In all honesty we haven’t watched most of the movies that are on all the Oscar Nom predictions lists. We haven’t even heard of many of them; but we are going to watch Moonlight, we promise. Otherwise, there have been some incredible films released this year, unlikely to get Academies, yet making a name for their directors, contributing to new waves, and shedding light on some interesting cultural infatuations.
The “Greek Weird Wave” has been washing over the indie scene with its bonelike aesthetic and absurd content the past few years. One of its key players, Yorgos Lanthimos, added this incredibly fun yet uneasy film to his resume, which already included Dogtooth (nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at 2011 Academy Awards) and Alps. It stars Colin Farrell, John C. Reilly, Rachel Weisz, and Lea Seydoux. Think Black Mirror without technology and a humorous take on modern dating culture.
I guess I’m really partial to this wacky Greek cinema. Chevalier comes from another “Greek Weird Wave” giant, Athina Rachel Tsangari. She’s going after masculinity at its purest, most essential form: men criticizing other men on a fishing trip. Her second major feature after 2010’s Attenberg, this film features a literal dick measuring contest, and numerous other metaphorical forms of the same thing.
If you’re afraid of the alt-right/Neo Nazi upheaval and don’t want those fears to become anymore real than a presidential cabinet or clickbait articles, look past this movie. If you love to be on the edge of your seat, gripped with fear towards such an inexplicably angry group,
with the assumption that you also love punk music, do not look past this movie. Green Room is a rightful follow up to director Jeremy “No, this will not become a color trilogy’ Saulnier’s 2013 revenge thriller, Blue Ruin. PSA: This film is brutal.
A Jarmusch documentary about the Stooges. Shouldn’t really need to say more but if you’re still unconvinced check out our review here.
Another Neo Nazi thriller that appeared before ‘alt right’ became a buzzword. This one stars Daniel Radcliffe as an entry-level FBI agent trying to infiltrate a Neo Nazi scheme around the North Virginia/DC area… by becoming a Neo Nazi. PSA: Not as brutal, but still, it’s rough.
Films tend to be scarier the closer they seem to our particular lifestyle. It’s easier to imagine a killer near us in our hometown or infiltrating our lives through dreams or having the money/power to do whatever they want with impunity. However, The Witch is easily the scariest film of 2016 and it takes place during the “Salem Witch Trials”/1600s New England era.
An incredibly well crafted directorial debut from Robert Eggers, The Witch is just as unsettling as violent Neo Nazi youth.
The Love Witch
Anna Biller’s speciality is in creating movies that capture a combination of campiness, satire, and social commentary. The Love Witch is probably one of the most biting and relevant commentaries on womanhood and feminism since Biller’s 2007 film, Viva. It’s a technicolor thriller centered around a 21st century witch and her sexual charms. At the very least come for the set and costume design.
Park Chan-wook is one of South Korea’s foremost film directors. If you’ve seen the original (more fucked up) version of Oldboy then you know where this is going. The Handmaiden is in a few words a violent lesbian revenge film set in 1930’s Korea.
Michael Shannon. A really cool supernatural kid. The director of Mud (and Nov. 2016’s Loving), Jeff Nichols. Some serious 80s’ blockbuster nostalgia. Michael Shannon.
Bonus: Best Worst Movie:
A smart, nuanced look at modern youth culture in Canada that happens to be the second part in a Kevin Smith directed trilogy regarding bestial formations in the True North. Just kidding, this movie is a hilariously bad, with the intention of being hilariously bad, parody of Canada. It’s at least on Netflix. It stars Johnny Depp’s daughter Lily Rose Depp and Kevin Smith’s daughter Harley Quinn Smith as high school phone addicts with a rap-rock band based in the basement of their local gas station job. PSA: It features more Nazis.