10 films you have to see this year

Pedro Almodóvar returns, Kristen Stewart flourishes, and Anna Wintour’s on guest list duties in the films to see for the rest of year.

by Colin Crummy
Jul 27 2016, 2:45pm

Julieta: Pedro Almodóvar is in sober territory for his 20th film, a meditation on grief and loss adapted from three Alice Munro stories. The Julieta of the title is all at sea because of a teenage daughter who ran out on her, seemingly without explanation, a number of years ago. When Julieta hears that her daughter has been spotted, it forces her to go over the past. Shot with the filmmaker's signature burst of color, Julieta includes a scene stealing turn from Almodóvari Con Rossy de Palma as a housekeeper battle axe and an invigorating train carriage love scene that serves to remind of the Spanish auteur's singular vision. August 26.

The Greasy Strangler: The Greasy Strangler out grossed even Daniel Radcliffe's turn as a farting corpse in Swiss Army Man at this year's Sundance film festival. That's because Jim Hosking's debut feature isn't just one-note weird. The Greasy Strangler is a 90-minute spew of farting, freaky dicks, swearing, vomit and fuchsia as fashion statement. It is also a very odd tale indeed -- about a father and son duo Big Ronnie [Michael St Michaels] and his middle aged son Brayden [Sky Elobar], both dressed in pink turtlenecks and shorts, who conduct 'disco tours' of their local town. What happens next involves multiple murders, outrageous sexploits involving Big Ronnie's big member, and dialogue as way out as its premise. October 7.

Things to Come: In Eden, Mia Hansen-Løve gave her twenty-something DJ protagonist life lessons on the 90s Parisian dance scene. Things to Come is equally concerned with what life throws at us, but shifts the focus to an older crowd. Natalie — played by Isabelle Huppert — is a high school philosophy teacher of some regard, who finds her world quickly dismantling. Her husband of 25 years leaves her, her mother is about to die, her once highly regarded philosophical textbooks are under threat for not being marketable enough. Can she adapt her rich intellectual life to this new world order? September 2.

Theo and Hugo: This gay love story that begins in a Parisian sex club, where in a mass of men fucking, Theo and Hugo connect. The opening 18-minute sex scene may prove a talking point, but this French film from long term movie and real life partners Jacques Martineau and Oliver Ducastel is more notable for the way it which it tackles safe sex and its responsibilities. Told in real time, Theo and Hugo charts the two strangers' developing feelings for each other as they wander Parisian streets in the early morning. September 9.

Southside with You: Take time out of the election race to bask in a last bit of Obama love in this fictionalized account of how Barack met Michelle. Incredibly, what reads like a bad idea — recreating the President and First Lady's first date — manages to draw on the real life charm of its lovebirds. After this, very Tinder date you'll ever go on just got lamer. September 30.

The First Monday in May: The First Monday in May is a fascinating study of a museum exhibition as curated by one of the best in the business and how to handle modern day celebrity by one of the best handler's in Manhattan. The curator is Andrew Bolton, charged with overseeing the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art's annual fashion exhibition. The handler is Vogue's Anna Wintour, who turns the exhibition's opening night into the Met Gala, 'the Superbowl of fashion social events' (hyperbole credit: André Leon Talley). In Andrew Rossi's behind the scenes story of the 2015 show and exhibition of Chinese inspired Western fashion, Bolton does the heavy lifting while Wintour steals the show. September 30.

American Honey: Andrea Arnold's made her name in British cinema at street level. In Red Road, a Glaswegian security operator saw her past through CCTV. In Fish Tank, she famously street cast Katie Jarvis to play a girl trapped in high rise living. For American Honey, Arnold moves the action Stateside and street casts newcomer Sasha Lane as a young woman coming of age in contemporary America. Lane plays Star, a teenager who heads off cross country with a group of misfits led by Jake [Shia LaBeouf] to sell magazines door-to-door, party hard, and love wildly. October 14.

Nocturnal Animals: Like Tom Ford's directorial debut A Single Man, Nocturnal Animals is a book adaptation. But its plot is a twisty take on fiction itself, revolving around Susan Morrow [Amy Adams] who receives a manuscript of her first husband's unpublished novel some 15 years later with instructions from him to read it. The fictional thriller tells the story of the Hastings family; their descent into chaos provokes such a strong reaction in Morrow as a reader that she is forced to confront her past. With a strong, aestheticly pleasing cast that also includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Ellie Bamber, this should prove both gripping and gorgeous. November 4.

Personal Shopper: Kristen Stewart continues a post Twilight winning streak, choosing smart projects with feted directors and consistently stepping up her own game in front of the camera. Personal Shopper sees her reunite with Clouds of Sils Maria director Olivier Assayas in a ghost story about a high fashion clothing consultant who, in her spare time, acts as a medium whose current preoccupation is contacting her dead twin brother. Assayas shared the director award at Cannes for the film; Stewart's performance is her best yet. October.

T2: Okay, so you'll have to wait until January 2017 for Danny Boyle's follow up to Trainspotting; but it's already shaping up to be worth the 20 year wait. Boyle has assembled the original cast from his first turn at adapting Irvine Welsh's cult novel -- including Ewan McGregor and Johnny Lee Miller. All signs suggest you should be making room on your wall for a T2 poster come January. January 27


Text Colin Crummy