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 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.
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.
Horror 2016 98 mins Director: Amat Escalante
Amat Escalante follows Heli with a boundary-pushing, mind-blowing mix of sex, sci-fi and social drama.
Comedy 2016 90 mins Director: Alex Taylor
British teen cinema gets an injection of hallucinogenic imagination, plus a few unicorns and aliens, in Alex Taylor’s unclassifiable debut feature.
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.
Romance 2016 97 mins Director: Olivier Ducastel
A brief encounter at a naked sex club in Paris seems to be going well for Theo and Hugo, but a sudden realisation changes everything.
Drama 2016 85 mins Director: Ira Sachs
Ira Sachs’ poignant drama about how money affects relationships follows an artistic family’s attempts to attune to a new Brooklyn neighbourhood.
Comedy 2016 101 mins Director: Taika Waititi
Juvenile delinquent Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) forms an unlikely partnership with Sam Neill’s grizzled bushman in this hilarious wild adventure from Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows).
Comedy 2015 96 mins Director: Rachel Tunnard
Anna (Jodie Whittaker) is an emotionally stunted 30-year-old living in her mum’s shed, learning to confront adult reality, in Rachel Tunnard’s quirky debut.
Drama 2015 88 mins Director: Sean Baker
A big-hearted film shot on a small phone, this LA tale of two transgender working girls out for vengeance fizzes with wild energy.
Drama 2018 92 mins Director: Ash Mayfair
A fourteen-year-old girl falls for another of her polygamous husband's wives in this award-winning coming-of-age tale of love and self-discovery.
Documentary 2018 95 mins Director: Julien Faraut
Mastery, showmanship and the art of filming tennis are laid bare in an entertaining, innovative archive documentary that’s like no sports film you’ve seen.
Documentary 2017 98 mins Director: Steve Keeble
Telling the untold stories from the early days of the UK AIDS pandemic; by the people who were there and the people who supported them.
Biopic 2019 127 mins Director: Ralph Fiennes
Dance perfection meets political defection in director Ralph Fiennes’ intoxicating account of the young life of Rudolf Nureyev.
Drama 2018 111 mins Director: Icíar Bollaín
Paul Laverty (I, Daniel Blake) scripts this inspiring biopic of Carlos Acosta, and his journey from a run-down Havana neighborhood to becoming the first black principal dancer of The Royal Ballet.
Drama 2018 87 mins Director: Jordana Spiro
After being released from prison, a young African American woman goes in search of her father.