The Beginner’s Guide: Xavier Dolan, Director

If you don’t keep up, the filmography of Québécois director Xavier Dolan could expand into an intimidating mass. He released five films between 2009 and 2014 and already has two more in the pipeline, additionally serving as writer, editor, actor, and costume designer for several of the projects. That output, along with other extraneous facts, like his young age, has drawn headlines that sadly take attention away from what is an expressive filmography.

Doctor Strange

DOCTOR STRANGE Teaser Trailer

As someone who literally knows nothing about the character Doctor Strange, I was not expecting a bald Tilda Swinton to punch Benedict Cumberbatch out of his body in this trailer. It was the first time anything about this project reached out and made me interested, so, good job teaser, you served your purpose. I’m certainly not the only one in the dark about this less-than-prominent superhero, whose name is not as self-explanatory as Ant-Man or the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Being Charlie

BEING CHARLIE Trailer

The unsteady career of director Rob Reiner continues with Being Charlie, a family affair that is very much based on real life. His son Nick Reiner wrote the screenplay (along with Matt Elisofon) about his battles with substance abuse, and the fact that he kept his filmmaking family a part of the plot and got his father to direct makes the real-life parallels unavoidable. Hitting this close to home doesn’t always lead to the best films, though, especially when dealing with something that must’ve happened relatively recently (Nick is currently only 22 years old).

Tale of Tales

TALE OF TALES Trailer

Nobody’s hiding how weird and grotesque Tale of Tales is going to be, and oh how delectable it looks. The adult fairy tale has become a well-used genre of late, and while most draw from the toned down Disney versions or the more bloody Grimm style, there’s a host of other sources out there for filmmakers to start from. Taking that less crowded route is Tale of Tales, which is based on a 17th century Neapolitan collection by Giambattista Basile.

Keanu

KEANU Trailer

As adorably ludicrous as it is to imagine a cat dragging two mild-mannered men into a gang war, it’s clear that there’s more to Keanu than just a strange premise. The name and setup makes it an overt riff on John Wick and the trailer really keys in on racial preconceptions and how wrong they can be. That’s all well and good, but how about that aww-inducing moment when the cat is running to dramatic music and slides into the back of that guy’s leg?

Star Wars Rogue One

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY Teaser Trailer

We knew things would change once Disney got a hold of Star Wars, and as utterly delightful as The Force Awakens was, it was basically the equivalent of clearing the first hurdle in a long race. After all, Disney operates under the ‘keep doing it until everyone hates it’ business model, and the company has made it abundantly clear that fans will be getting new Star Wars movies until they stop turning a profit. The thing is, that’s never been what Star Wars is.

Florence Foster Jenkins

FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS Trailer

They did it with asteroids, and they did it with Snow White. Now, we’re inexplicably getting two takes on the story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a wealthy New York socialite with a terrible singing voice. The French version, Marguerite, plays more loosely with the facts, while this U.

Men & Chicken

MEN & CHICKEN Trailer

Before Mads Mikkelsen became an international star as the blood-weeping villain in the James Bond film Casino Royale, he had established himself as one of the most prominent actors in his home country of Denmark, by working with some of the best talent the country has to offer. He got his start on Nicolas Winding Refn’s Pusher series and has appeared in every film that award-winning Anders Thomas Jensen has directed. To this day, he continues to balance his international work with Danish films, and with Jensen’s return to the directing chair after a ten year absence, Mikkelsen returns as well to keep their long-standing collaboration alive.

Dheepan

DHEEPAN Trailer

Over one million people crossed into Europe in 2015, more than three times the amount from the previous year, overwhelming existing systems and leaving the EU struggling to agree on a unified approach to the crisis. Some countries have tightened their border control, citing old, xenophobic fears that ignore the flesh-and-blood people sitting on their doorsteps. It’s a perfect time, then, for films like Dheepan, which tell small, humanistic stories of immigrants that make us remember the individuals at the heart of this crisis.