Following the corporeal dramas of Gomorrah and Reality, director Matteo Garrone presents something truly expected: a fulsome feast of gothic fantasy. Taking its cue from the folk stories of Giambattista Basile, Garrone presents a twisted tapestry of dark fairytales, all set around an accursed royal court. Salma Hayek plays a bitter queen on a bloody quest, while Vincent Cassel’s libidinous King is tormented by two mysterious sisters, and Toby Jones is another monarch who becomes obsessed with a giant flea.
Much like Game of Thrones, Tales of Tales offers yet another step in the rehabilitation of the fantasy genre, while also helping to reclaim the dark fairytale from its recent Hollywood reinvention as a teen genre. Garrone’s film is undeniably adult, but it leavens its outlandish episodes with a playful air that come across like The Princess Bride directed by Terry Gilliam. Nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes 2015, Tale of Tales is a visually wonderful and gloriously distinctive film experience.
Comedy 1977 106 mins Director: Terry Gilliam
Terry Gilliam's first feature as a solo director, here gloriously restored, is a riotous tale of monsters, true love and medieval manners.
Comedy 2018 97 mins Director: Gabriel Abrantes
Diamantino, Portugal’s (the world’s!) top football player, becomes embroiled in a genetic experiment and a conspiracy to leave the EU, in this joyful, postmodern political fantasy.
Fantasy 1939 102 mins Director: Victor Fleming
Venture down the yellow brick road once again with this sumptuous magical fantasy.
Comedy 1992 103 mins Director: Robert Zemeckis
Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn face off in this hilariously dark supernatural comedy, a 90s classic.
Fantasy 1934 102 mins Director: Maurice Elvey
After spitting on Christ on the way to crucifixion, a Jewish man is cursed with immortality
Fantasy 1955 38 mins Director: Jack Clayton
A clerk in a cold warehouse wants one of the warm sheepskin coats stacked around him.
Best Films of 2016
Documentary 2015 99 mins Director: John Dower
Louis Theroux investigates the secretive world of the Church of Scientology, armed with his characteristic deadpan wit.
Science Fiction 2015 118 mins Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Colin Farrell, Ben Whishaw and Rachel Weisz star in this bleakly hilarious dystopian drama from Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth).
Drama 2014 119 mins Director: Todd Haynes
Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara illuminate Todd Haynes’ intoxicating adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s beloved novel.
Drama 2014 95 mins Director: Andrew Haigh
One of the most acclaimed British features of recent years, starring Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay as a couple rocked by news from the past.
Science Fiction 2015 119 mins Director: Ben Wheatley
Ben Wheatley's savage and brilliant adaptation of JG Ballard's dystopian satire, starring Tom Hiddleston.
Action and Adventure 2015 124 mins Director: Ciro Guerra
The spirit of Werner Herzog and Apocalypse Now imbue this majestic Oscar-nominated odyssey through the heart of the Amazon.
Featuring Salma Hayek
Thriller 2018 111 mins Director: Kim Nguyen
Jesse Eisenberg and Alexander Skarsgård are sensational as scheming cousins on a lucrative but ethically dubious mission, in this fast, funny and topical technological caper.
Comedy 2019 108 mins Director: Takashi Miike
A terminally-ill boxer, a runaway call girl, a double-crossing drugs heist and a gang war; Takashi Miike doesn’t do things by halves.
Comedy 2019 97 mins Director: Michael Schwartz
Effortlessly charming buddy movie about a young man with Downs Syndrome (Zack Gottsagen) in pursuit of his dreams, with Shia LaBeouf.
Thriller 2018 112 mins Director: Gavin Hood
Gripping political thriller with Keira Knightley as the intelligence officer who discovers a plot to rig a UN vote on the eve of the Iraq war.
Historical drama 1989 114 mins Director: Michael Caton-Jones
A fictionalised account of the 1963 ‘Profumo Affair’ that rocked the government of British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. Starring John Hurt, Joanne Whalley, Bridget Fonda, Ian McKellen and Leslie Phillips.
Romance 2019 84 mins Director: Lucio Castro
A chance encounter reconnects two men in this heart-breaking lament on love, lust and missed opportunities.
Drama 2018 91 mins Director: Aaron Schimberg
Made by and starring disfigured people, Aaron Schimberg’s dextrous, darkly comedic film-within-a-film makes you think about cinematic representation without offering simple resolutions.