When award season is over, I feel a genuine void in my belly. Whether it’s the pain of my losing Oscar ballot or my inability to venture to any of the current film festivals, something is there, and it hurts. (Aside: This discomfort might also be due to the amount of spicy hummus consumed during all my viewing parties). Save for a few, the movies out now are not worth the money. Luckily, some truly slick-looking flicks are just around the bend, thank goodness. And here are 11 of those films that will get you out the door, back into the theater and eating that $20 box of Gummy Bears in no time:
SOMETHING IN THE AIR
At first glance, the trailer looks very familiar, almost formulaic, in a revolutionary sense. The story of a young man pushing through life during the radical changes of late 60s France. You see molotov cocktails, manifestos, and smoke bombs, but in true Olivier Assayas fashion, there’s a shift. Reminding me of the last ten or so minutes of his quiet but gorgeous Summer Hours, the trailer moves inward, lyrically. Even the French title of the movie rolls off the tongue like a poem: Apres Mai.
THE BLING RING
Sofia Coppola’s latest flick on the true story of fame-obsessed L.A. teens who robbed millions in cash and belongings from celebrities like Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Brian Austin Green. I think I might be in the minority when I say I’ve enjoyed every one of her films, even Marie Antoinette, who a friend of mine also really liked—on mute. Coppola’s got some killer soundtracks and with the most recent resurgence of My Bloody Valentine, I’m really hoping for a reunion with Kevin Shields. Now if only her canned wine was as good!
THE WE AND THE I
With Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Science of Sleep under his belt, you’d think Michel Gondry’s The We And the I would be another surreal feast for the eyes, another dreamy display. But instead, we’re on a bus and it’s the Bronx and there are high school kids and it’s their last day of school and I’m more than intrigued. I never jumped on the Gondry bandwagon, feeling the two aforementioned films were too rounded out but here I am, fresh off watching the unbelievably good PBS documentary 180 Days: A Year Inside an American High School, and I’m hooked on the education system. As long as the bus doesn’t turn into a bed and the road into a cloud, I’m ready to learn.
I fell for this French-Canadian director Xavier Dolan with 2010’s stylish, Heartbeats. And judging from this trailer, it looks as though he hasn’t lost his black magic. Laurence Anyways chronicles a decade in the life of a male to female transsexual and her lover. With a Knife-like score and genuinely creepy second trailer, it’s a sure win. And it must be mentioned that Dolan is the ripe old age of 24, which like, makes me reexamine my entire existence.
STORIES WE TELL
Sarah Polley has shed her Road to Avonlea skin. Her newest docudrama chronicles the very personal story of her own family and their misgivings. Through interviews, actors, and Super 8 footage, Polley creates as much a meditation on love and truth as she does a film of admirable ambition.
THE GREAT GATSBY
The hype has been huge, in a Les Miserables kind of way—which worries me a bit. And the release date was pushed back to allow director Baz Luhrman more time to perfect the effects and gather just the right artists for the soundtrack. My hope is that in casting Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role, Luhrman has Romeo + Juliet on his mind. Like Godard and Karina, Anderson and Murray, he is coming to realize Leo as his muse, a wonderful thing. Oh, and the music is likely to kick butt, for sure.
TO THE WONDER
Although it looks achingly similar to 2011’s The Tree of Life, director Terrence Mallick has a knack for the heavenly. This time Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko take the reigns as a couple who meet in France and move to Oklahoma to begin their life. While I’m not the biggest Affleck fan on this side of the Mississippi, I do revel in Mallick’s technique and style. More voice-over whispers! More spinning cameras! More dust at dusk!
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize in Dramatic at Sundance, Fruitvale has been the talk of the town, specifically the Bay Area where the story takes place. Based on the actual New Year’s Eve events of 2008, first-time director Ryan Coogler recounts the last day in the life of Oscar Grant, who was shot to death by a BART police officer. Sure to cause controversy for its facts and tears for its plot, I have no doubt Coogler and the editors handled everything with grace and humility.
I’M SO EXCITED
More in the style of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown than Bad Education, the new Pedro Almodóvar film opened in Spain to record-breaking sales and mixed reviews. We spend 89 minutes on a plane whose psychic passenger predicts a crash of some sort. With the news spreading quickly, the crew does all they can to calm and entertain. True camp in true form. Not sure if it’s going to be Almodóvar’s best work, but it’s sure to tickle.
THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE
Jennifer Lawrence is like your kid sister, although she’s kind of also a bombshell which makes me feel weird. Fans of the series are biting their nails to the cuticles in anticipation and they still have 8 months to go, yikes! With her huge fame and now Oscar’status, J. Law could have elegantly stepped down as the fierce Katniss Everdeen but she didn’t. And we’re so glad she’s still in the game.
ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE
Tilda Swinton is likely to be taking a nap right now in the MOMA for all to see. While I’m sure there is definite artistic complexity to this installation, it’s no mistake it comes right before the release of Jim Jarmusch-directed Only Lovers Left Alive, where she plays a vampire (they sleep during the day!) who has been in love for centuries. There’s not much footage on the film but the press photo (I’m obsessed with it!) is rad, very 80s vamp-chic, Ray-Bans and all.