THE NEON DEMON
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn/Written by Refn, Mary Laws and Polly Stenham
By his own admission at the Q&A following The Neon Demon at The Dome at Arclight Hollywood, Nicolas Winding Refn has always wanted to be a teenage girl, and has now, perhaps, gotten to live out that fantasy in this horror movie where the "monster" is beauty. But as anyone who has seen others films by the Danish auteur would already know, this is not your typical teenage horror flick. It's flashy, it's stylistic, it's shocking, it's violent and it's flat-out fucked up most of the time. Oh, and that's a good thing.
Refn is a very polarizing filmmaker, most love or hate him. Even those who love him have a hard time loving everything he does-- personally I loved Drive almost as much as I passionately loathed Only God Forgives. The Neon Demons fell somewhere in-between, but the more I think about it, the more it leans toward the Drive end of the spectrum. It's one of those films that gets stuck up there in your brain like a parasite and won't let you stop thinking about it no matter how hard you want to. I can't recommend this film to everyone, of course, but anyone who has enjoyed Refn's films in the past won't be disappointed. Also, Elle Fanning & Jena Malone are great, and Keanu Reeves plays a really good role (as a total slimy douche).
Directed by Anne Fontaine/Screenplay by Sabrina B. Karine & Alice Vial/Adaption & Dialogue by Pascal Bonitzer & Fontaine
The Innocents is not exactly the feel-good story of the summer, but it's an important story that needed to be told, so sorry to ruin your day. Yes, the horrors of war are one thing, but the inhumane acts committed by men who use said "horrors of war" as an excuse are a completely different thing. The Innocents focuses on the disgusting true story of a group of nuns who were left pregnant after getting raped by occupying Russian soldiers. Director Fontaine weaves a complicated tale of horror, societal morals, and the human response that will haunt you for days afterwards with amazing performances from leads Lou de Laage and Agata Buzek.
I apologize that it's not a superhero movie and it's not based on a graphic novel's sequel, but The Innocents is an important film you will have to seek out as soon as possible. But be warned, you will probably need a couple of drinks afterwards...