance.

Funny Games (2008)
A family goes on vacation and is terrorized by two young men. Sounds like a typical horror film, right?
Absolutely not. Michael Haneke’s “horror” film is more about how film audiences revel in violence and how horrific it truly is, as opposed to merely “scaring” the audience in this film that will make you think more than scream.

Snow Angels
Two stories intersect in Snow Angels: one of a high school boy who is just coming of age, and the story of his former babysitter, who is recently divorced and is taking care of her child while also having to deal with her ex-husband.

Anchored by great performances by Sam Rockwell and Olivia Thirby of Juno, this powerful film is one that deals with relationships in a harsh and unconventional way.

Shotgun Stories
Two sets of half-brothers become enemies when they finally meet up at their father’s funeral in this gorgeously shot, slow-moving, yet still riveting, drama.

The film seems almost Shakespearian at times and Michael Shannon’s performance shows that he is one of the best young actors of our generation.

This film about Poppy, who always looks at the bright side of life, could have easily been one of the most annoying films in recent memory.

But Sally Hawkins makes Poppy not oblivious to the negative, but rather an active participant in attempting to make people lean towards the positive.