Extremely Loud but Not Very Close: The story of a championship football game, featuring the powerful hometown team and a hard-luck long shot that hasn't won a title in two decades. Who says movie scripts always crown the underdog?
Joe Mack, in Moneyball: It's the second consecutive Freezer for Mack, who again plays a football executive unfazed by the turmoil around him. This time he clings to the quaint notion that people will play for his team simply because they like it, not because he pays the going rate. Mack's look of serenity as players walk out the door is unnerving.
SUPPORTING ACTOR (male)
Brendon LaBatte, in A Better Life: A professional athlete actually chooses to live and work in Regina instead of Winnipeg. LaBatte does an admirable job of making such a ludicrous notion seem at least a little plausible.
Jennifer Jones, in The Iron Lady: A sweeping biopic about a corporate lawyer who'll do almost anything to win, and it works. With all the subtlety of a lump of granite, Jones sweeps aside all feelings as she hurls herself, hell-bent, from the hack.
SUPPORTING ACTOR (female)
Cathy Overton-Clapham, in My Week with Jennifer: A spurned friend and business partner spends months plotting revenge on her nemesis. A series of events sets the two up for a head-to-head clash you don't want to miss. Cathy-O nails the role of lovable underdog. Set in Charlottetown, PEI.
Hell and Back Again: The camera crews follow Evander Kane, an emerging star, as he moves from big-city USA to the fishbowl of small-market Canada. With an intense spotlight on every aspect of his life, Kane is blamed for everything but the rising national debt. By the end of the film, he appears to be turning public opinion around, but the story leaves his ultimate fate up in the air.
Bridesmaids: Jennifer Jones stars in her second feature of the year, but it's the script that makes this movie. You couldn't have drawn it up any better, including the nail-biting final scene, where Jones' character thinks she's won, only to fall agonizingly short against the people's favourite, from Saskatchewan.
Tinker, Tailor, Receiver, Spy: A tale of corporate intrigue sees an unhappy man who feels underutilized by his employer join its top competitor, just as the two organizations are about to stage a showdown. Accusations of secret-sharing fly like footballs in this one. Terence Jeffers-Harris stars.
Wild Life: A big-time athlete, pulled over in his boat on a routine check, finds himself in more trouble than he bargained for. Perhaps we're nitpicking here, but the animators have him built more like a football player than the hockey player he is. Voiced by Dustin Byfuglien.
Saving Face: A look at how social media can get you into trouble at the office. Two professionals make ill-advised forays into the Twitterverse, second-guessing their boss to their followers. Deon Beasley and Jonathan Hefney quickly tweet their apologies.
War Horse: The sweeping tale of a Canadian football player's 15-year odyssey in the game's trenches. You'll hear every grunt and groan, every punch to the face guard. The wonders of editing in this film even make the lineman, played by Doug Brown, seem intelligent.