This week will see a whole collection of independent limited releases happening across the country. First on the list is The Big Short from director Adam McKay (Anchorman, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby), starring Christian Bale (The Dark Knight, American Hustle), Steve Carell (The Office, Seeking A Friend for the End of the World), Ryan Gosling (Drive, The Place Beyond the Pines), and Brad Pitt (Babel, By The Sea). The film, based on the novel by Michael Lewis, follows four friends who predicted the housing market collapse in the mid 2000s and bet against the odds with the national banks, becoming nearly instant millionaires. The film was last seen at the AFI Film Festival in LA earlier this year, and a further nationwide expansion is still expected for 2016. Number 2 on the list is a big screen adaptation of the Alan Bennett‘s successful stage play The Lady in the Van. Oscar-winning stage and film actress Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) will be reprising her role of Miss Shepard from the acclaimed stage adaptation about a woman who lives in her van that’s parked in an unsuspecting playwright’s driveway, portrayed in the new film by Alex Jennings (The Wings of the Dove, The Queen). The film is director Nicholas Hytner (The Madness of King George, The Crucible). Next up is writer/director Jared Hess‘s (Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre) new comedy Don Verdean, starring Sam Rockwell (The Green Mile, Matchstick Men), Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone, Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Will Forte (Nebraska, The Last Man on Earth), Danny McBride (Pineapple Express, Eastbound & Down), and Jemaine Clement (Dinner For Schmucks, Men in Black 3). The film essentially pokes fun at the agents of organized religion, as the main character, a self-proclaimed religious archeologist, begins bending truths in order to keep his followers faithful to their belief system. Finally, director Ale Abreu‘s new animated family film The Boy and the World and director Diane Bell‘s dramatic thriller Bleeding Heart with Jessica Biel (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Illusionist) will also be seeing limited releases this weekend. I can’t say definitively whether or not all of these selections will be good, but the first three definitely look like they’ll be worth checking out. Be sure to check your local theaters for showtimes, and as always, enjoy!